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3 ways learning is actually marketing

How to think of learning as a campaign.

Cassie Gasson Chief Marketing Officer

3 ways learning is actually marketing

It’s lovely to think of learning as a gift – something that you, the learning professional, can bestow. Generously, magnanimously, upon your happy, grateful subjects. In this blog, we’ll tell you 3 ways learning is actually marketing and share some useful learning campaign examples.

Unfortunately, that really isn’t true. Learning is only really valuable if it comes with perceived value. If the learner can be convinced that the thing you want them to learn will improve their lives in a meaningful way.

How do you promote learning?

Put poetically and pretentiously, as by Antoine de Saint-Exupery:

If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.

Put simply? If you want people to learn something, they have to feel like they need to learn it. That’s where marketing comes in.

Your goal is to make your learners feel like they need you. In a way they do – they really will get in trouble if they don’t complete their Health and safety training. But that doesn’t feel like a need.

You have to create that need.

That 8-page pdf on leadership strategies has value. But it has more value to someone who saw an infographic you released the day before on the financial benefits of Leadership progression.

Creating the illusion of on-time learning

I’m not going to try to teach you to be a marketing executive here, but there is a simple thought process you can adopt:

Think of a learning campaign.

A campaign leverages the energy and interest around events, dates – even times of the day – to generate real interest and match a genuine need.

This can be simple.

Imagine a piece of learning called ‘how to nail your performance management review’. This might generate a certain amount of interest released scattershot during the year. But it would generate a lot more the week before reviews were due.

This is the basic principle. Learning doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and neither does attention. It is not as a discrete element in and of itself, but as part of a constellation you can use rather than be at the mercy of.

Creating a learning campaign

It works just like marketing. You come up with a catchy slogan, something memorable. You plan your comms – what is going to be released, on what day and at what time. The goal is to hit your learners both when their attention is free and their interest is present. Some simple steps when planning:

  • Structure your content in a sensible order
  • Space learning out – daily, maybe weekly?
  • Avoid dropping giant piles of stuff that no-one will finish
  • Provide the opportunity for engagement

Global beauty company, DECIEM, managed to do this with incredible success. The functionality in their THRIVE Learning and Skills Platform supported this way of communicating and distributing learning. They used careful timing, structure and competitions which relied on users to upload their own content. This turned the launch of their Learning and Skills Platform into an event. One that people wanted to be a part of.

What do your learners need?

Maybe you could take advantage of this in the same way. Consider some of the following opportunities to structure learning campaigns of your own.

  • New Year campaigns on Organisation and Productivity
  • Christmas (or Valentines Day) campaigns on Planning
  • Pride Month campaigns on Inclusion, equality and diversity

Interested to understand more about how THRIVE can support you on your quest to being an L&D marketer? Check out our on-demand demo and explore the features that will help plan your learning campaigns and achieve effortless engagement.

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