| 5 min read

7 marketing skills for learning and development

In true THRIVE fashion, you have probably seen us causing a tonne of noise around marketing your learning. But what marketing skills does your L&D team need to start driving increased engagement and awareness?

Matt Bristow Digital Marketing Specialist

Don Draper reacting to the phrase 'cut to hashtag'

Before we launched our game changing MARKETING STUDIO,  we helped a tonne of our clients with their L&D brand. At THRIVE, it’s second nature to make learning fun, engaging, visually cohesive and strategic. But I know that some brands and L&D teams aren’t as far along in their marketing journey, so I wanted to share some inspiration on some of the key skills I think are super important when you start turning your L&D team into an internal marketing powerhouse!

Resourcefulness

This is such a key success driver in a marketing role, and is equally applicable to a L&D role as well. Being able to source imagery, apply out-of-vertical ideas to their internal teams and generally get the absolute best out of what they have is a must-have skill and enables people to be true self-starters, which is invaluable to L&D, marketing and the business as a whole.

Content creation & distribution

We’ve written previously about how L&D teams can learn from the THRIVE marketing dream team, and one of the key takeaways we were trying to impart in that blog was the importance of nailing a content strategy. Both marketing and L&D professionals need to know how to plan, craft and distribute effective content in order to influence behaviour, so brushing up on your blog writing, video editing and comms outreach skills is an L&D team trying to adopt a marketing mindset.

Branding

Brand is boss! Having a keen eye for branding and nailing your own tone of voice are so important for both L&D and marketing. You should take time to identify exactly what your L&D brand is, and then look for individuals with the ability to both adhere to and evolve this brand internally. And this doesn’t just mean having a good eye creatively, it can also mean that the individual in question exemplifies core aspects of your brand, and really agrees with the mission you are trying to achieve in your L&D department. 

Storytelling

This is a huge one. Human beings are innately drawn to stories and this is something that marketers have known and utilised for a long time, and it’s time that L&D professionals did as well. To drive meaningful and sustainable engagement, L&D teams need to become master storytellers, and look at campaigns and pathways are more than just a list of vaguely linked resources, and start looking at them as interwoven stories that capture reader attention, in much the same way marketing looks at a webinar or blog series.

Creative understanding/design

It’s a simple fact : things that look nice get more attention and engagement than things that don’t look nice. L&D has a serious image problem in a lot of organisations, and a lack of creative design is a large part of this. At THRIVE, we’ve spent a long time crafting a visual brand that we are super proud of, and a large part of that is due to an emphasis on visually engaging design. To generate engagement like we do with our marketing materials, L&D teams also need to put an emphasis on making their learning visually cohesive. And this isn’t just about sticking to the brand colours when you pick a background, you can craft sub brands for different learning topics or styles, invent a new visual format for delivering long form content or even just master using video editing tools so your video uploads have a level of similarity and generate L&D brand awareness.

Data & testing

Marketing isn’t just about creative design and event management, there’s a tonne of data that goes into executing and learning from marketing campaigns. There’s also a lot of testing in marketing, including testing messaging, video creative, formats, comms platforms and design layout. The process of testing, analysing data and iterating on your processes is easily applicable to L&D. 

The key to adopting a marketing-style data led mindset for L&D is to identify core KPIs that you want to measure success by. Once you have identified what success means, then you can test out different ways to achieve that goal, i.e. does regular broadcasts from your CEO increase engagement with the platform, do pathways around specific compliance topics increase overall completion rate, are videos or SCORM files better for driving comments around a topic. Once you know what success is, then you can get stuck in with really exciting ways to make it a reality.

Embracing failure

Last but definitely not least, it’s important to remember that no matter how prepared you are (no doubt by reading all of the THRIVE blogs) there are always going to be hiccups along the way. Tying into the testing point above, just because something doesn’t work, doesn’t mean you can’t learn from it. Marketers have to develop quite a thick skin because of this fact, and remember, a sense of humour in the face of adversity never hurt anyone, so make sure to keep your personality in your comms, and then even your failures can be successes!

Now you know the marketing skills you need, you may be wondering where you can find them! If you need a helping hand then check out our MARKETING STUDIO, designed to help you to campaign your learning initiatives, brand up your offering and upskill your teams with our marketing masterclasses. 

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