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| 4 min read

Driving engagement by marketing your learning

You can’t just dump SCORM files into an LMS and expect it to be engaging. Take a leaf out of the marketing playbook to get your learners truly hyped up!

Cassie Gasson Chief Marketing Officer

Times Square at night

How are marketing and L&D teams similar?

It’s certainly not a new concept in the industry to apply marketing practices to learning, but let’s just remind ourselves how similar L&D and marketing can be.

At the heart of both disciplines is the core goal of getting people to care about what you have to offer, increasing engagement and creating compelling content. Marketing might be working to get prospects to attend a webinar, whilst L&D is trying to get new starters to attend a company broadcast or training course. Marketing may be responsible for creating exciting video content for LinkedIn, whereas L&D are creating their own user-generated videos, but with the objective of sharing knowledge on their LMS.

What does marketing your learning look like in real life?

A great way to identify how to market your learning or L&D department is to look at all the functions of a marketing department and get inspiration for how it might work within your team. We’ve spoken to the THRIVE Marketing machine to get their tips and understand what skills are essential. 

Laura - Head of Marketing

What you can learn : A campaign-led strategic mindset

Strategic mastermind, Laura is our Head of Marketing and deals with all things content strategy, including thought-leadership, content, paid budgets, PR and campaigns. 

The skills a Head of Marketing has can very easily be transferred over to the world of L&D. By embracing a strategic marketing mindset, you can turn your learning from random one-off resources that people might engage with into a campaign-led world of content that stops people in their tracks. We do this by setting a focus point to drive behaviour change, building a content strategy around that topic and having a delivery plan that gets your attention-grabbing message out to the right audience at the right time.

It’s all about understanding your business priorities, being cohesive with your learning efforts and creating a strategy for effective distribution. A plan that just focuses on content isn’t enough though, marketers must consider everything around the content such as your audience, how it's positioned and the channels and communities you’ll use to reach them.

Richard - Marketing Executive

What you can learn : Nailing a comms strategy and harnessing different forms of content

Social media wunderkind, Richard aka Rich runs all of our social media accounts, organises email comms and is in charge of finding new community outlets and content formats for us to increase brand awareness and expand our reach. 

From an L&D perspective, what you can learn from Rich’s role is resourcefulness. It's the importance of a variety of content and crafting a comms strategy that leverages that content to its fullest degree. 

In the same way that Rich doesn’t just post a static image every day, you can’t just post PDFs or SCORM files to your Learning Platform and hope they do the job. You have to make the most of all types of content, and make sure you are sharing them at the right times and in an engaging way. 

Chopping up lengthy courses into more digestible, bitesize snippets and mapping content into pathways for example is like crafting a social thread in that you are parsing information in a cohesive way to achieve an end goal.

Keep your ears to the ground for new communities, channels and formats just like marketing teams search for platforms like BeReal and TikTok, and you can create cutting-edge engaging content and seek out new places your learners are hanging out, even if it is at the water cooler over a coffee! 

Matt - Digital Marketing Specialist

What you can learn : Optimising your efforts and using available data 

Matt heads up our digital marketing strategy and is responsible for SEO, paid advertising and website management, as well as setting up reporting and analytics for our marketing efforts. From Matt’s role, you can learn the art of optimising your content for the best possible performance.

Almost all learning systems feature a search function, and when you search for content, it’s quite similar to someone using Google to search for learning products. When you reach the Search Engine Results Page (or SERP for short), different pieces of content are indexed, displayed and you get to pick which piece of content you want to click through to. 

In Matt's role, it’s all about making content stand out on a search engine results page and providing value for the searcher. For an L&D team, this means making sure all content is indexable and easily findable, and that the content you are creating is answering real questions your learners have. 

Also, a lot of other SEO principles can be applied to L&D, for example, pillar content. Pillar pages are high-level pages that cover a topic, linking out to more specific content on subtopics. You can already see how this would be applicable to L&D, with a high-level piece of content for something like Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, with links to more detailed content on gender identity, anti-racism, BLM and unconscious bias.

George and Lucy - Design 

What you can learn : Creating an L&D brand

If you’ve ever been blown away by our videos or dazzled by our LinkedIn graphics then you are familiar with George and Lucy’s work. 

George and Lucy are our design duo responsible for making everything bold, brave and on brand. We have spoken a lot about creating an L&D brand, and this is definitely something that our brand team nail. 

It’s all about looking too good to resist! 

Don’t get us wrong, this doesn’t mean ditching UGC and filling your LMS with random stock images, but it means creating a brand identity that is consistent, recognisable and slick. This means your learners know what they’re going to get is engaging and worth the wait. You can harness free tools like Canva to easily create assets like custom thumbnails and branded videos for your Learning Platform and watch your engagement skyrocket!

Ben - Awards and PR Specialist 

What you can learn : community management and shouting about your success 

Like winning awards? Like winning awards and having people write about how amazing your award win is? Then you’ll love Ben, our Awards & PR Specialist.

Ben does a smashing job working with our clients, third-party award shows and media sites to make sure everyone in the space knows how our clients are utilising THRIVE to upskill and connect their teams around the world. Managing this community means having the ability to write context-dependent content which is an incredibly important skill for L&D teams to master.

Different L&D contexts require different tones of voice and ways of creating content, much like writing different PR pieces for different sites. Mastering the right feel and positioning whilst staying on brand is a tricky job, but L&D teams need to be thinking about content in this way if they want to make their content engaging, impactful and meaningful.

Ben also crafts award submissions for our clients, and from that, you can learn the importance of not just using compliance stats for an award submission. We’ve won a fair few awards for our clients, and every time it’s because we aren’t just focusing on how much mandatory compliance training has been completed. That’s definitely part of the story but we also focus on the human aspect of learning, and the social aspect of our platform. With the introduction of Data Lab, we can start talking about ROI for our clients as well, which is a much more compelling story for an award judge than simply “98% of our employees have done their GDPR training”.

How does our new MARKETING STUDIO help?

Having read a very brief run-through of the different functions of our marketing team, you can already see there is a lot going on! We know that the modern L&D professional sometimes simply doesn’t have the time or the resources to enact all of the different functions of a marketing team, so we decided to lend a helping hand! 

The MARKETING STUDIO is your hype team that supports marketing your learning to increase engagement and impact of your campaigns. For £10k a year, members of the MARKETING STUDIO get :

  • All new creative assets and videos to promote your learning
  • Creative templates and tools to DIY your own creative
  • Bespoke upskilling workshops for your entire team
  • Planning, messaging and campaign templates
  • CSM support with the implementation of assets

Interested in signing up? Current customers can chat to their CSM about getting started with MARKETING STUDIO, and if you aren’t a current THRIVE customer, then reach out to our friendly team about joining the THRIVE TRIBE!

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