Last week, over six posts I looked at six concepts that Learning and Development can adopt from our colleagues in Marketing to do our jobs better:
- MOTIVATION – Playing to a Customer’s Emotions and Aspirations
- RELEVANT – Anticipate what the Custom will Need When
- CHANNELS – Using All Available Channels Effectively
- COGNITIVE LOAD – Don’t Overwhelm the Customer with More Info than They Need
- ACTION – Get the Customer Using what You’re Selling Early and Often
- OBJECTIONS – Identify and Overcome Potential Roadblocks to Success
Now, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of my peers were put off by the title of this series or the idea that those pushy, party-loving marketing people could teach us anything about how to help educate our employee base. Marketers want to figure out how to make us buy stuff we don’t want. Workplace learning is about helping people better themselves…..STOP!
Workplace learning is about changing behaviors to meet organizational goals. Often we need to get employees to give up their old comfortable ways in order to take on new behaviors that are uncomfortable and stress inducing. I’m surprised more employees don’t run when they see us coming because we’re there to ruin their day. People don’t like change and we’re all about change.
These days, Marketing works on the assumption that there are folks out there who want to purchase what we are selling. The hard part is finding them or, better yet, helping them find us. Marketing is about making and building authentic connections with individual customers.
Motivation and Relevance are really about getting to know customers intimately. Why do they do what they do? What excites them? Who do they want to be? Learners will take on any challenge if it resonates with what drives or inspires them. If they understand how it connects with their work today or what they will need to do tomorrow, they’ll seek out how to change on their own. If we’ve done our work to know them, we can anticipate that need and help them.
Channels and Cognitive Load today are about Big Data and Big Noise. We’re all flooded with too much information 24/7. There is no escaping it. But Marketing has learned that if they listen to the noise there are patterns to be found. It reminds me a bit of Morpheus and Neo in the Matrix. Our colleagues in social media marketing are doing amazing things by listening to the social media noise and then using that information to reach out to individuals. We’re about to have our turn as Big Data, by one means or another, is about to hit L&D.
Action and Objections are part of classic sales techniques. Automobile Dealers have to take ‘er for a spin because they know that once you take a test drive, the chances that you will buy go through the roof! Real Estate Agents “stage” homes, complete with fresh cookies out of the oven at open houses because if they can make you feel at home they know you’ll be more likely to buy. Getting learners practicing the new behavior in a safe, but authentic environment before they have to “go live” in their real work is like that test drive of the new car.
Objections are about fear of change and not wanting to be sold. They are about someone or something unrelated to the actual purchase of what you are selling. If we’ve done our needs analysis properly, designed a beautiful learning experience, the last thing we want is for some VP to blow it all apart because she wasn’t included in the planning. Or a Manager telling his team to not worry about doing our microlearning modules because we didn’t provide him with enough background to understand how to mentor them through the experience.
Hopefully, you know someone in marketing that you can reach out to and ask them about what they do. If not, ask your manager to help you find someone to talk to. Find out how do they build a multi-channel campaign? How do they parcel out a message over time? How do they get to know what customers like? What tools do they use to analyze Big Data?
And it doesn’t need to be a one-way conversation. As L&D professionals, we do know a lot about how people learn, why the forget, how behavior can be changed, the role of prior knowledge in learning. Things that would benefit Marketing if they knew.