Marketing = Learning or Learning = Marketing

Marketing = Learning or Learning = Marketing

I am currently working for CLS Performance Solutions who are a great company providing blended learning and continuing performance support to workforces in medium and large companies that are installing ERP systems.  CLS do a really good job and are well appreciated by their clients, but are not widely enough known, which is why I am helping them improve their marketing and promote their brand.

The project appealed to me not just because CLS are good to work for and have a service which delivers real value to their clients, but also because of their field of expertise.  I was intrigued to find out more about modern learning and training techniques, because I felt they would be applicable in marketing.

In marketing you are trying to make your product and service attractive to prospective clients.  You want to convey messages about the features that add value for each particular client in such a way that they are memorable; your aim is for prospects to remember what your service can do for them and, even better, to be able to explain it to others (colleagues, other contacts) so that word of mouth expands the reach of your marketing.  To do this, you also have to be able to listen to your prospects so that you understand their needs, what benefits you can bring to them and how you can best convey the message.

This parallels closely the design of learning – understanding each learner’s current position, their needs and the best way to put across the information or skill so that they will remember, understand and be able to apply it.  Learning as a field of knowledge has been heavily researched to determine and verify the best and most efficient methods and I feel that this research can be tapped to improve (my) marketing.

My belief in the cross-over between marketing and learning were re-inforced today when I read the Kineo Oxford Group guide “Blended Learning Today” which states that “Learning = Marketing” and encourages learning providers to think like marketers: “because blended design is really about engagement and persuasion. We’re trying to sell a concept to learners.”  “Marketing professionals…talk about how you’re going to stimulate demand. Who are you trying to reach? With what message? Where do those people hang out now? How do we use those channels? How are we going to get action?”

Marketing and learning professionals have a lot to give each other and to learn from each other