Marketing and L&D Need to be Friends for Better Learning Results

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marketing L&D

Create unforgettable experience to better engage your learners and boost L&D performance

The end goal for every department within an organization is usually to acquire new customers and retain existing ones. At the same time, we want to ensure our customers are successful and improve their experiences along the way. Marketing, for example, focuses on writing engaging content and delivering the right content at the right time. It then leverages real-time data to deliver the content just-in-time.

Marketing and Learning and Development (L&D) have more in common than we might think. As L&D professionals we should follow marketing’s example and create the right content for our audiences at the right time, leverage data to better understand what content is needed when, and design unforgettable learning experiences along the way. The sad truth is that we don’t.

Content engagement cycle: create unforgettable experiences

One element that Marketers do really well and L&D professionals could learn from is the content engagement cycle which looks at when to engage a user and with what kind of content. We often only think about one single training program instead of looking at the entire journey our learners take throughout their time with us. Mapping out the learner life cycle and assigning content that engages them along the way does not only help create unforgettable learning experiences, but it does also help with the transfer of knowledge after a training session ended. Because really, the training wouldn’t end at all, would it?

marketing L&D

Content strategy – not just for marketers

Marketers leverage a content strategy to help them plan their content engagement cycle. A content strategy is the “creation, publication, and governance of useful, usable content”. That means a content strategy lets you manage your content as a business asset. It includes the content you write but also images and multimedia that is being used.

Ultimately, having a content strategy in place helps create meaningful, engaging and sustainable content, and allows you to identify the right content at the right time for the right audience. You can easily identify what content already exists, what should be created and, more importantly, why it should be created.

It is time for L&D professionals to take a page out of marketing’s playbook and look at how we create engaging and thought-provoking content, how we plan our content for the next quarters or even year, and how this helps us drive performance. Chances are, as an L&D professional, you haven’t worn a marketer’s hat yet and you are unsure where to start.

Create a content strategy – 3 easy steps

There are three easy steps to get started with a content strategy in just one afternoon:

Step 1: Create a content task force

You probably already have a lot of content in place. Often, however, there is no central repository that you can reference or one person responsible for maintaining it. Step 1 is to book a room for one afternoon and get your stakeholders together. This includes, most likely, instructional designers, facilitators, copywriters, and someone from marketing.

Step 2: Summarize what you already have

Create a content strategy template. This can be a very simple Excel spreadsheet outlining, for example, content titles, descriptions, delivery channel, production timelines, measurements, and responsibilities. List the content you already have in place and that you use on a regular basis.

Step 3: Repurpose Content

The last step is to look at what content you can reuse for the next two quarters. Think about upcoming training initiatives, look at the content you have, and mark the pieces you can reuse or leverage with minimal changes. You will be able to see current gaps and better identify what further content is needed to drive performance.

Once you have this basic concept down, you can start advancing your content strategy planning and think beyond repurposing content. On average, 65% of your content should be created from scratch, 25% should be curated and 10% syndicated.

The Modern Learner

Modern learners want information right at their fingertips when the need arises, and they want to apply it in that moment. A thorough content strategy will help you identify exactly what content is needed to drive an individual’s performance.

If you are able to put measurements in place, such as video views or click-through rates, you will be able to see which content is in high demand, and which content has barely been touched. Don’t be afraid of deleting content you don’t need anymore, but recycle wherever you can.

Bianca Baumann, CTDP focuses on digital education success, combining L&D, marketing and customer success to create outstanding learning experiences that stick. She shares her expertise in her blog and at conferences, highlighting the importance of looking at disciplines outside L&D to map out a learner journey that helps drive an individual’s performance.

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