Training and marketing, the lines are blurred
I read a good article this morning by Lynne Murray, titled E-learning and Lead Generation in the Digital Age. She talks about the rapid growth of e-learning and content marketing as an opportunity for marketers to expand their online presence. Lynne hits the nail on the head with her article, I want to take it a step further.
The emergence of e-learning and content based marketing have blurred the lines between traditional marketing and training, but the potential benefits are not being fully realized by large corporations, which is a huge opportunity for the small and mid-sized companies competing with them. Training and marketing in most major corporations operate in their own silos, completely independent of each other, which is a mistake. As Lynne stated in her article, “4 out of 5 users now search for information on products and services online to start to understand how to solve their business issues.” If e-learning is being used successfully as a tool to train employees selling, servicing and supporting your product or service that same information could be incredibly valuable to your potential customers searching for solutions to their problems.
The objective of well built online training is to engage the learner to the point where the material is retained and ultimately that knowledge is transferred to an on the job skill. There is a lot of effort put into internal employee online training. Script writing, instructional design, video, graphics, animation, approvals from legal. Why not extend the ROI of internal training projects into the your company’s online marketing efforts ? There may need to be some minor modifications made to the content to suit your consumer based audience, but the re-purposing of training assets will create efficiency in the use of your resources. This is a tough nut to crack in the large corporations where training and marketing are budgeted, staffed and run independently, but is a huge advantage for the mid sized business where much smaller departments are asked to wear many hats and contribute to many areas within a company.
Content based marketing has been built around providing high value online material to your prospective buyers so your company will be viewed as a respected source and be top of mind when it is time to buy. Why put out another white paper when you could offer truly engaging and purposeful content your company has already made a sizable investment in developing? The lines have been crossed!
Do you market to consumers and train employees differently?
Here is an example of internal sales training that was re-purposed as “how-to” training for customers. The end result was more sales with a better educated sales team and less returns due to increased “how to operate” knowledge for their customers.