As a learning professional, you probably spend a lot of time designing interventions that encourage your learners to consistently practice and apply new skills to encourage long-term behavioural change. So it’s clear that you already know the importance of building a habit. So why is this concept so often overlooked when it comes to learning communications? 

All too often we see L&D teams advertising their offering with one standalone email and expecting uptake in their learning offering to skyrocket. (Breaking news: This doesn’t work!) Instead, if you want to create real engagement with your learning provision, you need to consistently communicate with your audience, create intrigue and grab their attention. And that’s where learning campaigns step in. 

Learning campaigns consistently present a message to your learners over a period of time. They plant seeds in your learner’s mind and remind them that there’s a resource they can utilise from a team they can trust. And for this reason, learning campaigns aren’t necessarily about getting your audience to take action immediately – like logging in to your learning platform, for example. Instead, they’re about creating brand awareness for your L&D offering.

But when it comes to generating brand awareness, L&D teams are limited in the channels they can use. You don’t have the big-budgets or sophisticated channels that huge brands do. Instead, you have to utilise the tech stack that already exists in your organisation, like MS Teams, your intranet, emails – and hey, maybe you could even advertise on the back of the toilet door (if it works for Google, why can’t it work for you?)

However, when crafting a learning campaign you need to think about more than technology. In fact, how you talk to your learners is more important. For example, throughout your communications,  drop the L&D oriented language. Do your people identify as a ‘learner’ at all? In their minds, they’re employees of the organisation, and it’s important to not bamboozle them with simple phrases they don’t relate to. In fact – it all comes back to the “what’s in it for me?” Think about why your people would want to get involved in your learning intervention, not why your organisation wants them to take it. 

So how do we create a learning campaign? Well Hannah’s advice is to follow these steps:

  1. Decipher the ‘what’s in it for me?’ and work out why your learners will want to take your learning. And tell them what they’ll get out of it. 
  2. What platforms do you have available? It’s all well and good wanting to create a blockbuster-style campaign, but if you can’t deliver it, what’s the point? The channels you likely have at your disposal are: email, intranets and some kind of communication platform (think MS Teams, Slack or Facebook for Business).
  3. Then get internal buy-in from the L&D team and senior management. Getting this buy-in up-front will help to ensure the smooth running of your learning campaign.
  4. Then it’s time to create your campaign assets and get the show on the road!

No matter your limitations, we’re confident that you can deliver an impactful marketing for learning campaign. All that’s needed is a change in your way of thinking. It’s time for L&D to start thinking more strategically about learning communications. It’s time to embrace practicing, testing and failing – and to learn from these experiences. It’s only once you try and test new approaches with your audience, that you’ll know how to truly engage with them. Remember what works for one company, may not work for you and vice versa. So test, test, test – and you’ll be well on your way to effective marketing for learning campaigns. 

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Ashley Sinclair is the host of the Marketing for Learning podcast. Having been a marketer for nearly a decade, Ashley is committed to developing the marketing skills of L&D. She also owns her own marketing agency, MAAS Marketing.

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