Could L&D benefit from thinking more like a marketer? Today we’re talking about what it actually means to think like a marketer and why we believe L&D is going to benefit greatly from marketing skills. Marketing and communications are some of the weakest skills in L&D’s toolkit (seriously, the LPI’s L&D dashboard says so), but they’re SO valuable for L&D professionals to harness. 

And we chose the word harness deliberately. L&D already have these skills – it’s just a case of changing your way of thinking and your approach to communication. We’re not suggesting you have to have the skills, knowledge and know-how of a Strategic Head of Marketing. Instead we’re talking about the basics, the more foundational stuff to do with marketing – like learning campaigns or the 4 P’s. It’s this stuff that’s going to stop you thinking one email equals a learning campaign. Or overlooking the importance of subject lines in your emails (because breaking news guys, if nobody opens the one email you send, they’ll never take the action you want them to!) 

Plus, by thinking like a marketer, you’ll start thinking about your learners as customers. And ultimately, thinking about the ‘What’s in it for me?’ for them. It’s time to get into the minds of your learners and think about what drives them, what motivates them and what will push them to take action. Truthly, your learners don’t care about your business’s learning initiative, they’re busy, they’ve got work to do, home lives to take care of. Learning doesn’t enter their minds at all. So we’ve got to interrupt them and convince them that learning really is worth their time – and remember, time is money afterall!

By focusing on fundamental marketing aspects, such as creative, compelling copywriting – something that actually provokes curiosity in your learners – will make a huge impact on your learning initiatives. As will things like using data to understand the lay of the land or benchmark your results. These are all super basic marketing elements – that for some reason L&D continually avoid. And it’s time to stop that. It’s time to think like a marketer. Because right now, L&D is seen as a cost centre. We pump thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of pounds into learning initiatives, without adequately engaging our learners – so our return on investment is minimal. Now is the time to do things differently (by jumping on the Marketing for Learning movement – if you hadn’t guessed ????)

+ posts
+ posts

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.

Join the discussion

More from this show


Episode 1