Let’s face it, L&D professionals are still order-takers. As a result, we often create one-off learning solutions that are quickly put together.

Unlike “one and done” offerings that are quickly forgotten, marketing campaigns use an organized, strategic approach meant to reach audience members in a variety of ways over a period of time.

Adopting marketing techniques can have a positive impact on L&D objectives for several reasons. Campaigns:

  • Align with learning science: The ongoing nature of campaigns can provide regular reinforcement that aligns with the proven science of spaced learning.
  • Are easily digestible: Planning for multiple touchpoints allows each individual experience to be shorter and more focused.
  • Meet audiences on their turf: The variety of formats available for use in campaigns allows content to go where learners already are. Instead of extra trips to the LMS, learners receive content via email, text, video, Slack, and other apps and platforms that they are already using during the course of their normal work.
  • Deliver the right content at the right time: Campaigns can be personalized and deliver content exactly when it is needed. Content delivery can also be automatically triggered by relevant events, such as when a new hire joins the organization.

What is a marketing campaign?

Marketing professionals leverage campaigns to keep track of (and engage) prospective clients. Marketing campaigns do not use only email, advertising, and social media; they also leverage word of mouth and influencer marketing. Campaigns can have different goals, such as increasing awareness and engagement, building a brand image, introducing a new product, or increasing sales.

For example, marketers might share a video on social media. Once the prospect is informed about the product and has submitted a form, marketing might share a white paper via email. If the prospect has been quiet for a while—they haven’t opened any emails or visited the website—marketing will nudge them and try to raise their interest level again. Based on the prospect’s needs, marketing offers just-in-time content that is relevant, moving each prospect along the funnel.

Creating a marketing campaign

Marketers follow simple steps when creating campaigns:

  1. Define campaign goals and measures of success
  2. Identify the target audience
  3. Develop a clear message
  4. Review and select the right types of media
  5. Track success

Take a closer look at these steps; you will see that L&D professionals follow a similar process:

  1. Needs analysis entails setting goals, defining the target audience, and deciding on delivery channels
  2. Developing content is like developing the message
  3. Evaluating success is equivalent to tracking success

Leverage a drip campaign to onboard learners

A drip campaign is one marketing approach that uses a defined series of activities using various marketing channels and media to deliver content over time. The concept of a drip campaign is easy to apply in L&D. It can engage learners, not only for one learning session but on an ongoing basis. Onboarding is a critical stage in each employee’s training and an excellent opportunity to introduce a drip campaign.

Setting the tone in the first days and weeks of a new employee’s career with an organization is essential to that employee’s success. However, onboarding can be overwhelming: The employee is meeting new people, learning new concepts, and mastering new products. Every new hire comes to the organization with a different background and different knowledge level about the company’s products and services, yet most companies put all new hires through the same onboarding program.

Leveraging a drip campaign makes it easy to add elements during onboarding, such as just-in-time and role-specific content to new hires, without having to completely redo the existing training program.

For example, when creating a drip campaign for the competitor training piece of onboarding:

  • The kick-off could be a face-to-face overview session to cover the top five competitors.
  • The campaign could follow up with five separate emails, each detailing one of the competitors. Tailor the content to the new hire’s job role: A sales rep would get different information on each competitor than a new marketing hire would, thereby increasing the learner’s interest and engagement level.
  • Accompanying each email with an automated chatbot message could push out an asset the competitor distributes, such as a webinar or white paper, to deepen learning.
  • Finally, an additional face-to-face session could complete the competitor onboarding and set the tone for further sessions.

One advantage of a drip campaign is the ability to leverage existing marketing automation tools. It’s easy to set the campaign up once; it will run until it’s set to terminate. Of course, the L&D team will still have to ensure that the content is up to date, but any training solutions needs that! An added benefit is that the drip activities are easy to track, providing data on email opens and click-throughs, as well as the ability to measure engagement.

Put learners first

When leveraging the steps a marketer takes in creating a campaign, think about the learner first: How can you engage the learner? What delivery channels besides eLearning can you use to teach about a new product or service? How can you space out content over time and add an element of repetition?

The potential solutions are numerous! Give this concept a go for your next learning project, and see how you can delight your learners.

Put marketing strategies to work in L&D

Take a look at tactics that marketers use to successfully capture attention and move people to take action. Join Bianca Baumann and Mike Taylor for “L&D Strategies from the Marketing Playbook,” a daylong workshop co-located with DevLearn 2019 Conference & Expo. The workshop is October 22; DevLearn is October 23–25, in Las Vegas.

Learn to build a custom content strategy that leverages marketing campaign tricks and strategies and discover tools and best practices for creating marketing-inspired visuals, videos, and campaigns.