Training Solutions for Marketers: Who Drives the Bus?
- As marketing becomes increasingly digital, measured and integrated, organizations must invest more in training
- Marketers need learning that addresses today’s marketing challenges and can be taken at their convenience
- Learning must be designed by subject-matter professionals who are experts in adult learning design
As marketing becomes increasingly digital, measured and integrated, organizations must invest more in training to meet the demands that marketing poses today and in the future. Determining the best way to deliver specialized, functional marketing knowledge, however, is a challenge.
In the past, HR departments have owned training and professional development activities, especially managerial and soft skills training. Functional departments such as marketing and sales have held responsibility for subject-matter training, especially onboarding in those topics. However, with the emergence of corporate learning as a distinct function in organizations, and the rise of e-learning and blended learning techniques focused on adult learners, the boundaries for who owns what training and learning solution – or even who is in charge of selecting them from a vendor – start to blur.
One of the best ways to solve this problem is to flip it around and view the question from an individual rather than an organizational perspective: the learner, the employee, the trainee – they own the solution. Why? Ultimately, an investment in learning and functional training for a professional is an investment in an individual. They carry those skills with them as they grow in an organization. Investing in your frontline performers is a way of signaling their value, and your organizational commitment to giving them the tools to do their jobs. Because e-learning is so portable, it is also a renewable resource that the employee can access over time, instead of a one-and-done workshop.
When you start by focusing on the learner, you will find it’s easier to build up through the organization. For instance, today’s marketing professional needs learning that is timely to the marketing challenges of the moment, can be taken when and where it is convenient, is designed for an adult brain, and is adaptable to their knowledge level – i.e. they can zip ahead to what they don’t know, instead of sitting for five extra hours through something they can do in their sleep. Those requirements mean the learning must be designed by subject-matter professionals, who are experts in adult learning design, and delivered in a virtual format that is modular and adaptable. That’s a marketing training solutions vetting team right there: a knowledge person, a design person and a technology person. They are three critical components to a successful learning solution, whether or not it is purchased or homegrown.
How does your organization approach the challenge of developing or selecting marketing training solutions?