Last week a few tweets caught my eye. ATD released an bit of research on “Top 10 Skills to Get You Ahead in L&D” . Number 8 on the list was marketing. I was glad to see this. While the Learning & Performance Institute identified Marketing and Communications in its L&D capability map, there is no mention of it in SHRM’s L&D Body of Competency and Knowledge. Sardek Love, I feel, correctly identified this skill as one of the gaps that can offer significant competitive advantage. Drawing this response form ATD.
I touched on the need for this capability in 2018 in this blog post. I expanded my thoughts on this dimension in Running Training Like a Startup as an important driver of speed, Speed to Learner.
“In order to impact this dimension, we believe the mind-set of L&D needs to change from manufacturer to marketer. One look at attendance data will show you that the most attended trainings are frequently mandated, not sold, to their audience. Assuming that learning is solving a real problem, getting users to recognize and “buy” the solution quickly is critical. Running Training Like a Business means L&D must become marketers and packagers of a truly performance-inducing product. Like Gatorade® for employee performance.”
From course descriptions that ” sell benefits not features” to launches that capture and engage target audiences (think something than than cafeteria tables), L&D is fighting for mindshare. Marketing can help us connect learners to learning and produce business impact in a world where learner attention is a rare commodity.