The human resources and training departments are common partners in
corporate initiatives. It is also not uncommon for marketing and
sales to join forces to meet certain business objectives. However,
most companies overlook the culture benefits that come when
training and marketing work hand-in-hand.
Marketing personnel have the inside track on your customer base.
They are the experts when it comes to launching new products,
highlighting promotional campaigns, and communicating your brand.
Marketing gets your message and information out to your customers
and the marketplaces you serve.
The training department is the staff development hub of most
organizations. It assesses staff learning needs; identifies
training objectives; designs, develops, and delivers curriculum,
and understands how the employees learn.
The general problem
Every company has a lot going onwhether its a training course,
marketing campaign, or strategic initiative. One thing is
certainchange is constant and the economy continues to present new
challenges. Everyone does their best to stay on top of everything,
but weve likely all experienced frantic phone calls from employees
or departments that didnt know about a new promotion or campaign.
A deeper partnership between marketing and training can help keep
communication open so everyone knows whats going on in the company.
Lets look at a marketing campaign as an example.
Every marketing initiative begins with a strategy. A goal is
defined with desired outcomes and end results. The strategy for
training initiatives is similar. In the assessment phase, learning
professionals identify who the learners are, the knowledge and
skill gaps that exist, the delivery options, and the projected
timelines for completion.
The partnership between marketing and training should expand the
assessment phase to include discussion on how to
- get staff excited about the marketing initiative and create
- make sure staff understands the strategy behind the campaign
and its deliverables
- understand the effect on customers and day-to-day work
- use the tools and resources from marketing to connect and
- leverage these tools and resources to deepen relationships,
create sales lift, and achieve the desired
Design and develop
With this insight, training personnel can craft the learning
objectives, align staff development needs, and begin to design the
content. Keeping in mind that each element of the instructional
design plan is targeted to develop employees to attain the
marketing initiative goals, the training staff should develop the
content and write the curriculum, while marketing also conducts a
write, review, and edit process. This will ensure the content is on
track with the goals and desired outcomes of the marketing
Once the content is finalized, it can be turned over to marketing
for brand and creative. We all know that there are too many
handouts and binders sitting on shelves collecting dust. Content
can be right on, however the look and feel of it needs to be
visually compelling and should match your brand. If participant
materials are not going to be utilized as a point of reference,
they are a waste of development time and resources. Consider the
concept of branding and packaging learning materials to match the
marketing initiative, containment systems, menus, books, guides, or
brochure type pieces for your learners.
Its time to train! Never underestimate the importance of bringing
staff together to learn. Projects, meetings, and staff availability
can create challenges when it comes to scheduling training.
However, the length of your training session isnt always a full-day
event, and virtual classrooms allow us to do everything we usually
do in the face-to-face classroom without the travel or commute.
Saving time and money is a big bonus.
Coach and follow up
Once the campaign has launched and your managers are coaching their
staff, marketing and training personnel can offer support. Training
staff can coach the managers on coaching and marketing staff can
make follow-up calls or visits to interact with employees and
customers. This collaboration will help to collect feedback to find
out whats working, likes and dislikes, and any other support
employees may need.
The debrief is just as important as the assessment, design,
development, and delivery of the curriculum. Schedule a time to
talk about what worked well, how staff and customers responded, and
the results. Staying connected throughout the process will support
the relationship and build collaboration going forward.
This partnership is not limited to the marketing campaign example.
Keep in mind that every training program and learning initiative
presents an opportunity for the right learning materials.
Traditionally employee and participant guides or handouts have been
text heavy and oftentimes lack energy. Use your new marketing
partner to create the look, image, and brand for all of your
The partnership between marketing and training unites the team in
working toward a common vision. Team alignment is an important
factor in successfully moving an organization forward. The new
partnership will foster teamwork, improve communication, and
inspire your employees.