5 Mistakes That Can Kill Your Marketing Training Efforts

04/03/2018

Nobody was born a marketing genius. Sure, some people have a natural aptitude towards sales and marketing (being a people's person seems to help), but, like any other skill, marketing needs to be learned, practiced, and developed.

Delivering training for marketing staff then is no different than managing training for any other kind of employees. There are, however, several mistakes that can totally sabotage your marketing training, and in this article, we'll tell you how to identify and fix them.

1. Outdated Onboarding

Expecting new marketing hires to learn on the job could work if you tried it in the 80s. In today's rapidly changing digital economy, where customers are more demanding than ever, and the slightest mistake can go viral on social media, foregoing onboarding is a surefire recipe for disaster.

The same is true for outdated onboarding, where you do offer some kind of onboarding program, but it focuses on outdated practices that are out of touch with the market. Instead of helping your employees, these old-school methods will only confuse them further on how they should approach their job.

Fortunately, this mistake is easy to fix by investing in good onboarding training for your marketing staff with up-to-date material that helps new hires familiarize themselves with their role.

Onboarding should also help hires understand what is expected of them (and the KPIs that you’ll measure), and give them the marketing skills they need to be effective.

2. Lack Of Hands-On Training

Philosophical principles and abstract concepts behind marketing are all well and good. In an academic setting, that is.

In an enterprise setting, though, your employees need solid examples, practical marketing executive skills, and useful guidelines. Things that they can use in their everyday work-life.

Lack of hands-on training (especially regarding digital marketing techniques) will hurt the performance momentum of your marketing employees, as they will have to slowly and painstakingly re-discover those same principles while on the job.

Your training for marketing staff should be focused on real-world practices and skills that they’ll use in their everyday work-life. This way, you won’t bore them, and they’ll be able to see the effect (and relevance) of their training much sooner—which, incidentally, is a great way to make them more engaged.

3. Once-Off Training

Unlike some evergreen skills like, say, carpentry, marketing skills need frequent maintenance to stay up to date.

The market changes daily, new trends emerge all the time, and sometimes entirely new ways to do marketing. Just consider that Facebook and Twitter did not exist 12 years ago, and now social media marketing is a fully grown field (and a multi-billion dollar industry).

Laws and regulations, such as the recent GDPR, can also have large effects on the market. And so marketing employees need to stay up to date with the latest developments.

It follows then that training for marketing staff should be ongoing, and that training instructors should always watch out for changes in the market and new trends to cover.

4. Lack Of Process

While a lot of companies understand the importance of marketing training, they approach it without discipline or a real understanding of what it should entail―and so end up with inefficient or obsolete training programs.

"Throwing things at the wall to see what sticks", as the saying goes, might be a good exploratory approach in some cases. But training needs an established process, and specifically, one that has been designed, deployed, and incrementally enhanced, with the needs and priorities of the company in mind.

Another common problem is that while most companies do onboard their employees, offering them basic training on the products and services they sell and their job responsibilities, they seldom have a mechanism in place for training specific teams.

Obviously, training that applies to your sales agents is not the same as the one needed by your support staff, or your marketing team.

Sure, some common onboarding content can, and should, be shared across new hires in all those departments, but for the most part, they each require their own approach and content.

5. Inflexible Training Tools

Coming up with the right material is the first part of creating a marketing training program, and yes, it takes hard work.

Deploying it correctly, running it smoothly, monitoring its operation, and updating it frequently, however, can be even more challenging, if you don't have the right tools.

Marketing teams, for starters, have different, more dynamic rhythms than other departments. So, training them in a traditional way can disrupt their busy schedules, and ultimately affect your bottom line.

When delivering training for marketing staff, the online learning approach is a no-brainer. Online learning will free your marketing team from rigid training schedules, and allow them to study at their own time and pace, even between customer meetings or while commuting.

For this, of course, you'll need a modern capable LMS platform, one that can work equally well for employee onboarding as it can for continuous learning, and that will help you easily format and deploy your material across different teams and departments.

In other words, you want a platform that will not only handle training for marketing staff but will also be used for different training needs across your range of operations.

You'll also want your LMS to be intuitive and easy to use―no reason to have your marketing staff (or any other team for that matter) feel like they have to read a 200-page manual to learn how to use an LMS.

Bonus points if your LMS can also handle microlearning (bite-sized learning delivered through mobile devices for learners on the go), or if it can combine regular online learning with Instructor-led Training (in-person tutoring, either in a traditional classroom or through a real-time online session).

Conclusion

By following these 5 tips, you’ll be well on your way to using the right approach for effective training for marketing staff. Start with onboarding and relevant course material. Ensure you take a structured and continuous approach to marketing skills development, and invest in the right tools for the job.

By Nikos Andriotis

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