Marketing Your Learning Ecosystem

If you build it they may come…but probably not. Don’t get caught in the trap of thinking that since you made something that is so beneficial to your target audience, that they should just naturally gravitate to your solution. I’m sorry but I think you’ve forgotten that we are all being barraged with a typhoon of interruptions, screaming for our attention. You can’t expect your potential users to notice your system above the noise, even if it is the most amazing thing that was ever created.

But why should we be marketers? We are learning professionals. Marketing is not our job or background. But is that true? Aren’t marketers and learning professionals both selling ideas? Don’t we both focus on key messages, target audiences and desired outcomes?

If you have built a system to help people access your Learning Ecosystem, you probably invested resources and the people who provided you with those resources want to know that the system is going to be used. An unused system has no value. So long before the project is nearing completion, you need to start putting together a plan to market your Learning Ecosystem. You will have to find a way to break through that wall of noise.

The first thing you have to do is get out of the ivory tower of the L&D department. You need to talk to actual learners not learning professionals or their stakeholders. How do they find out about the systems they use today? Where are they getting their daily work done? What kinds of problems are they trying to solve? What works for them outside of work?

Next, you need to go to where the learners are. Don’t stick with your usual communication channels if they don’t work. If people use social media, then you should use their social media tool. If people find out about systems through departmental meetings, then you should get yourself invited to those meetings. When you do show up, stick around. Don’t make your pitch and leave. Make sure you become part of the community otherwise people will ignore you. Create value for that community, not just for yourself and your initiative. Speak about your work in terms of their work.

Finally, bring fun. Work can be dreary. We are being tugged at by things that we are told are SO serious. It’s tiresome. Learning folk can be very irreverent and funny. Let that part of you out. People will remember it.


One thought on “Marketing Your Learning Ecosystem

  1. Excellent Advice Adam! I think bringing outside information to people that might be useful to them really does help. As a local business owner, I find it great to tell people about whats happening in the town. it: New restaurants, new businesses, etc. People don’t have time to research and read all the local papers so if you help to keep people engaged on the happenings its another way to “keep people engaged in the community” Like you say.

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