When I taught new media marketing, I wanted so much to attend conferences and hear about the latest thinking in my industry. When my organization refused to fund my attendance, I took on a side job creating content for reputable industry sites, so that I could qualify for press passes to quality events.
Training and professional development meant that much to me (and still does), which is why I’m incredibly happy that I’m now part of MarketingProfs, one of the absolute best (and best known) resources for marketing training.
You might be a small business with limited resources, or an established company with an experienced marketing team. Either way, earmarking some of your budget for marketing training is a smart investment.
Staying current helps you
First, even if your marketing team is bringing in leads like crazy right now, the fact is that things change almost daily. We all know this, and yet we have a natural tendency to continue doing what works right now.
But even if you’re doing well, you could probably be doing better. More importantly, what works now will stop working once your competitors discover new channels (think Instagram, Snapchat, and Vine) and find ways to increase their share of mind and market.
You might undertake a skills assessment, so you can identify areas for improvement. For instance, if your team comprises experienced marketers who came on the scene before the advent of social media and mobile, it’s possible you’re not doing as much in those areas as you could.
An assessment will reveal this weakness, and you can invest in some targeted training experiences to bring everyone up to speed. Good for your team, good for your company.
You don’t know what you don’t know
You could be using LinkedIn to connect with clients and confirm sales appointments (which is great), but did you know that you can also use it for email marketing and targeted advertising?
Did you know that Facebook offers “custom audiences,” an advertising feature where you upload your email list into Facebook and it displays your ads just to that highly qualified group?
Maybe you did, but even so, there are bound to be features rolling out as we speak that you weren’t aware of. Channels, platform features, best practices, laws and consumer trends all change so quickly that it’s impossible for any one person to keep up with it all.
But you don’t know what you don’t know: marketing training will make you aware of emerging trends in your industry, and you can even focus on learning what’s new with the channels that interest you most. Which brings me to my next point…
You can tailor the training to your organization’s goals and needs
Whether you run a skills assessment to identify gaps in your team’s knowledge, or choose training courses based on your marketing goals (e.g. “expand our mobile marketing efforts), you can select the provider and the training experience that will help you to meet your objectives.
For some organizations, hiring a consultant to come in and conduct on-site training works best. For larger companies with big marketing teams spread out across the country or the globe, online learning may work better. In many instances, a blended approach (online training with an in-person component) gives companies the best of both worlds.
Whichever type of training you select, actively participate in the planning process: choose the topics you want to cover, the method of delivery, and the schedule. The best marketing training providers use established learning theory to guide their curriculum design, so ask about that when you choose a training vendor. Consider ways to measure the success of your training, as well. (More on this in a minute.)
Buy-in from managers helps ensure lessons are applied
There’s nothing more frustrating than returning from a conference or training event brimming with ideas, only to have them shot down. It’s enough to make you stow your binder of materials on a shelf, and never touch it again. What a waste!
If you’re supervising a team of marketing professionals, you’re uniquely positioned to see how marketing training benefits your organization. By facilitating the training, you will know what your marketers are learning, and can see how they apply their new skills and insights to upcoming product launches, marketing campaigns, and more.
Depending on your position within the company, you could even see ripples from your team’s marketing training affect sales through social selling initiatives and content marketing, improve customer service through social, and impact PR.
If you’re on the team receiving training, someone clearly cares enough to help you develop as a professional, which is the hallmark of a quality employer. Moreover, you can expect that your suggestions based on the training will meet with support, because management wants to see a return on their investment.
You can measure the results
Completing the training is just the beginning of the process: the ultimate goal is to see the learning drive real business results.
At MarketingProfs, we set narrowly tailored learning objectives for each training course, so participants know exactly which skills they will acquire from the training.
The goal isn’t just for your team to “know” or “understand” the latest thinking in marketing, but for them to apply this knowledge to your specific marketing goals and, in turn, support your company’s overarching business objectives.
The success of your marketing depends on the skill of your marketing team. Give them what they need to succeed!
Kerry O’Shea Gorgone is a writer, lawyer, speaker and educator. She’s also Instructional Design Manager, Enterprise Training, at MarketingProfs. Kerry hosts the weekly Marketing Smarts podcast. Find Kerry on Google+ and Twitter.