Marketers, The Unsung Heroes of Workplace Learning

By Jason Mundy, VP Marketing at Qstream

To maximize their value, marketers should be working closely with nearly every facet of their organization. They need to have a close line with executives to align with business goals, HR to know recruiting efforts and corporate culture initiatives, sales to drive demand and provide content and messaging to help close deals, services to understand the customer perspective and product teams for insight into new innovations and product roadmaps. And though many marketers have already established these connections with colleagues, many more still continue to often overlook building close relationships with learning and development teams.

Learning and development (L&D) teams are responsible for providing workplace learning opportunities—a crucial initiative for keeping employees in the workforce, especially amid The Great Resignation. The benefits of continued learning in the workplace are endless. It enables healthcare workers to know the latest research and protocols, those in construction to be up to date on safety and quality control, and sales representatives to understand product messaging. Moreover, employers that take a modern, digitally led approach to these upskilling and reskilling opportunities will be able to attract and retain top talent.

Read on to learn how marketers play a key role in learning overall for an organization, and how they can collaborate with L&D teams.

Opportunity for a Better Way to Learn

To provide context, traditional learning programs that use outdated training methods like virtual or in-person instructor-led trainings, eLearning, and long SCORM courses, don’t effectively engage employees. These methods focus too much on the material itself and don’t consider how employees can best consume it, especially in an era of hybrid work.

Newer learning programs such as microlearning are more effective because they provide content to employees based on how the human brain actually absorbs and retains information through bite-sized knowledge. True microlearning capitalizes on two scientific principles: the spacing effect and the testing effect. Spaced repetition presents information repeatedly in intervals over a longer period of time; the testing effect provides learners with scenario-based questions. Both have been rigorously tested by science and years of practical application to provide markedly superior results compared to traditional learning methodologies.

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Marketers can leverage this new mode of learning to increase their impact on the organization.

Marketers Play a Crucial Role in Educating the Organization

A key responsibility for marketers is enabling others in the organization to truly understand messaging and the value proposition of the company and its products and/or services. Marketing covers a lot of ground between engineering, services and sales teams, including branding, messaging, ,market research, product marketing, demand generation, customer marketing, sales training, and more. To effectively get these teams aligned on new product messaging or launches, or telling a consistent corporate story, marketers need to leverage the most effective tools, like microlearning. This is especially apparent in today’s world of hybrid work.

Marketing should consider itself a primary educator of an organization and should work in tight collaboration with L&D teams, in addition to its other constituents, to make that happen.

Marketers are regularly tasked with creative, sharp and poignant copy that articulates the brand’s value proposition, and have the business intelligence from leadership and product teams that needs to be quickly disseminated to key functions in the business. Many organizations that sell pharmaceuticals and medical devices already follow this practice: marketers will develop microlearning content for new product launches so that sales representatives have the message alignment and product knowledge necessary to close deals. But it can, and should, be applied to other industries, as well.

To ensure key stakeholders retain the information they need, the content that marketers develop must be engaging: relevant to the learner’s job, clear and concise, and the take-home message must be clearly identifiable.

How Marketers Arm Sales Reps with Crucial Product Knowledge to Close Deals

For a real-world example of how marketing enabled a medical device commercial team with important product knowledge, consider Intuitive Surgical’s experience. Intuitive is the global technology leader in robotic-assisted, minimally invasive surgery and the maker of the daVinci® surgical platform used in thousands of medical centers worldwide. Company sales reps must thoroughly and accurately sell daVinci’s life-saving capabilities to surgeons. Therefore, Intuitive’s management places a high priority on making sure sales reps’ knowledge is kept up to date with changing regulations and market conditions.

Verifying a sales rep’s understanding of a complex product set, however, is difficult at best. Intuitive’s training teams tried emails, webinars and re-training to help sales reps retain key product knowledge during the months between the initial training and when a product is launched. But no matter the approach, sales rep’s knowledge upon retest would decline—so the organization turned to micolearning. With microlearning, Intuitive sales reps spent an average of 3 minutes and 30 seconds a day answering questions. This is how marketing can leverage innovative microlearning to educate key personnel with the right the product messaging and training content as well as realize significantly better engagement and knowledge retention.

Strong workplace education programs are essential for businesses to retain employees and attract new talent—and these programs need the expertise of marketers to reach their full potential. Marketers play a key role in educating the organization and should leverage digitally native tools like microlearning to accomplish this.

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