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A Practical Approach to Ongoing Marketing Training

This is a guest post by Candice DeRiso

Marketing is constantly changing, growing and expanding. There was a time before conversion rate optimization officers and social media managers. How do you keep your team up to date?

According to a recent survey by B2C, 61.9% of companies are spending $500 or less per employee on training. Nearly 1 in 5 spends nothing at all on training. However, the same survey showed that businesses are seeing the value in upskilling their teams and this is resulting in plans to increase training budgets. (Source: B2C)

How do you implement ongoing marketing training for your business?

Essentials of Employee Training

Some essentials of a strong employee training plan include consistency, fit, and rewards. The easiest place to begin is with your employee onboarding or new hire training program. When your onboarding process is designed to help new employees adjust quickly, the company will feel the positive impact in the form of higher job satisfaction, lower turnover, and higher productivity.

While the basics of orientation, company culture, business processes, and paperwork are requirements, training can make the transition smoother. Consider what training can be integrated into onboarding such as job shadowing, live streaming video training, technical skills workshops, or an invitation for the employee to choose areas for professional development.

Training should be an ongoing happening. Making it a regular recurrence has shown to make a better impact on employees ability to absorb and apply what they’ve learned. The one and done approach is less likely to stick. Be sure to blend technical and soft skill training.

Learning should be reward enough, right? Sometimes, it’s helpful to offer another type of reward to employees for putting time into their professional development. This has a dual purpose. It is one part employee empowerment - making that person feel special and giving positive motivation to keep growing and learning. The second is to recognize an employee in front of other staff, which can create a ripple effect to inspire others.

A Practical Approach for Marketing Training

According to Marketing Week’s 2019 Career and Salary Survey, more than half of marketers (53.8%) say they have not studied a marketing-related academic or professional qualification of any kind. (Source: Marketing Week) This means that the marketers you are hiring have most-likely learned their skills while on the job. The place where education meets experience is the ideal situation for cultivating a strong employee.

Evaluate First:

Spend time learning about the gaps in your marketing teams’ education. Today, this area is usually in the realm of digital marketing trends. It could be about the latest updates to SEO, Social Media Marketing, PPC Ads, Email Marketing, Video Marketing, or Marketing Analytics.

Set Employee Goals:

It’s best to do this at the onset of employment. If you did not set professional development goals with your employee, then use the end of the fiscal year as an opportunity for reflection and goal setting. Then create a quarterly benchmarketing plan between the supervisor and employee to discuss how he or she is tracking towards those goals.

It’s important to make these goals realistic and have a way of measuring success. If you can reward employees for different achievements, then it’s even better.

Training Topics:

Each company will have a different way of organizing their ongoing training opportunities.  If you have employees in niche roles such as a social media manager and paid advertising manager, then choose training topics focused on expanding their role before offering broad topic training courses.

Your business goal is for that individual to contribute to the company in that specific role, after all. If your marketing team is made up of generalists, which is commonly the case in small and some mid-sized companies, then individuals are stepping into various roles throughout the year. Their professional development goals and natural abilities are key to your training program.

In addition to specific training topics, aim to send the marketing team to at least 1 annual conference or training.  This is important for bonding outside the office, as well as learning new skills and gaining industry trends.

Follow-Up:

Whatever training, workshop, or course that employees attend, be sure to design a follow-up structure to reinforce that learning. This could be in the form of weekly coaching-style sessions or a monthly status report. Tech companies often ask employees to lead a lunch and learn for the team to show off their new skills. As the old saying goes, if you can teach it then you really understand it. The application of learned skills is key.

Celebrate Learning:

Use competitions, prizes, and share benchmark reports to take things further. Celebrating the learning experience is part of company culture. Do what fits best with your company.

About the Author

Candice DeRiso

Owner, Beckmann Collaborative, LLC

Candice is a marketing strategist and trainer focused on supporting growing businesses to find, attract and retain their ideal customers. Her professional journey includes marketing for Broadway shows, Carnegie Hall, high-tech companies, and a variety of small businesses including health and wellness practitioners over the past 13+ years. Learn more in their blog.

Last updated: 30 Dec 2019

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