Why marketing is crucial to L&D participation

by John Hilton08 Feb 2016
It’s one thing to develop an effective L&D program, but it’s another thing to market it and get people excited about it, said Martin Cowie, National People & Development Director at OMD Australia.

As part of his advice to fellow L&D professionals, Cowie explained that it’s a mistake just to launch a training program and expect people to turn up.

“So we run an expo where we get all our people and the trainers together and present exactly what is going on,” he said.

Additionally, the marketing and communications agency publish a prospectus of all the training that they run during the year. Cowie has found this to be another effective way of engaging their employees.

“Then you could do that and think: Right, my job is done. However, you have got to keep going,” Cowie told L&D Professional

Consequently, OMD Australia sends out regular emails and a monthly newsletter informing staff of all the training coming up in the next month.

“We even blow up our newsletters and put them on the toilet doors,” added Cowie.

Another point Cowie makes is that if L&D professionals are going to spend money externally then you have got to know who the best people are.

In particular, you have got to build strong relationships with them, he added.

“You have got to have suppliers who will design or amend their courses to your business objectives,” he said.

Cowie said it’s about setting out what your business objectives are and finding out from the suppliers how their course is going to deliver on those.

“We work with suppliers who come in and learn a lot about what we are doing and design according to our needs,” he said.

Additionally, Cowie said that it’s his role to look at the key business objectives and explain to management or the CEO how the investment is going to help deliver on the objective.

“You have to be aware of how staff think, which is why surveys are great. It’s important to identify whether or not you have issues and if training can help with those,” he said.

“We are in a very dynamic industry and it’s changing so quickly so we have to have huge amounts of digital training to put on.

“If we are becoming consultants to our clients then we need to be able to talk business, we need to be able to sell properly, and we need to become core advisors on what is the best solution.

For OMD Australia, it’s crucial to have a reputation of being a place to learn, which is why ‘Be the best you can be’ is what we use for marketing purposes, said Cowie.

“I think we have got a reputation as being a place to further your career and that’s going to help with recruitment and it’s going to help with retention,” he said.

“People are increasing their knowledge, people are being looked after, people want to join and people are reluctant to leave.”