You probably wouldn’t have thought it, but we, as trainers, have a lot in common with people who work in the advertising business. How so, you ask? Well, we both want to reach an audience, convey a message and, ultimately, change behavior.
Now, the successful advertisers appreciate that most people don’t want what they have to offer. Think about it. Did you turn on the television to watch commercials? How many of you have DVR’s or PVR’s so you can fast forward through them? And what about the radio? Did you turn it on to listen to the ads or did you choose to get satellite radio so you can bypass the ads altogether?
We, in training, must also accept the fact that most people don’t want what we have to offer. They don’t typically say things like, “I can’t wait to attend that training session,” or “I’m a lifelong learner and I just love training.” Now, our Langevin clients may think that way, but you are in the minority!
So, how do those clever advertisers get your attention and, more importantly, get you to run out and buy a product that, before the ad, you never even knew existed? They create a need with their product so you must run out and buy it! We, too, must create a need for our product.
In our workshop, Marketing Your Training Internally, we emphasize the importance of knowing your product, before you can even think of promoting it! Interestingly enough, our product is NOT knowledge and skills, workshops, manuals, job aids, etc. because that doesn’t satisfy a need in others. Think about it – is the multibillion dollar cosmetics industry really selling lipstick, blush, and mascara or are they selling beauty, youth, confidence, and self-esteem?
So what are we really selling? We’re selling things like achievements, career advancement, competence, confidence, growth, opportunities, performance, promotions, results, solutions, success, and that we can give you a competitive edge. These are the terms we will use in our marketing materials. These satisfy a need and translate into benefits for our learners.
In our workshop, we also discuss the importance of targeting your message to the right audience. Are you hoping to influence a client to use or buy your services or are you targeting the learners, to communicate the benefits of the training? I’m always fascinated by the different commercials I see lately and the blatant attempt to target a specific group.
Have you seen the Old Spice commercials with the new Old Spice pitch man, Isaiah Mustafa? If you haven’t, Google it for a laugh. Clearly, it’s targeted to women, stating that at the very least, with the product, your man could smell like him. Kind of ridiculous but it worked. Sales of Old Spice went through the roof!
So, what’s the message, here? Let’s get creative, use the tricks advertisers use, and sell our training. Of course, I’m still trying to figure out how to incorporate the Old Spice guy.