The lines between training and marketing communications are blurring. For example, associations with member-training requirements compete to create perceived value, grow training enrollments, and then sustain educational value. Similarly, product and technology companies look for bite-sized training opportunities to help maximize their customers’ usage habits and create valued touch-points. From a certain point of view, even onboarding training can be considered a form of consumer education, since at least part of the goal is to pair education with buy-in.
In all of these cases, creating training that drives company branding and culture is essential to building loyalty and high adoption rates. And since the value and effectiveness of customer training so significantly expands marketing reach and content quality, we believe it’s time to stop thinking of marketing and training as two separate engagements that happen at different times.
Since consumers aren’t mandated to take training courses, the design of the courses needs to cater to the customer’s immediate needs. Basically, they need a strong, immediate sense of what’s in it for them, and they need the core content quickly, served up within a branded and intuitive user experience.
Customer: A Large Online Shopping Organization
Training Objective: Customer Education
Solution: The audience wasn’t interested in making time for training and had no strong motivation to engage. However, learners who reviewed the content made simple behavior changes that improved their performance and led to increased satisfaction. To engage the audience, Allen developed a “movie trailer” approach, featuring concise, marketing quality animations, clear messaging, and a friendly tone. The training was also delivered in a format that made it easy to push to social media channels, as well as to integrate into key processes and high-value customer touch points.
Delivering training at the point-of-need is critical to achieving results, especially in the customer-training world. Learners expect you to meet them where they are, and they aren’t likely to change their media-usage assets to accommodate a subpar training tool. So, when you’re developing branded, customer training, you have consider not only what will be trained, but how it will be viewed, and in what context. For example, a course considered brief on desktops—say, 10 – 15 minutes—is unlikely to ever be used fully on a smart phone, and brief videos that stream well to a tablet may be underwhelming to a desktop user. On the other hand, if you design to meet the learners where they are from the beginning, you can often find the intersections of different technologies, allowing you to create economies of scale and layered approaches across delivery modes.
Customer: Global Technology Manufacturer
Training Objective: Multinational Supplier Ethics Awareness
Solution: Allen created a highly themed, 3D menu system to establish strong first impressions in a desktop environment. Because upper management needed to review the course concepts too, we created the menu so that it could easily transfer to tablets without a design overhaul to accommodate touch screens. This feature allows management to complete casual reviews between meetings, during travel, etc. Reference aids, on the other hand, are formatted for PC, mobile, and phone access.
When designing training that is public-facing, companies must understand that visuals not only reflect the quality of the training, but the brand as a whole. Put another way, as the lines between training and marketing blur, media quality is more essential than ever to creating training that is valued by learners.
Customer: Global Sales Company
Training Objective: Engage a Voluntary Audience
Solution: Allen created Flash games designed to educate, evaluate, and engage users. Themed games allow learners to compete in a scored environment, with progressive levels tied to training content trivia and best practices. This approach captures the user’s attention while reinforcing product knowledge. Scoring is integrated into the organization’s social media channels, enabling users to share their results, post to forums, and establish a sense of community.
Learn more about how we can help you build consumer education and customer training.