Why You Need to Market Your Training Courses


Just because you build a training course, and list it in your LMS, doesn’t mean your target audience will automatically come flocking to enjoy your masterpiece. Creating a course is no different than creating any other product. You need to market that product.

Training courses are developed for many reasons. Some courses only require idle threats like compliance deadlines. And training professionals can easily get too comfortable creating training courses that are mandatory. With mandatory courses you simply need to communicate the information and consequences of non-compliance.

A much better approach would be to create training courses so entertaining and engaging that people would WANT to take it. And not only that they would promote it for you by talking with their peers about it. Not every good course will generate buzz by word of mouth. You need to have a marketing plan. And maybe times have changed for instructional design programs, but nobody ever told me that in graduate school. I remember just wanting to use the best technology to solve training problems, so that’s what I did.  But when I discovered very little interest by employees, and managers, in my work I quickly learned that there is more to instructional design than…well…instructional design.

Not only do you need a marketing plan for your courses but for your department as well. Employees, especially management, need to know you exist. Focusing all of your time on creating the best most instructionally sound course is only a small part of your success. When you’re passionate about your work, it’s easy to believe others will be equally interested.  The reality is that most employees don’t really care about what the training department does.  At least not from an instructional design perspective.

You need to build relationships with the departments you support as well as those whose resources you need. And learning from marketing professionals is a good place to start. Meet your CMO and get to know the marketing team.  Find out what makes them tick. You certainly don’t have their budget or resources but you can learn a few tricks of the trade that can make the difference between your team’s success or failure.

Do you market your training team’s efforts? Do they spend time marketing their available courses? I’d love to hear your stories. Connect with me on twitter @bschlenker.