Marketing of a Training

Compiled by:
Sreevidya Satish (Ecosan Services Foundation)

Executive Summary

As a training services provider, you know how important an efficient and effective training program is for ensuring long-term success in today's highly competitive global arena (JOHNSON 2006). But before you can provide those vital services, you first need to understand how to best market, sell and implement them to your prospective clients (LINTON 1997).

Introduction

Planning a training is usually only half the battle; the other half is getting people to take advantage of it. Marketing is an essential part of any successful training programme. You have to market your training programme, so participants or organisations sending participants will choose YOUR training programme.

Marketing Mix – The 4 P’s

(Adapted from SCOTT 2005)

Marketing strategies are developed around the structure of the basic “4 P’s Framework” - product, price, place and promotion. An understanding of the 4 P’s allows the development of the appropriate product (the training course), at the right price (fees), in a conveniently located training centre (place), and known about through promotion (by various information sharing techniques), which also aims to enhance desire. All these P’s have to be addressed in an efficient way to get a desired result of your training activity.

Product:

A good product is the outset of any marketing strategy. You have to have a good product (e.g. a well developed training programme) before you can start convincing anybody about it. The training programme must be useful to people and must hold the promise, that it will offer participants some sort of advantages (knowledge, practical skills, network) once it is over. It is important that you understand the context in which you offer and deliver training services. This can be done with an analysis of the marketing environment (LINTON 1997).

Price:

A training programme needs to be available at an affordable price to the target audience. While the price is often an important contributor to the viability of a training programme, it is rarely the most important factor ruling training programmes since a too high pricing will not attract many people. Of course the price has to be adapted according to usual market conditions. It can be helpful if you compare the pricing of your training course with similar training courses.

Place:

Also an appropriate place needs to be found for your training. The trainees should feel comfortable, ready to learn and it should not blow the budget. The place should meet the requirements of the ongoing training programme. It should be chosen in order to make a training programme as real as possible. It is important that knowledge which is being imparted can be trained directly on site. As an example, if the target of a training programme is a behaviour change in terms of hygienic practices, there should be facilities which help to train and show the necessary arrangements for a behavioural change.

Promotion:

The promotion of your course is also very important. Awareness needs to be raised and a desire to adapt new behaviour or to implement knowledge (see awareness raising). The best way to promote a training programme is often the combination of several promotion methods like posters, flyers and emails.

Ideas for Training Promotion

Since promotion is an essential step of marketing, some tips helping to reach more people with your training programme are listed below:

 

1. Communicate - “What Is in it for me?”

Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and try to think the way they do. You need ongoing communication with your workforce and lots of openness and empathy towards their comments and suggestions. Once you know what they want, focus your marketing message around it (JOHNSON 2006).

 

2. Do not Pass up Free Exposure

There are lots of unique communications channels that will help get your message out. Examples are bulletin boards, intranets, newsletters, company events, vendor fairs, etc. Sometimes you just have to ask to be included to get some valuable free exposure. Further information for trusted channels of information can be found in media campaigns.

 

3. Seminars and Webinars

As a training person, using seminars as a marketing tool is a natural extension of your expertise. The added benefit of a seminar is that it is an opportunity to showcase what you do, which gives your customer tangible proof that you know what you are doing (JOHNSON 2008). Although webinars and seminars are similar in nature, they are very different in who they attract. Webinars tend to get lots of registrations and appeal to people in remote offices and those who are extremely busy. Webinars are usually less expensive and require less work on your part.

 

4. Publish an E-Newsletter and Send Regular Emails

E-newsletters are usually very effective, and are generally perceived as valuable communications by most people. The problem is that they take a lot of time to produce and are hard to consistently publish over time. Another possibility is to send regular emails.

 

5. Old School Methods-Word of Mouth Marketing

Word of Mouth Marketing is the oldest form of advertising, in which people are providing information and making honest recommendations to other people about a brand, product or service. Use your contacts to people who have already successfully completed your training or working with you for projects and who are inspired to talk positively about your training.

Applicability

The marketing of a training is almost as important as the training itself. Marketing techniques can be applied in any training courses and techniques can be adapted as per requirement and situation. It is very helpful using personal contacts to promote your training, but also many other methods like emails, posters or flyers work out.

Advantages

  • Increases the exposure of the course
  • Helps to get to prospective participants
  • Marketing can turn good training into great training

Disadvantages

  • Overmarketing should be avoided
  • Can be expensive (flyers, posters, ads)

References Library

JOHNSON, G.L. (2006): How to Market Training to Your Workforce, Training growth Innovations. TrainingIndustry.com. URL [Accessed: 12.03.2010]. PDF

JOHNSON, G.L (2008): Top Ten Strategies to Market Training to Your Workforce. Training growth Innovations. TrainingIndustry.com. URL [Accessed: 10.01.2013]. PDF

LINTON, L. (1997): Marketing Training Services. Hampshire: Gower Publishing Limited.

SCOTT, B. (2005): Social Marketing: A Consumer-based Approach to Promoting Safe Hygiene Behaviours. (= WELL factsheet). Leicestershire: WELL. URL [Accessed: 03.09.2010]. PDF

Further Readings Library

Reference icon

JOHNSON, G.L. (2006): How to Market Training to Your Workforce, Training growth Innovations. TrainingIndustry.com. URL [Accessed: 12.03.2010]. PDF

This publication written by Johnson contains advice to some questions which Johnson was asked over several years. This includes the amount of workload which is necessary to achieve something and which activities help to gain most.


Reference icon

JOHNSON, G.L (2008): Top Ten Strategies to Market Training to Your Workforce. Training growth Innovations. TrainingIndustry.com. URL [Accessed: 10.01.2013]. PDF

This document describes on four pages what can be done in order to improve marketing.


Reference icon

SCOTT, B. (2005): Social Marketing: A Consumer-based Approach to Promoting Safe Hygiene Behaviours. (= WELL factsheet). Leicestershire: WELL. URL [Accessed: 03.09.2010]. PDF

This is a good website which gives a comprehensive understanding about social marketing.


Important Weblinks

http://www.howtomarkettraining.com/ [Accessed: 12.03.2010]

This site contains a wide range of tips, tricks and tools on the topic of market training. There are several short articles about different topics which can be read.

http://www.trainingindustry.com [Accessed: 12.03.2010]

The site spotlights the latest news, articles, case studies, and best practices within the training industry.

http://www.lboro.ac.uk/ [Accessed: 12.03.2010]

This is a good website which gives a comprehensive understanding about social marketing.