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Marketing Is Training Turned Outward


My extended family includes a few psychologists, from whom I’ve picked up a few nuggets on the human condition. One of them goes like this: “Depression is anger turned inward.”

OK, not the most uplifting way to start a blog post, but stay with me a second.

What’s interesting is the idea that two different emotions may really just be two sides of the same coin. We experience them differently mainly because of their direction of travel (i.e. outward-directed toward other people vs. inward-directed toward yourself.) Could that same relationship exist between Marketing and Training, two seemingly-different functions?

Marketers and Trainers: Separated at Birth

Having violated one Blog Rule – Don’t Be a Downer – I’d like to now violate another Blog Rule – Don’t Write Absurd Things.

Here goes: Marketers and Corporate Trainers are twins separated at birth.

I can hear you thinking, “What???” Their titles are wildly different. They report to different C-level executives. They work in different SaaS tools. One group hits Content Marketing World in September and the other attends the Association for Training and Development’s annual conference in May. And they collaborate with each other very rarely, if ever.

Yet Marketers and Trainers are attempting to do the same fundamental job: Holding an audience’s interest while leading them toward understanding. Which makes the two roles far more twinned than they may appear to be.

The Explainer Twins

Designers invent new things that Salespeople get customers to buy and Operators deliver them. HR people recruit, hire and let go staff. Accountants track and measure it all.

Then there are the Explaining functions: Marketing and Training. Each makes sure the right people understand the right things. Marketers focus on explaining to external audiences – the significance of the brand, the value of the product or service, etc. Trainers focus on explaining to internal audiences – bringing new skills and knowledge into the organization, ensuring the right employees know the right things. If both Marketers and Trainers are doing a terrific job, the organization is almost guaranteed to be formidable.

Yet, being twins, Marketers and Trainers tend to share an inherited defect: They don’t spend enough time and effort Understanding Their Audiences.

Shared Need: Know Your Audience

“Know Your Audience” is another nugget I love – drawn not from psychology, but from public speaking. My stand-up comic friends would attest that it’s saved them multiple times.

Unfortunately, Marketers’ and Trainers’ efforts to understand their audiences – what people know, need to know, and care about – tend to be very limited. Today’s Marketers tend to rely on digital observations–what did people click, like, share, etc.–which typically give limited insight on the potential buyer. Trainers tend to rely on end-of-training assessments, performance reviews and workshop evaluations, which are episodic and not particularly detailed.

Instead, the Explainer Twins should get in the habit of frequently measuring what their audiences know and don’t know, in order to focus on what those audiences don’t yet understand.

Audiences: Know Them and Grow Them

You often hear digital businesses talk about Relationships with users, which could mean as little as having someone’s email address and/or credit card details. But how great can a “relationship” be when it’s based on a browsing history and perhaps a few transactions?

What’s true in real life is also true in the digital world: True relationships are built by knowing someone well. Think of the best professional relationships you’ve had outside your place of employment, such as your clients, partners, and suppliers. As you’ve gotten to know them, you’ve asked each other questions, and built trust. In the process, it’s almost certain that the value of those relationships has grown, which in turn has grown your revenue and/or helped you be more efficient.

How To Know?

If you will, Marketers and Trainers both function “on a Need-To-Know basis.” They both need to ask questions in order to succeed for themselves and their organization. If only there were a single SaaS platform that allowed both Marketers and Trainers to ask questions simply…

Oh, wait, there is. Visit CredSpark to learn how other Marketers and Trainers are asking questions to foster growth

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