Browse Tag by marketing
Online learning

Field of Dreams- if you build it, will they come?

Image by freestocks-photos from Pixabay

I’m sitting here in my hotel room catching up with some much neglected research via my Twitter network with half an ear on the TV (who said I couldn’t multi-task – oh yes, that was me!). The programme is Alex Polizzi’s ‘The Fixer’ where she advises waning businesses on how to improve. This week it’s the turn of The Chough Bakery in Padstow; a family business baking fresh and quality breads.

What actually pricked up my ears was a statement along the lines of “it doesn’t matter how good your product is, you have to be able to sell it”. The family had a great range of products. However, the person tasked with sales and marketing the range didn’t have the detailed product knowledge, nor the drive to proactively market them.

We can often forget how important marketing is to our eLearning programme. Or, indeed any learning programmes. But it’s especially important we know how to ‘sell’ any new product well.

Just imagine….. you and your instructional design team have spent weeks designing and developing the perfect learning solution to meet the detailed analysis which also took blood, sweat and tears to complete. You’ve meticulously project managed the development and run a very successful pilot. The solution is good to go and has been opened up to the masses. So there it sits – in your course booking system like a forgotten toy waiting for someone to remember it and take it out off the box.

Without a robust marketing strategy all that hard work, time and resources will go to waste. Unlike Kevin Kostner’s Field of Dreams, just because you built it, your learners won’t necessarily come.

If selling to external customers, it goes without saying that your sales team should be fully conversant in what your eLearning or blended solution entails; identifying the unique selling point for different customers. A sheep dip approach has the same pitfalls in sales and marketing as it has for learning. One excellent way of helping your sales staff fully explain and sell the solution to different needs is for them to experience the learning first hand. Perhaps they could take part in the pilot?

But it’s not just down to our sales team. In L&D we are all ‘Ad-men’ selling the benefits to our learners, motivating and engaging. So remember, if all that hard work is going to pay off, your project plan has to include a good marketing strategy too.

Technologies

J.R.Hartley who?

I just had to write a little blog post about the new advert for Yellow Pages. Or, rather, Yell.com. Some of the old adverts have seen somewhat of a resurgence lately and wonder whether it’s a little like those comfort foods that have also made a comeback in these days of recession. I hear Arctic roll is back in vogue (yeah I know – beats me too, although I did rather like it as a nipper).

The advert took me back to a grandad-like, kind looking old gent, patiently trudging around all the bookshops looking for ‘fly-fishing’ by J.R. Hartley. (bear with me on this…. ). After a fruitless day, the kind old gentleman returns, forlorn, to his home where his daughter comforts him with kind words, a cup of tea and the Yellow Pages. There he let his “fingers do the walking” (don’t you just love good advertising – I can still hear that jingle in my head?) and finally hit the home run. The kind old gentleman places an order and they ask for his name “oh yes, my name…. it’s J…. R….. Hartley”

Yes all that from my little grey cells. The power of a really good advertising message – remembered often long after the product has gone. Here’s the video for full effect:

This evening I saw the ‘remake’. I’ve found it on YouTube for you (no I’m not getting paid by Yell.com) and it made me smile. Where’s this going? Well, it was the soundbite line that struck a chord…”what we do hasn’t changed – just the way we do it”.

For those of you who might know me know I’m a little like a policeman or a doctor in that I’m always ‘on-duty’. That is, I see connections with learning and new technology for learning almost everywhere. This short little advert just made me think how what we do or need to do for effective learning actually doesn’t change. We still need to analyse, collaborate, observe, read, listen, apply, reflect and seek feedback but now we just have different, up-dated, quicker, more efficient tools to do them with.

Technologies

Scan this….

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

I’m all excited. I’ve discovered QR codes.

Well, I haven’t just discovered QR codes. I have been aware of them for some time and have ‘played’ with them using an App on my iPhone. What I meant to say was I’ve just discovered how to use them for something tangible and very useful.

It’s been a very busy couple of days planning for Learning Technologies next week where the we have a stand; we were tasked with designing brand new posters for the event advertising our eLearning courses. Well, needless to say, I was in my element. My creative ideas were going wild and my two worlds started to collide. Technology and art.

I also have more than a little interest in marketing. It’s not a professional interest you understand but I am fascinated by it. Bearing in mind that I love simplicity in my designs, I was trying to think of an effective way of providing extra information without covering the posters in text – a big mistake a lot of people make, confusing the reader. Then I had a brainwave. What about using QR codes to link to contextually specific information from our website. And what a perfect venue for the trial. A conference where technology is the heart of everything.

I couldn’t wait to try it out and the first idea was to create a label with a QR code to stick to the back of my business cards. When scanned, this code will take my networking connections straight to my LinkedIn profile.

So now we have four posters, each with a barcode unobtrusively on the bottom corner and high-tech (well nearly) business cards.

I used Kaywa to create my QR codes as recommended by Phil Vincent from Sheffield University (thanks Phil). Phil also uses Goo.gl but I’ve not tried this yet.

The Apps I have are Bakodo and QR Code Reader from ShopSavvy

I will be very interested to hear other creative uses for QR codes you have. I can already think of some for learning – have you?