Marketing and Teaching… not all that dissimilar

24 Feb

A few weeks ago I posted an update on my LinkedIn page that said, “Are there similarities between Marketing and Training & Development?  Both aim to affect behavior and can lead to personal improvement.”  I wondered at the time if I was just trying to justify my career transition to myself. 

As I was writing my first reflective paper for this class about why I want to teach as part of my career, I also touched on the notion that there seems to be similarities between the goal of marketing and that of teaching.  And then yesterday, as I was listening to an American Marketing Association webinar entitled StorySelling:  Telling and Selling Your Brand’s Story, I found myself drawing comparisons between what the speaker was saying about telling meaningful stories and what we talked about in class recently about what makes learning significant.  Is this just me continuing to justify my career change?  Or is there something to this?

The premise of the webinar was that telling stories was one method you could use to sell your brand.  Rather than relying on a linear creative brief (which from my experience is rarely “creative” or “brief”) to develop a unique selling proposition on which to base the marketing plan, a company can use a story to stand for something meaningful rather than simply factual.  The presenter even stated outright that “stories are how we learn.”  Making a story meaningful is how prospects and customers connect with your brand, and he talked about different levels of connections ranging from a shallow connection to a deep connection.

Anyone else picturing Bloom’s taxonomy?

Just as there is a time and place for the Four Ps of marketing – product, price, placement (distribution), promotion – to convey the fundamentals of a marketing plan, similarly there are proper uses of transmission techniques such as lecture to transfer knowledge to the learner.  Then as you move along the spectrum, you start to develop integrated marketing plans to reach various audiences, much like you would use a blended teaching approach to connect with various learners in your audience.  Knowing which marketing tools will resonate with which prospects and customers is very much like understanding which learning strategies and techniques will provide the best opportunity for your learners. 

Effective assessment is another area where the two fields share similarities.  If you haven’t set clear objectives at the start of your program, you won’t know what to measure to determine if you achieved your goal.  Based on what you glean from your assessment, you should be adjusting your marketing tactics to reach a larger audience and/or develop a deeper relationship with your prospects and customers – or from a teaching perspective, adjusting learning strategies to reach more learners or create a deeper level of understanding of the content.

I’m really excited to see that what I at first thought was a hard left-hand turn down a completely new path is not such a departure from the first 20 years of my professional life.  Now I just need to convey that in my resume.


Posted by on February 24, 2010 in ADLT 603


5 responses to “Marketing and Teaching… not all that dissimilar

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