One reason I love customer education is that it requires a combination of instructional expertise, customer support know-how and marketing skills. Yet, hardly anyone comes to this profession with deep strength in all three disciplines. As a result, the customer education community is continuously learning, evolving and growing.
I come to customer education from an instructional technology and LMS background, so I spend a lot of time studying and thinking about how marketing and support add value to customer education. In the process, I’ve found that the best customer education experts never stop developing their diverse capabilities.
Today, we’re focusing on the top marketing skills that customer education professionals need to help their organizations succeed. Marketing is fun because it’s challenging and often humbling. In a noisy world, convincing someone to pay attention and respond in a particular way isn’t easy. Along the way, there are many wrong ways to turn. But luckily, marketers have developed proven strategies, tools and measurement techniques that make this job easier — and most of these things apply to customer education.
What are the most valuable skills customer education professionals can learn from our marketing counterparts? Why are they relevant? Find out in this 12th episode of the Customer Ed Nuggets podcast!
Today’s Guest Expert
To explore today’s topic, we’re fortunate to welcome marketing and customer education expert, Samantha Murray, Global Director, Go-To-Market at Docebo LMS. Whenever I have questions about marketing strategy or best practices, Samantha is one of the first people I contact. She is a smart, resourceful thinker who constantly challenges me to keep learning. Fortunately today, we all have that opportunity.
Top Marketing Skills to Master for Customer Education Success
In my first blog post way back in 2014, I explained why I think professionals who focus on customer education and other extended enterprise learning applications should be called instructional marketers. That’s because expertise in both fields is essential.
Customer education is a creative challenge that requires an understanding of human behavior. Yet at the same time, it is highly measurable. You can test and track every penny you spend and see how it contributes to attracting potential clients and keeping existing clients onboard and profitable. Combining a measurable marketing mentality with educational strategies that work best is fun and fulfilling work!
Before Sam and I recorded the video nugget below, focusing on marketing skills we believe are most critical, we brainstormed to generate a more extensive list of valuable skills. These are the top 10 skills we think customer education professionals should learn from marketers:
1. Segmentation and Personalization
One size does not fit all. One of marketing’s key strengths is its focus on segmenting audiences and personalizing content. By understanding the diverse needs and preferences of your customer base, you can tailor learning experiences that deliver more relevant, engaging content. This fosters a deeper connection with your brand.
2. Understanding the Customer Journey
Marketing departments meticulously map the customer journey so they can create targeted campaigns at each stage. Customer education can benefit from a similar approach by aligning training content with different stages of the customer lifecycle. This ensures that customers receive the right education at the right time, so you can maximize its impact.
3. Data-Driven Decision Making
Marketing departments heavily rely on data analytics to measure campaign success, understand customer behavior and optimize strategies. Customer education can adopt a similar data-driven approach to assess the effectiveness of training programs, identify areas for improvement, and tailor content to meet specific customer needs.
4. Storytelling for Engagement
Marketing has long recognized the power of storytelling in capturing audience attention. Customer education can leverage this technique by incorporating real-world examples, case studies and success stories into their programs. This not only makes the training more interesting, but also helps customers relate the information to their own experiences. As a result, retention increases.
5. Multi-Channel Communication
Marketing departments excel at utilizing various communication channels to reach their target audiences and reinforce these relationships. Customer education can benefit from a multi-channel approach, using a mix of webinars, online courses, documentation and interactive sessions. This ensures that educational content reaches customers through their preferred channels, maximizing accessibility and engagement. Think of this as a continuous process. Test and measure what works best to incrementally improve outcomes.
6. Consistent Brand Voice
Consistency in communication is a cornerstone of successful marketing. Similarly, customer education programs should aim for a consistent brand voice across all educational materials. This consistency fosters familiarity and trust, which reinforces your brand’s identity in the minds of customers.
Gamification is a powerful tool marketers apply to enhance user engagement, and it can be equally effective in the context of customer education. By incorporating elements of gamification such as quizzes, badges, streaks and rewards, you can encourage more active participation and make learning experiences more enjoyable.
8. Feedback Loops for Continuous Improvement
Marketing campaigns are fine-tuned based on performance metrics and customer feedback. Similarly, customer education should actively seek feedback from participants to identify strengths and weaknesses in the training content. This iterative process can be the basis for continuous improvement that increases relevance and drives better results.
9. Alignment with Business Goals
Successful marketing aligns with overall brand and business objectives. In the same way, customer education should closely align with organizational goals, ensuring that the skills and knowledge customers develop directly contribute to customer success, and ultimately lead to business success.
Educational folks can be wordy. Marketing folks tighten things up. I’m still trying to learn this lesson. And that’s one reason why I produce this Customer Ed Nuggets audio/video series!
Watch This Episode of Customer Ed Nuggets
To learn more about the marketing skills Sam and I believe are most critical for customer education success, watch the video below. In less than 10 minutes, you’ll learn how to make the most of expertise in customer journey mapping, personalization, and data-based decision-making…
Or, if you’d prefer to listen to our conversation, tune-in to the audio podcast of this episode right here at TalentedLearning.com.
The Bottom Line on Marketing Skills for Customer Education
Increasingly, customer education is considered integral to the overall customer experience. Therefore, if you’re responsible for customer education, it naturally makes sense to draw inspiration from well-established marketing strategies and practices.
Focus on developing knowledge and skills in segmentation, personalization, storytelling, multichannel communication, brand voice, gamification, social proof, data-driven decision-making, and understanding the customer journey. Over time, by committing to continuous improvement, your customer education team can create more engaging, relevant, useful learning experiences that support customers throughout their relationship with your company.
Ultimately, when you master these marketing skills, you’ll be able to more deeply influence customer success, retention, satisfaction and advocacy. At the same time, you’ll help your company build more lasting, profitable customer relationships. That’s a win, all around.
About Talented Learning Customer Ed Nuggets
Hosted by Talented Learning CEO John Leh, the Customer Ed Nuggets podcast is a trusted source of advice, guidance and best practices for customer education professionals of all types. In this series of brief video and audio “nuggets” (each 10 minutes or less), I explore key topics with numerous guest experts.
We explore all facets of customer education, from how to build a persuasive business case, to effective strategies, technologies and content that help professionals create, deploy and grow successful customer-centered programs.
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