Posted on March 21, 2017
When I think of my own career in marketing, relying on formal undergraduate and post-graduate education to sustain me in my long-term professional aspirations are not enough. Today, as a marketer, I need to constantly stay up to speed on all the new innovations in digital marketing that involve predictive analytics, marketing automation, social media marketing, and so much more. These are all terms and tools that didn’t exist a few years ago, and the frequency at which they are being disrupted by new technologies is happening at a faster pace.
The call to action for learning leaders is to reinvent the kind of learning you offer to be more relevant and engaging for employees. Why? Almost half of employees in 2016 said their organization’s learning and development (L&D) was not applicable to their jobs, according to a survey by Spherion Staffing. While companies have increased their L&D spending by 50%, only 14% of employees grade their company’s L&D as an “A,” highlighted the same survey.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Eric Hunter, Learning & Development Manager, at PayPal while at the Corporate Learning Officer (CLO) Exchange in Austin, Texas. What I realized in our conversation is that PayPal is a pioneer in redefining workplace learning and they’ve done a phenomenal job incorporating Udemy for Business and other learning tools at work. What I believe has made them so successful is their innovative approach to driving learning adoption to aggressively ensure that learning gets “share of calendar” in their employees’ busy lives.
Here are 4 innovative marketing methods PayPal has implemented:
In order to gain a deeper understanding of their employees’ learning needs and goals, as a first step, PayPal invested the time up front to meet and survey their employees. Based on analyzing these data insights, they then put together a comprehensive marketing and branding campaign.
Here are some of the key components of the PayPal L&D branding campaign:
Step A: They rebranded their team to PayPal Learning to resonate better with their employees.
Step B: They created a marketing tagline that reflected PayPal’s external branding. Using PayPal’s tagline to its customers “We Power____ (Businesses, Payments),” PayPal’s Learning team designed their own internal L&D tagline as We Power Potential.
Step C: Consistency is also important in brand messaging so PayPal put its new L&D branding and tagline everywhere—on internal company swag, company emails, internal social media, and on boards throughout their offices.
“This consistent branding helped get the message out to our employees that we were the ones to go to for their learning needs,” explained Eric Hunter, Learning & Development Manager at PayPal.
PayPal also relied on advice from the company’s marketing team as well. “We went to them and asked how do you do this?” recalled Hunter. “Their advice was to take the links out of our emails and change the Call-to-Action to a button to increase the likelihood of people choosing to learn.” In addition, they advised using a one-click registration process to make it simple and easy for employees to enroll.
In PayPal’s case, they charge employees a fee for taking their courses. Adding a price helps people see a “value” in learning, instead of dismissing something that’s “free” to be of lesser value. As a result, people who sign up equate a value to the course. They are the ones who truly care and make the time to learn. There are also other ways to assign value that aren’t monetary, including tying a course to the learner’s goals such as a promotion, career change, or enhanced performance.
PayPal also hosts “learning fairs” as a creative way to entice employees to learn. Their fairs offer food, swag, and an opportunity to learn more about all of PayPal’s learning resources and get employees to sign up for courses. These “feasts of learning” are a great way to get people excited about learning.
Get more L&D marketing advice
PayPal isn’t the only learning team that has adopted marketing tactics. More organizations are starting to get creative on how they’re marketing learning to their employees. See more innovative marketing ideas from L&D leaders like BuzzFeed and Dollar Shave Club in our new 2017 L&D Marketing Playbook.