Posted by Ann Fuerst, Ph.D., TCC Chief Learning Strategist

This is the next post in a multi-part blog series on the business benefits of training an external audience.

Determine Your Product Set

Before you offer your training externally, it’s important to evaluate what makes the training saleable. Determine if you have a great product and good content that is well organized and highly relevant. If you do, to be successful among the competition, build a positive image. When you apply marketing principles to the offered training program, you increase enrollment and generate positive attitude toward training, technology, and systems. This will lead to enhanced learning and behavioral changes, which is the ultimate aim of the training.

Before you apply the marketing principles, consider the following questions about the training product, the market, your competition and then, set the goals.

  • What is our product? What exactly are we marketing?
  • What is our market? What are their characteristics?
  • Who is our competition?
  • How will we measure success?

Attract and Retain the Target Audience

Once we answer those questions, we’ll be better equipped to understand why a customer might be interested in taking specific courses, what course content they deem relevant, and why they might continue to buy training from a specific vendor. It’s imperative to find these answers to get more clientele and retain them.

To understand the customer profile, we conduct an audience analysis where we answer these questions:

  • Who are they? (Demographic data)
  • What is the age range?
  • Are there significant cultural differences within the audience?
  • What is the educational level of the audience?
  • What is the gender/proportion of male to female learners?
  • What employers do they work for? In what industry(ies)
  • Which sites do they visit online frequently?
  • What do they need to learn and why?
  • What would they like to learn and why?
  • What do they believe in? (Psychological data)

In other words, learn about your audience thoroughly – collect all available demographic and psychological data. This helps you understand what training should be offered to attract the audience. You can then better tailor your training to their needs so learners are enticed to take your training. Once you know your customer, you can define why customers should choose you over your competitors. In other words, you can identify your value proposition, and highlight this in your marketing campaigns.

To retain your audience, you should continue to ensure the training you offer is relevant, engaging, and rewarding. You can accomplish this in several ways: demonstrated knowledge gain (applicable on job for performance improvement, behavior change, or career advancement), or in terms of rewards (think certification, CEUs or other gains such as credits, discounted or free future courses, or peer recognition through social sharing, badging or gamification with competitive dashboards). You could even offer prizes to top competitors, making your gamified approach more relevant and visible to consumers of your courses. Couple this with social media sharing, and your customers will do the marketing for you.

To learn more about TCC’s Learning Technologies, please visit our website



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