This year, more companies than ever before have identified a need to train their in-house digital marketing teams. One of the most noticeable changes in the past 12 months has been the increase in the percentage of agencies providing training services to clients who have developed internal teams to handle an element of their digital production and maintenance.
The latest SoDA / EConsultancy Digital Marketing Outlook Report for 2014 identified a 25% increase in companies looking for training from their digital marketing agencies. In relative terms that’s a growth from 28% of respondents in 2013 to 35% in 2014.
So, what exactly is training in the real sense of the word? It comes as no surprise that every survey where line managers and senior management staff are asked about their current level of in-house training of emerging technologies there will be a difference in opinion. Where 29% senior staff suggested formal training was offered, only 20% of line managed staff agreed; similarly where 62% of senior staff thought they were providing training in a round table capacity, only 42% of line managed agreed.
Let’s not kid ourselves here; it’s easier to say that you’ve provided the training if you don’t actually have to do the job yourself. The key is to measure the results that identify the benefits of training rather than making your company’s training a box ticking exercise.
From an agency’s perspective; we’ve seen our clients staff churn increase and their expectations of what can be measured grow exponentially. As a result of this, I think investing in training is almost essential for every business that uses data in any form of ‘digital’ marketing toward their bottom line profits.
This doesn’t spell out the demise of the digital marketing agency; this simply reflects the level of sophistication that companies need to keep up with the times (or their competitors’ agencies). The need to improve in-house skill sets will continue to evolve as historically complex tasks become simplified tasks and specialised needs become commonplace activities. Our fledgling industry demands that you keep up, if you want to stay relevant.
Identify what you need to learn
Identify what you need to learn and how it can be measured and get your line manager to align these goals to your company / team / personal objectives. This sounds like the same old HR spiel, but it clears up any confusion of why you were trained and what the benefits are. What you may get initially is a business case to get the training in the first place.
Give yourself a challenge
Whatever you’re taught, you’ll forget most of it unless you put it into practice. Give yourself a challenge; it doesn’t matter if it’s content creation, setting up analytics or marketing automation; try out something and get it in motion. We only know what we don’t know by trying and learning from our mistakes. The longer you leave it, the less you’ll remember or the more outdated the training will become.
Get the training deck from the day
Get the training deck from the day; actually ask for it. A well planned training programme will have a series of slides with takeaways from the day that can be used as a reminder or prompt for further use.
Try training someone else from your own experience
Some training slides mean very little without the supporting narrative, sometimes you are left with very little to go on apart from your own notes and some slides that generically mean nothing in their own right. Try training someone else from your own experience. This is the perfect acid test; did you suffer from the after lunch slump? Or did you take notes and record it on your phone so you could re- represent this training in your own words at a later date.
Ask questions on the day
Easier said than done; but ask questions on the day. This is not because you like the sound of your own voice, but if you’re not getting the answers you’re looking for, then get to the point; I’ve seen too many people too embarrassed to ask questions in public. Get the presenters contact details or see them in private after the training session if it is more appropriate. It’s the trainer’s job to train you; it’s your job to learn.