Marketing training services: Some ideas for trainers

By Anne Sexton - Last update

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Guy Flouch explores some of the basic concepts of marketing and demonstrates how they could usefully apply to marketing training programmes.

A thankless task many trainers face is marketing the programmes offer. They may be marketing these to public audiences, as a commercial trainer, or to internal markets, as an in-company training specialist or manager. However, even excellent trainers may not have marketing skills.

When an organisation sees marketing as simply being about publicity, it is generally a product-oriented, not marketing-oriented, organisation. It is the organisation, not the prospective customer, that drives such a strategy. It attempts to sell courses, rather than sell ‘benefits’ and develop a client base. Successful filling a course is about the total experience that a prospective customer has, after their initial interest.

Buying Benefits

There’s an old marketing adage: Customers are not buying a drill, they are buying the hole that the drill will make. In other words, when they look at a product, they are thinking about at the end result, or benefit, it will give them. They are buying the benefits that the course will bring. That could be:

  • More promotion prospects
  • Increased employability
  • A more efficient way of doing their job
  • Increased revenue in their own business

Of course, training is not a product, like a drill, it is a service. Customers judge service providers on whether they delivered on their promise, as well as their customer support and after-sales service. When the word ‘customers’ is used in this article, it applies to both ‘internal customers’ and traditional ones.

Marketing Training and the Marketing Mix

Most non-marketing people are aware, if only vaguely, of some of marketing jargon. One of these is the ‘marketing mix.’ These are the critical elements of marketing of any product or service. The traditional marketing mix of any product is known as the ‘Four P’s’:

  • Product
  • Promotions
  • Placement/Distribution
  • Price

When marketing services, more and more marketers are paying attention to an extended mix. This is the ‘Seven P’s’. In the marketing of training, a classic service sector offering, you need to pay particular attention to:

  • People
  • Processes
  • Physical Evidence

Anne Sexton

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