Why a good training program will keep marketers competitive

Rapid digital change means marketers need to know how to use the latest tools and resources

As the digital space evolves at an increasing pace, the demand for marketers to keep up means organisations cannot afford to be complacent. For brands to simply survive let alone thrive in the digital space, training needs to be both timely, relevant and current.

According to Zuni director, Valentina Borbone, businesses can no longer simply expect their marketing team to be experts in each new technology or social platforms and be able to keep abreast of the constant daily changes in the digital space.

“In digital, things move very quickly, and when we talk about digital there are ten different sub channels that come into that - which is very different to traditional marketing,” she told CMO.

“We can’t expect our modern marketers to stay up to speed on their own, with the number of things that are happening within the digital space. A training program is absolutely imperative if you want the best out of your marketers and certainly the marketer of the future.”

According to Borbone, very few marketers have an ongoing marketing program in place for themselves, whether is a personal development program or a custom training initiative by their organisation.

“We’re faced on one hand with a talent shortage in the country, and yet businesses aren’t addressing their marketers, in keeping them up to speed in how to communicate with their customers,” she said. “I think there is a huge opportunity for business to stay at the forefront of innovation without relying on external parties every time. They need to invest in their own people.”

Recently, property group Mirvac recognised the importance of formal digital training for their Retail marketing team, engaging Zuni for a year-long training program to ensure their marketers receive the right training in a rapidly changing digital environment.

“The difference with Zuni is that the training is custom designed to address the organisation’s problems,” Borbone explained. “So with Mirvac , I go in every month and focus on a particular topic, not just on the theory but how they can implement it on a day to day basis, based on their structure, resources and their tools and technology. We make the training far more tangible. It is all focused on the outcome and capability, rather than theory or knowledge.”

Having completed a considerable amount of training in her role, Borbone said other success stories include Stockland, which she has been working with in association with ADMA.

“For Stockland, we’ve been looking at educating all marketers across the business, based on a skills capability assessment,” she said. “We’re providing education for modern marketers for their current role, and also beyond their current role. Their program is being rolled out not just for existing staff members but also as part of their induction training for new marketers.”

Borbone also cited property site realestate.com.au was also cited as doing a fantastic job in educating its team.

“I’ve done a couple of road shows for them nationally, and work across their developer, residential and their sales teams,” she said. “I have a digital induction program for their new starters, which is imperative because they are a digital business.”

When it comes to implementing an effective training program Borbone stressed marketers need to change their behaviour and mindset in order to embrace ongoing learning and development.

“Marketers are very set in their ways because they are very focused on getting the job done,” she said. “Planning and review of statistics and analysis seems to be the less sexy aspect of execution, but it is an absolute imperative step in the process. So changing behaviour, is the first thing they need to do in a training program.”

Borbone also encouraged a more hands on practical approach, coupled with a program committed to ongoing education.

“By the time a course is written, it could be out of date,” she said. “For marketers, if they are not on top of a minimum of Google and Facebook, for example, in the digital space, they are going to be left behind.”

Zuni and ADMA have recently formed an alliance to help marketers and advertisers transform their businesses through a series of new courses called 'Strategic Development Programs', a first-of-its-kind industry initiative. The first course up in the overall program is a bespoke Digital Strategy course which will be followed later in 2015 with tailored Content Strategy, CRM Strategy and Metrics and Measurement courses.

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