Over the past few months, I have had the privilege of providing in-house digital marketing training to the McDonald’s Canada marketing team. It has been a fantastic experience, in large part because McDonald’s Canada is already such a strong digital marketer and is recognized as such. Working with the esteemed Digital Team to develop the curriculum reinforced to me just how important it is for organizations to continue to invest in great people, as well as training to keep raising the bar. Given the importance of digital marketing training today, I thought I would share some tips based on my ‘McDigital Bootcamp’ experience that you may consider when planning training within your organizations.
Include Participants from Different Departments
As marketing is becoming more digital and complex, organizations require greater collaboration among a larger number of departments and agencies. Providing training to people across a wider range of these groups (vs. only a single department) can make this collaboration more effective as more people can start to share common concepts, tools, and language. Including folks from key ‘non-marketing’ roles like Legal, Regulatory, and IT can help spark new ideas as well as gel relationships and new ways of working. Bringing both client and agency representation into the same training program can also help communication and lead to creating better work faster. As a former colleague of mine use to say, “it takes a village to get digital”.
Explore Different but Relatable Industry Examples
When designing curriculum and exercises for your digital marketing training program, it is important to include lessons and case studies that extend beyond your own industry and current set of challenges. When the material focuses too closely to your day-to-day reality, it can be difficult for participants to think beyond current constraints (real and imagined) and shake-off limiting groupthink. Incorporating out-of-category examples for group activities gives participants more permission to think freely and laterally, to explore how approaches from other categories can be applied to your organization.
Extend Training Beyond the Classroom
One of the benefits of the McDigital Bootcamp was that it was delivered in 6 separate sessions over 6 successive weeks. This structure allowed us to take advantage of the time in between the sessions by sharing links, readings, and micro-homework assignments in a way that a single day session cannot. Incorporating space between sessions also allows participants to apply in-class learnings throughout the program, and come armed to their next session with new questions and a more informed perspective. On an inter-personal level, this structure also allows the group—particularly those intimidated by digital—to get more comfortable over time and ask questions in a ‘safe place’.
Showcase Your Digital Marketing People & Plans
In 2017, all organizations have marketing team members with digital marketing responsibilities—even if this is not reflected in their official titles. In-house digital marketing training programs provide a great platform for ‘Digital Teams’ to introduce their plans to the broader organization in a more broad and strategic context. Including internal digital marketers into your training program also allows you to connect the more academic aspects of the training curriculum to the reality of what is happening and planned for your organization. Internal digital marketers can also use digital training programs to introduce some of their key priorities to their colleagues in a more grounded and motivating way.
Focus on Changing Individual Behaviours
The most important part of planning a training initiative is to first identify the specific goals for the program itself. These goals need to drive the design of the curriculum, the exercises, and the job transfer tools to create the desired impact. One aspect to consider for your training initiative is to enable participants to reflect on how they will change their own behaviour in their day-to-day jobs after the program is completed. Providing a concluding exercise designed to let participants reflect on the lessons of the program and to identify the changes they will personally make can be a powerful way to affirm commitment and see immediate results.
Finally, thanks very much to the awesome people at McDonald’s Canada for the opportunity to take this learning journey with them. As we continue to collaborate together, I can sincerely say that I’m lovin it (sorry, couldn’t resist).