Are you using training for marketing? Providing training to customers can be an effective method of creating brand loyalty and evangelists for your product or service. Brand loyalty is fundamental to sustaining a business base. As much as we try, there are very few concrete metrics to measure brand loyalty. Regardless, we know that establishing preference is key to maintaining (and even growing) recurring business.
There are many factors that go into building brand loyalty—one being the first exposure to your product/service. How you communicate features into benefits helps form an impression on a potential user and influences their decision to buy.
But what happens after adoption of your products and services? How do you continue to cultivate loyalty? Training serves as an important marketing tool by playing a pivotal role in a customer’s decision to want to continue using a particular product/service.
How Does Training Create Brand Loyalty?
Let’s take a look at a hypothetical scenario of ”Janet and the NextBigThing” to illustrate how using training for marketing plays into establishing brand loyalty.
Janet goes to the training, learns the software, and discovers something unexpected: the technology is a high-performing tool that makes her job easier and maximizes her productivity. While NextBigThing always knew they had a good product, now Janet knows it too.
Some would say that the impact of the training stops with Janet, but actually is ripples farther than anyone might have expected.
Training Extends Brand Reach
Janet brings NextBigThing back to her department and has great success as a result. When people ask her about work, she might mention NextBigThing in a positive light. She might even like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter. To her friends, colleagues, and family, the name NextBigThing will always be linked to Janet’s positive work experience. When they hear it in other settings, they’ll remember the story that Janet told. Janet's expression of brand loyalty has become the first step for someone else's brand awareness.
Never underestimate the power of firsthand marketing, person-to-person. A stamp of approval always accompanies the credibility of the person providing the testimonial, which is much more credible than any advertisement, website or cold call could ever convey. Word of mouth is the purest and most powerful form of marketing, in which positive user experience is the vehicle.
Two years pass and Janet’s manager retires. Janet steps up into this position as the leader of the department. She converts the entire department over to NextBigThing software, even purchasing the newest version for maximum efficiency. Her employees experience an improvement in their own productivity and effectiveness, developing a new generation of loyalty to NextBigThing. Janet has turned one brand champion into several, with a rippling effect of brand loyalty.
The modern job market is dynamic. People retire, get promoted or move on to new companies. As employees traverse their careers they carry their brand experiences with them. Investing in an entry-level employee through training is an investment in a decision-maker or influencer of tomorrow, and illustrates the power training has as a positive first exposure to your product.
After another few years, Janet takes a position with a new company. She discovers that her new employer is not using NextBigThing and sees an opportunity to create a positive impact on productivity and efficiency by introducing it. NextBigThing has been trying to sell into Janet's new company, and now has a brand champion who is a key influencer.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average worker spends 4.4 years at a single company. The skills and loyalties a person gains at one organization accompany him/her to the next. These employees are key entry points into organizations that you might not have been able to reach otherwise.
The Take-Away: Invest in Training as a Marketing Tool
An investment in using training for marketing purposes lays the groundwork for repeat business for years to come. This means finding proficient instructors, building a thorough training program and working with a partner to ensure smooth delivery. Training may be formal or informal and translates into tangible benefits others will experience and carry with them.
Looking for other advantages to providing customer training? Check out our post "Is Customer Training Important: 10 Benefits of Training Your Customers".
This updated post was originally published 12/13/2016.