Blog Post

Learning Science: Customer Education As a Growth Driver

By:
Michelle Ellis
Published:
June 22, 2023
Updated:
Learning Science blog image

A note from the editor: As you may know, learning science is at the core of our work at Intellum. We’re pleased to introduce a new series of content in partnership with our Director of CX & Learning Strategy, Dr. Michelle Ellis, that offers insights into learning science, industry trends, and how you can practically apply these to your work. We hope you enjoy!

Often, customer education stems from customer success or product efforts to educate customers, partners, and prospective customers on the products and services you sell. The focus for these teams centers around increasing product adoption, productivity, and satisfaction while reducing friction throughout the implementation process. 

What if customer education could be more than that? What if customer education could marry with brand marketing efforts to become a growth driver?1

Research shows that purchase intent improves by 90% when consumers view consistent messaging across multiple channels, while brand perception improves by 68%.2

Aligning education to the customer journey

Customer journey analysis is not new to marketing. It’s been used to understand customer behavior at various touchpoints throughout their interaction with a brand.3 These touchpoints focus on your brand promise, brand story, innovation, purchase moment, and consumer experience to reach customers from many different avenues, such as social media, advertising, referrals, and more.4

Canny Creative. (2020)

In customer education, we think about the customer journey more post-sale—and we tend to focus on what training needs exist at each stage. Using the customer lifecycle as a reference point, we look at each stage of the customer journey, what customers experience at each stage, and what education is needed to them forward to the next step.5 

What tends to happen is we create two different journeys: one for marketing and another for education. This leads to disjointed experiences that don’t tell a cohesive brand story and that ultimately don’t provide as large of an impact on your customer or your business. By aligning your education efforts to the journey marketing is taking customers on, you provide a holistic point of view on your brand and the value proposition your business offers.6 

So as you start considering your next customer education initiative, remember to work collaboratively with your marketing and education teams to create an education strategy that identifies the personas and brand touch points that will enhance the customer experience and be a growth driver for the business.7

5 examples of aligning education with marketing

The following are a few examples of opportunities to engage your customers at various touchpoints with your customer education initiatives:

1. Use ungated channels to publish content.

Not all education content needs to be behind a gate or in a learning management system (LMS). You can use mediums like social media and blogs to publish less formal educational content, which can highlight deeper learning opportunities within your LMS.

Gong.io is a great example of creating social-first content to educate—and you’ll find a number of blogs here on Intellum’s site that illustrate ungated educational content.

2. Promote marketing content from your education content.

Marketing and education content can go hand-in-hand. Rather than point solely from marketing to education content, consider how you might promote content in the opposite direction.

HubSpot Academy is a great example of this. Within their online courses, they include links to templates and blog articles for continued learning. 

3. Use your website to advertise your education initiatives.

We often forget that customer education programs—whether those take the form of eLearning courses, help articles or live training—are a huge value-add for prospective customers.

When prospects are researching possible solutions, a heavy factor for consideration is the support provided, both on-demand and in real-time. 

By highlighting your education initiatives on your website, you set prospects up to engage with your education programs once they become a customer. 

Check out how Talend highlights education offerings on its customer success page:

4. Create marketable resources that enhance your education initiatives.

When creating educational content, think about resources that might help your learner apply what they’re learning. This could take the form of a template, a workbook, or calculator. Not only will this support your education programs, but it can be used as a downloadable resource for marketing efforts—giving prospective customers an opportunity to see the type of resources they get as part of training.

Check out how Atlassian incorporates a free resource (what they call “plays”) into their course content:

5. Create product-focused videos for customers and prospects. 

Your education and marketing teams can work in partnership on videos that highlight your product’s functionality. This could take the form of pre-recorded or live demos, overview videos showcasing different features, videos that focus on use cases for your product, or live webinars that teach customers and prospects alike how they can solve problems using your product or services.

Here’s an example of how Xero uses video and webinars to teach both prospects and customers how Xero can help grow their business:

Put it into action: Connect with your marketing team to learn more about brand touchpoints, then consider how you can align customer education initiatives with these touchpoints to enhance the customer experience and drive growth.

Referenced articles for continued learning:

  1. Blueshift. (2022). From Product to Experience the Importance of Brand Touchpoints. 
  2. Media Daily News. (2017). IAB: Digital, TV, Radio Improve Purchase Intent by 90%. 
  3. Canny Creative. (2020). How to Define Brand Touchpoints for a Winning Customer Experience.
  4. HubSpot. (2021).20 Customer Touchpoints That Will Optimize Your Customer Journey. 
  5. Market Tailor. (2023). The Importance of Customer Education in Growth Marketing.
  6. ServiceRocket. (2022). Customer Education is a Marketing Strategy.
  7. ServiceRocket. (2022). Three Practical Ideas on How to Market Your Customer Training Program.

About the Author

Michelle Ellis headshot
Michelle Ellis
Director of CX & Learning Strategy
Michelle Ellis has over 25 years of experience in instructional design, including nearly 20 years at Disney. Her experience ranges from teaching in the academic setting to designing, developing, and facilitating education to teach technical, soft, and leadership skills. Michelle came to Intellum as a practitioner to share her experiences with learning and how to build a learning strategy.

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