Recently, an instructional designer friend of mine asked me, “Should Marketing review eLearning courses and approve them before they are released?” I responded with a, “Yes, but…” There are legitimate reasons Marketing needs to see the course before it goes out. However, content isn’t one of them. That’s right, I said it. I am a marketing person, I am not an instructional designer. If your marketing department is filled with marketing people who aren’t instructional designers either, then it is important that a marketing review sticks to marketing issues.
So, what should Marketing review? Branding
The marketing team should review the course to make sure branding standards were followed. Is the right form of the logo being used? Are any taglines being used? If they are, are they approved for use? Most marketing departments have created a style guide that must be followed when anything from their organization goes out to the public. If there are specific color schemes defined then the course’s branding needs to follow those guidelines. Were fonts specified in the style guide? Then those fonts should be used. Is it possible to emulate the style of the organization’s website in the course template? That might be something requested by the marketing department. These are the items that should be reviewed by Marketing.
What shouldn’t Marketing review? Content
While we do understand buyer psychology and do spend time doing demographic and psychographic research to formulate the best marketing messages we can, this does not necessarily translate to knowing the best methods for motivating learners to complete courses. Our profession does not guarantee that we know how to make a lesson stick so that it is applied on the job. In short, we are not instructional designers. Just because we think a course would be more visually interesting if more images were used on slides, doesn’t mean there is sufficient cause to add them. If they do not enhance the content on the slides, do not help with comprehension, and would negatively affect the final product then they are not necessary. These types of scenarios are where marketing departments and instructional designers butt heads, and giving the marketing department final approval on matters that are not directly marketing related can cause issues.
Of course, we all want to put forth the best course we can. We want it to be engaging. We want it to increase retention. Instructional designers want to create a structurally sound course that all stakeholders approve of. Marketing wants to protect their brand and make sure the best quality product is promoted to their audience. Our goals are the same, but we should remember our expertise is in two very different areas. So, should Marketing review eLearning courses? Yes. We have a brand to protect and we need to uphold those standards and manage our image. However, we also need remember that while we are the experts on brand image and organizational marketing communication, we don’t have final say on content.
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