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Enhancing Microlearning With Marketing Techniques for Lasting Impact


Wed Jan 24 2024

Enhancing Microlearning With Marketing Techniques for Lasting Impact

As learning and development (L&D) professionals, we’re constantly seeking effective ways to engage learners and ensure that the knowledge not only sticks but also sparks behavior change. This is especially important in microlearning. By borrowing techniques from the marketing world, we can enhance the impact of any microlearning initiative. Specifically, we’ll explore three key themes from marketing that we can adapt to create effective microlearning experiences. These techniques are effective because they enable the training message to stick.

1. The “Advertising Idea” in Microlearning

In the marketing world, a concise and focused message is important, often embodied in a compelling video concept. This approach, known as the “advertising idea,” can also transform microlearning. The essence of the advertising idea is to create a singular, focused concept that encapsulates the learning objective. The advertising idea needs to be about the learning objective. It’s irrelevant if a learning piece is beautiful or engaging but doesn’t drive your learning point.


For example, the advertising idea of this video could be “IKEA is proudly the second-best integral part of your home.” As a result, the furniture in this video is humbly highlighted and seamlessly a part of the family’s relatable events as an omnipresent, essential, and pervasive backdrop to family life. The ad is effective because you remember the message long after seeing it.

When I was at P&G in marketing, the advertising idea became the central mantra around any advertising piece our agencies created. It was the yardstick that we evaluated everything against — videos, magazine advertisements, cinema ads, website banners, outdoor ads, and the like. It was a bar that helped creative ideation by providing a constraint to allow our ideas to flourish within. It allowed the piece to be distinctive, engaging, and directly related to the topic at hand.

Ways to Depict the Advertising Idea in Microlearning

An achievable way for L&D professionals to create effective microlearning advertising ideas is to use metaphors, contrasts, and exaggeration to make the concept memorable. A great training video example is Sarah Dewar’s “My Mom Has Alzheimer’s” video, where the advertising idea is to “support the conversation path of the parent with Alzheimer’s,” and Sarah brought this to life with the visual metaphor of a conversation path.

As L&D professionals, we can use the advertising idea concept to ensure all elements (visuals, music, action) reinforce the key learning point. The concept is directly applicable to microlearning training videos, but also applicable to microlearning in e-learning and presentation formats. No matter what format, microlearning with an effective advertising idea drives action or ignites attitudes among learners.


Focus on One Learning Point

A crucial aspect of this approach is ensuring that the microlearning focuses on a single learning point. Like advertisements that lose impact when cluttered with multiple messages, microlearning becomes diluted if it strays from its core objective.

While this is true of any microlearning piece, it becomes even more important for advertising idea-driven microlearning. An effective advertising idea should be a creative yet concise transformation of the one learning purpose, bringing the central point to life in a manner that resonates with learners.

2. Compelling Concise Copy

A key component of conveying the main learning point via an advertising idea is ensuring the microlearning text is concise. The power of well-crafted text cannot be overstated in marketing and learning. Drawing on my experience in marketing, I observed the importance of choosing words carefully in advertising. This principle is equally vital in microlearning.

Stopping Power


Creating content with “stopping power” creates impact. This means crafting messages that capture and hold the learner’s attention, just as striking ad text would make someone pause while walking down a grocery aisle. The key is using concise text to convey the message effectively.

In any microlearning, brevity and focus are important. That’s why intentional messaging with stopping power has impact.

Less Is More

In microlearning, the principle of “less is more” is critical. The content should be clear and understandable at a glance or a quick skim. This approach enhances message recall, ensuring that the learning is absorbed and retained. Just as advertising text is focused, ”need to know” information in microlearning must be removed.

Avoid Jargon

Simplicity in language is crucial. Avoiding jargon and complex terminology makes learning more accessible and relatable. Understanding your audience and writing in a way that speaks directly to them enhances the effectiveness of the message.

3. Harnessing Emotions

Besides carefully chosen text that supports the creative depiction of the learning objective, a component of marketing-influenced microlearning is harnessing emotions. Emotions play a significant role in how we learn and retain information. In training, using intentional sentiments intelligently can make microlearning more effective.

Use Emotions to Dramatize Learning Points

Purposefully use emotions to highlight key learning points. Whether it’s through humor, storytelling, or visuals, the emotional aspect of the content should open the learner’s heart and mind to the concept of being taught.

Humor With Purpose

Humor should directly relate to the learning objective. It’s not about being funny for its own sake; it’s about enhancing the learning experience. The humor should support the learning point rather than overshadowing it.

Emotional EngagementThe goal is to use emotions in a way that captures, sustains, and rewards the learner’s attention, bringing the learning content to life and facilitating deeper understanding and retention.

For example, the emotional engagement in this advertisement is deep. Chevrolet partnered with the Alzheimer’s Association to create a memorable video that depicts the lasting place Chevrolet has in people’s hearts. The video makes the viewer think differently about Chevrolet and Alzheimer’s through the intentional use of emotions.

Likewise, Dewar’s “My Mom Has Alzheimer’s” training video uses emotion to ignite action. Through our microlearning, we can create impact with just one viewing. This is the power of emotions.


By applying these focused marketing techniques —the advertising idea, compelling concise copy, and harnessing emotions —we can create microlearning experiences that are memorable and effective in driving behavior change. These approaches ensure that the learning sticks and has a lasting impact on the learner.

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