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ATD Blog

5 Marketing Tools L&D Can’t Live Without

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Some may argue that the marketing industry and the learning industry have little in common. Marketing is typically linked to memorable commercials, billboards, and advertisements, while learning and development (L&D) is typically associated with courses, training videos, and lectures.

The two industries have their differences but share an underlying goal: to influence how others think and behave. Tech-savvy marketers have evolved by testing thousands of new tools to discover what is effective. As a result, we often see that the marketing industry successfully creates engaging content—a critical skill in today's highly distracted society. Meanwhile, some L&D professionals remain in their comfort zone and use traditional techniques that aren’t as compelling.

So why not leverage the tools that marketers are using? L&D can benefit from incorporating popular marketing tools to make their content more memorable and engaging to the modern learner. Here are the top tools and how each one can be used for L&D.

1. Canva

This free drag-and-drop online design tool allows beginners to create professional graphics. (Note that many free tools also have paid features.) Users can upload and edit their own photos or use one of the many free templates provided. Marketers often use Canva to design beautiful print flyers, online advertisements, and images for a presentation. Similarly, L&D professionals can use Canva to easily create visuals for presentations, images for e-learning, and designs for performance support tools like job aids. Learn more

2. Go Animate

Learners continue to enjoy video. It’s easily accessible, visual, and engaging. Go Animate (now Vyond) is an online video creation tool originally designed for marketers for animated promotional and explainer videos.

Besides the somewhat overused characters, there are other settings you can use to create original learning videos quickly. The animated videos are a fun, unique way to capture the audience’s attention when sharing information. Learn more

3. Wistia

If cartoon videos don’t tickle your fancy, try Wistia. Wistia is a free online video software for live action, screen capture, and webcam videos. Digital marketers have been using Wistia to create and share quick videos and to drive a human connection.


This software is great for L&D professionals who want password protection on their videos, knowledge of which learners are accessing them, and detailed analytics to see which videos had the most engagement. Wistia also provides step-by-step guides to create a video. Online review collaboration makes it easy for your SMEs to provide feedback. Some light interactivity capabilities (such as links to click) and chaptering provide a basic way to add a bit of interaction. Learn more

4. Buzzsumo

Marketers use tools like Buzzsumo to follow trends and meet their audience’s needs over time. Buzzsumo let users see which topics are most popular for different industries in real time.

For L&D, this allows learning professionals to gather relevant examples to use in training programs. It also provides a way to keep up with the latest information in specific categories by allowing you to search or to be alerted to the most-shared content, and mimic successful tactics from a variety of industries, not just L&D. Learn more


5. MailChimp

Many email marketing tools exist. MailChimp is the most popular among marketers because it’s easy to use and it’s reliable. Marketers use this free tool to reach out directly to their audience and develop a closer relationship.

Through MailChimp, L&D professionals can create slick email marketing campaigns to share regular, pre-programmed, bite-sized learning. As an example, consider an onboarding program that provides bits of essential information every few days. This tool also provides analytics to easily track engagement success for each campaign. Learn more

Think Like a Marketer to Boost Engagement

Training is an essential experience that benefits both the employee and business. However, learners aren’t always convinced of this. By pairing your L&D strategy with a marketer’s mindset and using these top marketing tools, you’ll create resources that employees will engage with more, and your organization will see higher value in your programs.

About the Author

Danielle Wallace is the chief learning strategist at Beyond the Sky, a provider of custom learning solutions. She combines proven marketing techniques with adult learning principles to create learning that sticks. Previously, as a marketing executive with Procter & Gamble and PepsiCo, she learned strategic marketing and advertising principles, which she applies to learning and development to create compelling breakthrough solutions. Danielle is also a certified training and development professional (CTDP).

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Excellent article! I love borrowing concepts from marketing/advertising. Thank you for the helpful information!!
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