february 18


the perils of edu-marketing

We are constantly bombarded by marketing. Every day, companies are trying to get us to try their service, buy their product, fall for their brand. It’s getting harder to break through the noise, so many companies are now turning to video training as a form of marketing. These videos are part marketing, part education, hence the name ‘edu-marketing.’ The percentage of education vs. marketing can vary widely depending on the company’s comfort level.  Finding the right proportion can be a lot like baking, too much of one ingredient and the result tastes terrible. 

A more subtle approach to edu-marketing aims to solve specific customer dilemmas, while still urging them to continue using the product with confidence.

The problem arises when a company leans too hard on the marketing end of the spectrum at the expense of the education end. When this happens, real problem-solving for the customers is eliminated at the expense of putting the company’s brand and product at the forefront.

At Edios Media we have produced video training for dozens of clients and we believe that edu-marketing, when intentional and developed thoughtfully, can be an extremely powerful marketing tool to reduce churn and provide true value to the learner/customer in an engaging and expedient manner.

Here are some of the pitfalls we urge our clients to take into account when thinking about creating edu-marketing:

1. Learning objectives matter.  Worry less about what your company-line messaging is, and more about the true value you can provide to your audience. Training videos are about the learner: where they are on their learning path, what their pain points are, and what they want to be able to do. If you come to the project with a list of talking points you demand to say, you can easily lose sight of the learner, and tip the scales back onto the marketing side. Learners can smell inauthenticity, so you should try to put education at the forefront.  The first question you should ask when developing a training video is, “By the end of this video the learner will be able to do ______.”

2. The development process will make or break a video. We get a lot of requests for quick-turn edu-marketing projects. But we’re most successful when our clients go through our Content Development process to apply the Five Pillars of Storytelling. This reminds everyone who the audience is, how we want to serve them, and what we’re promising them. Once this holistic vision is aligned there is a north star for all subsequent stakeholders to work from. Ignoring this process can result in a watered down video that looks good, but doesn’t really solve the goals for the client OR the learner.

3. Arbitrary limits on video length don’t work. The current fad suggests that a viewer refuses to engage is the duration is over 90 seconds. However, video education often needs 3 to 7 minutes to fully explain a concept or a process to a learner, to ensure they can repeat it with confidence. When you are creating content based on timing, you often lose nuance and detail, and you end up with a sales-y piece that doesn’t really teach people anything.  If the promise of the video is clear and the lessons are valuable, trust that the learner will engage. 

4. Don’t be afraid to call a spade a spade. Edu-marketing is not a perfectly balanced scale. Sometimes a company needs to do marketing. If that’s the case, great! But don’t try to pretend you’re educating someone when you’re not. If you waste a learner’s time, they’re less likely to come back to you for real tips on how to do something. This could result in losing customers in the long run.  In our experience it is imperative to take the time in the earliest stages of development to clearly identify both the organizational goals AND the learner goals of the content. 

Microlearning is currently a big buzzword in the eLearning and Learning & Development world.  And edu-marketing is ripe for short videos that build brand awareness as well as educate and build confidence with your customer. But be careful! Make sure you’re clear with your business objectives, and your learner outcomes before you commit to a video that doesn’t wastes valuable resources and doesn’t hit any of your goals.

Elizabeth Madariaga, Co-Founder & Executive Producer, Edios Media

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