Why online learning is the secret ingredient

Updated: Jan 18

In a tough job market where there’s so much competition, we’re all trying to give ourselves the edge that may ensure that employers choose us. Whether that be additional experience, more developed training or added certifications. Some of us go back to university or technical colleges and attend classes while others may choose online options to work around other commitments. One way in which we advertise ourselves is through LinkedIn. We use LinkedIn to network, develop and maintain connections and find job opportunities. LinkedIn through the online learning platform Lynda.com offers users training and skill development. In this post, we will discuss this online learning platform from an advertising perspective through analysis of the advertisement itself and a related article. To find out more just keep reading.

Case in Point

Brand: LinkedIn Ad descriptive: Lynda.com online learning

Figure 4: LinkedIn/Lynda.com, Training & skill development, https://www.learningsolutionsmag.com/articles/1741/marc-my-words-linkedin-and-lyndaperfect-together

Article: Hoffman, E., Khanfar, N.M., Harrington, C. & Kizer, L.E. 2016, "The Lasting Effects Of Social Media Trends On Advertising", Journal of Business & Economics Research (Online), vol. 14, no. 3, pp. 75, viewed 26 July 2017, https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.lib.swin.edu.au/docview/1804901338?accountid=14205

Analytical critique: Snapshot Criteria Analysis in Brief Objective To add a training and skill-development function to LinkedIn and incite LinkedIn users to choose LinkedIn as their preferred brand for professional and career development; Behavioural impact Intended Audience LinkedIn users; job seekers; those wanting to develop their professional skills Effectiveness Highly effective as it’s a “one-stop shop” all job seeker and skill development needs can be met on the same platform Room for Improvement By ensuring that users are aware that the training provides no certifications; by providing more detail about the type of courses that are available; by reaffirming that the course library gets refreshed regularly and so is relevant to its users = Clarity-Transparency-Quality

Analytical critique: In full

The advertisement LinkedIn’s brand is about building community, networks, and connections and leveraging these so that users may develop or advance their careers. Users increase their knowledge and learn through reading articles written by their peers, by connecting like-minded individuals in their or other sectors, by establishing conversations through comments on various topics and nurturing connections with their peers. The value lies in the meaningfulness of the communication. Networking and collaboration that result in productive interactions that advance dialogue are at the crux of its business model. The value that users get out of it is based entirely on what they put into it. It must be said though that there is a distinction between the general service (which is free) and the premium one (which is not).

Lynda.com is a separate service that is offered by LinkedIn that users may choose to opt into. As the advertisement suggests, those with a premium membership on LinkedIn (i.e. those already paying for extra functions on the platform) can have access to a trial of the service for a limited time. Once the trial period has passed it too becomes an extra that needs to be paid for. Therefore, there needs to first be an impact on the users’ behaviour prompting the purchase of a premium membership and then a Lynda.com one. It seems then that the brand needs to address the quality, accessibility and learner outcomes if they want Lynda.com to not just become yet another banner advertisement that consumers will ignore.

The article Consumers through TV, newspapers, magazines, and billboards are bombarded with messages promising to respond to consumers every need and fulfil all their wants even the ones they didn’t even know they had. This tsunami of information means that soon enough consumers learn to “block and ignore” (Hoffman, Khanfar, Harrington & Kizer, 2016, p. 75) even in real life. When information is coming from all directions and consumers are existing in a “multi-tasking, over-stimulated society, people no longer have their attention solely on one activity” (Hoffman et al., 2016, p. 76). Advertisements need to capture interest in a more lasting manner and needs to be fully integrated into what a consumer is already doing (Johnson, 2006 in Hoffman, 2016, p. 76). An advertisement that requires an extra step, an extra link, another tab to be opened is already one too many for an already overwhelmed consumer. Consumers can no longer be targeted on mass, it’s neither judicious nor effective.

The right people need to hear the right message in order to generate interest in the product or service offer (Hoffman et al., 2016, p. 77). The right people will have the curiosity, character, and magnetism to generate interest in the product or service offer. It is critical to “create a memorable message, but also to keep information relevant and useful” (Hoffman et al., 2016, p. 78) in order to whet their appetite. Social media allows for easier and deeper connections with consumers and a new skill set is required. One in which the consumer is part of the conversation rather than just a passive receiver of the marketing message (Hoffman et al., 2016, p. 79). Twenty-four access to consumers and their feedback surely results in a dynamic and ever-changing marketing landscape.

It’s unclear whether this advertisement and the way it’s delivered will, in fact, lead to high conversion rates (i.e. seeing the advertisement and choosing to follow a course with Lynda.com). The value of LinkedIn, of which Lynda.com is a part of, is that the value of the network is based on the contribution of all those who choose to participate. If access to Lynda.com is limited to those who have a premium membership. A premium membership attracts a cost which may in itself be dissuasive. Adding further cost for Lynda.com services which as previously discussed do not provide certifications would seem to defy the goals of an individual trying to give themselves an edge in the job market. With the plethora of other online learning options which are certified and industry recognised it would seem an odd choice for any consumer to pick this one.

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