Rebooting the Eurozone economy, the environment and corporate responsibility, work / life balance and even the London 2012 Olympic Games: the impact that learning technologies has on the workplace can influence every major milestone on the business agenda, so why do most e-learning marketers bore business leaders with tech-centric training talk?

Take this year’s World Earth Day. On the face of it, you’d think that e-learning’s contribution to the low impact workplace would be a pretty easy case to make: it’s available anywhere, so all the classic carbon burning activities like travel and hotel costs can be convincingly factored out. Similarly: paper tests, manuals, their oh so frequent reprints, and today, even final accreditation certificates can be easily digitalised.

All things considered, it should have been relatively simple for eLearning’s marketers to trump the (often) crude eco-arguments hastily made by the world’s paper, ink and cartridge manufacturers on and around World Earth Day earlier this year, yet things in the learning tech sector – for the most part – remained quiet and unfettered.

No comment seems like fair comment

While some industries have grasped the opportunity to shape comment for, and capitalise from, the big picture events that routinely colour the wider business agenda, many in the learning and development sector lag behind. They steer clear of the high-end debating opportunities created out of the fusion of social and classic media and are still more prone to look inwards than outwards when it comes to communications. An opportunity is identified when a new customer is won, new technology is launched or new (hopefully heavyweight) people are acquired. Sure, all of these communications play a critical role in any growing company’s marketing output, but more often than not, these base tactics fail to really exploit the wider opportunities that come with a broader outlook.

During the UK’s record breaking snowfalls last winter, the CBI ploughed itself straight into the heart of the media agenda with the startling news that productivity lost due to the harsh climate was estimated at a blizzarding £.5 bil each day. What they didn’t stress was that the estimate may be based on some pretty simple maths (Some years ago, it’s alleged, the CBI worked out that a new UK public holiday would result in a productivity drop costing about £6 bil and have been using this base figure to produce highly topical statistics to suit whatever media agenda prevails on the day ever since).

True or anecdotal, the point here is that any sound bite crafted for the day generally comes with high appeal and can almost always be created simply by repurposing messaging that already exists within the business. Cloud computing companies like OCZ Technology or Apple, Acer and Fujitsu – who are all promoting the eco advantages of their energy saving laptops – got this on World Earth Day and grasped the opportunity, yet across the e-learning industry, even the major players failed to really capitalise.

OK. So World Earth Day is just one of the countless targets that eLearning marketers like you could be aiming for this year and other events are higher on the agenda right? Let’s take that low key sporting event coming up in East London this summer.

No doubt, as you gear your marketing machine up for the Olympic scale opportunities sure to fall out of this summer’s games, you’ve already studied the key “keep business working” initiatives issued by government, London Transport, the CBI and all the rest. You’ve calibrated your content marketing programmes to focus on the remote working solutions (like virtual classroom and social learning) that London’s business leaders are crying out for this summer, and you’ve worked out what to say the minute mainstream media outlets start calling for comment on what London’s businesses can do to address the commuting problems that just might arise when one of the word’s busiest transportation networks suddenly needs to accommodate up to three million extra customers per day. No? Not to worry then – some else will!

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