Blended marketing. What digital marketing can learn from Education

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Blend your Marketing

Blended Marketing and Blended Learning by The Myndset

Putting marketing into the blender

As all corners of the world are being turned upside down by the internet (“no rock unturned”), management and brand marketers are scrambling to adjust. The image that my friend, Thierry, gave me is that of a digital tsunami: Visible, forceful and unstoppable.  Brand marketers are struggling to find the right mix of on and offline initiatives and communication, to find the best and most complementary way of combining the different media.  This is what is called Blended Marketing.  It’s a moving feast with more and more options, with ever less resources.

Where are digital marketers to turn to stay one step ahead?

I tend to get my inspiration from four areas, three of which are, at their core, all about media and have been at the war front as far as tackling the digital tsunami:

  • music – battling with rights, free distribution…
  • news – battling with speed, sources, platforms, free distribution…
  • book – dealing with new distribution, new platforms
  • hi tech – the most likely to try new technologies, although not necessarily the most social (eg Google, Apple…)

Another Source of Inspiration: Education

Another area that is reeling from the effects of the internet-related change is Education.  Hit with ever pressing budget cuts, public education and private institutions, alike, are having to do more with less.  Professors, like many senior managers, have been brought up and programmed in the “old school” by definition!  The adjustment is as much, if not more, about an attitude adjustment.

The reasons why I think that we should look at what is happening in Education are two-fold:
  1. it concerns the new generation and your future employees and/or customers.  Education is, after all, the way they are being defined (the new school).
  2. academic education, at its heart, is about transmitting content in the form of knowledge and skills.  That said, education is not all about acedemia, but about life as well, for example: learning how to work with others, to lead, to communicate, to speak in public… plenty of transferable skills for the workplace, I would say.

Video games in learning

I read an interesting article in USA Today (December 1, 2011) entitled, “Video games hit higher level of US education.”  In the article, Larry Johnson, CEO of a non-profit organization, New Media Consortium, said, “The key driver is the need for ways to make learning more engaging.”  Sounds a little like what brands need to do as well.  More and more universities are learning how to “push students’ buttons by meshing core concepts and fun…”  Certainly, the video (and the game associated) is a fabulous way to create engaging content.

Child playing computer games by the Myndset

How much soft wiring is going on?

According to a Kaiser Family Foundation study in 2010, reported that 60% of kids in the US, between 8-18 years old, play video games daily.  In November, the US Education department announced that game-based learning would be part of the new national technology plan.  Of course, there is plenty of CR*P out there and many games tend toward violence and nonsense.  But, it is possible to combine interesting, educational and fun in a serious game.   I remember fondly the creation of Hair Be 12 which we created at L’Oreal to help educate young entrants learn about the hairdresser business.  In addition to serious games, there is of course distance learning and mobile learning… Plenty of material for HR, naturally, but also for brand and digital marketing.

Video, games & learning : the new eldorado for brands

The key takeway: Brand marketers must be comfortable creating not just videos, but games, too.  This can include serious games, but also to create fun and engaging competitions (even as an application in Facebook).  Games engage and brands absolutely need to engage their customers.

How many people in your digital marketing team are familiar with video editing tools (iMovie, MovieMaker, Avid…) and the latest online games?  Is it part of your criteria when you are recruiting?