Understanding your marketing training needs is only a first step towards improving the marketing skills of your employees. John Meikle explains how to find a training provider who can provide cost-effective training that delivers real results
Finding potential marketing training providers
You can find training providers through recommendations, local and online directories, and so on. This may help you identify local, independent marketing training consultants. A smaller training provider may suit you if you are looking to build a longer-term relationship with someone who develops a deeper understanding of your business.
Leading marketing associations typically offer marketing training, either directly or through approved providers. Sources of information include the Chartered Institute of Marketing, the Market Research Society and the Institute of Direct Marketing. Your trade association may also offer marketing training relevant to your sector.
Assessing training providers
Check whether potential training providers offer training in the particular marketing skills you or your employees require, at the right level. You will also want to ensure that training is offered at a convenient time, and in a form that suits you - for example, at your premises, online, or at the training provider's premises.
Many training providers offer standardised courses, particularly for training leading towards a recognised marketing qualification. Training providers may also offer help assessing your training needs and designing tailor-made courses designed to match your specific marketing training requirements.
Ideally, a training provider should have experience of your industry and of working with businesses of a similar size. Specialist training providers are more likely to understand the particular marketing and sales challenges facing your kind of business and to be up to date with relevant industry trends and regulations.
If the training is intended to lead to a marketing qualification, confirm that the training and/or training provider are properly accredited. Qualifications and accreditations (for example, accreditation to the Training Quality Standard and relevant marketing qualifications) can provide reassurance about the likely quality of the training.
Check which individual trainers will deliver the training and what their personal qualifications and experience are. Ask for references from other businesses that have used the training provider.
How much should I spend?
Last but not least, you will want to compare the likely cost-effectiveness of different options. Online and distance learning tend to be relatively low cost, while more expensive tailored one-to-one training can be the most effective.
As well as direct training costs, you should take into account the indirect costs of time off for training and any disruption to your business.