In Mark Quinn’s article Teach Customers Why They Need A Product Before Trying To Sell It To Them he says:

“When businesses blindly assume that their prospects already have the information they need and are simply making a choice between brands, they shift from a learning-focused mindset to a competitive one. The smart consumer will opt to buy from the company that’s educated him on the issue and presented him with multiple solutions. That company’s selflessness has built trust — and its ability to teach him has bought his loyalty in the future.”

That got me thinking. We’re all consumers and we’re all pretty smart but we’re more than that. We’re savvy and informed and connected too. And we’ve found ourselves in a digital landscape dominated by inbound techniques that have reduced us to a persona that is told things based on its digital footprint. Inbound Marketing practitioners have flooded the internet with content designed to educate consumers in an effort to move them through a funnel ending with a purchase.

Elaboration isn’t Education

Oh look Doris, a free download!

The problem is marketers tend to talk at you instead of educating you. That and everyone is doing it. Inbound Marketers have sold the idea that everyone is a publisher and that quality content is king. Brands are striving to educate consumers by delivering copious amounts of content but unfortunately delivering content for consumption isn’t the same as education.

As Dr. Sarika H Lidoria, Director – ITM University Online writes in his article Growing Demand of E-learning in Business Education, “The provision of gaining easy access to learning material online in the form of eBooks, videos, and interactive sessions from the comfort of one’s home or during travel has transcended edification beyond the walls of a classroom. e-learning sessions laced with animations, gamification, and interactivity has brought about a paradigm shift in the content delivery from being monotonous to becoming more narrative. This helps in better understanding and retention of concepts with enhanced interest and concentration of students.”

Create Lessons Not Messages

Education has become a feature and sensory rich experience that strives to connect minds with information and context with the intent of creating deeper understanding. Humans have taken great leaps in understanding how we learn and this has greatly informed how we educate. This is where academic design can make the greatest impact on corporate marketing that seeks to educate. Instructional designers know what strategies work – what makes people not just remember new information but use it to change their attitudes and behaviors. Learning focused design focuses attention on complex cognitive tasks related to “a ha” moments, retention and habit formation.

We’re all consumers and we’re all smart and we’re all tired of bossy headlines and top 10 lists. Create lessons, not messages, and you stand to make a real connection with consumers that goes beyond the surface knowledge of features and benefits. If you want to stand out, focus your marketing efforts with learner-centered education techniques and hire an academic design firm that can turn your existing content into lessons for consumers professionally designed to educate them. Teach them and they will love you forever.