We’ve helped hundreds of marketing teams, large and small, get their digital marketing training programs up and running.
And we’ve learned that the secrets to success — and failure — are pretty consistent, regardless of your business size, and whether you’re an agency, an in-house marketing team, or an individual honing your personal skills.
In fact, whatever kind of training you’re pursuing, finishing successfully is hard work.
Failing, on the other hand, is easy if you know what to do.
So we thought we’d share the recipe for training failure. That way, it’ll be easier for you to avoid the pitfalls, and your energies will stay focused on the things that really work.
1. Be inconsistent
When you’re shooting for failure, it’s super important to be inconsistent with your training regimen and avoid setting a schedule. Just train whenever you feel like it, when you have absolutely nothing better to do … like surfing Facebook or tweeting about #GameOfThrones.
Pro Tip: Make sure to be sporadic. 5 minutes one day, 4 hours a month later.
If you do want to be successful, block out times to train 2-3 times per week. If you get in a routine, training will become second nature. Make sure to “attend” your training consistently like you would if it were a brick-and-mortar class that required you to show up.
2. Train aimlessly
If you’re focused on failure, don’t make any goals. Avoid all thoughts about the larger picture, what training will do for you, your business or your career, or the credibility of a certification.
Pro Tip: Keep anything that will motivate you — sales goals, competitive analysis, credit card bills, job listings — out of sight and out of mind. Don’t risk the motivation.
If you do want to make some progress in your training, make sure you know what you’re working toward – whether it’s a business goal, an application goal, or a certification goal. Have that goal out in front of you, and consider rewarding yourself when you hit it.
3. Train distractedly
For top-of-the-line failure, multi-task while you’re training to avoid the information really soaking in. Make sure to constantly flip back and forth between writing emails, reading articles, or playing on Facebook while the training videos are playing in a hidden tab.
Pro Tip: Turn up the notification sounds on all your social tools; instant messengers, Facebook notifications, incoming email, and software updates to be sure you don’t miss any of them while training.
In the event you do want to learn something, dedicate your full attention to the videos and absorbing the information. Watch as well as listen, and take notes as you go. It really does help with retention.
There’s no better way to get through the courses quickly than to take screenshots of the quizzes and tests so you have the answers when you go through them a second time. If you’re lucky, you can avoid learning anything at all – just regurgitate the answers, and you’re in the clear. No thinking necessary.
Pro Tip: Don’t waste precious time watching the training videos; just focus on gaming the tests. The “pass” is what matters.
If you do want to be able to retain and apply your training, don’t cheat. Use the quizzes as indicators of your progress and retention, and if you don’t pass them the first time, don’t just guess; go back and study before attempting them again.
5. Make excuses
Did you get a big client project? Great! Does your goldfish have a bunion? Great! It doesn’t really matter what your excuse is – pick one that you feel good about, and run with it. Avoid the desire to problem-solve and find a solution; ride that excuse for all it’s worth in order to avoid your training.
Pro Tip: Schedule your training to align with the highest opportunity for “good” excuses; weekly meetings, industry conferences, the kids’ dance and karate classes.
If you really want to successfully complete the training, have a “no excuses” attitude. Recognize that every obstacle can be navigated or overcome – and probably already has been by someone before you. If you’re really stumped, reach out! It’s possible there may be some flexibility so you can accommodate your circumstances without throwing in the towel.
6. Cram before deadlines
You remember everything you learned when you crammed for tests in college, right? So bring those awesome study habits into adulthood. Do as little of the training as possible during the months that you have access, then when there’s just a few days left before your cut-off date, throw yourself into it! Brew lots of coffee and stay up really late cramming, and you’ll be so jittery and exhausted there’s no way you’ll retain anything before time runs out.
Pro Tip: Remember, once you fail a final test, you can’t take it again for seven days. So be sure to wait till there’s no time left for a second chance. For extra fun, after you fail the test get angry that you can’t retake it right away.
If you want to remember the information long term, learn it over a longer period of time. Spaced repetition learning helps the information soak in, and you’ll be able to use it long after your training access has expired.
7. Keep your knowledge to yourself
Finally, to make sure that your training is a waste, lock up whatever you do actually learn in your “mind bank” and never let it out. Don’t tell anyone about what you’ve learned, and definitely don’t apply it to any projects you’re working on for your job or for clients.
Pro Tip: If anyone asks for your expertise, simply say “I don’t remember.” If you repeat this often enough, it will actually come true. Then, no more problems.
If you want to see a difference in your job or for your customers, approach all your training with the question, “How can I apply this?” Then – as quickly as possible – put it into action. Move your training from theoretical to practical, and talk to everyone about what you’re doing. They may have ideas that could help, or they may be super impressed with your innovation and action.
Failing or Succeeding is Completely in Your Control!
If you’re set on failing, you probably don’t need to work very hard on it. Nobody needs to work hard at getting out of shape.
But, chances are, you’re training because you want to be successful. If you really insist on avoiding failure, but you need some help, feel free to reach out to the support team here at Market Motive. We’ve helped guide loads of marketers training for success, and we’d to help you be one of them.
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