As vice president of global policy, compliance, diversity and Avaya University for Avaya, Suellen Roth has engaged the company’s learners with Madison Avenue savoir-faire. “Companies don’t release products without advertising them, so why should CLOs release learning programs without promoting their value?” she asked. “If CLOs want to create a learning program that is going to shape people’s behavior, which in turn will shape the business success of the company, they need to be marketing-savvy themselves, or they need to put together a team with that expertise.”
Avaya University educates more than 50,000 employees, business partners and clients around the world. The organization cultivates awareness by utilizing “personalized push marketing” to let potential students know about the latest learning releases suited to their professional development. These initiatives are guided by the corporate university’s own director of marketing.
As a result of these marketing programs, professional certification programs grew more than 140 percent in 2004. A continuous promotion effort of learning opportunities has resulted in a 33 percent increase in the average number of students per class in the past two years. Also, by endorsing more economical Avaya University learning modalities, the company can lower the costs involved with employee education. For example, the organization’s elearning component reduced travel expenses, which saved the company $29 million.
At the heart of Avaya University’s communications delivery is the Avaya Learning Centre, a portal with approximately 144,000 users. More than 5,000 users visit every week to schedule learning, take courses, read company news and perform a variety of other professional development tasks. A key driver of the Learning Centre’s high levels of participation are the promotional programs rolled out by Roth and her team. Since June 2003, marketing initiatives have increased the number of Avaya Learning Centre online users by about 79 percent.