MediaMath’s Marketing Engineer Program (MEP) is about to graduate its fifth cohort on September 23rd. We have learned a lot about establishing and refining a training program over the past two years. When MEP launched in June 2014, it was a six-month rotational program. However, it has evolved into an intense 12-week curriculum-based training program, with just under a four percent acceptance rate. Now that it has grown into an international training program, it continues to produce future leaders within digital marketing.
In honor of graduating over 50 marketing engineers, we decided to reflect on the biggest lessons learned since its launch two years ago.
• Everyone wants to make an impact (that doesn’t change in a training program)
Trainees wants to know that the work they’re doing is contributing to something, anything really. Every project and every assignment should have a purpose. Focus on real world scenarios so that trainees can apply the content quicker and understand how their decisions impact real people.
• Meet the learner where they are (because everyone learns differently)
This approach is one that the New Marketing Institute has always kept at the forefront and with our Marketing Engineer Program, it’s no different. We do this with a blended learning approach, creating different experiences for different learning styles. For instance, if the cohort is learning about uploading pixels, we’ll lead a training session, have them shadow a Subject Matter Expert (SME) and follow it up with a team project.
• Feedback is a gift (and a two-way street)
We start by teaching MEPs how to give and receive effective feedback. Starting with this foundation helps build a culture of constant feedback as well as a sense of empowerment. We continue to collect feedback from MEPs throughout the program, learning what works and what doesn’t, in efforts to make changes to future programs. Invest time into collecting honest, tangible feedback on a constant basis.
• A longer program isn’t necessarily better (focus on hitting the right objectives)
Over the past two years we’ve taken the program from six months to 12 weeks. A shorter program has its benefits – trainees enter the workforce faster and trainers spend fewer hours in the classroom. But it can also come with its challenges – increased participant workload and less time to meet desired learning objectives. By continuously reviewing and refining your learning objectives you can align projects, shadowing and trainings to the end goal and you can help trainees understand the content faster.
• Team building is imperative (establish the culture upfront)
Throughout the program we help MEPs identify how their strengths and weaknesses affect how they interact with each other and the world around them. By understanding themselves, they can become a more effective team member, and ultimately a more effective team. Techniques include trainings on MBTI, emotional intelligence, goal setting and effective feedback.
The process of launching a program hasn’t been simple, but it has been worth it. While the program has never looked the same, we have our participants to thank for making it stronger. We’ll be releasing more lessons learned in our millennial talent series coming out this fall. Stay tuned for more tips on recruiting, retaining and reviewing young talent.