Market Data

How Marketers Learn

By Sean Donnelly,

This report highlights the value of facilitating a learning culture in marketing teams and offers guidance on developing an organisational learning strategy.

Embracing a culture of learning and development (L&D) is crucial for marketing teams who want to remain agile and adaptable in an era of exponential change. But what does a good development strategy look like, and how can marketing teams align their L&D objectives with organisational goals?

In this report, Econsultancy presents the business case for developing an L&D strategy, and demonstrates how businesses that embed a learning culture will be better able to manage continuous improvement in people, processes and technology and thus remain competitive. It notes that the ability to learn faster than the competition may be a driver in maintaining a competitive advantage.

The report is based on interviews with experts and a survey among more than 200 senior marketers. It also distils the academic and professional literature on the topics of how marketers' learning and development is managed.


  • Aoife McIlraith, Senior Director of Global Search and Marketing Services, Lionbridge Technologies
  • Ian Jindal, Founder, Internet Retailing
  • Kath Pay, Founder and CEO, Holistic Email Marketing
  • Patrick Mills, Director of Professional Development, Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA)
  • Paul Jocelyn, former Head of Marketing Capability, Tesco
  • Peter Abraham, Co-Founder, weareCrank, Co-Author of Building the Agile Business

Download a copy of the report to learn more.

Contributing Authors


Sean Donnelly

Senior Research Analyst, Econsultancy

More reports from Sean Donnelly

Seán Donnelly is a Senior Researcher at Econsultancy. A strategic thinker with deep knowledge of marketing, Seán works on delivering industry-leading research, briefings and reports for the digital marketing sector.

Prior to this, Seán worked at Dublin City University (DCU) where he was responsible for industry engagement. In this role he led the delivery of over 150 digital marketing, ecommerce and elearning applied research projects with Irish and international businesses.

Seán was at the forefront of digital marketing training in Ireland. He led a digital outreach project from DCU called Techspectations which aimed to increase digital participation in society. Techspectations delivered more than 15,000 seats of free digital marketing training through a syllabus of free digital marketing workshops and bootcamps at DCU Business School, attended by professional marketers and SME owners. In addition, Seán worked closely with Irish based technology companies to garner support and participation by having them deliver product specific workshops as part of the Techspectations programme.

Seán continues to work in education as a part-time lecturer on DCU’s MSc in Digital Marketing programme.



Steffan Aquarone

More reports from Steffan Aquarone

Steffan Aquarone is a UK entrepreneur in the film and technology sectors. At just 20 years of age Steff was a founding director of a Top 50 UK corporate film production company, working with accounts including Vodafone, Land Rover and American Express and executive producing more than 100 video projects.

He later joined video technology startup Buto, working with global clients including Freshfields, Amec, Tesco, Interflora and the London Olympic Games to host and deliver video content to audiences via the web.

Mobile payment app Droplet, which Steff cofounded in 2011, raised over £1.6m of venture capital in an attempt to do to payments what Skype did to phone calls.

Since then Steff has worked as a consultant for global brands like RBS, Waitrose and News Corp, specialising in film and media.

Steff is also an independent filmmaker whose most recent project was the feature-film ‘Tortoise in Love’, which was made in the village of Kingston Bagpuize in Oxfordshire. The film premiered in London’s Leicester Square where the red carpet was flanked by tractors and watched live by five million people.

Since taking over a busy pub in Norfolk aged 18, Steff has founded five startups. He leads Econsultancy's Best Practice Guides programme and delivers training to clients around the world.


Table of contents

1. Introduction

  • About Econsultancy
  • About the authors

2. Executive Summary

3. Foreword

4. The Context

5. The Value of Learning

6. How Marketers Approach Their L&D

7. Organisational Learning

8. How the Learning Landscape is Changing

9. The Future of Marketing

10. Biographies

11. Case Study: Looking Beyond Marketing and Traditional L&D

12. Appendix: Respondent Profiles

13. Appendix: Modern Marketing Manifesto

14. Further Reading


  • Pdf SAMPLE: Infographic: How Marketers Learn (447 KB PDF)
  • Pdf Disabled How Marketers Learn (1.71 MB PDF)

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