The Dow Chemical Company
Case Study: TorranceLearning creates elearning component of Dow Marketing University
Dow Marketing University: Combining the Best in Blended Learning
The Dow Chemical Company manufactures over 5000 products that are sold in approximately 160 countries. Dow employs 52,000 people worldwide. Dow’s diversified portfolio of specialty chemical, advanced materials, agrosciences and plastics businesses delivers technology-based products and solutions to customers in the electronics, water, energy, coatings and agriculture sectors.
The Business Need
With over 200 offices and manufacturing facilities in 37 countries, Dow has marketing staff located around the world. The company wants to ensure its marketing function presents a unified approach to marketing and that all marketers possess a common set of skills and foundational knowledge. Dow’s Commercial Excellence team had traditionally conducted training face-to-face. While these in-person sessions were very well-received, they were costly in terms of time and resources. What’s more, it was important to Dow that their geographically diverse staff are trained consistently and comprehensively.
The Solution: The Dow Marketing University
The Dow Marketing University (DMU) Advanced Curriculum was created to train marketers in the specific marketing tools and approaches used at Dow. “This curriculum is critical to our success, particularly in this time of significant organizational change for Dow,” notes Gary O’Neill, Dow Commercial Excellence – Talent Management.
DMU uses a blended learning approach that combines online courses with on-the-job coaching from managers as well as face-to-face, case-based skills application sessions with DMU faculty. Training begins with a series of self-paced, online courses on core topics such as channel strategies, branding, metrics, finance, pricing, sustainability, and marketing communications, among others.
The DMU online courses are divided into four clusters. After completing each cluster, marketers meet with their leader to discuss what they’ve learned and how to apply it on the job. Leaders provide individual coaching and assesses whether marketers are ready to apply what they’ve learned in their own businesses.
TorranceLearning designed and developed 10 of the 14 DMU online courses, working closely with subject matter experts from leading universities and from within Dow for each course to ensure high-quality learning content. Five new courses have been added to the curriculum since its roll-out, designed to meet the needs of a particular subset of the audience.
“The team we worked with at TorranceLearning has been able to pull out those most important pieces of information from our subject matter experts, and really ‘make it sing’ in the courses.” said O’Neill.
The online component of the DMU marketing curriculum provides the content area knowledge along with activities and suggestions for on-the-job applications. These interactive marketing courses include:
- Direct instruction in key topics, illustrated by real-world examples including scenarios of real and simulated marketing situations at Dow, and case studies illustrating other companies’ application of concepts and strategies and their results.
- Learning Journals in which marketers note key learning and complete required practice and reflective activities.
- Downloadable tools and supplemental resources.
- Engaging, high-end graphics and photos used to illustrate content.
- Professional voice over for audio components.
In addition to developing the online courses for marketers, TorranceLearning created a set of corresponding mini-courses aimed specifically at Dow’s marketing leaders. These courses provide content summaries and discussion guides for the after-course coaching sessions to help leaders assess marketers’ knowledge and application of the material.
The core marketing curriculum was completed in 2009 and is being used by marketers around the world. All Dow marketers who are enrolled in DMU are expected to complete the entire curriculum.
“The Dow Marketing University is a unique opportunity to upgrade our marketing skills while bringing the entire function together globally under a unified approach,” commented Gary O’Neill. “Feedback from learners has been quite positive so far. We’re looking to see the real impact of this learning as it is measured in our performance results in the years to come.”