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19.04.2024: Training for data fans


Susanne Ullrich on 19 Apr, 2024

Are you in urgent need of further training in data analytics, but are unsure how to convince your boss? We can help you get your training approved so that you too can find the gems in your large data pile.

Inspired by a recent episode of the interesting English Marketing podcast “Nudge” on the art of persuasion, we give you six practical tips that will help you get the budget for your training. These strategies are supposed to support with the approval of your manager for your professional development. As we all know, in an age where technical knowledge is quickly outdated and the requirements of your job description are subject to a constant change, continuous development is not just a plus, it’s a necessity for your career.

Team Data Workshop

A specific training course in data analytics can sharpen your skills, open up new perspectives and ultimately strengthen your own position in the company. By gaining new knowledge, you not only remain competitive, but also increase your value as an employee. At the same time, this will benefit your manager, as you will be more motivated, bring new ideas to your daily work and ultimately feel more connected to your company.

So, take advantage of the following tips to not only enrich your professional career, but also to increase the innovative strength of your team and your company. You can listen to all the details about the persuasion effects and the studies behind them in this podcast.

1. Choose the right time

Various studies showed that people are more likely to agree to an obligation or task if it is further in the future. For example, if you have to do your tax return, you’d rather start tomorrow than today, right?

Take advantage of this tactic by choosing training that is a little further in the future – maybe even the quarter after next if your training budgets are allocated on a quarterly basis. Many training providers, such as us at HMA Academy, are now offering training courses for October and November.

2. Mark a fresh start with your training

In her book “How to Change”, Professor Katie Milkman reports that a fresh start date can help persuade people to take an action. This could be an anniversary, the start of summer or even a birthday, for example.

In one study, two test groups were asked to save money. The first test group was asked to start saving on March 20, while the other test group was asked to start saving at the beginning of spring. Guess who saved more consistently and more!? The test group with the fresh start date.

And here we are again with the approval of your training. Ask your boss whether you can carry out your training at the beginning of a new quarter (e.g. Q4) or directly at the beginning of the new year – as a “kick-off” for a productive new quarter or year.

3. Social proof: trainings work

This persuasion tactic seems very simple, but it is quite effective. It is about social proof, i.e. I do something because many others do it too and I therefore assume that it is good.

Example: You want to go out to eat and you have two restaurants with a similar menu to choose from that are next to each other. There is a large queue outside one restaurant and the tables are full. The other restaurant is open, but only one table is taken. Which restaurant do you think offers the better food? Surely the busy restaurant, right?

Professor Robert Cialdini has conducted a study to show how strong this effect is. In an experiment, he tested a variety of ways to get guests to reuse towels in hotels. The strongest message by far was “Most guests at our hotel reuse their towels.” – and had a far greater effect than the environmental aspect or the simple request to reuse the towels.

So how can you apply this tactic to your desired training? Here are two ideas:

  • Half of the employees inside our company regularly attend trainings. It seems that this is a good way to keep our company moving forward.
  • The Power BI training is always fully booked. As the demand is so high, I would like to get approval for it as soon as possible.

4. Ask the right question

No doubt you have already been approached on the street and asked to take part in a survey. An experiment in 2009 showed that pedestrians are more likely to stop if they are asked a convincing question beforehand. Instead of asking “Do you have 10 minutes to complete a survey?”, the introductory question was “Are you a helpful person? I would be interested to know how you would answer the following question…”

Of course, the self-perception of (almost) every person is to be helpful and friendly. It is therefore much more difficult to say “no” to such an initial question.

Desired actions are therefore more likely to be carried out if a suitable question is asked in advance. How can you apply this to your training? How about starting with something like: “Surely you’re interested in ensuring that we always deliver the best work performance, right? I have an idea of how I can significantly optimize my own work performance with training.”

5. Benefit from the endowment effect

You may have already heard of the endowment effect in marketing. This emotional phenomena refers to the fact that we perceive something as more valuable when we own it. This is not about physical possession in the narrower sense, but about having a perceived influence over a particular item.

For example, there was an experiment with two control groups who received lottery tickets: Group 1 had pre-filled numbers on their lottery ticket. Group 2 was able to choose the numbers on their lottery ticket themselves. The group of people who were allowed to choose the numbers themselves considered their lottery ticket to be 7 times more valuable than the group of people for whom the lottery ticket was pre-filled.

What do we take away from this for our training sessions? Give your manager a sense of ownership of your idea. For example, you could ask “Do you think your employees will gain new approaches and inspiration for their daily work by attending trainings?” or “What would you suggest I can do to improve my Tableau skills effectively in the shortest possible time?”

6. Use the positive example of others

This final tip refers to an experiment in San Francisco in which citizens were asked to donate to a local charity. The message was almost identical – except for one difference: The control group saw the additional sentence “Other people have already donated $400.” This sentence alone was so persuasive that the average donations of the control group were over two times higher than for the people who did not see this sentence.

How can you use this anchor for your own personal training needs? Don’t ask “Can I take part in the Project Management training?”, but instead, frame your question more broadly:

  • “My colleagues from the sales department took part in the project management training last quarter. When could I attend this training?” or
  • “Other companies allow their employees an average of 1-2 training sessions per year. How many am I allowed to do this year?”

Your perfect pitch for your boss

Based on all the tips we’ve just learned, your perfect pitch could look like this:

  • I have seen that there is a very exciting dbt training being offered for November this year.

  • As we want to get started with dbt right at the beginning of 2025, this would be good preparation for me.

  • The HMA Academy training courses are always booked out very quickly. I think we have to be quick so that I can still get a place.

  • I’m sure you’re also interested in the fact that we’re all very familiar with dbt, right?

  • There are two different courses: beginners and advanced. Which training do you think I should be on?

  • Our colleagues from the Controlling team recently successfully took part in the advanced dbt training course. I think now is a good time to bring this knowledge to our department.

Of course, the specific wording must suit you and your personality. Allow your creativity to flourish.

We wish you success with the approval of your training – and would of course be delighted to welcome you as a participant at one or more HMA Academy training sessions 🙂

What is the HMA Academy?

With the HMA Academy, we prepare you to get the most out of your data! Our practice-oriented training courses are aimed at marketing managers, sales experts, data analysts and other people who either already work with data on a daily basis or wish to make data-driven decisions in the future.

Our training courses are unique for their practical relevance. All of our trainers are also consultants or managers at Hopmann Marketing Analytics. They advise well-known companies on optimizing their data on a daily basis and therefore have an enormous wealth of knowledge. We are happy to share this knowledge with you in our workshops.