Tell us about what your company does, who you serve and what value you bring to your clients as a solution provider.

CMKG is a training company that works in the retail and consumer packaged goods space. We provide on-demand online training, instructor-led virtual training, in-person classroom training, or a blended learning approach depending on our client’s unique needs.

What is the most exciting thing you are working on right now?

The most exciting thing we’re working on is developing virtual training programs for our clients. In 2020 due to the pandemic, we were in the same position as a lot of companies where we had to shift gears and turn our in-person classroom training and development into virtual training.

It wasn’t easy, as there are a lot of different elements to virtual training vs traditional classroom training. Clients still needed instructor-led sessions so we pivoted our classroom training (usually 2-3 days long) into virtual training programs conducted in Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and other platforms. I knew this transition had to be done with real rigor and new ideas. That’s why we approached the problem by going back to school ourselves.

We took virtual courses through a local university on how to translate our classroom lesson planning and training into a digital environment.  The biggest success factor in virtual training is to keep learners engaged through discussions, contests, breakout groups, role playing, quizzes and more.

Where do you feel you’ve been helping clients make the most impact during the pandemic? How have you adjusted to meet their needs?

A lot of our clients were realizing that they couldn’t run their classroom training anymore, so they were looking for a very quick turnaround, virtual kind of approach that they could incorporate into some of the training they needed to continue to do. Because we anticipated this need early in the pandemic, we were prepared to be able to offer them highly effective and engaging custom virtual training programs.

We’ve been working with our clients to develop one-off focused sessions or entire programs to teach their teams in virtual settings. The custom curriculum often includes our on-demand training courses as homework before the virtual sessions. In the virtual session we actually do analytics, create examples, and talk about the differences in their data and categories, so they can better understand how to apply the learnings in their work and bring it back to their desks. We’ve even started helping some clients convert their own internal IP and classroom training into online formats and microlearning tools so the learning keeps spreading.

How have you been helping clients adjust to new & growing omnichannel dynamics?

One of the things we challenge ourselves with at CMKG is continuing to develop hands-on and engaging training in the online space by offering relevant courses. In 2020 we developed new courses on things like changing shopper behavior during the pandemic, creating omni channel category reviews, and another one on running virtual meetings and developing virtual sales presentations.

When our clients ask about adjusting to new & growing omnichannel dynamics, we can create the lesson plan to help make their adjustment as successful as possible. It’s a model that has worked — clients have a need, and we do our best to develop it We’re always pushing forward with help from client suggestions and our own curiosity to develop bi-monthly training on the latest topics and trends.

Why did your company feel it was important to have a sponsorship presence at the 2021 CMA|SIMA Conference?

We’ve been a sponsor of the CMA|SIMA Conference since it started, but I think this one is particularly up our alley because we’re already in the virtual space; a majority of the training, assessment, and consulting we do doesn’t even take place in a classroom or meeting room. This conference is a great way to engage with our CMA member clients, and introduce some of our capabilities to them to really help them solve some of the problems with virtual training and learning in 2021 and beyond.

Tell us about the solutions and content you’ll be showcasing at the Conference this year.

We’ll be talking about our virtual training solutions in more detail, as it’s such a highly effective way to train teams in a way that brings together the online training component with the instructor-led component. We have a vast number of topics available, as well as different types of virtual training to meet different needs and timelines.

For instance, we have “just in time” learning for an immediate need that a client may have – perhaps a client might say: “The president said we need to be better storytellers, and we need to find training that will fit in a two-hour window.” We can do something like that “just in time” and turn it around very quickly.

Or maybe a client will need to create content for a national meeting, where they want to offer some engaging training in a live virtual environment. We can do focused, instructor-led virtual trainings or suggest topics based on the focus area of the meeting or presentation.

We also offer learning opportunities that are more spaced out and responsive. For instance, we have a customized Category Management foundations program that consists of an online component as homework, tied in with a series of virtual sessions that span over weeks or months. After completing their online course homework, we get together with the client in a virtual space to discuss what they learned, how it’s relevant in their business, and even work on creating relevant strategies or processes for them; then, they would take a few more courses and we’d repeat the process.

We’ve learned how to create and deliver custom curriculums that translate to real, concrete insights, and learnings that our client’s teams take back to their desks. Whether a CMA client needs help with CatMan foundations, presentations and storytelling, deriving insights from data and doing case studies or more, we can make the right lesson plan for them. Because of the great success we’ve had in adapting our classroom training to a virtual setting, we’re going to keep doing a lot of it even after we can teach in person again, as there are so many benefits not the least of which are flexibility and cost-effectiveness — all without sacrificing real learning outcomes

Learn more about the 2021 CMA|SIMA Conference.