My Focus on Design

Screenshot of the Information Governance Maturity Evaluator I created for records managers.

The “ARMA” Thing

In order to market my services, I need an audience. I’m a freelance learning consultant and elearning developer. I don’t have a product FOR everyone so I can’t just market TO everyone. I need a niche. I need a well-defined target market. I’ve struggled with this audience question for a couple of years now.

Last year I had a great idea to target Enterprise Content Managers (ECM) or records managers. These people are corporate librarians. They are in charge of record-keeping. I joined ARMA (the Association of Records Managers and Administrators) hoping to gain some insight on how I could help this audience. I found some information on their website and converted it into this ‘thing’ — I call it the “ARMA Thing” — and I wanted to share it with records managers. I thought this ‘thing’ would be helpful to them and might even act as a lead magnet.

Screenshot of the Information Governance Maturity Evaluator I created for records managers.

The Information Governance Maturity Evaluator I created using information from the ARMA site.

But then I went to a few local events. I met some nice people. They told me that ARMA International is beyond most of their people. They told me ARMA International is in a utopian cloud of compliance and understanding. The locals need information products that are a lot simpler. Like, an explainer video called, “What is a Record?” The real basics.

I stuck with it for awhile. I went to another ARMA event a couple of months ago. The locals there were saying how their jobs are at risk. Rather than have professional librarians look after their organizations’ records, corporations are getting their IT departments to do this. Like them, I cringe at the thought of a business analyst designing the structured metadata lists for official corporate records. I feel for them.

I walked out of that ARMA meeting with a realization: The people are great, but my prospects here are slim. I failed. My chosen audience wasn’t going to work.

I also joined the Calgary Chamber of Commerce. Entrepreneurs are fun! They have lots of energy and drive. But the entrepreneurs I met own businesses that are too small to need my services.

While I’ve been trying to find a target market, I continue to learn about and cherish design. I love good design. I think we all do. Some of us notice it more than others.

Grey tone image of architecture.

Photo Credit: Luca Bravo, Unsplash

I started to think about DESIGN. No distinct ‘audience’ per se, but great design… in elearning, layout and communication, and in my everyday life. Suddenly my brain exploded with potential blog post topics, ideas, graphics, colours. Wow. Maybe, if I simply focus on design and share what I’ve learned about design, maybe, just maybe, I’ll attract clients who also love good design. And it gives me an excuse to learn more about design. Yay!

But without a well-defined audience, I rely on my contacts to forward my posts to people who they think will enjoy them. It’s only with grass-roots sharing that I’ll make myself known to potential clients.


My marketing efforts this year will focus on design. Good solid graphic design. Great layouts and quick-and-dirty lessons learned. Please help me by sharing this post and adding your name to my email list. I’ll send you my blog posts (which are infrequent, trust me) and I won’t share your precious email with anyone.

Learning more about design is what I’m up to this year. Are you interested? Let me know your struggles with design. What do you like — or absolutely can’t stand — about the designs you see everyday? Somehow, I’ll make it apply to elearning. I’d love to hear your ideas!

Jane Maduke
Instructional Designer, Learning Consultant, Elearning Developer, Narrator

Passionate about well-designed elearning that changes behaviour.

2 Responses to “My Focus on Design”

  1. Dawn

    I enjoyed reading about your experiences with finding your target market. I’m finding some of the same circumstances. I’ve also benefited from the quality voice work that you do. You have great talent in that area!

    • Jane

      Thanks so much, Dawn! I imagine many are in the same boat. How do we differentiate ourselves? How do we make *our* product more attractive than others’? Thanks for stopping by. Have a great weekend.

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