A lot of marketing professionals are thinking to upgrade their skill sets are constantly looking to get themselves trained in the much-celebrated field of digital marketing. Keeping the hullabaloo around digital marketing aside, Let’s look at if these courses are worth the effort. Are digital marketing courses worth?
Before deep-diving into the issue, let’s look at a few numbers and understand why digital marketing in the first place has emerged as a hot cake for marketers.
Scope of Digital Marketing
Digital has now taken up a significant portion of marketing budgets of MNCs and has emerged as a promising media form. The advertising spends are gradually shifting towards digital. In fact as per a report by Dentsu, digital now holds the 3rd biggest pie in the spends surpassing all traditional mediums except TV and print.
The rate at which digital advertising is expected to grow, the spending will surpass print very soon considering print is almost growing at a snail’s pace in some markets and de-growing in most.
Of course, with the ever-increasing number of connected devices – from smartphones to smart speakers, all connected to the internet, it is not surprising that the consumer and therefore the marketing budgets shift to digital. But Are Digital Marketing Courses Worth in reaching out to the digital consumer?
Digital Marketing Jobs Prospects
The above figures open up a pandora box of possibilities. Handling a completely new medium, new channels, new ad types require a new set of skill sets. The requirement of a new skillset has generated more jobs in the field across all industries and is on the rise.
In reality, the marketing function in most of the companies is still driven by experienced individuals who have proven themselves in marketing functions across industries and not necessarily exclusively into digital marketing. Therefore, the rise of digital marketing jobs is primarily into the entry and middle management.
Existing marketing professionals are looking to gain digital skills to avoid becoming obsolete. This has opened up a huge market for digital marketing training institutes with every institute granting jobs and of-course a certification in digital marketing. But the question still remains unanswered – Are Digital Marketing Courses Worth?
Digital Marketing Course Structure and the Dilemma
Digital Marketing as an area of study is vast, very dynamic and evolving. Unlike a traditional course that has well-defined topics to touch upon, the courses offered by different players have varying course content. And all of them are trying to create an offering with differentiation. e.g. Few course club the theory part with a live project, another course offered a pre-defined marketing budget to each candidate (which of course they change from the candidate himself) to create impact via digital marketing.
All courses, generally, touch upon the following heads:
- Content Marketing / Content Management: Website Building, Blog Management Tools.
- Search Engine Optimisation On Page / Off Page
- Traffic Management Tools – Google Analytics, Adobe etc-
- Search Engine Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Mobile Marketing
- Affiliate Marketing
- Growth Hacking
All the above topics are highly dynamic in nature and keep changing every day. e.g. A leading institute is still teaching students Google+ Marketing in a time when Google has shifted all its focus from Google+ and has closed the service.
Similarly, search engine optimization (SEO) which is a major part of most of the courses have algorithms changing every day. Today, something which was a good practice can turn into a violation tomorrow. This leaves a majority perplexed on which course to opt and how would it help them in their career.
The Basic Premise of the Digital Medium
Despite all the dynamic nature of digital marketing, one thing never changes which is that the digital medium always keeps the end-user in the center. As long as you keep on creating meaningful content at the right time, irrespective of numerous changes happening, your efforts will be there to stay.
It is almost impossible to outsmart Google with the kind of information they capture on the internet. So instead of focussing on things that we cannot control, publishers should focus on creating customer-centric digital content. Advertisers should stick to legit ways of reaching out to customers digitally. For example, a basic rule for e-mail marketing is that the sender should always provide an option to unsubscribe the newsletter if the user is not interested.
Are Digital Marketing Courses Worth?
Now let’s try and answer the main question in everyone’s mind – Are Digital Marketing Courses Worth? All courses are only helpful to give a complete picture of the digital landscape. Courses generally span 3 months to 1 year. All of them will give a basic structural understanding of what should be looked at. But, none of the courses can help if you in the long run if you just plan to take it once and not practice the tools.
Ideally, you can take up any course which fits your budget and time to get a basic understanding of the landscape. Google offers free digital training programs under the name – Academy for Ads. The best things in the world are free and so is the Google training platform. However, to be certified, you need to score a minimum threshold.
Post any certification or course, start a small blog. As most of the time digital marketing revolves around Google tools, we recommend picking Blogger (a Google Service) as it has all Google tools deeply integrated without any technicals involved.
Last but not the least, any certificate you obtain should be recognized in the industry by other professionals. Due to various courses available, hardly there are courses that have come up as an industry-standard except Google and Hubspot.
But none of the courses will come in handy till you practice the learnings. Learn SEO and try to optimize the little blog of yours. Practice Social Media Marketing and try to promote a Facebook page of the blog you created. Start a PPC account, create a campaign, spend some advertising money and learn. In the end, the blog, the page, the campaign created all might end up biting the dust and not sustain. But they will definitely leave with you knowledge of a lifetime which no course can match.
We hope this gives an idea Are Digital Marketing Courses Worth and will help you shape your career in the digital arena.