Ohh college, the wonderfully stressful four (or more, I’m not judging) years that you spend pounding as much information into your head as physically possible. Or at least I did, but I am a self professed lover of school and learning. I loved my time at college, and while I did find my marketing degree wildly valuable, I wasn’t taught everything I wish I had known before entering the job market. Especially the market I dove on into: digital marketing.
The facets of digital marketing
As the marketing field moves more and more digital, it would make sense if your education reflected this change, right? You would think that would be the case, but unfortunately curriculum changes in universities aren’t changing at a fast enough rate to keep up with the continually evolving digital marketing world.
Personally, my classes tended to take a high level overview to digital marketing, minimal time was spent in the minutia and the different facets of the industry. It took until I was looking at jobs at agencies my senior year to really discern what the different arms of digital marketing were. This is a very similar experience that many of my coworkers had as well, most of whom graduated with marketing degrees or something similar in business.
The National Association of Colleges & Employers agrees with this sentiment. In their most recent survey, they found that in most of their data point collections of “readiness” that employers ranked their proficiencies at less than 50% on five of the eight collected data points.
I find this to be concerning from both a hiring perspective, and a training perspective. As a former broke college student, getting a post-graduation job was very high on my list of priorities, however, when looking at agency jobs, I didn’t know what a job in SEO, or Ads, would even entail. Which is wildly unfortunate, because these are often the positions that companies are trying to hire for.
I personally would have loved an overview class in college on these less “sexy” sides of digital marketing. Just because it’s not social media, does not mean it’s not something people wouldn’t want to learn about. I personally am a huge fan of SEO, and content creation. These click with my brain far better than doing any sort of social media ever has, and having a solid educational foundation in them before graduating would have been enormously helpful when looking for a job in the first place.
*deep breath* Rant almost over, hang in there with me folks, I’m not done with this soap box yet.
At some point in your career, we all will have to train someone new to your company. Universal truth to having a job right there. Now, as much as HR tries to hire the best person for the position based on prior experience, skills, etc. you’re always going to have an entry level employee who needs a massive amount of training.
Why? Because while they may have a degree in marketing, data analytics, business management, whatever, they don’t have the skills required to fully do their job (This was me, not ashamed to admit it). Providing this training is all fine and dandy, but wouldn’t it be so much better if a full course on SEO or Ads didn’t have to be taught to every new person? Changes in curriculum would help these problems significantly, ultimately saving companies time and money.
Tools of The Trade
Think with me for a moment, what are the tools you use most at your job? Mine are a nice mixture of of Ahrefs and WordPress. My knowledge of these tools before working at an agency? Non-existent when it came to Ahrefs, and workable beginner knowledge when it came to WordPress. My first few weeks at my job were essentially a massive crash course in Ahrefs, WordPress, and other tools I would have to use around the office. Thinking back on this, I can’t help but wonder just how much more successful I could have been in my position if only I had had a wider bank of information on these tools.
After polling the co-workers, the general consensus is that they would have paid good tuition money for a comprehensive course in Google Analytics, the full Adobe suite (not just photoshop), a general basic coding class (think applicable to WordPress), and a myriad of other tools that would make this list never ending. I personally would have found any one of those courses far more interesting, and useful, than the multiple outdated marketing statistics courses I was required to take with my degree program.
The point I’m trying to make here is that learning marketing theories is great fun, and useful in it’s own sense, but in order to keep education relevant and actually helpful to grads it’s got to learn to adapt to what the industry looks like right now. Lets actually teach digital marketing.
Have more thoughts on this? Please reach out! I’d love to discuss. Are you still in school? Ask if these changes can be made, I guarantee you will not regret changing it up and gaining these skills.