The Covid-19 pandemic came as a shock to the world, and especially to those of us in the marketing and communications industries. Global events like these create unique learning opportunities – and there are numerous ones available online.
From watching YouTube videos (e.. How to Market a Business Using YouTube) to learning (e.g. YouTube SEO Best Practices) to creating our own courses (e.g. Marketing Essie Awards 2020) – the world of online learning opens up a huge array of possibilities. And, perhaps more importantly, it allows us to learn at our own pace.
This is especially relevant for those of us in corporate careers who may feel restricted by our internal departments on what we can and can’t learn. With online learning, there are no limits – you can learn what you want, when you want, where you want, and at your own pace.
Why Should You Study Marketing and Communication?
Let’s be honest – if you’re reading this, then you probably already know that marketing and communications play an important role in your life. You probably interact with marketing and communications content every day, whether you’re aware of it or not.
Take a look around you right now. Do you see any marketing and communications content that wasn’t created for advertising purposes? Probably not. Every piece of content you read, whether it’s an online article or a tweet, was created with a marketing and communications goal in mind.
This is important because, as a marketer or communicator, you will have to understand the different aspects of marketing and communications – including psychology, sociology, and marketing analytics – to be able to create content that truly connects with your audience. Only then can you truly call yourself a successful marketer or communicator.
The Basics of Marketing and Communications
If you’re relatively new to the field, then it may be a good idea to study the basics of marketing and communications first, before diving into in-depth studies of the various subdisciplines. This was my own approach, and I recommend it to anyone who is just entering the field. Plus, it will give you a better understanding of what is entailed in each course you take, which will hopefully make things easier for you in the long run.
To that end, here is a basic overview of marketing and communications, along with pointers on how to effectively study the field:
Marketing can be described as the process of communicating with potential customers in order to move them from one state to another – e.g., from ‘interested’ to ‘customer’, or from ‘potential customer’ to ‘valued customer’.
The primary goal of marketing is to create interest amongst potential customers in the products or services you offer – in other words, to get them to ‘know, like, and trust’ your brand.
To achieve this, marketers usually follow a set of standard procedures, which include establishing a brand identity, creating brand awareness, measuring brand perception, and identifying potential customers. In practice, this means creating content (e.g., blog posts, product descriptions, social media posts, etc.) that speak to your ideal buyer – be it a specific group (e.g., millennials, Gen Z, or digitally native consumers) – or individual (e.g., women, or men between the ages of 35 and 54).
Communication is often described as the process of passing on information between individuals or groups. While this seems simple enough, the field is incredibly complex and canvassed into two distinct subfields – content marketing and social media marketing.
Content marketing is all about creating and distributing content – be it an article, a video, or a podcast – that is designed to attract, engage, and inspire audiences. This content is typically created with the goal of affecting the minds of the target audience – i.e., inducing them to take some kind of desired action (e.g., make a purchase, fill out a form, subscribe to a newsletter, etc.).
Social media marketing, at its core, is all about building and engaging with audiences through social platforms – e.g., Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter – in order to increase brand awareness and drive traffic to your site. Additionally, many marketers utilize social media to distribute content in real-time, which makes it similar to marketing.
As you can tell, these are extremely broad fields, with many options and combinations of options available to marketers and communicators wanting to specialize in these areas. That being said, if you are new to this field, then it may be a good idea to focus on learning the core principles before exploring the many specialized options available out there. Otherwise, you may find yourself drowning in acronyms and technology jargon, with no real idea of how to effectively apply what you know.