While the ‘traditional’ or ‘offline’ path to marketing might involve spending a few years studying subjects like economics, business, or marketing, the option of ‘going digital’ has emerged. Allowing for a much greater degree of flexibility and a minimal amount of face-to-face interaction, modern marketing is defined by a digital approach.
In recent years, traditional marketing courses have seen a reduction in learning activities, with more emphasis being placed on theoretical knowledge and the learning of specific tools, platforms, and methods. As a result, marketing managers are feeling underprepared for their roles, and even entry-level professionals are struggling to find a marketing job that fits their skillset.
In response, marketing agencies, consultancies, and in-house teams have started to innovate by developing online marketing courses, with the aim of providing candidates with the knowledge and skills to excel in a digital marketing role.
What exactly is marketing training, and how can you gain the skills you need to succeed in a marketing role? We take a look at the various options available, and what you should be looking for in a marketing training program.
Traditional vs Digital Marketing
Traditional marketing is often perceived to be synonymous with ‘out-of-home’ or ‘out-of-store’ marketing. However, the methodologies and techniques of traditional marketing are evolving to reflect the growing digital presence.
The distinction between traditional and digital marketing is becoming less distinct. With the emergence of new platforms, such as social media, email marketing, online stores, and web browsers, traditional marketing is evolving to incorporate these new platforms.
The evolution of traditional marketing is important to note, as traditional marketers will increasingly have to adapt to new platforms and methods to be effective. An SEO specialist might have to adjust the approach they use for web content to fit the social media platform they’re using.
On the whole, traditional marketing is still important, as traditional methods such as radio advertisements, billboards, and magazine spreads will continue to be effective in 2019 and beyond.
Why Are Online Marketing Courses Popular?
In today’s world, the distinction between school and work life is blurring, with more and more people able to gain experience through online courses and the like. In the case of marketing and sales, a formal education does not guarantee you will succeed, but it certainly doesn’t hurt.
In a competitive job market, employers are looking for ways to differentiate themselves from competitors. While some of the following skills will be useful in any role, they are particularly valuable for marketing and sales professionals.
Digital Marketing Specialties Are Endless
As we’ve established, marketing is evolving to incorporate digital methods and platforms. What’s more is there is a wide variety of specializations within digital marketing. To name but a few:
- SEM (Search Engine Marketing)
- Content marketing
- Inbound marketing
- Social media marketing
As a result of this variety, it’s fairly common for candidates to find themselves job-hunting after completing a digital marketing course. There’s a need for specialized professionals in this area, and employers can’t seem to find enough people to fill their vacancies.
Flexibility And Job Seekers’ Pragmatism
One of the biggest appeals of online marketing courses is the flexibility they offer. With students able to study at their own pace, and at least part of the course material and assignments available on-demand, potential students have everything they need to be able to study anytime, anywhere. Additionally, with the ability to work remotely becoming more commonplace, remote marketing jobs are increasingly available, especially for those with a digital marketing background. And finally, the increasing use of automation in marketing and sales has meant that humans are not always needed to carry out the tasks, and so jobs in this area are less likely to disappear due to shifting technology.
Skills In Demand
Thanks to the flexibility of online marketing courses, it’s possible to gain a wide variety of skills and experience. Here are just a few of the most in-demand roles, and how to prepare for them.
Search engine optimization, or SEO for short, is becoming an ever-more important part of marketing, particularly in light of the increasing importance of SEO in a digital environment. Essentially, SEO involves getting your web content (such as blog posts, e-books, and videos) to show up in the most relevant search results when a potential customer searches for products or services related to your niche.
SEO is a valuable skill to have, whether you decide to go into competitive SEO, getting your website to rank for specific keywords, or doing SEO for clients. With SEO being such an important element of digital marketing, and competitive jobs becoming more prevalent, SEO specialization is a highly lucrative area.
In today’s world, content is arguably the most important form of marketing. Whether you’re creating a blog post to attract potential customers, or you’re curating a list of products to promote on social media, content marketing involves getting your message out to the world. Increasingly, brands are turning to content marketing specialists to help them develop marketing content to attract, engage, and retain customers.
As the name would suggest, content marketing is all about creating and distributing useful, relevant, and valuable content that will attract and retain customers and encourage them to take action.
The e-commerce specialist is someone who helps businesses sell their products online. While most people think of online stores and e-commerce platforms when they think of e-commerce, there is a lot more to it than that. With a business potentially having thousands of products available for sale online, the e-commerce specialist is someone who can help ensure these products are displayed and sold accurately, and that customers are able to make informed purchasing decisions.
E-commerce is a valuable skill to have, and a career in this area is likely to lead to a lucrative and flexible future.
Inbound marketing is all about creating relationships with potential customers, building trust, and encouraging them to take action.
Essentially, inbound marketing is all about attracting, engaging, and delighting potential customers so that they continue to be interested in your product or service, and encourage others to do the same.
This might include things like creating content that is valuable and useful to future customers (such as through a blog post), or actively listening and responding to comments on your social media accounts, or even sending out occasional newsletter emails. Essentially, inbound marketing is about attracting customers and encouraging them to become repeat buyers or to purchase additional goods or services from your business.
As a result of its importance, inbound marketing is a broad field, and there is a wide scope of job opportunities available. From content creation and marketing to sales and operations, inbound marketing is a very flexible option for those looking for a marketing career.
Skills That Are Useful
While the above roles are becoming increasingly in demand, this does not mean that all online marketing courses will make you employable. There are several more specialized roles that might not be as well-suited to those pursuing a career in digital marketing. Here are some examples:
- SEM (Search Engine Marketing)
- PPC (Pay-Per-Click Advertising)
- Affiliate Marketing
- VR Marketing
- Mobile Marketing
- In-house SEO
SEM is the process of getting traffic from the search engines to your website. A SEO might do this via inbound marketing techniques, but for those looking to specialize in SEM, it’s a useful skill to know.
PPC is an important element of any marketing plan. Essentially, pay-per-click advertising is when you pay money to have your ads shown when someone searches for your product or service. While search engine optimization heavily relies on keywords and relevant content, PPC relies on paying for ads that appeal to users.
Affiliate marketing focuses on gaining revenue by encouraging people to click a product or service link, buy a product, or enter a competition, and then getting a commission for what they do. Similar to PPC, affiliate marketing is all about getting the right potential customers to your website.