Recently I’ve noticed a surge in media stories focused on the lack of coding and computer related skills offered to high school and college students. Writers, reporters and bloggers opine at the sad state of education in the United States. They all allude to U.S. students’ handicap — many are uneducated on the “language of the future”.
I agree with a lot of what is written and reported, but I noticed that while there may not be a focus on coding at the high school level, there certainly is availability for training in the field once students reach post-secondary education. Most colleges, universities, and trade schools offer computer programming courses. But that does not represent the full picture.
A CEO’s Rally Cry for Digital Marketing Degrees
As the CEO of a digital marketing company, and a self-trained digital marketer, I started to wonder if there was a degree for what I do. So, I Googled “Digital Marketing Degree” and it returned approximately 59,400,000 results — I examined the offerings. The results were anemic.
I discovered two online colleges offering a version of a digital marketing degree and one brick and mortar school, The University of Michigan – Dearborn.
I understand that what I do, (i.e. SEO, PPC, SEM, SMM, etc.) isn’t rocket science. However, I do believe that it requires a high level of expertise to do it properly. I’ve been in the industry for over two decades and I am still learning new things. Only recently did I feel comfortable in affixing the term “expert” to my title when it came to my work across digital media.
Therefore, I would sound the rallying cry as loudly as the programming champions. We need to teach future marketers the skills and abilities that are essential to success in the digital marketing field.
Currently, we’re left to our own devices to learn the skills of the trade, and there is a serious lack of talent in the industry. For example, at our firm, we find it increasingly difficult to find talented individuals with the necessary expertise in digital marketing.
5 Reasons Why Digital Marketing Degree’s are Necessary
To remedy the situation, I propose five reasons why every college, university, and trade school in America needs to develop a digital marketing curriculum immediately.
Demographics are measurable and require a mastery of critical thinking.
Digital marketing allows marketers to know more about their target audience than any other marketing medium. If I were to put a billboard up on Interstate 5 in Los Angeles, I know that I’ll be targeting Los Angelinos during their commute. However, will I know how many men versus women see my billboard, or will I know the likes and interests of those commuters? The answer is no.
With digital marketing, marketers are able to target based on age, gender, interests, social status, and many more categories. The possibilities are endless and the level of targeting one can achieve is incredibly granular. The critical thinking and analysis of demographics is an essential part of any marketing campaign. If a marketer received this training beforehand, they would be better prepared for the tasks that await them.
Online analytics can tell marketers almost anything.
Metrics are simple to understand, but difficult to master. Would you believe me if I told you that I can see the behavior of an online shopper from the time he sees my ad, visits my website, browses my site, and finally purchases my product?
The truth is that I can see their behavior, measure it, and optimize my site for them. In fact, I can give customers a customized experience based on how they come to my website and what channel brought them to the site. Because of this, I can remove stumbling blocks from the buying process, I can remarket to those customers if they do not purchase, and I can create loyalty programs and incentives to win back customers who have previously purchased from me.
The best part of all of this is that most clients have no idea that I have this information. Many customers think it’s a coincidence that they’re seeing ads for a 10% off their next purchase after they’ve made a purchase on my site. The ability to read, understand, and optimize from analytics is a required skill for any digital marketer and requires training.
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