10 critical things they aren’t teaching at university that digital marketers entering the field need to know.
I have had the opportunity to work at a local university managing the Digital Marketing department and while there (and have continued to have) amazing relationships with instructors and professors that teach business classes including web development, marketing, and digital marketing. There are some incredible educators out there who are pushing curriculum to ensure that students are entering the job market prepared, but there are still quite a few tactical things I think are important that Marketing students develop skills in, on their own time, outside of their formal education. Regardless of the field of marketing you hope to enter, Sales, Digital Marketing, Out of Home advertising, etc.. its critical that you have a foundation of knowledge relating to digital strategy. Every call to action involves digital integration.
Google Developer Console (Google API’s)
I recommend that anyone involved in any digital marketing career have a solid understanding of Google Developer Console (API & Services). Google transitioned quite some time ago from letting people freely utilize their data to requiring you to set up API keys. If you want to integrate things like maps into websites or apps it is critical that you understand how the service works. Even if you aren’t doing the development.
It’s important, even if you have no desire to do design work, that you can quickly create well designed content for marketing purposes. I can guarantee you, even if you end up working as a Marketing Specialist at a huge retail operation there will be a day when an image needs to be posted on social media in an hour and you dont have budget to hire a graphic designer, or the design team is overloaded with work. I recommend using canva.com (its free) and regularly developing your skills with it.
WordPress.com will let you setup a free “blog”. Not all businesses use WordPress as their website provider or platform, but I can guarantee they use a CMS (Content Managed System). It’s important to understand the fundamentals of content management systems, how they work on top of a database and what workflows look like when it comes to changing and adding content.
Video editing doesn’t necessarily happen all the time, or ever… But if you are in a marketing position you will most likely have to hire someone to create video content for you at somepoint in your career. Understanding how video editing works is important. You don’t need to be the next hollywood blockbuster producer, but understanding what video software looks like, the time it takes to render videos will help you with the revision process. If you want to avoid costly video download Lightworks. Lightworks is completely free video editing software that’s very powerful. Create a few vlogs with your phone and edit them there. Look up some tutorials on Youtube.
Web Development and Coding
You may not end up a web developer, but learning a little bit of code will make things drastically easier when you work with web developers on projects. Understanding the fundamentals of programming languages and CSS will make every website project you embark on easier to manage.
Project management is critical. Even if your title isn’t “Project Manager” or you don’t have a management role, everything in Marketing is a project, and all projects need proper management. There are several tools out there to learn the fundamentals of project management with (Jira, Asana, Monday.com, etc…). I’d recommend grabbing a book on project management atleast once, or 4 times and reading it through.
Measuring Attribution and Conversions
Everything needs to be measured. Understanding the return on investment of marketing and advertising campaigns is critical for every marketer. Understanding what a conversion looks like on a website, and how to accurately measure whether or not a campaign increased sales is very important. It’s a skill those hiring marketers love to see on their resume.
360 Marketing Execution
Know this term. Understand it and google the shit out of it until you understand it. Marketing campaigns need a 360 approach. What that basically means is that there are multiple communication channels all driving towards the same objective. They need to run in parallel and they need to be in sync. For example, a facebook ad campaign and a tv commercial need to embrace each other in the customer sales funnel.
Retargeting and Audience Segmenting
I’m combining these two, though they are drastically different. Understanding how to retarget customers who have purchased, or not purchased is critical in executing digital marketing campaigns. It is also important to understand how you can take data acquired from a CRM or website and integrate it into an advertising campaign.
CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
Managing a CRM means managing existing and prospective customer data and using it to communicate with them at the right time. Knowing how to effectively send emails to customers based on where they are in your funnel is critical. I recommend signing up for a free HubSpot account to test it out and get an understanding of how they work.