Teaching the Next Generation of Internet Marketers
It’s not news that marketing has made a huge shift to digital in the past 10 years. It’s also clear that many higher education institutions are still struggling to adapt their marketing curriculum to reflect the changing nature of the industry.
David Meerman Scott, author of The New Rules of Marketing & PR, finds it so bad, in fact, that last year he went so far as to call many marketing professors criminals because they weren’t teaching up-to-date material in their classes.
That is unfortunate, because in this economy, there is [a] demand for talented and educated Internet marketers. Simply Hired Job Trends, for instance, show that job postings with ‘Internet marketing’ in the title have increased 180% since November 2009, while ‘social media marketing’ has grown 301%.
However, today’s college graduates – particularly those in fields like Internet marketing – need more than just a general education. They need to have acquired the skills that will help their employers succeed.
Take a look at the job postings here on Marketing Pilgrim. Most of them identify very specific requirements for applicants – SEO, Social Marketing, Mobile, Email, E-Commerce, and Analytics. Employers want practical knowledge and the ability to implement immediately. And, with specific – and current – skills being not only in demand, but also near-mandatory in today’s marketing world, it’s essential that one’s education is based around those skills. Unfortunately, many traditional marketing courses – built around dated textbooks and calcified orthodoxy – are not.
|Marketing Pilgrim’s Social Channel is proudly sponsored by Full Sail University, where you can earn your Masters of Science Degree in Internet Marketing in less than 2 years. Visit FullSail.edu for more information.|
However, that certainly does not mean that Internet marketing cannot be taught in a formal educational environment. Chris Thompson wrote about this compellingly in his post on learning SEO at school. Successfully teaching Internet marketing does requires innovation, though.
Full Sail University provides more relevant education to the next generation of Internet marketers by letting go of the need to keep doing things the way they’ve always been done. Innovative education not only engages students more effectively, but also ensures that what they’re learning is what’s relevant in the workplace.
This means abandoning the old textbook-lecture approach and replacing it with something that facilitates knowledge-building in a more meaningful way. Doing so requires:
- Educators who are willing to do the hard work of staying current in their discipline.
- Changing the core philosophy that educating today’s students can take place the old way.
- A willingness to use non-traditional learning materials like blog posts, videos, podcasts, games and other more current information instead of relying on out-of-date textbooks.
- Institutional flexibility in permitting curricula to be adjusted as necessary to reflect the current environment.
For instance, the faculty of the Full Sail Internet Marketing Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees take a very practical, real-world approach that allows students to not only learn marketing concepts, but also to build strategies and see tactics in action. In these online programs, lessons, discussions and assignments are adapted frequently to reflect the rapid pace of change in the industry, and the educators have embraced the fact that teaching in today’s world means being innovative and creative.
Companies don’t just need Internet marketers, they need marketers who can make an impact from day one. Unfortunately, only a small minority of educational institutions are equipping graduates with the real-world skills employers need. By improving and innovating the educational approach to contemporary marketing, institutions can produce a better outcome for themselves and, most importantly, for their students.
Rob Croll is Department Chair for the Internet Marketing Bachelor’s degree program at Full Sail University, and the Course Director for Search Engine Optimization there. He also owns Marlannah Digital Marketing, a consulting firm that works with small- to medium-sized businesses and non-profits. Rob was named one of the Top 100 Marketing Professors on Twitter and has had numerous articles published both online and in print on a variety of Internet marketing topics. You can follow Rob on Twitter @FullSailUpdates.