Digital marketing has come a long way since 2009, the year I was seduced by the Digital Side of the Force.
Awareness has increased dramatically. Agencies, publishers, media houses and ad networks are all working to educate advertisers about digital marketing.
And digital marketing is the first port of call for India’s burgeoning startup industry.
But for some reason, digital spends are yet to cross 10% of India’s total ad spends.
More and more, I’m beginning to believe that we need to swim upstream (thank you, Dave Trott) to solve this problem.
And, looking upstream, I feel the problem lies with the talent pool the digital marketing industry taps into: it’s too small, and not educated enough.
Every single one of us that moved into digital marketing from mainline learnt the same way — on our own, and on the job. Devouring all the content we could find; experimenting with design, UI and UX; testing and retesting content strategies on social media; and never believing we knew enough.
Because of the rapidly changing nature of technology, what we learnt last year is obsolete this year. Even today, I find it difficult to identify courses that could broaden my understanding of our industry.
The challenge is great…and so is the opportunity. Senior industry folk suggest that digital marketing education is a multi-hundred-million-dollar industry just waiting to happen.
It’s time educational institutions retool their curricula to focus on digital marketing. Working independently, as well as with industry stakeholders. They’re also going to need to constantly refresh their curricula to keep in tune with changing trends.
I know some institutes have begun to do this. Before I moved to Gurgaon, I used to visit the Northpoint Institute of Learning regularly for sessions on digital marketing. They’ve since added a Digital Marketing specialisation to their Post-Graduate Programme, and I’m proud to say that I consulted with them on planning that.
I’m yet to see institutes like SIMC and MICA adopt such programmes. And if any of their management is reading this, you should know that the lack of well-trained graduates is hurting us.
It’s not just new graduates that need the education. There’s a huge amount of room for executives in ad agencies, media agencies and marketing teams to learn more about digital marketing.
Because until these young professionals have the education, the industry won’t have the evangelists it needs.
The good folks at Udemy, one of the world’s most popular online education platforms, have an offer for readers of What Is An Insight?
The first 50 people to sign up for their Online Marketing Crash Course and use the coupon code WHATISANINSIGHT will get the entire course free.
The course itself seems pretty robust, covering everything from the basics to engagement, social media, content strategies, blogging and analytics. I think it’s also useful for small-business owners looking to get started with digital marketing. Sign up for the course here.