The discipline of Marketing and Communications has changed more in the past 10 years than in all of the previous 100 years and most marketers are woefully unprepared to deal effectively with the new online paradigm. Prior to our dependence on the Internet to conduct business, marketing professionals had to be good at two things: effective communications and managing logistics. However, now to be good at marketing you need to have an understanding of computer programming and networking. I'm not just making this up, Gartner Research predicts that by 2017 the Chief Marketing Officer will be responsible for more technology spending decisions than the Chief Information Officer and that many organizations are already creating positions such as "Marketing Technologist" and "Chief of Digital" ("The Rise of the Digital CMO" - Harvard Business Review). The digital tide continues to rise and the boats of knowledge most marketing professionals rely on are sinking.
I've spent my whole marketing career (15 years so far) working for companies in the software and web development space so fortunately I was forced to become digitally savvy, but I'm still learning something new every day - And I literally mean every single day. There's is so much more that I should know when it comes to programming, mobile, CSS, and human interface design to name a few. It can be overwhelming at times and just when I think I'm getting a handle on things something new comes along that I need to plan for. A career in marketing these days is tenuous at best - The days are long and lives are short. If you're having creative problems I feel sorry for you son, but I got 99 problems and crafting witty messages aint one.
In many cases 50% of my job is education - Marketers and business owners I deal with know they need to be doing a better job with digital but they don't know how or what. The most difficult type of persons I come across are those that know a little bit about digital because they've updated their previous website a few times using Dreamweaver and ran a Google AdWords campaign back in 2005. Sorry, but you're no digital expert. You can't claim to be a fireman if your only experience putting out a fire is when you go camping. The digital world is full of fires and they're spreading, so you need to be prepared not arrogant. This might sound harsh but I just don't want to see you get burnt.
So how do you become prepared? Get digital training. There are lots of resources available online for marketers looking to evolve with the times. Deep Dish Digital offers online marketing workshops but if you prefer to learn at your own pace then below are some sites you should check out:
Online Marketing Institute - Founded in 2007 in conjunction with the Online Marketing Summit, OMI has educated marketing professionals on digital marketing for over 5 years. This organization is a personal favorite of mine and I have attended a few of their events and they also offer a lot of online courses.
Hubspot Inbound Marketing Blog - Although Hubspot is ultimately a marketing software company that wants you to buy their product, they offer terrific digital marketing resources such as e-books, guides, infographics, and educational articles regarding the latest trends. I also highly recommend the book, Inbound Marketing, that was authored by the founders of Hubspot.
Treehouse Training - Affordable technology education regarding website design, app creation, and running a business. Most training is provided via video instruction and they have hundreds of courses to choose from. A good friend of mine recommended this site since he has used it himself to brush up on his programming skills.
University of San Francisco (Online) - This school offers a number of certificates regarding internet marketing. They are pricey but the courses are very in-depth. I know of a few people that have taken online courses through this school and all spoke highly of them.
At the end of the day you can't fight the future so you may as well equip yourself in order to determine your own fate instead of leaving it for others to decide. A favorite saying of mine is "the best way to predict the future is to invent it". Knowledge is power. Thanks for reading.