We can’t stress enough how frequently the marketing landscape shifts. To reach evolving audiences with the most effective tactics and strategies, marketers must continuously adapt.
To reach evolving audiences with the most effective tactics and strategies, marketers must continuously adapt.
Even if you spent years obtaining a marketing, journalism, business, or communications degree, it may be time to start thinking about refreshing your education. While there are some great college and university programs offering continuing education programs, you don’t always need to hit the quad to renew your skills. We’ve put together a list of high-quality courses, certifications, programs, and opportunities to keep your marketing skills sharp and your mind always learning.
Courses, Certifications, and Programs
The American Marketing Association’s Certified Marketer program offers two tracks to help marketers advance their careers and take on new challenges. The Professional Certified Marketer® in Digital Marketing program asks marketers to grow and test their skills in metrics and conversions, social and community, email marketing, user interface and experience, online advertising, SEO, and content marketing. They offer approved courses through LinkedIn Learning that guide students to gather the knowledge they need to pass an online, multiple choice exam.
While the certification is good for three years, you must complete five continuing education units to keep your knowledge fresh. To prepare for the Professional Certified Marketer® in Marketing Management test, AMA offers a study package and a reading list. Once you pass, AMA has the same rules around renewal and continuing education. Achieving one or both of these certifications earns you the PCM distinction, which you can add to your title, and you’ll receive a certificate from AMA.
Content Marketing Institute runs the Content Marketing University to help marketers stay current on their education and training. The curriculum is comprised of six courses from thought leaders Robert Rose and Joe Pulizzi and includes more than 30 hours of content from other industry experts. This course was created not only for individuals, but entire businesses and departments. The beauty of this program is you can take the courses online, at your own pace. They offer summer enrollment starting in June.
This master’s program by Simplilearn uses four courses to guide you through eight important facets of digital marketing: search engine optimization, social media marketing, pay-per-click advertising, conversion optimization, digital analytics, content marketing, mobile marketing, and email marketing. This program offers a five-step process covering foundations of digital marketing, advanced web analytics, advanced PPC, and advanced social media in additional to optional electives including advanced content marketing, conversion optimization, mobile marketing, and email marketing.
More than 35 courses, totaling more than 250 hours lead you through these steps. Each course is live and led by an instructor. They offer sets of weekday and weekend classes beginning on different dates and times throughout the year, so you can take them at your convenience. You'll also receive access to recorded courses if you prefer that format. Once you enroll in the program, you’ll have access to the courses for an entire year so you can complete the program at your own pace, making it an attractive option for ever-busy marketers.
Once you complete the course, you’ll be the recipient of a masters certificate for a digital marketing specialist. The course is $1499 and comes with an iPad Mini, so you can learn wherever and whenever the motivation strikes.
This six-course specialization from Coursera, guided by industry experts, helps marketers dive into the current digital marketing landscape. It’s part of the University of Illinois Masters of Business Administration degree program, and you’ll receive certificates for display on your resume and LinkedIn following completion. The courses include:
- Marketing in a Digital World
- Digital Analytics for Marketing Professionals: Marketing Analytics in Theory
- Digital Analytics for Marketing Professionals: Marketing Analytics in Practice
- Digital Marketing Channels: The Landscape
- Digital Marketing Channels: Planning
- Digital Marketing Capstone
Each course takes four weeks of study at 8-10 hours of study per week, except for the capstone, which combines all the knowledge in the course through a real-life application project and takes six weeks of study at about 5-7 hours of study per week.
Google offers the Google AdWords Certification so marketers can measure and share their expertise in the platform. Those looking to get certified must pass two of six AdWords-related exams: AdWords Fundamentals, Search Advertising, Display Advertising, Mobile Advertising, Video Advertising, and Shopping Advertising.
Once you sign up to become a Google Partner, Google will share study materials and the exams. After passing the exams, you receive a certificate and a Partner’s public profile. Obtaining this certification helps prove your digital marketing prowess, building trust among colleagues and decision-makers on your team.
If you want to boost your knowledge in social media, Hootsuite is your go-to guide. Hootsuite Academy offers courses, certifications, team trainings, and blog posts to keep you not only up-to-date, but ahead of the social media game. Two of their trainings are free for anyone to take: Hootsuite Platform Training—consisting of three courses—and Social Marketing Training—consisting of six courses.
These provide the skills necessary to effectively use social media for business and carry out your strategies using the Hootsuite Platform. After taking those courses, you can take the subsequent certification exams at a cost. The other three certifications, each with their own training track, include Advanced Social Media Strategy Certification from Newhouse School, Social for Health Care Certification from Mayo Clinic, and Social Selling Certification.
These trainings expand beyond the basics and into specific, more advanced tactics. If you choose to utilize the team trainings, Hootsuite offers three options to choose from, so you can pick the style that best suits your team. The options are: on-site, in-person, live, web-based, and self-guided online training.
For a more flexible, fluid way to stay current on your social skills, check out Hootsuite’s blog posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and video marketing. You can find landing pages featuring a list of posts that fit each topic on the Hootsuite Academy page.
Whether you’re new to inbound marketing or an avid HubSpot COS user, we’re confident you’ll find value in one or many of HubSpot’s 10 certification programs. HubSpot coined the term inbound, so, naturally, the Inbound Certification is the go-to first step to learning how to leverage (or improve your) inbound tactics.
Anyone can take that certification for free, as well as the email marketing, inbound sales, content marketing, growth-driven design, and HubSpot design courses. They’re designed to give you a detailed overview and best practices for each of these commonly used marketing strategies. If you’re a HubSpot customer, you may want to consider the sales software, marketing software, and contextual marketing certifications.
These courses will teach you how to use elements of the HubSpot platform, including the marketing and sales software, CRM, COS, as well as the features held within, including Smart Content. HubSpot Partners are encouraged to take the Agency Partner certification to better serve their clients using HubSpot. Each certification includes a set of videos and a test to close out the course. Some certifications include quizzes along the way and others require a practicum at the end to demonstrate your ability to apply the tactics you’ve learned to your own marketing.
Certifications range from 1.5 to 13 hours from start to finish. With each certification, you’ll receive a certificate and a badge you can put on your website and/or LinkedIn profile.
Lynda.com from LinkedIn offers more than 3500 courses in marketing, photography, video, web, education, design, business, and more. They operate on a subscription basis, so you can enjoy access to their entire library, expanding your knowledge on a variety of topics. Learning Paths help you navigate through their extensive library. These are pre-selected tracks to guide you through your expertise and include titles like Become a Digital Marketer, Become a Content Strategist, and Stay Competitive Using Design Thinking. Tracks vary in length, from 9 to 72 hours. Subscription packages start at $19.99 per month.
Iconic academic institution Harvard recognizes the consistent evolution of the marketing landscape. That’s why they offer programs to keep marketers current and competitive in their expertise. Currently, they offer three industry-relevant programs: Digital Marketing Strategy, Marketing Strategy, and Essential Management Skills for Emerging Leaders.
The Digital Marketing Strategy program, which takes place on the Harvard campus, is a five-day, intensive led by the founder of Twist IMC, Nicole Ames, and the former head of growth at HubSpot Labs, Sam Mallikarjunan. The program covers topics including the customer journey, social media strategy, inbound marketing, SEM, ROI, and building digital communities. The course costs $5,495.
The marketing strategy course is shorter and more budget-friendly at two days and $2,700. During the course you’ll learn how to develop and execute marketing strategies that drive results. You’ll discover how to maximize ROI and utilize new communication channels. The instructor is Tony Gallo, partner at HawkPartners LLC.
The third offering is intended to guide new managers to build their skills in six key areas of business: leadership, strategy, communication, finance, marketing, and culture and innovation. The course is presented over the course of three months with two virtual modules and one, four-day on-campus module. Five instructors lead the course including Steven D. Cohen who holds faculty appointments at Harvard, the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, and the University of Baltimore, and Taz hussein, partner in the Bridgespan Group.
10. MOZ ACADEMY
Moz Academy is a great option for marketers looking for up-to-date, short videos on inbound marketing, SEO, link building, content, social media, local marketing, and Moz products. More than 50 videos, led by market leaders and enhanced with visuals, refresh your understanding of best practices. Available videos include Measuring Social Engagement, Advanced Content Promotion, How Google Local Works, Elements of a Links, and Understanding the Marketing Funnel. Videos are typically under five minutes and are available for free.
Udacity offers nanodegree programs in the areas of robotics, artificial intelligence, programming, and more. These online programs are intended to help you develop the skills you need to succeed in a new job or industry.
Udacity collaborates with top companies, e.g., Google, GitHub, Facebook, to offer relevant courses led by experts in the field. One of their latest offerings, Become a Digital Marketer nanodegree program, is perfect for marketers. Udacity collaborated with big digital marketing players, including Facebook, Google, Hootsuite, HubSpot, MailChimp, and Moz to bring this program to you. Through the classes and coursework, you’ll develop a 360-degree view of the digital marketing landscape. Along the way, you’ll develop a portfolio of work that demonstrates your newfound expertise.
Some of the courses you’ll take include Marketing Fundamentals, Content Strategy, Social Media Marketing, and Email Marketing. You’ll work on eight projects, including Evaluate a Display Advertising Campaign, Search Engine Optimization Audit, and Run an AdWords Campaign. The nanodegree typically takes three months to obtain with 10 hours per week of study and is $999 to enroll. You don’t need any experience to begin the program and Udacity estimates you could make between $40K and $142K after acquiring a digital marketing position upon completion of the program.
While structured programs and professional certifications offer great value, staying current with top trends and continuing your marketing education doesn’t always require a label or certificate. Check out these ongoing, and mostly free, opportunities to refresh your knowledge.
12. ATTEND AN EVENT
Marketing events, from local networking happy hours to national conferences, provide the opportunity to learn with fellow marketers, in person. Through networking events you can meet with marketers and thought leaders, share strategies, and bounce ideas off one another. If you’re just starting out, these events are a great way to meet potential mentors.
Speaker events and conferences allow you to hear from thought leaders in the industry and learn about new tactics that may not be widespread, yet. Often, new marketing technologies are introduced at larger events, so if you want to be on the forefront of marketing tech, these events are a great way to get started.
Hearing different perspectives from a variety of influencers is one of the best ways to expand upon your own perspectives. A streamlined way to do this is to simply search for insights online. Consult a variety of sources. Search both for topics that you’re curious about and also take note of which topics come up frequently. Discover which tactics, trends, technologies, and strategies marketers are talking about (or simply not talking about, anymore). Build an RSS feed of your favorite publications (we recommend Feedly) and spend 30 minutes each day brushing up on your skills, staying current on marketing news, and learning something new.
Finding a mentor helps you learn from others who’ve been in the field for longer than you. They can guide you through the muddy waters of marketing and keep you up-to-date on the latest tactics. In return, you can provide a fresh perspective for them.
Building this type of professional relationship with someone in your industry can help ensure you’re always growing, always learning as a marketer. While blog posts, presentations, webinars, share the latest best practices, mentor-mentee relationships are a two-way street, so you can answer questions, offer ideas, instead of simply soaking up information.
While you can find mentors through your workplace, networking, and events, LinkedIn is another great space to locate a viable mentor. Use your connections to grow your network and communicate with other individuals through InMail and Groups. Once you find a good match, continue to develop that relationship and learn from one another.
Marketing organizations are another way to connect with individuals in your industry. By joining an organization, you often have access to events and resources that non-members may not have access to (e.g., member-only publications). Many organizations also offer first access and/or discounts to organization events. Through organizations you can connect to a community of marketers and build strong connections with other members. These events, publications, forums, etc., give you the opportunity to hear and share marketing knowledge with others committed to staying at the forefront of your industry.
Podcasts are a welcome departure from reading publications and newsletters, yet they offer the same frequent dose of best practices in a reasonable amount of time. Ranging from five minutes to one hour, you can choose how long you want to spend brushing up on the latest tactics. Podcasts often offer a healthy dose of opinion, best practices, and commentary to keep you up-to-date on your marketing. Podcasts, like newsletters, often publish on a scheduled basis, so you’ll receive new insights consistently, whether it’s daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly. As with newsletters, we recommend listening to a variety of podcasts for a wide range of insights.
In addition to perusing relevant publications for new information, signing up for marketing newsletters will provide a consistent stream of information coming to your inbox. When a company writes about a new best practice, strategy, or piece of news, you’ll hear about it before having to actively seek out that information. Often, companies will select their most relevant pieces for inclusion in their newsletters, prioritizing content for you. In a noisy content landscape, this is an incredibly helpful feature. Subscribe to a variety of publications to stay well-versed in all areas of marketing and your specific industry. Every once in awhile (we recommend once per year) take stock of your subscriptions and filter out any stale ones and add in some fresh perspectives.