Online Marketing Training: Are you in danger of becoming obsolete? #keeplearning
Is your employer giving you access to the training that will keep you from becoming irrelevant?
You need to beware. There are new generations coming through the ranks behind you who are better able to understand digital behaviour than you are.
It’s true; the adage that, for a today’s kids, a newspaper is an iPad that doesn’t work was brought to life for me recently when I saw my cousin’s two year old trying to swipe their TV. And, by the way, if you think by new generations I’m talking about you, I’m not. Even if you’re in your late teens, early twenties now, each progressive generation is more sophisticated a digital native than you are.
Do get me wrong. I’m not saying that these youngsters have any understanding of marketing in the digital environment. You, with your experience in analytics, PPC, SEO or whatever are clearly more proficient at that than they could be without any experience. What I am saying is that they intrinsically understand the psychology of online behaviour better than you.
For us, those who are working in digital now, our understanding of social and media interaction is different from those who have been interacting with people and media online since their neurons began creating the connections that form their consciousnesses. Whereas we more mature marketers have to think deeply to put ourselves into the minds of the digital consumer and guess how they respond to stimuli, these bright young things instinctively understand.
These kids have an important advantage over you. Their natural understanding of online behaviour gives them the ability to look at the way we market online from a different perspective, and I suspect are more practiced at grasping new technologies than we are.
Think about it. The Walkman took around 10 years before it became obsolete, and during that time it did change much… it took MySpace two years to go from market leader to nostalgic obscurity and now brands and products like Facebook, iPhones, Google have to have insanely fast update cycles to stay current. For those growing up in this environment of hyper-change, they are just better adapted to it.
Just look at the likes of online youth broadcaster, Jamal Edwards, who began as a teenager with a Handycam and a YouTube account and now runs a highly recognised broadcasting brand with 50+ million YouTube views and tens of thousands of subscribers, Facebook fans and twitter followers.
Then there are the likes of Jack and Finn Harries, aka JacksGap, who purely by posting content that their audience loves have a YouTube channel with a subscriber count big brands would pay millions to achieve.
The truth is that these days the 12 year old on your street is probably more able to create a following online than most marketers above the age of 30.
I still talk to people, working in marketing, who think Twitter is a waste of time, rather than one of the most powerful ways to build profitable audience that exists today. I hear Google+ is a waste of time all the time. My most hated statement, coming from all too many who call themselves online marketers, is something along the lines of ‘a blog is just not right for this brand’. Honestly there is no brand, commercial or personal, for which a platform to communicate with an audience is not ‘right’.
Those who think like this are going to become in the words of Eric Schmitt talking about authorship ‘irrelevant’. If you do understand by now the importance of these platforms, and are working in digital marketing, believe me, you are in serious trouble. Another scary thing to remember is that these youngsters are going to be much cheaper to employ than you.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that we can protect ourselves against this threat. The solution is very simple… keep on training. The knowledge you accumulated gives you the basics – the people handling skills, commercial understanding and the insights and experience that you can only get from ‘doing’ marketing gives you your own advantage. Understanding that just because you can do something cool does mean that you should do it if, for example, it does hit commercial objectives is something that has to be learned!
We need to keep on building our experience-based knowledge through learning from those that are working at the multi-faceted coal face of digital marketing. We need to listen to them and tap the data-backed knowledge they’ve discovered that allows for the creation of digital strategies that work.
My advice to you then is that whether you working client-side or agency, start demanding training from your employers. There are loads out there; OMN has even started running a series of #keeplearning Masterclasses – training sessions with the industries top professionals to assist London’s digital community in staying at the top of their game. eConsultancy is excellent. I’ve heard great things about CIM courses.
What are you doing to stay up-to-date and relevant in our industry of hyper-change? Feel free to leave a comment below and let us know.