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Home » OMN London Blog, Training

Online Marketing Training: Are you in danger of becoming obsolete? #keeplearning

Submitted by on August 22, 2013 – 1:29 pm 5 Comments |

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.

digital kids

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.

digital native kids

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.

young entrepreneurs

These guys want your job

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.


  • The great thing about online marketing is that to stay up to date, you are forced to keep learning, but you’re right there are a lot of very bright young folk out there who will have a natural understanding of online marketing and will probably get up to speed a lot quicker than the older generation.

  • Spook SEO says:

    Simply following sites like and is enough to keep you upto date of the things that are happening on the internet marketing niche.

    • Gus Ferguson says:

      Not sure I agree with you Spook… true, there is a LOT of great information on those platforms, but there’s also a lot of misinformation and assumptions too. Being able to interact with a real professional, ask questions, and go beyond the basics through discussing strategies and tactics in the content of your own specific challenges is invaluable learning IMHO that you cannot get from reading blog posts.

  • Its sad the way a lot of companies do not invest in their human capital through training opportunities. While it does cost and affect the bottom line, its really an investment. I’ve heard so many CEO’s say that if they train the people then the people will go find better jobs with that training.

    This may be true in some cases, but is it better to have a well training work force that understands your customer than people who just barely get by and do not give customers the service needed to maintain them.

  • The industry that is online marketing is so fast paced that you could possibly spend all your time trying to learn and keep up with it and not actually get any work done. Training is really important but looking at your business and delegating the right jobs to the right people is essential too. For most small businesses it makes a lot of sense to outsource to a reputable 3rd party.

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