Are you a marketer and want to stay in your job? Then start learning. Now!
In the past extended vocational training was essential to keep up with the latest trends in marketing. In the future continuous training could be crucial to holding your job as a marketer at all. Here are some tips for compiling your curriculum.
Shortcut: If you want to jump directly to the list of free self-paced online courses which I want to take in 2018, here it is.
Lifelong learning sounds like a hackneyed saying. But if you have a job in marketing—especially in digital marketing—this sentence is more than a platitude. The marketing landscape is changing quickly. Marketers have to be quite adaptable. However, being not only up to date but even ahead of market trends could be a requirement for a marketing career in the future.
Marketers’ big challenge of tomorrow has arrived today
In March 2018 the marketing scene here in Germany was jolted by the news that Zalando—a big online fashion retailer with 15,000 employees, operating in 14 European countries—plans to fire 200 to 250 marketers. Algorithms and artificial intelligence will take over their jobs.
Marketing will become increasingly data-based in the future. Therefore we need a higher number of developers and data analysts.Rubin Ritter, Member of Zalando’s Management Board
Dealing with marketing automation every day, I assumed something like this to happen sooner or later. But I have to admit that this evolutionary step came sooner than I expected. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are the next big thing in marketing. At least it seems that this is not just a marketing buzzword hype but the obvious next step of the marketing automation evolution. Thinking that the “automation” in marketing automation wouldn’t go further than having a machine send a series of pre-scheduled emails would have been naive.
Is this a bad thing? I think: No. Marketing automation has the potential to become a central element in a company’s growth and profitability strategy. Adding machine learning, predictive analytics and other algorithm-based features means that marketers will have a lot of new possibilities in the future.
But of course there are negative aspects, too. Dealing with privacy concerns in a responsible way is a big challenge in this context. The Cambridge Analytica affair on the one hand and the very strict—and almost unrealistic—rules of the upcoming European GDPR on the other hand illustrate the wide spectrum of ethical and legal issues that come along with data driven marketing.
The key to be (and stay) a marketer in the age of automation: knowledge and the right skills
Automation of any kind can be a job killer. The evolution of industrial automation illustrates what might be in store for marketing employees. Rather simple, repetitive jobs are the first ones to disappear in such a scenario. More demanding and complex jobs might follow. If you are currently working on the digital assembly line, it’s high time to take charge of your career.
I don’t want to catastrophize. Will every marketer’s job be subject to negotiation? Certainly not. Will certain types of jobs in marketing—even some “modern” ones—become extinct during the next few years? Yes, I guess that will be the case. Can you do something about it? Well, you probably won’t arrest the progress. But you can prepare.
This leads us to the question: Does the Zalando example imply that you need to become a developer, analyst or data scientist? No. Technology, data and analytics are marketing tools, but not the essence of marketing. (However, getting acquainted with a little bit of coding and applying appropriate analytical methods are two things I recommend to every marketer.) Certainly not every marketer’s job will be that of a marketing technologist. Marketing strategists, project managers and creative folks will still be required. But without proper knowledge of the conceptual and technological principles of data driven marketing, they won’t go very far. Algorithms will be part of tomorrow’s marketing teams.
So you better be prepared. Which leads us to the practical part of this article: Some suggestions for vocational training which you can start right now.
These are the things I want to learn in 2018
You can find a lot of great resources on the Internet if you want to upgrade yourr education. On the past weekend I did a little research. The result is a list of free self-paced online courses I want to take in 2018 (and probably well into 2019). I include the marketing and web design/development related ones in this article as an inspiration for your own curriculum.
Inbound marketing and marketing automation
- Several HubSpot courses and certificates
- Growth-Driven Design Certification (also provided by HubSpot)
Artificial intelligence and machine learning
- Introduction to Artificial Intelligence (provided by the Stanford University via Udacity)
- Intro to Machine Learning (provided by the Stanford University via Udacity)
- Introduction to Deep Learning (provided by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
- Computability, Complexity & Algorithms (provided by the Georgia Institute of Technology via Udacity)
- Intro to Data Analysis (provided by Udacity)
- Analytics for Decision Making (provided by the Babson College via edX)
- Planning Change and Innovation (provided by the National University of Ireland, Galway via Open Education by Blackboard)
- Leadership in Digital Transformation (provided by openSAP)
- App Marketing (provided by Google via Udacity)
- User Experience for the Web (provided by Open2Study)
- Website Performance Optimization (provided by Google via Udacity)
- Building High Conversion Web Forms (provided by Google via Udacity)
- Intro to AJAX (provided by Udacity)
- HTML5 Canvas (provided by Udacity)
- Web Tooling & Automation (provided by Google via Udacity)
- Introduction to Node.js (provided by Microsoft via edX)
- Designing RESTful APIs (provided by Udacity)
Web server management
- Introduction to Linux (provided by the Linux Foundation via edX)
- Linux Command Line Basics (provided by Udacity)
- Configuring Linux Web Servers (provided by Udacity)
- Intro to DevOps (provided by Nutanix via Udacity)
- Introduction to DevOps: Transforming and Improving Operations (provided by the Linux Foundation via edX)
- Web Security Fundamentals (provided by the KU Leuven University via edX)
What are your plans for vocational training and broadening your mind? I’m curious to read your opinion on continuous training. Just use the social media comment links below to join the discussion.