The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.Albert Einstein
Recently I saw a Facebook post on a local marketing group about the best online marketing courses or where to get an accredited diploma.
Obviously, I added a comment recommending CXL Institute minidegrees as a better foundation going into this field.
But this made me think. Do these courses help you get a better job?
Let me tell you a story.
A few days ago, I saw a post from Peep Laja saying that he’s looking for a marketer for Copytesting. A new company that combines copywriting testing and data analytics.
I definitely would love to work with Peep, so I recorded a 2-minute video mentioning 2 things: I thrive on direct, brute feedback because I am a self-thought marketer and that I was doing the Growth Marketing degree.
I didn’t mention anything about my experience (big mistake) and focused on the fact that I am aware of the content from CXL minidegrees, thinking that this would open the door for a quick discussion on the job.
Even if the effort of recording the video was appreciated, I wasn’t good for the role since I was missing 5+ years of experience in the SaaS business.
And this is when I realized, marketing is a growing field, one of the few where certifications don’t matter as much as experience.
And let me define experience a bit. It is not about how many years of work you can add to a resume, but in this context, I define it as what you accomplished while working. So, the quality of work is more important than the level of studies or the number of years worked.
Some of the best marketers I follow are not necessarily the ones that graduated with marketing degrees, but the ones that build something on their own. I actually found a cool survey by SparkToro (via Rand Fishkin) addressing exactly this matter.
40% of the 734 responders are self-taught and with no formal marketing education.
Essential skills for marketing jobs
The experience of applying at Copytesting and reading round the essential skills to get hired in the marketing field helped me think around how to leverage this effort of getting the Growth Marketing certification.
Now, failure is proof that the desire isn’t strong enough.
I got lazy whit my application thinking that a pending certification would open any doors when in fact experience (as defined above) is the key.
As per the survey (which I highly recommend reading), I would say that probably about 50% of the workforce in marketing are self-taught and with no formal education.
Would a certification make de difference? Probably not.
The way resumes are screened today with automated systems and less and less reviewed by an actual human, sometimes you need the right buzzwords to pass. And “years of experience” is more of an arbitrary requirement which sometimes makes it hard for hiring managers to recognized talent, ambition, and powerful drive.
A one-page paper just gives some context, but is not the whole story.
And I know this by experience. This month I am celebrating one year in my current role as a data analytics. Even though I didn’t have prior experience in a similar role, in under one year I got recognized by my peers and stakeholders as one of the top specialists in the team. Results and facts speak for themselves.
Even if in the short-term I see the Copytesting job application as a failure, I also see the bigger picture. Now I am forced to get out of my comfort zone.
I might be well on my way to building something great. It’s like learning to ride the bike. Sometimes training wheels are a bad idea because it might confuse, distract, or stall (like a 3-year degree).
Sometimes all you need is to get a small bike with no pedals and practice.
The same thing is true for marketing. You don’t need to go to school or take online courses for years. Marketing is practice and experience.
And most of the time, failure is just good learning for something greater in the future.
This week I’ve been skimming around the content since the big story was the Copytesting job and a lot of thinking around the next steps.
But I want to point out to a chapter, which you can get as a simple course on Maximizing audiences from PPC campaigns. In a previous article, I said that specialization in PPC is better left to the respective agencies, but as a growth marketer, everybody should understand the key concepts around improving PPC returns by leveraging multiple paid channels and the respective audiences. Here are some main ideas:
- Earn better ROAs: Define the target audiences and market more effectively with the existing PPC budget.
- Multiply the impact across channels: Use the newly super-powered audiences for retargeting.
- Get negative: Discover advanced strategies for negative audience creation and audience shaping.
- Write more specific ads: Learn how to write better ads from PPC audiences
For the next week, I’m planning to write a wrap-up article addressing the content that I didn’t have time to put in this series so that untile the 27th of July, when is the last day of the scholarship I would have bragging right on the final certification for growth marketing.
Talking about bragging rights, now I see in a different light the self-promotion and various claims made by experts (start-up gurus, growth hackers, and others). Reading this type of content made me think that I am missing on the easy paths of marketing.
In reality, overnight success takes 10 years, and a lot of work, study, time, grit, failers, courage, resilience, and belief in oneself.
Even if there is a lot of good content (online courses, books, articles, surveys), nothing will substitute the hard work of bidding, commitment, and dedication to understanding that there are no shortcuts.
So don’t let education block your ways of learning.