What’s Wrong with Marketing Education?

July 30, 2012

If you ever hired a recent college graduate for a marketing position at your company, odds are you were amazed at their lack of knowledge. Not of basic marketing concepts like the 4 P’s, advertising, or branding but their utmost ignorance of modern marketing tactics and tools like webinars, marketing automation, and even CRM software.

The video roundtable below from CRMSoftware.tv, What Colleges Should Be Teaching Marketing Majors, is worth watching and reflecting upon.

What Colleges Should Be Teaching Marketing Majors

What are College Students to Do?

If you’re in college (or know someone who is), there are things you can do now so that you don’t flunk the next marketing job interview. More importantly, you’ll  be ahead of other candidates if you show that you are aware of the following terms, topics, and technologies:

Webinars: you should attend a webinar to understand what the experience is like, and if possible present a webinar as well. That’s easy today with free trials of the major players, like WebEx, Adobe Connect, and GoToWebinar, and with free webinar platforms like AnymeetingMeetingBurner, or FreeWebMeeting. What hiring companies want: someone that understands how to prepare for and conduct a webinar (aka the logistics), how to market a webinar, and how to use webinars effectively as part of  the marketing mix.

Email Marketing: according to MarketingSherpa, email marketing is still a top tactic employed by marketers to reach out to their prospects and customer base. You’ve got to understand how email marketing works, how it is used successfully and what pitfalls to avoid. Part of this is the CAN-SPAM act, which you should familiarize yourself with (interviewers will like if you show that you at least have an idea of what it’s all about). Setup a free account with MailChimp and play around creating an email and landing page, send out your next party invite to your friends using it to see how it works.

Marketing Automation: the typical step-up from email marketing, marketing automation software (such as Marketo, Eloqua, Act-On, Pardot, and others) allows you to automate the sending of your emails and, more importantly, of nurturing your leads. If during an interview with a potential employer you can demonstrate that you know the concepts behind the sales and marketing funnels, lead nurturing, lead scoring, and what is the ROI of a marketing automation platform then you will be regarded as someone that is keeping up with the latest trends in marketing.

Social Media: just because you use Twitter and Facebook in school, it doesn’t mean you really know how to use it for marketing. So read up on success and failure stories, play around with tools such as Hootsuite and Tweetdeck, check out Klout, and be prepared to articulate what role does social media play in a company’s marketing program and a good understanding that when not used properly, social media can backfire.

Content Marketing: content marketing is not new, but it is all the hype now. A good understanding of the difference between whitepapers and ebooks, along with other forms of content publishing and distribution will give you valuable points during the interview process.

Trade Shows: companies of all sizes at one point or another in their lives end up attending or exhibiting at an event. The closest example you, college student, might have of what a trade show is might be your next career fair. Next time you attend one, pay attention to how different companies exhibit their services, how the people behind the tables or booths interact with the attendees, what handouts or giveaways they offer, and the overall experience. Having an idea of trade show tactics and what goes into trade show planning can be tremendously helpful especially if the company you are interviewing for attends trade shows (check their “about us” page or usually under “news and events” section of the website for a list of their upcoming appearances at local and national events).

The Modern Marketer

We’re just scratching the surface here, but these I think are some of the key marketing tactics employers would like you to know about when they interview students for marketing internships or junior marketing positions. Sure, there is always on-the-job training but if you are a marketing student, make it easier on yourself (and the hiring company) and brush up on your modern marketing skills and terminology.

If your current educational institution is not including the list above in your marketing curriculum, you have to either a) tell them to read this blog or b) learn it on your own. Good luck!

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Getting the most out of conferences and events

April 29, 2011

Photo by BillPellowe at Flickr

If you feel like you keep going to conferences and events but don’t have time to apply what you learned when you get back to the office, you’re not alone. Once you’re back and the emails pile up, the phone rings, and people walk into your office there’s not much you can do. All the good intentions you had of applying what you learned when you were out end up being nothing but notes in a drawer.

Making the Conference Count

If you really want to make the most out of your trade show, conference, or other learning event you attended, you have to be prepared to act when you get back to the office. And the best way is to use a systematic approach to attending conferences. I know, it sounds like work but unless you are prepared to approach it as a project, you won’t be able to really take adavantage of the learning experience after the event is over.

How to Take Notes for Learning

I suggest you take a piece of paper (or use MS Word, Evernote, our iPad, it doesn’t matter) and create a template to use at every single session you plan on attending. It doesn’t need to be a full 8.5 x 11 letter size paper, some small 3×5 index cards can do the trick. The goal is to make sure you take the same style of notes at all sessions. Here’s what your template needs to have:

CONFERENCE NAME: [name of the conference]

Session: [title of the session]

Date: [date of the session]
Presenter(s): [name of the presenter, and contact info]

Key Insights: [bullet points on things you’d like to learn more about, research online, or that were just interesting or insightful]

Action Items: [ what will you or your team do once you get back]

The most important part of note taking is the “action items” block. The easiest is to just put down bullet points of what you or your team will do once you get back. Could be as simple as “Review our home page meta tags to improve SEO” or a bit more complex like “Create a project to select a CMS system for our website”. The objective is to write short, very direct items that you will later translate into more details to your team.

As you take notes of each session, an interesting thing will happen. You will suddenly realize not all sessions are really good. If you walk out of a session with a blank page (i.e. no insights or action items) then you know it was just a waste of time. If most sessions end up with blank pages, then that’s a conference you shouldn’t attend next time around.

Acting On Your Learning

Before you leave to the conference there’s two things you need to do. One, is schedule a 30 minutes meeting with your team for the very first day when you arrive back in the office. The second is schedule a one hour slot for yourself either on the very first day or the very next day when you get back.

When you return, you already have a meeting scheduled with your team. Is 30 minutes long, so all those emails and fires can wait 30 mins for you to brief the team. That’s right, you’ll use that time to talk to them about the conference, the good, the bad, etc. And you will also show them your notes and give them an overview of what you’ve learned and what’s coming (action items) to each of them. This serves two purposes. First, with the conference still fresh in your mind you can accurately tell your staff what happened at the show and prepare them for what’s going to come their way, and second it helps you solidify what you learned during the show.

When you get to the second meeting you scheduled prior to leaving the office for that conference, you will then stop whatever you are doing and get all your notes out. Since all of them have an “action items” section at the bottom you can quickly go through your list and start identifying what needs to get done, prioritizing the tasks, and assigning them to appropriate team members (or to yourself).

I think you should also create one ‘master list’ of action items (add the conference name and date to the top) and save it somewhere you can find. If you need to refer back to the list or after 1 year don’t remember how good the conference was, just look at the list.

Sharing the Knowledge

If this process works for you, it is a good idea to show your team what you’ve done. Next time anyone from your group attends a conference or event that’s worth sharing with the team, it will be easier and more productive. As you go through your notes and action-items you are also deciding if this is an event you should go again next time around.

Summary of Conference Note Taking

1. Schedule a 30 mins meeting w/ your team to share what you learned from the show, and to talk about the action items

2. Schedule a 1 hour slot of ‘quiet time’ for you to go through your notes and assign tasks to your team

3. At the conference, write down at each session action items for you or your team to do based on the info provided

4. Back in the office, hold the meetings you have scheduled and share what you’ve learned, assign action items

5. Save the ‘master list’ for reference


The Science of Email Marketing

February 10, 2011

I just attended “The Science of Email Marketing” online webinar, hosted by HubSpot and presented by social media scientist Dan Zarrella.

Slides should be available for download soon here.

Key takeaways:

  1. Businesses are consumers (the boundaries between B2C and B2B are blurred when it comes to reading email)
  2. Try sending emails on weekends
  3. Send very early in the morning
  4. Optimize for mobile
  5. Use lots of links
  6. Include reference information in your emails
  7. Serialize and label your emails
  8. Give your subscribers special access
  9. Send email from someone they’ve heard of
  10. Don’t be afraid to send too much email
  11. Your newest subscribers are your best
  12. Make them want to get your emails
  13. Ask people to follow you

The presentation was based on data collected via focus groups and from MailChimp’s email database of over 9.5 billion emails sent.

I like Dan’s presentation for its brevity and focus on key action items based on solid data. What I wish he had shared is how the data from focus groups and MailChimp is broken down. How many B2B vs. B2C companies, industries, and even job titles. It’s easy to say that B2B and B2C email patterns are similar, but without seeing the data underlying that assumption I’m very skeptic. Also, MailChimp is now known to be used by large corporations (they focus on SMB market) therefore the data may not take into account larger organizations.

As with all analysis and reports out there, you have to take all of the recommendations with a grain of salt. Test them, see if they work, then be the judge. No one knows your industry and customers better than you.


Upcoming Marketing Conferences

February 3, 2011

It’s February already and you keep thinking “what the heck happened to January”? You’re note alone. A few good events have come and gone, like the Digital Marketing Forum, MarketingSherpa’s Email Marketing Summit, and the Email Evolution Conference and I completely missed them.

Sure, budget is short and you can’t attend every single event, but is good to know what’s coming up so that you can prepare yourself and pick the ones you should go. Also, the earlier you register usually the better deal you can get. So here you go, this is the list of marketing events and marketing conferences coming up (US only) for the first half of 2011. Check them out, pick a couple and start planning!

Upcoming marketing conferences

==February==

Online Marketing Summit
February 7-11
San Diego, CA
Link: http://www.onlinemarketingsummit.com/

Social Media Strategies Summit
February 8-10San Francisco, CA
Link: http://socialmediastrategiessummit.com/

Frost & Sullivan Marketing World
February 8-11
New Orleans, LA
Link: http://www.frost.com/prod/servlet/summits-details.pag?eventid=200426011

Social Media Camp
February 9New York, NY
Link: http://socialmediacampny.com/

Social Media Masters
February 11San Diego, CA
Link: http://socialmediamasters.com/

Content Marketing Strategies Conference
February 16-17
Berkeley, CA
Link: http://contentmarketingstrategies-mashable.eventbrite.com/

Social Fresh Tampa
February 21-22
Tampa, FL
Link: http://socialfresh.com/tampa/

DMA Mobile Marketing Day
February 22
New York, NY
Link: http://www.the-dma.org/councilevents/mobileday/

==March==

Marketing Research Executive Forum
March 6-8
Atlanta, GA
Link: http://www.marketingpower.com/Calendar/Pages/default.aspx

Search Marketing Expo
March 8-10
San Jose, CA
Link: http://searchmarketingexpo.com/

Conversion Conference
March 14-15
San Francisco, CA
Link: http://conversionconference.com/west/home.html

Search Engine Strategies
March 21-15
New York, NY
Link: http://www.searchenginestrategies.com/newyork/

==April==

Forrester Marketing Forum
April 5-6
San Francisco, CA
Link: http://www.forrester.com/events/eventdetail/0,9179,2511,00.html

AdTech
April 11-13
San Francisco, CA
Link: http://www.ad-tech.com/sf/adtech_san_francisco.aspx

The Power of eMarketing Conference
April 19-20
San Francisco, CA
Link: http://www.emarketingassociation.com/2011/SF/index.html

Mobile Marketing Strategies Summit
April 26-28San Francisco, CA
Link: http://mobilemarketingstrategiessummit.com/

==May==

Marketing Innovation Summit
May 2-5
Boston, MA
Link: http://www.mis2011.com/Boston/Home

Sirius Decisions Summit
May 4-6
Scottsdale, AZ
Link: http://www.siriusdecisions.com/live/home/document.php?dA=ConfAnnSummit2011

Event Marketing Summit
May 16-18
Chicago, IL
Link: http://emsummit.eventmarketer.com/

==June==

International BMA Conference
June 1-3
Chicago, IL
Link: http://www.marketing.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=5288

MarketingProfs B2B Forum
June 13-15
Boston, MA
Link: TBD

==

And the following are some of the marketing conferences I’ll keep watch and decide as we get closer.

MarketingSherpa B2B Marketing Summit Boston
09/26-27
Boston, MA

MarketingSherpa B2B Marketing Summit SF
10/24-25
San Francisco, CA

Dreamforce 2011
August 30-Sept 2
San Francisco, CA

BlogWorld Expo
October 14-16
Las Vegas, NV

Conferences abound, but they are a great way to learn new things, network, and more importantly get out of the office and focus for a couple days.

P.S.: I’ll be presenting at the upcoming The Power of eMarketing Conference, so if you plan on going to that one let me know so we can meetup.

Did I forget a conference? Let me know and I’ll update the list.


More Free Marketing Knowledge

December 8, 2009

I love the internet. Free stuff abound and sharing is easy. But there is so much out there that deciding on what to read is a job in itself. That’s why I liked when the Modern B2B Marketing blog posted a list of must-read B2B marketing ebooks. It is worth checking out, you have your work cut out for you.

What else is out there, you may ask. Well, here are a few great places to go:

Can you recommend other resources for free marketing knowledge?


More Free Marketing Training

September 23, 2009

Who doesn’t like free stuff? I sure do, especially when it comes to marketing. That’s why I’m eager to check out two resources:

MarketingProfs Digital Marketing World

The folks at MarketingProfs held an online trade show that had a great speaker lineup and relevant topics for those in the online world, being very focused on tactics for lead generation, social media, and email marketing among other topics. The event was on September 16 but I was travelling and missed it. No worries because the whole thing is archived online for you to watch at any time! Access is free and open until December, so you do have some time but don’t wait too long.

The link for the MarketingProfs Digital Marketing World online event is: http://www.marketingprofs.com/events/9/conference

Meeting of the Minds Webcast Series

Marketing NPV is one of those great little secrets of the web, because not many people know of them. An advisory firm that focuses on linking marketing to financials, they have great stuff when it comes to marketing ROI and on marketing measurement. That’s why I think their new webcast series has great promise. The Meeting of the Minds is a free series of webinars featuring some of the great minds in academia such as Don Schultz, Gary Lilien, Dave Reibstein, Paul Farris, Tim Ambler, and others.

Although the topics seem to be more on the strategic side (big picture view), they will surely generate some interesting insight. Worth checking out and registering for those that are aligned with your interests.

The link for Meeting of the Minds Webcast Series is:

http://marketingnpv.com/node/614

I’ll watch them and post my review. Please do the same!

And enjoy… free is always good 🙂


Because You Can’t Beat Free Marketing Training

June 23, 2009

This is the second post finalizing the review of the Inbound Marketing University program from HubSpot. Here I talk about the final 5 classes. If you haven’t done already, check out the review of the first 5 presentations.

Class: Advanced SEO Tactics: On Beyond Keyword Research (GF401)
Professor: Rand Fishkin, SEOmoz

SEOmoz is one of the best places for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) information, and the presentation was full of nice tidbits about SEO. As I mentioned at my review of the basic SEO course presented, this is such a broad topic that 1 hour is not enough to cover everything, but Rand Fishkin did a great job presenting relevant information on how to get ranked higher on Google, including:

  • Link building
  • Keyword usage
  • Unique content creation
  • Domain diversity

As Fishkin explained each SEO concept, he made clear that they all need to work together. It doesn’t matter if you have great keywords if you lack the other elements.

SEO Tactics: He did a great job at distilling tactics into byte sized advice that we can all use for link building, content creation, and domain names. If you want to get some good insights on effective SEO, check out his presentation and the free articles they have on the SEOmoz website.

Veredict: This is a must watch class for those interested in SEO even if you’ve been doing it for a while. Rand’s presentation is engaging and full of great information.

Class: Calls to Action and Landing Page Best Practices (CV101)
Professor: Jeanne Hopkins, MECLABS, Marketing Experiments

If you are not familiar with MarketingExperiments, than you should immediately bookmark their website: http://www.marketingexperiments.com. They always have great content based on lots of testing they’ve done and publish their results frequently.

Since I’ve seen their reports and webinars in the past, the presentation about calls to action and landing pages was more of a refresher. Having said that, Jeanne’s presentation is a great starting point for those that have not seen their reports and want great actionable items for improving their landing pages.

The best take away from the presentation is their conversion formula: C = 4m+3v+2(i-f)-2a. Rather than being a formula that you need to solve, it is supposed to give you insights on how to create a landing page with higher probability of converting visitors. To get more insight into the formula and how it works, after watching the presentation, check out some of their website design case studies.

Veredict: Those new to Marketing Experiments are in for a treat. If you are familiar with them, not much new material.

Class: Inbound Lead Nurturing (CV201)
Professor: Brian Carroll, MECLABS, InTouch

The Lead Nurturing presentation followed the same format I had seen before from previous webinars presented by Brian Carroll, presenting the case for why would you want to “nurture” your leads. While the decision on whether to nurture or pass leads directly to sales will vary based on your own industry and experience, the concept is a powerful one.

Even if you decide not to engage in full lead nurturing as the presentation described, the concepts discussed during the webinar are worth bringing up to your sales managers to that everyone is on the same page. These include:

  • Definition of a lead
  • When should leads be passed to sales
  • When should leads be sent back to marketing
  • How should leads be followed up, and by whom
  • How should leads be qualified and what are the different qualification levels
  • What are the marketing messages that need to be developed for each type of lead
  • How should you track and manage your leads and what tools will you use

Veredict: Nothing new, but good solid concepts that marketers need to bring up to the sales management and come with an action plan.

Successful Email Marketing (CV301)
Professor: Eric Groves, Constant Contact

This presentation should have been titled Email Marketing 101. So if you need to get up to speed on why you should do email marketing, and the basics behind that, you will find out by watching this class, otherwise just skip it.

Veredict: Email marketing basics with a good intro for the novice, but lacking specific tips for the experienced email marketer. Other resources that will give you more insights into doing effective email marketing are MarketingSherpa and Marketing Experiments.

Class: Analyzing Inbound Marketing (AZ401)
Professor: Marshall Sponder, Monster.com, Web Analytics Association for Social Media

In this class Marshall takes you through a tour of web analytics and how to track and measure your efforts related to social media, web, and more. Besides giving you an overview of how web analytics work, he dives into some specific examples of how to understand the data you are getting from the analytics tool.

Veredict: Great introduction to web analytics and good tips on different types of analyzes makes this presentation worth watching with a notepad to take notes.

Conclusion

While I didn’t expect outstanding material from a free course, some of the classes were really great and worth watching again. The Inbound Marketing University calls itself a “marketing retraining program”  and I guess that if you really have not been involved with online marketing up until now, it could be a great eye opener. For those that have been around online marketing for a while is a good refresher but nothing spectacular. I still suggest checking it out because nothing can beat free training.


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