In the past fifteen years, the field of marketing has gone through a complete digital transformation, which in turn has demanded unprecedented flexibility and adaptability from within the profession’s executive ranks.
We find that the most employable marketing executives today are the ones who are constantly finding ways to educate themselves. They often turn to the burgeoning field of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) for high-quality online learning that fits into their schedules.
The three most important areas for marketing learning
In this article, we outline the three areas that today’s top marketing professionals are focusing on in expanding their skill set:
Read on for suggestions on how you can use free online resources to beef up your own knowledge in these critical areas.
How are your numbers? Marketing analytics help us establish what KPIs, or “key performance indicators” are important to our operations, and serve as benchmarks to help us improve. The problem? There are always other numbers that can help us but maybe we’re overlooking. The good news is that there are several free resources that can help you build up your marketing analytics knowledge. Devote a few minutes a day and you’ll be getting the insights of some of the top minds in this business.
University of Virginia: this Coursera course on marketing analytics is a comprehensive overview that includes case studies on such successes as Airbnb. You’ll also get the nitty-gritty on numbers, including how to do regressions, interpret outputs, explore confounding effects and biases, and distinguish between economic and statistical significance.
University of Illinois: In this Coursera course you will deep dive into the types of tools you can use to measure your marketing spend and its impact, including Google Analytics and other types of web-based and social media tools.
Google Analytics Academy: Straight from the folks at Google, this course will answer all of your unanswered questions about the most widely used analytics platform on the market today.
Marketing and Brand Storytelling
As important as metrics are in marketing, it’s important not to overlook the importance of a well-told brand narrative. Even the most seasoned marketers can benefit from a refresher course on the types of narrative strategies that can be woven into a brandmark, advertising campaign or presentation. The good news is that there’s never been a better time to learn from the top minds in storytelling how to enhance your brand’s image through the strategic use of storytelling.
“Start with Why”
Simon Sinek’s presentation on the principles that make companies like Apple so indelible is justly famous among marketing professional because it boils a complex process to this important test: do you know your “why”?
Presentation Skills course from Coursera: Storytelling skills begin with your ability to command the attention of people in your own organization, in settings as small as a meeting. Isn’t it time to hone your communications and presentation skills? Check out this free course from Coursera to do just that.
Khan Academy: Storytelling at Pixar: Just for fun, learn about the storytelling skills that power some of the greatest and most entertaining stories we see on the screen. This Khan Academy course features the storytelling geniuses at Pixar talking about their craft.
Marketing and Startup Style Experimentation
The startup-style ethos of “move fast and break things” has migrated even to storied legacy brands who want to make sure they are producing up-to-the-minute work that will keep them ahead of the competition. The name of the game is rapid iteration, or trying out new things and seeing if they produce revenue and growth.
The Lean Startup: This book by Eric Reis started a huge trend in startup development and is a useful primer for anyone in business today.
Lean Marketing: Hubspot breaks down how to apply “lean startup” principles to your marketing organization here.
University of Minnesota: this Coursera course will give you working knowledge of how lean startup principles work in software development, a crucial first step in finding out how you might apply such principles to your own organization.
Experiment with viral marketing practices: this article outlines how.
Marketing executives: what free online resources are you using to expand your knowledge? Tell us in the comments below.