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Online Marketing and New Graduates: Do They Have The Skills They Need?

An education system that goes “back to basics” is an idea that politicians tend to throw around in the lead up to an election, promising reforms that will create an education system that ensures the country won’t be populated with dummies in the future. But what exactly does “back to basics” mean? The old joke goes that it relates to the three R’s- reading, writing and arithmetic (reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic), or any variation thereof. While the fundamentals undeniably have their place in a comprehensive educational system, it’s not until higher education that a student begins to learn useful practice based skills for future employment, if he or she opts to actually continue to college. Each year, thousands of college students in multiple countries embark upon a marketing degree, with a view to obtaining a widely needed set of skills that will greatly improve their chances of forging a career in many different industries.

Online Marketing and New Graduates: Do They Have The Skills They Need?

The Game is Changing

It has been suggested that many of the traditional methods of marketing are now obsolete, and the emergence of the Internet as a marketing tool has changed the game forever. While those future marketers might envisage a career in marketing that consists of dreaming up advertising campaigns while swilling expensive scotch, this is not really where those with marketing degrees end up. In reality, they’re infinitely more likely to be in the marketing department of a large corporation, or to have a multi-faceted, all inclusive role if they find themselves being the sole marketing person in a smaller company.

The Competition

Marketing exists to, unsurprisingly, market an industry, product or service; to create a brand that is desirable to consumers, and will coerce them into parting with their hard earned cash, which can be quite a difficult feat considering all the opposing forces that are attempting to coerce a consumer into doing the exact same thing. With the sheer global domination of the Internet, it’s not an understatement to say that it’s now that most powerful marketing tool at a company’s disposal.

The Internet Evolves

A marketing graduate needs to be well versed with the concept of online marketing, even though logic dictates that their knowledge will be outdated in a fairly short process, as the Internet progresses and the way it’s deployed as a marketing tool progresses and changes with it. A fresh graduate needs to be mindful that they’ll need to stay on their toes and take note of industry developments, although this is not a case of “blink and you’ll miss it.” Methods change, although not overnight. Marketing whizz kids who take several years out of the game might find themselves floundering upon their return, but for everyone else the changes are seemingly negligible.

Not Missing Out

The Internet has changed the traditional model of retail, and an increasing number of businesses now exist in an online only version (such as the hugely successful online fashion retailers ASOS and Zalando), meaning that they need to have a dedicated marketing team that understands how to operate within the expanse (and often limits) of the online world. Given the nature of the Internet, new online promotions spring up all the time, and marketing personnel need to stay abreast of developments as they happen. Cyber Monday (the first Monday after the Black Friday post-Thanksgiving retail event) is essentially a made up occurrence, created by various marketing departments in 2005. The artificiality of such an event is almost irrelevant, since the event generates more than $1 billion within a 24-hour period, and savvy online marketers jumped on board shortly after its inception.

While many marketing skills can be learned within a tertiary environment, a lot of it is also instinctive. Perhaps one of the most important things that a new marketing graduate should be aware of is that the industry they’re entering (and the way in which they do their jobs) will be a vastly different landscape in a few short years, and it will keep on changing… so, it’s best to be flexible.

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