What’s the Best Way to Learn Digital Marketing?
Is it an online marketing course or digital marketing diploma/degree of an institute? How do you figure out exactly what the best choice is for you? Since NZIE’s inspired by the fast-paced digital marketing industry, we believe in everyone’s life-changing opportunity to grow in this field. For this reason, we’ve developed a simple 3 point guide on how to get started with studying digital marketing.
Digital Marketing Diploma Programmes vs Online Courses
Point 1: Think about your desired learning outcomes and big-picture goals.
First of all, decide why you want to study digital marketing. For example, if your purpose is to become a certified professional with a globally recognised diploma. Then an institute or university degree will be the best option for you. Only certain online digital marketing courses can provide you with a trusted certification. Also, if you are really concerned about the quality of education taught, you can always rely on NZQA-approved programmes. Make sure to check your chosen education provider on their available certifications and/or qualifications.
Another factor that is equally important to think about is your applied goals. If you plan to start a digital marketing career, remember that employers consider qualification’s a must-have item in your CV. Bear in mind that only having a background in online courses isn’t much of a competitive advantage. Especially in comparison to other job seekers. Starting digital marketing projects for business owners is easier with crossover skills in the digital marketing field. Usually, crossover skills are taught in diploma programmes, whereas most online courses only cover one niche area.
QUICK TIP: Pay attention to the programmes’ curriculum.
Usually, online courses have a narrow specialisation in one marketing field. They focus on one topic or category such as SEO (search engine optimisation), content marketing, social media or email marketing. On the other hand, tertiary programmes provide students with a full overview of the digital marketing mix as a whole. This is great because as a marketer you need to know how one specialisation works in with another. And also, how what you’re doing in one part of digital marketing will affect other parts too. This brings us back to our first point: think about your intentions and goals. Then do some thorough research into the learning outcomes of all the available training options out there.
Point 2. Think about the required resources you need.
After figuring out your learning priorities, consider the resources you have and again align them back to your overarching goals. For instance, resources such as time and your availability and flexibility. Are you wanting a quick win and to just learn something overnight? Or over a short period of time from the Internet? Or are you wanting to make a full investment in upskilling your knowledge? By fully immersing yourself into digital marketing subjects over a longer period of time?
When studying at an institute, you’ll have a set schedule, attendance record and assignment deadlines. Under those circumstances, you’ll be motivated to keep yourself disciplined and finish your education over a planned time period. Obviously, it is a longer time investment. But you’re also gaining a lot more value than just access to some video tutorials, like an online course has. On the other hand, some people prefer the flexible timetable of online courses. In this case, online training participants can watch video webinars and recordings whenever they want. They don’t have to answer to a tutor awaiting assignment submissions and everything is at their own pace. However, to study this way individuals should have the ability to co-organise and to manage their time very well. Otherwise, there are more chances of procrastination setting in and course completion dropping off.
You get what you pay for
In addition to the required resources, evaluate the necessary cash investments. Certainly, online courses will be cheaper than university diplomas or even free. This is due to online course providers not depending on consumers’ location, availability, and the necessity to provide in-person learning. In contrast, the fees of degree programmes cover all costs that institutions bear and providing face-to-face live training. Also might I add, at the quality standard required by NZQA.*NZQA (New Zealand Qualification Authority) ensures that New Zealand qualifications are valued as credible and robust both nationally and globally.
When considering the required time and costs, refer back to your goals of wanting to learn digital marketing.
Point 3. The training process – Does it fit your learning style?
The main difference between online courses and tertiary training is the availability of skilled tutors. Can they guide and work with you during the whole study process? For example, at an institute, you will be able to ask questions, gain feedback, and individual support from your tutors. This can be quite different in online courses, as they are mostly self-study. A lot do not have the same opportunities for immediate tutor feedback.
This face-to-face support becomes vital when you study complex technical programmes and applications. Which, by the way, are plenty in the digital marketing field. For example, design, web, and analytics tools. Clearly, certain software is highly difficult to learn remotely. Therefore, when choosing an online course, you should analyse how productive you’ll be. Even with Google it could be difficult to understand some aspects without any marketing background.
QUICK TIP: Do your due diligence to find out who is teaching and/or providing the course material.
For instance, NZIE digital marketing classes are run by teachers and mentors with relevant practical experience. They are industry experts who teach from experience. They are also NZQA-approved, meaning they have a certain teaching quality to uphold and provide. For online courses, check if the course provider has relevant qualifications or experience to teach from. Also, be sure to check how much experience they have. Do they have a successful online business that reflects their knowledge in the course? Nowadays it is becoming easier and accessible for anyone to create an online course. So, you’ll want to make sure you’re doing your background research about the course provider.
Tertiary students are always expected to work on their assignments like real marketers with real projects. In collaboration with tutors, students get the opportunity to explore real case studies. This helps students gain relevant experience to get ready for the real-world digital marketing industry. Moreover, some institutions, including NZIE, arrange internship opportunities. This is a golden opportunity for students to test themselves. And to also determine their real passions in the digital marketing field. Of course, that’s a great chance to expand their portfolio! As a result, our students get benefits to start their digital marketing career and to boost their employability.
Cultivated learning community
Furthermore, an important point is that an institute involves you in the community. As a result, you can meet new friends who support you, and new professionals inspiring you to improve your skills. The community is not only on face-to-face communications but also via online 24 hr in touch interactions. Such as WhatsApp groups, Facebook Student Hub, Google Classroom, and Zoom meetings. In contrast, doing a common online course, usually, you have less. Maybe a group within messenger to communicate, social media platform or live webinar chat to leave the comments.
Another key point about communications within universities is that they can offer blended learning options. Most run online classes via ZOOM or other platforms, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. As a result, diploma programmes can provide you with flexibility and convenience like regular online courses. The only things you need to study and gain a diploma is a laptop and access to the Internet. Hence, if this feature is important to you, check its availability before starting a programme. Each institute has its own options, criteria, and requirements.
To sum everything up, before making the decision about how you would like to study digital marketing, ask yourself this. What time investment are you willing to make, to learn and develop your skills? In addition, think about how important live communication is with teachers and classmates for you. Industry expert tutors are a great connection to have as they will be well-connected in the industry. They’ll also be able to put you in touch with other industry experts and work opportunities.
HINT: They’ll also be great for a CV reference too!
Choosing your path to success is always difficult. Truly, there is no exact guaranteed formula. However, all you need to do is start to get going. Whether you choose a digital marketing diploma programme or an online course, this step will lead you to awareness. From there you can reassess and continue further from there.
If you don’t have enough current resources to study at an institute, but have proper self-organisational skills to achieve your main goal of study on a short online-course – choose it.
At the same time if you desire an opportunity to gain a digital marketing diploma – apply. As a result, you’ll gain a diverse digital marketing approach in your mind. You’ll become a qualified professional with wider career opportunities and a strong competitive advantage. Moreover, after some time you always will be able to learn more through online courses. And go deep into one specific field and to become an advanced digital marketer. Also, learning digital marketing fundamentals, taught in a diploma programme, will build your confidence. Thereby, you can adapt to all future tools and techniques of the digital marketing industry.
So, think about your goals, keep in mind that digital marketing is a rocket-booming industry, and act now!