“Honestly, until today I had never heard of Google AdWords.” These are the not the words one would wish to express while being interviewed for a role predominantly specialising in Google AdWords. At the time of committing career suicide in a single sentence, I was being interviewed for my current position at Alpha Digital. I had recently completed a Bachelor of Business with a Marketing Major, yet I had little knowledge of Paid Search Marketing (and by that, I mean no knowledge).
In retrospect, I wondered how I managed to major in marketing without knowing the existence of such a vital aspect of the industry itself. Many universities in Australia that offer Marketing courses have subjects specific to Digital Marketing. However, working in this field, I have found that a singular unit encompassing the entirety of Digital Marketing does not adequately parallel the complexity nor depth of the career field. A recent example of this involves reading an assignment of a current student that did include Google AdWords – but did not follow the updated guidelines that are currently used in the working field.
The primary reason for this disconnect is not necessarily by fault of educational institutions. There are vigorous standards and approval requirements in order for a unit to be implemented and teachable to future marketers. The Digital Marketing industry is ever-growing and exceptionally dynamic, rendering many large institutions incapable of remaining current while offering quality education.
I wrote this open letter to any marketing student who wishes to enter the field of digital marketing in SEO, Paid Search, or Social (or all three) to implore you to stretch your knowledge base beyond prescribed readings and lecture recordings. This may come in a variety of methods, such as guest-speaker evenings, career fairs, or online blogs by industry professionals etc. These mediums will allow you to keep current and savvy with industry trends, because explaining to your future boss that you barely understand a vital part of the industry – despite years of study and thousands of dollars in HECS debt – is no fun for anyone: believe me.