The 2013 class of college graduates this May are entering a world of digital. They know this, but were they properly prepared for it? In 2013 all marketing strategies include digital aspects, and if your strategy doesn't include digital--it should. Digital and online strategy is implemented in every industry from retail to small-to-medium B2B. Most everyone understands the basic importance of driving website visitation for lead generation and brand awareness and that there are dozens of ways to do it. But did the educational programs that were available to the graduating class of 2013 teach them about these digital marketing tools? Will this graduating class bring new insights to the digital marketing world?
Let's break it down by available digital marketing curriculum.
More and more colleges and universities are adopting digital curriculum and certifications in the digital marketing field, however a much slower push has been made to establish Digital Marketing majors in higher learning, and the marketing, advertising and communications schools are still playing catchup. According to The Princeton Review, a "Digital Marketing" degree doesn't exist--at any school. However, a simple Google search showed us that the business college at the University of Michigan-Dearborn now offers a degree in Digital Marketing. The illustrious Princeton Review needs to update its database, which reflects only 72 schools with Digital Communications and Media degree offerings, but according to Princeton, this is more a focus in digital graphic design and video, and less about digital marketing.
Other Schools Offering Digital Marketing Degrees and Certifications
Not a lot of choices for the youngsters, right?
Advantage: old people. The Digital Marketing degree is widely unavailable and further, it hasn’t been clearly defined. In its current existence, digital marketing can been found in some courses, offered under advertising, marketing and communications degrees only. This means those of us who have been working in digital for a few years still have an advantage over the bright, young, social media inclined, born mobile generation. I’m all about learning from the millennials, but in this case we have an advantage over these digitally-minded youngsters. And that means job security. And an opportunity to teach them something. The rest of us have learned about digital through applied experience, A/B testing, seminars, webinars, blogs and conferences. We grew up with digital, starting with the first email blasts. Now we are selling our Clients on the benefits of comprehensive search engine marketing and AdWords campaigns. We using geo-targeting, geo-fencing and all things mobile to increase our Client’s digital reach to their customers. We know how to drive targeted visitation to websites, generate leads, even sales, and we can finally show the ROI of social media marketing.
But Don’t Get Too Comfortable Yet
Not all marketing and advertising schools are focused solely only on CRMs and print media. Many of them are offering limited digital curriculum that will put some of these 2013 graduates ahead of traditional marketers and advertising executives. Here are a few of the courses we found that weren't around "back in the day" (and that we wish we could take now):
Marketing Web Analytics and Intelligence (Baruch City University of New York)
Social Media Marketing and New Ventures
Online Consumer Behavior (University of Texas - Austin)
E-tailing and Retailing (University of Michigan - Dearborn)
Digital Analytics and Content (University of Michigan - Dearborn)
Viral Marketing and Digital Presence (New England College of Business and Finance)
Social and Digital Media Analytics (NYU)
Design and Development of Web and Mobile Applications (NYU)
Social Media Innovation (University of Temple, PA)
The only missing curriculum seems to be anything related to SEO or PPC. So should agencies be hiring recent graduates in "PPC" or "Paid Search" positions without any direct experience? Probably not. 2013 college graduates however will be highly qualified in the areas of social media marketing. They will be your "Community Managers", "Social Content Creators" and "Social Media Specialists"--as long as you teach them the importance of speaking to their target audience properly. With a little hand-holding, 2013 college graduates will teach the digital marketing world something new. Agencies just have to be ready to put the time into teaching and nurturing this new class of digital marketers.