Marketing has evolved over the years. Initially, it encompassed four main ideals, that is, products, prices, placements, and promotions. Presently, it has grown into a multi-faceted discipline that has a broader scope. The tragedy is that universities have not caught up with the speed at which the discipline is evolving. Sadly, most marketing students are getting a raw deal from universities as the concepts that are taught in class do not match those required in the contemporary marketplace. In the modern day tech-savvy world, it is quite surprising that fresh graduates don’t have the requisite online marketing skills that characterize the modern marketplace. The implication is that such students find it hard to perform marketing tasks and their competence is questioned most of the time.
In light of the above, what are some of these neglected marketing topics that universities should teach their students? Let’s consider the crucial ones that have relevance in the modern marketplace.
Content marketing is new form of marketing
Modern-day consumers have a heightened sense of consumer sovereignty. They have a firm hold on their consumption choices and put high scrutiny on sales pitches. For you to win their trust and close a sale, you’d have to cultivate a relationship. This is where content marketing comes in. Content marketing involves writing to educate, prospect, and demonstrate one’s product or expertise. When a firm or individual wants to share their ideas, propositions, and vital information, they do so through writing blog posts, writing web content and social media posts.
This written content is shared across various platforms and attracts readers. These readers may become strong business leads, and with a little cultivation, they may convert into loyal customers.
Universities have underestimated this form of marketing. 93 % of marketers use content marketing yet it is not included in the curriculum for students. Most companies in contemporary time survive on content marketing. Most leads and prospects are generated through content marketing. Companies have also used it to build their brands in the online space as the corporate world shifts to the digital space. Therefore, the bulk of work of any professional marketer in a firm existing in the contemporary time would be based on content marketing. If this is to go by, universities should seriously consider how to include content marketing in the curricular for marketing courses.
Search Engine Optimization refers to some set of methods that are used to enhance the marketing process. They are directly applied to written content that has been created for marketing purposes. The goal of SEO is to improve the rankings and visibility of marketing content on various search engines. If a company has a blog or website, then SEO improves their rates of success. Various strategies are employed in SEO, and they change rapidly with modern day dynamics. Some of such strategies include:
Since content marketing falls squarely on the marketing department, universities ought to impart these skills to their marketing students. They should lay a good foundation since SEO is a long-term and highly dynamic strategy.
Coding and web design skills can boost your marketing career
This may sound too far-fetched. But the modern day marketer should have a good mastery of coding and web design; at least in its basic form. Why do we say so? If at all one wants to ace content marketing, some basic level web design and coding are necessary.
Universities should at least give their marketing students starter- level instruction on effective web design techniques. This will give the students relevant skills that can be executed in the workplace scenario.
In the digital era, companies have found great utility in making digital products to enhance customers’ experiences. This may include, websites, apps, and software as a service (SAAS). Such products are optimized for the sole purpose of increasing the conversion rates.
Good optimization skills involve analytics, coding, UI/UX design among others. The modern marketer would increase their competitive advantage when they have such skills in their portfolio.
Sadly, universities have neglected such vital topics in their marketing courses.
The world is embracing social media
Social media has taken over individual lives. Most people are present on social media more than ever, thus prompting businesses to show their presence on the social platforms. In fact, 59% of firms are boosting their social media content. But why would a marketer be concerned with social media management?
First, social media provides a haven for feeds and the discovery of new content. Every marketer ought to have a grasp of every new content and try to integrate it into their work. Secondly, social media provides links and can build links for companies that utilize them. This linkage brings positive implications on the core business of companies.
By the fact that most people perform searches on social media, marketers should at the very basic know how to manage social media platforms. They can use this knowledge to increase their marketing outreach. However, most universities have largely alienated social media management from their marketing curricular.
Your network builds your net worth
As a professional, your career prospects are primarily determined by your networks. The people that are on top of their careers cannot attribute to their sole. It was a case of knowing people and having the right contacts. Some marketing graduates may have impressive skills on paper but most of the time what earns you that job contract or full-time employment is purely you social and networking skills.
Even top cadre management have to attend workshops and business at times to sharpen their soft skills. Networking events are also the norm in the corporate world. It is even more important for marketers as they get the opportunity to pitch and acquire strategic contacts for their own companies. Hence, networking skills should be every marketer's concern and universities ought to desist from neglecting such a marketing topic.
Any relationship is bound to be successful if the parties to the relationship collaborate and look out for each other’s best interest. A business relationship with customers is one of such collaborative relationships. The activities of marketers should at all times be geared at building rapport with people and providing real-time solutions to their problems. It requires skills that are meant to build, nurture and sustain a relationship between a business and a customer. The culmination of such activities is a loyal customer base and leads that convert at a high rate.
According to us, universities should strive at all times to impart skills that can help students maintain relationships in the workplace context. If such topics were not neglected, then we probably won’t have ego-centric businesses and a ‘make a quick buck’ business culture that is prevalent today.
Human behavior and psychology can predict consumer behavior
Aside from the technical skills that are required to undertake marketing work, knowing the behavior of humans and their mental processes is vital. When you are well versed in human behavior under certain circumstances, one is able to predict actions. This will aid the process of developing the right strategies in an intended marketing undertaking. It also assists in making tailored and targeted solutions to a specific audience. All these enhance the processes of lead generation, content creation, conversions and relationship building.
Human behavior and psychology are vital in determining consumer patterns. If a marketer knows that a certain clique of people base their decisions on certain emotions, they can capitalize and manipulate these circumstances in their favor.
Human behavior in the digital age can even be predicted from online reviews and posts about certain products, and required action can be proposed.
As much as blogging forms a substantial part of content marketing, it should be given much attention by universities. Blogging has evolved into a big-time venture. It has traversed the social aspects and acquired a business outlook.
Marketing students ought to have basic blogging skills since:
In order for one to make strides with blogging, they should find a niche area of writing and learn the necessary tweaks. It also involves active promotion of the blog. Most importantly, one needs to know how to come up with compelling content that engages many readers as possible.
Some circles may argue that the term papers or compare and contrast essay topics that universities give their students cultivate blogging skills. We certainly disagree since blogging is a whole new niche of writing. It takes practice but universities ought to impart the basics to marketing students while they are still in school.
Marketing students need to grasp the finer aspects of lead nurturing as most of their work after graduation will be to generate and cultivate business leads. Universities should teach them how the lead nurturing model works in the real world and how to handle leads from different sources like blogs, webinars, social media, etc.
This article has highlighted some of the crucial topics that universities have neglected in the marketing curriculum. They should keep up to speed with modern-day dynamics and teach these neglected topics so that students are able to demonstrate competence in the modern workplace.
Kevin is a professional educator and a private tutor with over 8 years of experience. He is also a content writer for various blogs about higher education, entertainment, social media & blogging. During his off time, Kevin enjoys traveling and cooking. Feel free to connect with him on Twitter, Linkedin & Google+.
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