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How you can use short courses to develop your marketing skills this year

How you can use short courses to develop your marketing skills this year

A career in marketing means daily challenges in a highly competitive environment, be it from your competitors or peers. To truly succeed, marketers need to constantly improve and acquire more on their skills to stay on top of their game. Those with a drive for self-improvement, will be rewarded with new opportunities and promotions. Those that do nothing but go about their day-to-day tasks will be left behind.

 Short courses are the answer

Short courses are designed to be a quick way to top up your knowledge on a specific topic. They range in duration from one day to a few weeks. A short course aims to offer skills enhancement and/or skills training at an affordable price. If you choose to undertake a short course, you should expect to gain more practical experience than theoretical knowledge. However a good balance of both is best.  Although short courses can greatly benefit your career it is important to note that they are not accredited by the Council on Higher Education (CHE) or SAQA, which means they are not qualifications. For this reason, when choosing a short course for yourself, you should seek out a credible provider like the Institute of Marketing (IMM) that is recognised in the industry. On completion, you can expect to receive a certificate of completion from the provider of the short course. (Skills Portal, 2021).

There are many benefits to doing a short course

  • Value
    Short courses offer a range of specific skills to marketers. Besides this, taking a short course shows employers and potential employers drive and willingness to grow yourself. It would be wise to match the short course you do to your career aspirations. For example, if you are aiming for a management position you should consider courses in self-development, leadership, and communication skills.
  • Duration and flexibility
    Seeing that the duration of short courses range from short periods of one day or one week to longer periods (usually less than a year), you can pace yourself and take on additional courses during quieter periods. It’s pointless taking a course if you can’t dedicate enough of your time and energy to it. You should be planning ahead so as to maximise your learning opportunity, allowing enough time to apply your new knowledge in your workplace. Short courses which are delivered online are by far the best as they offer flexibility for you to work through course content from anywhere and at a time that best suits your schedule.
  • Affordability
    Although short courses do not carry the same weight of qualifications, they are more cost effective. This is an important benefit for many professionals who are not being funded by their employer. However, the affordability should not take away from the value of a short course as they are equally, if not more (in some cases), important as qualifications due to their practical nature and speed of delivery.
  • Mobility
    Online short courses like those offered by the Institute of Marketing Management (IMM), South Africa offer mobility as they do not require the physical presence of students in lectures or tests. This saves students time and transport money. Online short courses allow students to complete the lectures, assignments, and tests when they are able to within a specific time frame.
  • Insight into career choices
    Short courses offer insight into a specific field for those individuals who are unsure of what career they would like to follow. For example, taking a short course in Digital Marketing with the IMM will offer first-hand experience of what the industry is all about. From there you can decide if you wish to pursue your career change or stick to what you know. Either way, adding the short course to your CV will benefit you in job applications even if you choose not to pursue a career digital marketing, as it shows prospective employers that you are willing to invest in yourself and learn.

 

Where to study short courses

A range of institutions offers short courses. These institutions have consulted industry experts to curate the courses offering optimal value to marketing professionals. Different institutions which offer short courses include:

  • TVET College
    TVET colleges offer short courses which require physical attendance. These types of short courses also offer a large amount of practical experience in the field.
  • The Institute of Marketing Management (IMM), South Africa
    IMM aims to uplift, grow and promote the marketing profession. IMM offers a range of online short courses in Strategic Brand Management, Digital Marketing, Project Management, Supply Chain Management and more. Click on the link to explore the full range of short courses on offer and start developing your marketing skills today.

How to pivot traditional marketing skills into practical digital marketing skills (2021)

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In a world that is continuously evolving, adaptability is a key characteristic. Adaptability is the ability to constantly adjust to new conditions. Since the Internet was first introduced, there has been a massive change in marketing. Businesses are no longer only using older, traditional ways to advertise their products or services. They are having to radically shift towards a more modern way which is being driven and fueled by digital technology.

In order to remain relevant as a marketer, those with a background in traditional marketing have had to pivot their skills to make them valuable resources again, but this time in the digital marketing space. Those who are not adaptable or who have not begun upskilling in this space will struggle to remain employed in years to come. Knowledge in digital marketing is no longer optional.

 

Traditional marketing vs Digital marketing

Traditional marketing generally refers to any type of marketing that is not online. That includes print, broadcast, direct mail, phone, and outdoor advertising like billboards. From newspapers to radio, this method of marketing helps reach targeted audiences. Traditional marketing is not only one of the oldest forms of marketing, but also one of the most researched. Marketers lean towards this method because it is tried and tested. Everyone encounters some sort of traditional marketing in their lives, whether it is reading a newspaper or driving past a billboard.

In contrast, digital Marketing provides marketers with a live platform to reach out to a larger target audience across a more diverse range of demographic groups, unlike traditional media. Today, most businesses are willing to allocate more than 60% of their marketing budgets to digital marketing, because of the great opportunities for advertisements offered by the digital media world. With a basic website, any business (no matter its size) can have a starting point for their digital marketing. This is the first platform they use to create awareness of their existence to their potential clients. A website is essential as many believe if a business does not have one, they are not established or able to compete. A website lends credibility and professionalism to a business. The website then opens up new ways for communicating including social media marketing, direct emails and newsletters among many others.

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How to pivot your skills from traditional marketing to digital marketing

Digital marketing offers a wide variety of options for you to specialise in once you decide to take the leap and transition your career. The diversity of options is what makes the digital marketing world so unique as pretty much anyone can find a career path suited to their personality and skillset. Here are some examples of different paths in digital marketing:

1. Digital Marketing Manager

A digital marketing manager has the relevant knowledge on the latest marketing strategies and tools. They are responsible for driving the business communication strategy into action and running digital marketing campaigns, right from coming up with a concept to the execution and reporting afterwards. Managers also often work closely with supporting an entire marketing team to make campaigns go live.

2. Content Strategist

The fundamental function of a content strategist is to develop a content strategy based on business objectives and the needs of the target audience. A content strategist is meant to handle the company’s content requirements and come up with a content strategy to deliver on communication objectives.

3. SEM and SEO Specialist

A search engine marketing (SEM) specialist or a search engine optimisation (SEO) specialist is responsible for managing organic and/or paid campaigns on search engines. Along with that, the job description often includes handling or overseeing display ads on Google. The specialist has to manage everything related to these campaigns, including strategy, budget, execution, and reporting (usually in conjunction with an outsourced agency or freelance specialist).

4. Email Marketing Specialist

An email marketing specialist has to take the lead with strategies related to email campaigns. The primary duties comprise running an end-to-end email marketing campaign, managing the database, and coming up with email messages relevant to specific audiences and the industry.

5. Social Media Manager

The role of a social media manager is to administer social media accounts. The prime responsibility is to come up with eye-catching and engaging text copy along with visual designs, including video, images, infographics and more to increase engagement and followers on the company’s social media pages and drive traffic to the website.

Upskill yourself with a relevant course or certificate

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Now that you know some of the possible career paths you can develop to pivot your marketing career, it’s time to equip yourself with the latest digital marketing knowledge and skills.

IMM’s industry-leading Applied Digital Marketing Certificate will teach you how to develop a digital marketing strategy and how to apply digital marketing skills through practical activities and assignments.

What sets this certificate apart from other digital marketing certificates is the practical nature of this course. Every bit of theory you learn will be applied and developed as a marketable skill for future job prospecting. Upon completion you will be armed with 10 different skills-based certificates as well as your own portfolio of work.

We developed this certificate after researching the needs of the industry. You will be able to study online from anywhere in the world, in your own space, at your own pace, guided by our industry experts. With our practical and business-relevant material, you will be given the latest hands-on digital tools to help you deal with real-world digital marketing scenarios.

For persons who already have experience, this course is your fastest route to obtaining hands-on skills in digital marketing. Visit the link to find out more about this one-of-a-kind course, or to sign up today! https://shortcourses.imm.ac.za/online-course/applied-digital-marketing-certificate/

Remain relevant

Once you have chosen your desired career path to transition into, and completed a relevant certificate or course, you cannot become complacent.

This industry is constantly changing, and you should therefore always be learning. Don’t allow your skills to become outdated. It is important that you ensure that your digital marketing skillset remains updated with the latest tools, tricks and trends in the industry. The best way to ensure this is by continuously adding knowledge to your arsenal. Keep looking out for new updated short courses on topics that are relevant to you.

If you are looking for online short courses designed by industry experts, visit: https://shortcourses.imm.ac.za/online_courses/marketing-advertising-short-courses/

Conclusion

Despite the benefit of possible full-time marketing opportunities, gaining the knowledge of digital marketing can also open several other opportunities in your professional career. It will allow you to be able to start your own business and market your product or service, fulfilling your dreams of owning a start-up. You will also have the opportunity to become a freelancer, as your Applied Digital Marketing Certificate would have equipped you with the relevant skills for freelance work including copywriting, content management, search engine optimisation, website design and much more.

Regardless of your chosen path in marketing, businesses recruit marketers who are an ideal blend of the traditional media and digital media worlds. Today still, traditional media does exist and plays an important role in marketing strategy.

If you are a traditional marketer that has been dragging your feet on upskilling into the digital marketing space, then this article should have alerted you that your time to make the switch and save your career is now! Pivot your skills before it is too late.

What is marketing and why choose it as a career?

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What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word marketing? Billboards? TV ads? Flyers?

Many organisations are reluctant to invest substantial amounts of money into marketing as they often don’t understand the full host of benefits that it offers. Marketing isn’t just about promoting brand awareness. And it is much more than just selling. In fact, Marketing is one of the foundational pillars for building a successful, sustainable business.

The primary objective of marketing is to identify and satisfy, or exceed, the ever-changing needs of consumers. By looking at this broad primary objective, it is clear that the concept of marketing is related to many activities in business. Marketing in its full context refers to any activity undertaken by an organisation that has been actioned to produce goods or services as well as price, promote and distribute them to a certain target market. These marketing activities are actioned to stimulate an exchange between the organisation and its customers which in modern terms we refer to as sales. If done correctly, marketing activities should result in the organisation achieving its goals.

Marketing is an integral component of business. The purpose of marketing is to ensure that your prospective target market knows about and then purchases the products or services on offer by your organisation. Put in layman’s terms, marketing is the process of identifying consumer needs and determining how best to meet those needs. Advertising on the other hand, just like sales are one of many tactics within the marketing function that facilitate communication with potential and existing customers about the company’s products or services.

So, if you haven’t been seeing the conversion rates you’d like to, maybe the issue is that you are attempting advertising or sales as a standalone initiative and not looking at your business through a complete strategic marketing lens. In other words you may be lacking in strategy. And any promotion without a sound strategy behind it, is simply a waste of resources.

How doing a marketing course can benefit you

 

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You become employable

Marketing skills are in serious demand, especially in the digital marketing space. This skills gap is set to widen. It is one of the few job markets that are thriving and surviving in the COVID-19 environment. Brands are highlighting marketing more than we have ever seen before. Bigger budgets, increased pay and diverse career opportunities are just a few of the benefits that marketing professionals are able to look forward to this year and in many years to come.

 

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Communication skills are valuable no matter what your career path

Even if you decide to veer off into a different direction with your career, having some marketing and communication skills in your armoury is never a bad idea. One of the most important skills that businesses seek in employees is communication. The ability to communicate effectively with a potential market is a critical part of what makes any business successful. You can use the skills you develop when studying marketing in just about any business setting or career, even if it is just communicating with your colleagues to get your point across. The field of marketing communication is very broad and with the emergence of digital technology it is now more dynamic than ever and requires all business owners and managers to keep up to date with the latest developments.

 

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You remain relevant

No matter whether you are a seasoned marketer or a doctor wanting to know how to put your practice onto the Internet, short courses are a great way to learn new skills quickly or to top up existing skills in order to remain relevant.

 

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You open up diverse career opportunities

Marketing offers a wide variety of career choices for different personality types. If you have more of an extroverted personality and enjoy working with people, possible career options include sales, retailing, brand or product management. If you are more of the analytical type, you might enjoy a career as a market research analyst or digital marketing planner rewarding.

 

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Marketers are always in demand

The importance of marketing cannot be overstated, and this is only expected to increase. One of the main goals for any organisation is expanding their customer base and the power of marketing in realising this goal implies that marketers will remain high in demand for some time to come.
Marketing teams can be found in almost every industry – agencies, in-house, outsourced or freelance. There are always a wide range of jobs available in this field, especially for those who have the required qualifications and skills.

 

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Earning potential

Marketing is a business function that allows a lot of room for growth. By continuously improving your knowledge and application of marketing, you will be able to climb up the corporate ladder. And, depending on the company, your position and your experience, you could become a highly paid professional in no time.
What’s interesting and beneficial about the job market for marketing professionals is that there is huge competition for skilled talent regardless of industry. This means that individuals with the right skills can negotiate for great salaries but also land great benefits and perhaps even bonuses depending on their role.

A marketing course that has it all

The IMM has just updated it’s industry leading short course in The Fundamentals of Marketing. This course will set you up with a good foundation. It has been designed both for current marketing professionals who want to update their skills, and those looking for an introduction into this exciting career field. It is also suited to business owners and entrepreneurs who aim to develop their marketing knowledge so they can apply this knowledge to their own brand.

The field of marketing is exciting – it stimulates creativity and requires lateral thinking. Marketers face the challenge of constantly having to come up with creative ways to promote a brand, product or service. If this sparks your interest, look at signing up for our Fundamentals of Marketing Short Course. This course has been developed by a team of marketing experts that have a thorough understanding of the practical marketing skills required to compete in today’s fast-paced marketing environment.

This IMM online short course covers the fundamentals of marketing management and offers a holistic view of this important field.

The course is a 12-week online short course where you will start off with Part 1: The world of marketing. In Part 1 you will learn about the basic principles of marketing, the marketing environment and competitors. Following these foundations, you will learn more about consumer behaviour, research, marketing decision making, segmentation, targeting and positioning.

Then comes Part 2, the marketing mix strategy, throughout part 2 of this course, you will be exposed to how digital technology has impacted the four P’s and how an additional four P’s have been added to address the service elements of the digital environment namely, People, Process, Physical Evidence and Partnerships. You will also learn how to drive action through a well thought out marketing plan.

An understanding of the fundamentals of marketing forms the basis for developing successful marketing strategies in any organisation. IMM’s Fundamentals of Marketing course is designed to provide you with the knowledge and skills you will need to develop practical skills that are applicable in the workplace.

After mastering this course, you will have obtained extensive knowledge of the field of marketing and its operations, this knowledge will lay the foundation upon which you can further build your knowledge to graduate level by signing up for one of our marketing degrees or higher certificates.

By now, it should be clear that the marketing world is about much more than just promotion and advertising, and that it could be a riveting field to jump into, so sign up for our Fundamentals of Marketing Short Course today and kick your marketing career off the right way!

To sign up, or for more information on our Fundamentals of Marketing Short Course, or any of our other courses in marketing, visit https://shortcourses.imm.ac.za/online_courses/marketing-advertising-short-courses/