Staying the digital course by upskilling

Pam Hege

AS marketers in organisations of all sizes pivot to regain some sense of normal, remaining on the edge of digital skills proficiency and innovation has never been more vital than it is now.

The UK was already in the grips of a digital skills shortage, according to an early 2020 report by the McKinsey Global Institute. In the wake of Covid-19, the digital skills gap only became more apparent.

Expanding and strengthening digital skills is more than just adopting new technology platforms such as marketing automation; it’s also about ensuring that marketers can master changing tactics in each digital marketing segment.

In-demand digital skills include:

• Digital strategy

• Content marketing

• Data & analytics

• Digital design

• Digital marketing

Partnerships like the one between Ulster University Business School (UUBS) and award-winning global marketing agency Marvel Marketers address the digital skills gap for a future workforce through new online digital marketing courses.

Collectively through this partnership, more than 80 UUBS students have already become certified in the Marketo digital platform, which provides vital skills for the local economy during this uncertain period we are in.

But what if you are already a professional marketer looking to stay ahead of the digital curve?

If you’re looking to boost your knowledge and upskill as a digital marketer, there are several free and fee-based resources available to you.

UUBS and Marvel Marketers have developed a series of free online webinars to get this journey kick started during August. The courses cover digital transformation, automation, digital strategies and insights and are open to students, alumni, and the wider business community.

Or you can begin by participating in the on-demand training offered by marketing technology vendors you may work with, such as Hubspot, Marketo, Pardot, and Salesforce. All have online communities and on-demand training available for users.

Professor M’s Academy, Marvel Marketer’s training division, offers Marketo Bootcamps, an account based marketing course and will be adding a digital marketing certification programme in September.

Google has developed The Digital Garage certification. This free online training course covers 23 topics, with a Digital Garage certificate of online proficiency awarded at the end of the program. Each topic has videos and transcripts to help you learn about all areas of digital marketing.

LinkedIn offers a variety of resources through its Sophisticated Marketer’s Hub that can aid in improving your social marketing skills. You can also look to UK marketing organisations such as the Marketing Society, CIM, and the Digital Marketing Association for online training, webinars, and other resources to grow your digital skills.

Online courses are not the only way to upskill yourself in the field. If you’re interested in staying abreast of the latest digital marketing trends, follow industry experts on their social media channels or their blogs. Whether it’s reading blogs, attending virtual events, listening to podcasts, taking online classes, or just talking to people in the industry, the goal is always to be learning, so you don’t fall behind.

With the increase recently in home working and more dependence on the online world for conducting business, these new digital skills will become part of the daily toolkit to ensure business viability in this new world we all live and work in.

Pam Hege is director of marketing at Marvel Marketers, an award-winning marketing agency with offices in Belfast and Texas

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