commit: 6b2ca8a - #414 (2014-03-05 12:54:44 -0500)
Hmmm... I agree some system for teaching people internet marketing is in order, but I don't reckon Universities are best placed to make it happen.
Broadly speaking, you can divide Universities into two camps. The "research-led" model and the more "vocational" model, where research funds the former, and students fund the latter.
The sector moves too fast for good enough people to leave the industry and setup reputable, useful courses that will leave students equipped for 60 years to come, not just 60 days. Because of that, I doubt there will be the demand by students since there's no beaten path to follow, and so there will be no money and no incentive for Universities to create these courses.
The alternative is for research-based Universities to get involved in the internet marketing field more. This would get more interesting, but begs the whole "commercialism in education" question. When Harvard Business School, London Business School and all those kinds of institutions introduce effective, lasting courses in internet marketing I think we'll see the game change.
I know some of the SEER squad instructs at local colleges in some capacity... would be cool to get some of them to weigh in with thoughts/ exactly what their interactions entail..
I hear you on the latency of devising a model against the real-time evolution of the industry, but I think it viable for an instructor to set a something loosely structured in addition to learning/observing notable practitioners in real-time. Shit, with skype and hangouts, you could have a 'guest speaker' each week or more often..
I'd love to see more people in our field doing what SEER does. Do any other agencies have employees teaching locally or targeting younger people to come out to meetups?
What SEER does is great, but it's a micro-solution to a macro problem. What's being asked is a widely-available, rigorous alternative to online education. A network of "SEERs" doing what SEER does would be cool, but then again it's unlikely to be their primary mission.
Guest lectures are a consequence of the core problem, not the solution. Ideally, professors would have the digital expertise to talk fluently about theory, strategy, and tactics that cover 80% of the current trends, with 20% supplemented through guest speakers.
Interesting that the curriculum starts at the junior year. Probably underscores the reality that w/ something like SEO/digital marketing, you learn by doing so diving right in is the best way to begin.
What do you think of DistilledU? Could that grow into this role?
I think it could but the funny thing is, this curriculum would never be accepted on the university level b/c the creators don't have PhD behind their name.
Tom Anthony handed in his thesis last year, so it won't be long now... ;) But I hear your point. That said, every business school worth it's salt will bring in outsiders, right?
Whoa... why aren't you name dropping Dr. Pete and me :-P We have letters behind our names too ;-)
In all seriousness, Ed already nailed one of the primary reasons you won't see an Internet marketing "curriculum" at a Tier 1 research-based university: the professors employed at those universities aren't doing research on Internet marketing. And unless someone creates fat Internet marketing grants, that's not going to change. This situation is actually much more complicated than that oversimplification, but I won't bore you with the gory details.
Another "problem" is the interdisciplinary nature of Internet marketing. I've given very technical guest lectures about SEO in Computer Science courses, and I've given less technical lectures in Business courses. If you were creating a curriculum on Internet marketing, a very practical question is where to put it. Unfortunately, universities are very large organizations with lots of red tape, and a question as trivial as "Is this a Business-based program or a Computer Science-based program?" would be enough to severely stall an idea.
Bottom line: it would be great to see a university adopt a full-blown Internet marketing program, but for the foreseeable future, I doubt you'll see more than a special topics course on the topic.
Oops, sorry for overlooking your titles. It's the sheer intelligence of people like you and Dr. Pete that keep the rest of us SEOs from looking like third-rate street performers.
I was just giving Ed a hard time for only mentioning Tom ;-)
On the one hand, I totally agree. I think every internet marketing agency I know is hiring right now. The one I work for is hiring right now. And good qualified people that aren't already employed are hard to find.
But I have to agree with the concern about turning this into a degree at a school somewhere. I think about the business courses I took, and the textbooks I studied, and I can't imagine trying to learn internet marketing that way. I think there's a real risk of taking it and "academizing" it to a point that it loses most of it's practical, real-world value.
Also, the speed in which the industry changes would take a lot of those classes and make them mostly useless by the time that graduate was a year or two into their career. I started learning about SEO in 2010 as a senior in college, and got pretty knowledgeable about it. I decided to specialize in PPC, and lost track of SEO a bit. Just 2+ years later, and SEO is far different than it was even then, and that will only continue.
I personally think the best way to train up new internet marketers is more through a mentorship/internship program. This could be for-credit and part of their business major, but give them a chance to learn in a real-world environment where things are practical and not purely academic. Also, these mentors would be people in the real business world who's relationship with the student is more likely to really just be getting started when that student graduates due to the interconnected internet marketing world, so there would be a higher motivation for them to train those students well. And a benefit for the mentors would be that they would have first dibs on employing the new talent entering the internet marketing field.
I got to agree with you on this one Jason. You'd have to buy a new textbook halfway through the semester!
College/Universities = Foundation of Knowledge. For internet marketing think real world.You will either learn these skills on the job and/or doing side projects yourself to learn these skills.
For anyone in college I would suggest they take their Senior project and/or homework and look at a way to make a business around it. Building a marketing campaign - choose a company and send them your deck when done :) Win/Win.
Side note - I think DistilledU, udemy and skillshare are only going to get bigger as more and more knowledge that is needed and NOT taught at universities/colleges.
I honestly believe that most SEOs are afraid of an official course because they won’t have a piece of paper stating that they are an official SEO and how do you sell shitty services then?
I am decidedly torn on this one. On the one hand I used to be a lawyer and saw what was an exclusive course taught at only a few institutions open up to almost all Scottish universities, leading to four times as many graduates as Diploma places and twice as many Diploma graduates as traineeships and more trainees completing their training than permanent jobs to give them once they qualified, resulting in a lot of very qualified unemployed people.
If the training and the qualifications exist how soon before they are seen as prerequisites? Is that a good thing? Like I say, I'm torn.