As marketers we live in a rapidly changing world. The last few years have seen a huge rise in content marketing, mobile marketing, and marketing automation, to name but a few. And this year alone will see more ad-blockers, a mobile-first index, and an increase in voice search.
Continuous innovation brings many new opportunities, but also brings many new challenges. Staying on top of the new trends and technologies is very time consuming, especially on top of day-to-day duties. It’s no wonder that a recent survey by the CIM and Hays Recruitment found that over a quarter of marketers consider their skills out-of-date.
How to stay ahead in marketing
Updating your skills through a marketing qualification is certainly an effective way to stay ahead, and there are significant benefits, for both marketers and their employers.
Qualifications provide you with a short-cut to the latest knowledge and skills, along with practical experience through work-based assessments. For your employer, it’s an investment that aids retention of you – their top talent – and there’s potential for competitive advantage through your newfound expertise.
But qualifications can be expensive. This guide offers some actionable, down-to-earth advice to help you convince your boss to pay, or at least contribute to, development of your marketing career.
Research your own organisation
A good place start is some research close to home. You need to know whether there's a training budget, and if there is, which hoops do you have to jump through to get your hands on it?
These are the sorts of things you need to know before going any further:
- company policy might say you need to have been an employee for a specific period
- it might require you to make a long-term commitment in return for funding
- you might need to pay up front, and then be reimbursed when you complete the qualification successfully
Also, knowing what’s available will equip you when it comes to overcoming objections later. You’ll be ready for any bland rejection along the lines of... “Sorry, there's just no budget for training at the moment.”
Research the courses on offer
Next is the qualification. This is going to take a bit of digging around so that you can make an informed choice.
You’ll need to unearth more detail and insight than is usually published on an education provider’s website.
Here are a few things to consider:
- Who awards the qualification and how credible are they?
- Is there impartial proof of the qualification’s quality? For example, Facebook reviews are a great indicator here, as they can’t be edited or deleted by the provider.
- How frequently are the course materials updated? This is particularly important when investigating a qualification in digital marketing.
- Has the course provider developed the course content with the Australian market in mind? Beware professional qualifications that providers may have purchased off-the-shelf from overseas.
- How much will the qualification cost?
- How long will it take to complete, and will it require any time away from work?
- How practical are the assessments? Can they be instantly applied to your workplace?
The last point is absolutely essential...
A work-based assignment amounts to a piece of consultancy and will show your employer the potential for instant ROI.
However, assessment through a purely theoretical report or a multiple-choice test just isn’t going to cut it. So ask each course provider for a sample assessment and, if it’s up to scratch, include it in your proposal.
Benefits to your employer
Let’s face it, all your boss will really be looking for is “what’s in it for me?”
With this in mind, here are some areas to cover in your proposal:
- Practical, work-based assignments deliver a working document that would cost more than the course fees to outsource.
- New knowledge and skills will potentially put your organisation ahead of, or allow them to catch up with, the competition.
- Updated skills will return savings by reducing the requirement to outsource. (Quoting some of those impartial Facebook reviews might be helpful here.)
- Other possibilities might be that you’ll be able to take on more responsibility, be more efficient, and be able to train colleagues in new areas.
According to your organisation’s individual scenario, you could also go into specifics about potential marketing ROI. For example, you could mention that you’ll be able to write a Digital Marketing Plan, implement tactical campaigns through the likes of Paid Search and Social Media, and monitor and report on the results. Maybe fire them up a little by including relevant keywords, such as Mobile Marketing, Social Media Marketing, and Google Analytics.
A solid proposal outlining benefits including the ROI is going to be your best shot at convincing your boss to pay.
Your best start is to go to the top of the page and download the full guide to Persuading Your Boss to Fund Your Education.