“The learning and knowledge that we have, is, at the most, but little compared with that of which we are ignorant.” – Plato
What do you think is one of the biggest advantages we have, that the Internet gave us? No, it’s not Tinder. It is access to free education we get. As a novice marketeer a lot of the things I have learned is from free online marketing courses (and some low budget ones) and from massive open online courses (MOOC) platforms. Here are some that I think every person who is new and wants to know more about marketing should take without having to break the bank.
Course Title: The Digital Garage
Certificate: Yes (no extra charge)
This one was not the first I took, but it is defiantly the first I would have if it existed a few years back. Here you will learn everything you need to know about digital marketing and how to promote your business online. There are video tutorials in which experts from Google are explaining the difficult terminology and breaking it down in simple language, so even your grandparents would be able to understand it. There are also videos where small business owners are giving examples of what they have achieved thanks to going digital and taking their business online.
Marketers who are in the business for some time will also learn something new or will be reminded about something they have forgotten or not used. The course is unbelievably detailed and it is spread into 23 sections. There is something for everybody and it’s FREE. You even get a certificate that you can add to your LinkedIn profile with one click. This self-paced online course is a must for anybody who is a business owner or wants to learn how digital marketing works.
Organization: MIT – Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Certificate: Yes ($300 each)
Now, with this one, I do not really know what more I can add. Free lectures from MIT’s Sloan School! Thank you, internet, and thank you edX! The course, currently (Jan 2017), is a bit more different from what I went through back in 2015, but the outcomes are the same. The lecturers are Bill Aulet – Managing Director, Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship and Erdin Beshimov – Lecturer, MIT and Director of the MIT Bootcamps Program Massachusetts Institute of Technology. People are going in livelong debts to go to MIT to learn from them. They will teach you some of the basics in marketing…for free.
You will learn who your ideal customer is, how to target them and how to keep focus so you will become a leader in your niche market. Also, you will learn how to recognize and meet your customers’ needs and so much more. This online course is a no brainer, for beginners and intermediate marketers. You can also get a certificate to add to your CV, but that comes with a price. I will be going for Entrepreneurship 103 myself which starts in February.
Course title: SOSTAC© Associate
Organization: PR Smith
Certificate: Yes (no extra cost)
I have not heard of PR Smith’s SOSTAC© until my third year in college. Now I can’t imagine being a marketer without it. One of my classes, Digital Marketing Planning, is entirely based on this genius planning system that Mr PR Smith came up with. SOSTAC© is now recognized all around the world as one of the most important business models.
If you are creating a traditional or digital marketing plan, PR Smith’s SOSTAC© is pretty much the only way you should do it. SOSTAC stands for:
- Situation Analysis – Where are we now?
- Objectives – Where are we going?
- Strategy – How do we get there?
- Tactics – Details of strategy.
- Action – Who does what?
- Control – Measurements and metrics.
The online platform, disappointingly, is far from the best. There are no video tutorials. There are some videos from the ’80s as an extra tool, but I managed to go through only a couple of them as the quality is unbearable. I am not an HQ, 4K maniac but these videos were too much to handle.
When you sign up to become a SOSTAC© Associate, you are given a link to download, a .drmz file that a programme named Javelin can only read. I do not know why they did not go for a simple .pdf file. I guess it has to do with some sort of security issues of their files. Anyway, the link did not work, so I had to contact them. After a couple of emails, they finally emailed me the file as a solution to the issue I had. The thing is, I could only read that on my PC as I could not get it to work on my tablet or phone. For me reading a book on a laptop or desktop is very frustrating, but thankfully I read the acknowledgements and found out that there is a Kindle edition of this file/book. You can find it by clicking here and it will cost you only £3.48. They should have this link there instead of that ridiculous .drmz file.
Even though the platform has its issues, if you are serious about marketing, this is a must. If you do not want to spend £100, just get the book from amazon for the cost of a pint. The book alone will make your life as a marketer much, much easier.
Being based in Ireland I am especially proud of this course from Accenture, a Fortune Global 500 Irish multinational company. This course is ideal for business owners and entrepreneurs who are at the start of getting to know what digital marketing is and how to use it to grow their business. In this course, you will explore what digital marketing is, why it is important and look at some digital marketing strategies including display advertising, pay per click advertising, search engine optimisation and email marketing. You will learn the importance of balancing and integrating different digital marketing strategies and how companies target customers.
Course title: The Science of Everyday Thinking
Organization: The University of Queensland
Certificate: Yes ($99)
This is not a marketing course, but it has a lot to do with marketing. There are no marketing strategies, product developments or digital marketing campaigns here. This course has to do with the psychological part of marketing and the way people think and act. Consumer behaviour has a lot to do with marketing and the guys from The University of Queensland will show you how people behave in different situations. It is definitely the most interesting online course, or any course for that matter, I have ever attended. If you ask me, every single person should take the time to go through that e-course.
You will find it available at edX, the Carlsberg of MOOC’s (probably the best e-learning platform). Great video tutorials from an established institution, self-paced and everything runs smoothly. Take this course! You can thank me later.
Course Title: How to Write an Essay
Organization: Berkeley, University of California
This course is also not directly marketing related, but it has a lot to do with marketing. Every marketer writes. Marketing plans, briefings, blog posts, etc. This course from one of the best universities in the World is great for learning on creating habits about writing. You will learn a lot of small tricks that will make you a better writer.
The course is also available at edX. It has video tutorials and weekly exercises to help you write quality content.
Take advantage of what the internet has to offer you! Leave the fake universe of Facebook (unless you are looking at The Novice Marketeer’s Facebook page), instead spent an hour or so a day learning something new. Become a better marketer, or better whatever, and take the knowledge that is made available for you. We now have all the best universities in the world in our pockets. Let’s not be stupid and waste this opportunity.