There are so many places to gather knowledge today, which is great given the extent of change since the onslaught of the fourth industrial revolution.
But this leaves us with too many options, and making the right decision can take time, time we don’t have, as there are so many things on our to do list to get ticked off.
But us marketers are learning to adapt.
Google it, Ted Talks, YouTube how too’s, blogs, online forums, university, college, professional institutes, MOOCs, company intranets: it’s an information overload.
That’s why we need smart learning. The time you invest in upgrading your skills needs to be time well spent.
There are four key things to consider:
- Is it relevant to you in your situation?
- Can you apply it in your work?
- Is the knowledge designed to stick with you?
- Will it stay with you, or disappear as soon as you go back to your to do list?
Lets take a look at these one by one.
Is it relevant in your situation?
There are lots of formal and informal learning opportunities in marketing but are you learning the right information at the right time?
At the different stages of our marketing careers, we need access to very different marketing information.
Learning about strategic planning frameworks, micro and macro environments isn’t very helpful to an entry level marketer who is not making any decisions about markets or communications plans.
If your employer is very supportive, they may give you time out of the office to attend classes in person, or contribute to costs, then a more formal qualification with an institute may work for you.
At the other end of the scale if time and money are scarce look to online courses or even MOOCs you can work at your own pace and they are more cost effective.
Can you apply it in your work?
Marketing is complex, but its also very hands on.
Understanding theories and memorising names of infamous marketers of bygone years won’t help you decide which channels you should be focusing on, or how to develop a communications strategy that your stakeholders will be on board with.
If you are investing the little free time you have on learning about your calling in life, make sure you can apply it to what you are trying to achieve in the office.
Is the knowledge designed to stick with you?
Our brains need to meet specific criteria in order to learn something, according to educational researcher Bloom.
We need to go through six stages of understanding to move from novice to proficient and confident on a topic.
In brief these stages are:
This means that simply watching a video is unlikely to help you become proficient in a marketing skill, the key is to understand why the theory works, see it applied, have a go yourself, then embed what you have learned by changing your behaviours.
So if you are simply interested in finding out about a topic then some simple Google searches or watching a Ted Talk will fulfil your need.
If you want to master a skill, look deeper into how the content will taught to determine whether the brain’s needs will be met to take you on a journey of understanding and mastering a skill.
Will it stay with you, or disappear as soon as you go back to your to do list?
Your own online research as well as many courses can leave you feeling inspired and ready to make big changes to what you are doing.
But when you get back to the office, critical deadlines and endless to do lists can huge blockers in applying what you have learned.
To battle these inevitable dampners on your inspiration, ensure that the learning you choose teaches techniques that will help you to be more effective in the office and give you the tools you need to easily apply what you have learned.
The IDM have toiled relentlessly to determine how we can meet the needs of marketers, in learning new skills and embedding them in what you do with tool kits and templates.
Watch the video about our new Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing to discover how you can develop top notch omni channel campaigns.