Marketing Technology for Growth

Marketing Students: Education vs. Application

Marketing Students: Education vs. Application

Not many things frustrate me more than the current curriculum taught to marketing students around the nation. There is a substantial barrier between the general marketing knowledge being taught to students and the applicable marketing involvement they should be experiencing as they develop skills for marketing careers. The goal should be to prepare students with the most relevant information that will assist in their ability to secure positions and prosper in those positions throughout their careers.  Unfortunately, the current knowledge obtained in marketing curricula is too general and over-arching, and fails to directly apply to the daily responsibilities many entry-level marketers are tasked to accomplish. This is very troubling to me.

My intention isn’t to knock the educational system. I went to an exceptional university with an outstanding business school and I will never regret that decision. I had great professors that taught me life lessons and helped me learn and grow professionally, and my marketing classes allowed me to understand the importance of marketing and branding as essential business functions.  My college experience, as a whole, proved to me that I had a passion for the field of marketing and contributed to my determination for a career within this field.  However, do I wish my business/marketing classes would have prepared me more for the type of tasks I would be expected to accomplish in an entry-level marketing position? Absolutely.

This educational gap I’ve noticed has cultivated in me a passion to discover ways for students to learn applicable marketing skills I didn’t learn during my college years.  Let’s dig a little deeper into the educational gap I am ever-so passionate about.

What Marketing Students Are Learning

Here’s a list of some important concepts I learned throughout my college career:

  • 4 P’s of Marketing

  • SWOT Analysis

  • Branding

    • Brand Integrity

    • Brand Consistency

    • Brand Loyalty

  • Product Life Cycle

  • Creating Utility

The educational elements of marketing I’ve shared above are important to the development of future marketing professionals.  I am not suggesting that we cease to place focus on the 4 P’s of Marketing, SWOT analyses, and other general principles of marketing.  Rather, I believe it is crucial to expand on these marketing pillars and have students interact with actual strategies, tactics, and tools they will be expected to be conversant in when they enter into the actual business world. 

What Marketing Students Need to Learn

The realm of marketing is dynamic; therefore, business and marketing professors need to treat it as such. As current/new trends are updated/established, students deserve the opportunity to learn about these trends inside the classroom. 

In addition, today’s marketing is digital – students need to be exposed to elements of SEO, social media marketing, inbound marketing methodology, email marketing, marketing analytics, and other digital marketing strategies, tactics, and tools; and not just the theories, they need a better understanding of real-world “How-To’s.” For example:

If educators shape their courses with opportunities for students to further understand these applicable areas of marketing, graduates will be further equipped with the skills necessary to thrive in real-world marketing positions.

How Do We Bridge the Gap?

Obviously, marketing internships are a great way to bridge the gap. I encourage all marketing students to seek internships to obtain hands-on experiences running campaigns involving real dollars, working to uphold a real brand’s reputation, and working toward the completion of real marketing initiatives.  That being said, I still think it is important for colleges/universities to adopt better ways to deliver applicable marketing knowledge to their students outside of marketing internships.

In addition, we hear a lot about the exceeding degree of difficulty in regard to obtaining marketing positions (both internships and full-time positions) either during or directly out of school. In my opinion, that troubling trend can change with an updated approach to the way professors prepare their students for future success within the realm of marketing.

Synecore shares a similar passion with me when it comes to the education of students and even further, business executives and managers.  With the assistance of the entire Synecore team, Ira Kaufman (Entwine Digital) and Chris Horton (Synecore) have co-authored a book titled, Digital Marketing: Integrating Strategy and Tactics with Values [A Guidebook for Executives, Managers, and Students].  Drawing on real-world digital marketing strategies and tactics, the content within the book and its companion website aims to prepare executives, managers, and students for the task of marketing in the digital age. In doing so, this book takes a giant step towards the construction of the metaphorical bridge between marketing education and application. I encourage you to check it out and see what you think!

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Topics: Integrated Digital Marketing, Marketing, Synecore technogies, Marketing Technology Trends