Webinar Wrap-up: How Blended Learning Boosts Digital Marketing Skills

Fast-evolving technologies, from pay-per-click (PPC) to analytics to social media, have put powerful capabilities within the grasp of agencies and marketing teams but made it harder to keep up with the necessary skills.

This gap gives ad agencies and in-house marketing teams an opportunity (and the imperative) to upskill themselves in the latest digital technologies and best practices in order to stay competitive. 

How can your agency or your marketing team keep up? An eLearning program that uses a blended learning methodology has been proven to be the fastest and most effective way to achieve desired corporate training outcomes, especially when it comes to digital marketing skills. In this recent webinar, Simplilearn’s Josh Pfister, along with Learning & Development researcher Dan Biewener, discussed these technologies and the theories and practices behind blended learning. The half-hour recorded webinar can be viewed now or at your convenience. A written wrap-up of the main points of the webinar is also available below.

How Simplilearn Knows Digital Marketing

First, some background on why we’re the ones telling this story. Simplilearn knows a lot about digital marketing training. In 2015, the company acquired Market Motive, a Silicon Valley based digital marketing education firm that founded the Online Marketing Certified Professionals industry certification body. OMCP remains the definitive organization dedicated to enhancing and validating the capabilities of digital marketers. As such, this is how we align and validate our digital marketing curriculum, so Simplilearn is proud to be so closely associated with these knowledgeable experts, who continue to guide and help update our curriculum today.

Challenges Facing the Agency Industry

With regard to the agency side, digital marketing has created a perilous situation for traditional marketing services providers. There are three reasons why.

#1: Clients Are Going digital

Because of the digital economy, major shifts are impacting the agency industry. Adweek (March 1, 2018) notes that this year some of the largest consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands have been making some bold moves into digital marketing. Both Procter & Gamble and Unilever, two of the biggest CPG brands in the world, are putting pressure agencies to do improve their digital marketing capabilities. 

Traditionally large marketing agency spenders are now redirecting a lot of money on training to bring digital marketing skills in-house. In many instances, this trend had cut agency budgets in half. For example, last year, Procter & Gamble cut $200 million in digital ad spend, and increased the company’s reach by 10 percent, according to Adweek.

#2: The Digital Marketing Knowledge Gap

Another challenge that we’ve identified through our work with hundreds of agencies and private sector organizations is that there is a gap between knowing what digital marketing is, and then actually applying digital marketing concepts to campaigns and strategies. 

“Our sales staff understands what digital marketing is, but they are having a hard time putting together a mixed discipline solution that will meet the objectives of our clients,” complained one business leader. “What we need is an education program that helps them connect the dots. If you mix blue and yellow, you get green. If you mix social media with content and PPC, you get X. An understanding of how all of the digital marketing disciplines work together to form a total solution is severely lacking.”

#3: Talent Needed to Fill Digital Skills Gaps

A hole in the market exists between business and professional marketers with the competency in digital marketing and execution. Although one might think that these gaps can be filled with hiring, the demand for these skills far exceeds the supply of qualified talent available in the marketplace. Here are a few statistics that illustrate the need to fill digital marketing skills gaps.

According to Burning Glass Research (August 2017), “40 percent of marketing jobs now call for digital marketing skills.”

Mondo.com says, “The demand for digital marketing professionals will rise by 38 percent this year.”

“Digital marketing will top $100 billion and account for 35 percent of all marketing spending by 2019,” notes the US Digital Marketing Forecast, 2014 to 2019.

The LinkedIn Workforce Report (May 2018) says, “The US needs 230,000 more people with [digital] marketing skills.”

“Demand for Content Marketing has risen 450 percent in the last five years. Digital Analytics demand grew 152 percent,” says Deloitte’s The CMO Survey (2017). “Marketers will increase Analytics spending by 375% in the next two to four years.”

“Marketers are difficult to hire,” warns Upwork.com (2017). “35 percent of hiring managers felt hiring got harder in the past year.”

Why Blended Learning Improves Digital Marketing Skills

Ironically, closing skills gaps are most easily done by leveraging the same digital shift that created them. Blended learning is the key. At its most basic, blended learning complements live, instructor-led classroom training with online content, usually in the form of on-demand videos that learners review outside of class. 

Simplilearn’s blended learning process combines the convenience of self-paced online training, the personal attention of instructor-led live virtual classroom instruction and the hands-on practice possible through projects and online labs. Blended delivery modes allow for each aspect to be taught using the most appropriate medium for the topic of that particular stage in the training.

In 1992, researchers Fleming and Mills developed a popular model of learning styles called VARK modalities theory, to explain why some people learn best through Visual information, some best through Auditory means such as hearing or speaking, some through Reading and still others through Kinesthetic engagement such as physical practice. People also learn through Logical, Social, and even Solitary (self-study) modes. A blended learning solution makes sense for all types of learners because it uses all delivery modes to support their training.

Another important factor to consider when it comes to delivering blended learning training programs to your organization is the engagement preferences of folks from the four generations that are all working together in the same offices. Depending on the era when they were born, learners gain most from training when it is delivered in different ways that blend structure and predictability, independent study and practice, group interaction or fun activities. Because it’s multimodal, blended learning provides something engaging and effective for all generations of learners. 

Numerous studies show how learning is improved for most everyone by combining different activities alongside more passive study. By utilizing as many learning delivery methods as possible (video, live instructor, social and practical), you can fill in any knowledge gaps left by modes that were less than optimal for the specific topic or learner. Research also shows that redundancy through multiple delivery modes improves learning and especially retention.

How Simplilearn Training Fills Skills Gaps

Simplilearn offers a comprehensive list of digital marketing education programs. Starting with Foundational level learning, we have training programs that are designed to take “new-to-career” team members or those who have little to no digital marketing fluency to a level of understanding that makes them very conversant and capable to sit down at a computer and start building and running campaigns. 

We then move into Advanced level learning that helps those who have at least 1 to 2 years of digital marketing experience become experts in their functional areas. These courses dive deep into the technical workings of the discipline. Also included in the catalog are shorter, platform-specific courses, such as YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Google AdWords. Then we have our Master’s programs that cover multiple topics across foundational and advanced level curriculums. All of these offer role-specific learning paths, aligning to actual careers in marketing departments and agencies today.

It’s not enough for a marketer to just know SEO or just Social Media. All of the digital marketing disciplines are interwoven and connected. To be truly effective, functional team members have to understand how these different disciplines affect one another, and ultimately how they combine to impact strategy.

Simplilearn’s courses are taught by marketing experts who actually work in their specialty fields. We work with a network of world-class influencers and industry experts to develop our courses.  We then source instructors who are both teachers and practitioners who bring real-world examples and hands-on application into the classroom.  

Simplilearn’s delivery platform provides learners with an easy-to-navigate ecosystem that lets them learn anywhere at any time. Additionally, Simplilearn provides a learning management system (LMS) that enables managers to monitor learners’ progress and other metrics to maximize a return on the investment of education dollars spent. 

Finally, we back our courses with award-winning customer support, from start to finish. A customer success manager gets involved right from the beginning to work on defining the detailed solution, goals and success metrics, as well as the logistical pieces your organization needs. Once the program is launched, ongoing reporting tracks progress against the benchmarks identified in the beginning.

In Conclusion

Whether you’re in an agency or a corporate marketing department, digital marketing skills have become necessary for survival. Getting your team up-to-speed as fast as possible is the key to maintaining a competitive edge and providing your organization or your clients with the capabilities in highest demand.

Thanks to its multimodal diversity that appeals to all learner types, a purpose-built, outcome-centric blended learning program like Simplilearn’s makes the best path to gaining these necessary skills. For example, Simplilearn offers this comprehensive course: the Digital Marketing Specialist Master’s Program. Its industry-recommended learning path includes more than 250 hours of high-quality eLearning, covering more than 40 digital marketing technologies and preparation for 12 official industry certifications, like Google Adwords. Check out any of Simplilearn’s Digital Marketing courses, even for just-in-time training on specific tools. It’s a proven-effective course of action to keep your agency or your marketing department ahead of the curve.

Need a proven learning solution? Learn how Simplilearn's blended learning model can take your corporate training to the next level.
 

About the Author

SimplilearnSimplilearn

Simplilearn is one of the world’s leading providers of online training for Digital Marketing, Cloud Computing, Project Management, Data Science, IT, Software Development, and many other emerging technologies.

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