I want to take a Digital Marketing course, but how do I choose? We tell you how!

Let’s cut to the chase:  time has proven digital marketing to be more than a passing trend. In fact, it’s only gained more and more momentum.

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(Cases in point: Alibaba Group, China’s multinational conglomerate and e-commerce giant, has decided to acquire a stake in Focus Media Information Technology Co. Ltd (China’s biggest and pioneering digital marketing network) to break into the digital marketing sector.

Also, more and more companies like Revlon Inc. and Vodafone are seeing the need for digital marketing and forming their own in-house teams! Convinced, yet?)

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Digital Marketing is definitely here to stay and we know our readers know this too. Many of you have consulted our Digital Marketing course list (this one) and asked us questions. These popped up the most: Which course would best suit my goals and how do I choose one? Will it be worth the cost?

Digital Senior has wanted to answer these for quite some time, and now we finally can! To do this, we took a peek into one such course for ourselves—UpGrad’s Executive Program in Strategic Digital Marketing—recently, and will share our findings in the form of a short FAQ-cum-checklist below.

 

  • I’m a bit unsure. What skills do you need in digital marketing?

If you’ve done a quick scan of job openings in the digital marketing industry, and looked at digital marketing portals, you’d discover that there are a few must-have skills to know (or acquire). These lie in:

  • Data Analytics (aka competency in web analytics tools, with Google Analytics often being the minimum)
  • Solid copywriting skills for persuasive ad copy/compelling content
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)/Search Engine Marketing (SEM) skills
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • And more, depending on the job’s position and scope

If you just want exposure in digital marketing for interest’s sake, the intensive days-long courses will meet your purposes.

If you’re serious about learning digital marketing or have a goal of breaking into the industry, however, you should find a course that covers all of these for a strong foundation!

In our case, we found that UpGrad’s digital marketing executive program happens to ticks all these boxes.

The syllabus of UpGrad’s Executive Digital Marketing Course, which can be found on their website. UpGrad covers these via a mix of case studies, videos, quizzes, assignments and readings (more on this later!)

  • What should I look out for when picking a digital marketing course?

A course that brings you the best Return On Investment (ROI), of course!

Quips aside (couldn’t resist using marketing jargon), this really is what you should look for. You’re forking out precious money and time, so you should get the most out of it.

What are the important things to look out for?

  • Content that’s not only comprehensive but also delivered in an engaging manner— so you won’t lose motivation midway. Personally, as a writer, I took the most interest in the course’s pointers on content strategy! In Session 2 of Module 2, which dealt with the role of content in social media marketing, I was reminded of how writing is both an art and a science. Simply producing good writing is no longer enough to attract an audience so spoilt for choice. Therefore, using what Mr. Pradip Lal (Head of E-commerce for Marks and Spencer Dubai) shares, I now decide how content theme my writing should be angled (informational? emotional?) first to fulfil my objectives, before deciding what content format to adapt it for or supplement it with. GIFs? Infographics?

Weighing my options. You could supplement writing with GIFs to increase engagement.

Another thing that caught my attention was the section explaining how content goes viral, which is every marketer’s dream. Covered by Cambridge Judge Business School lecturer, Shasha Lu, I took away an important insight on how content that evokes high-arousal emotions (e.g fear vs contentment) will have higher shares! All these things are practical knowledge that I can immediately apply to future work.

An example in the module of advertising done well: BMW’s The Hire short film series, made to showcase the BMW 2017 5 Series.

But, what else?

  • In UpGrad’s Search Marketing module, we were taken through everything from how a search engine works all the way to the anatomy of search ads, as well as how to create Ad Campaigns and then measure and optimize them after. This is the meat of most digital marketers’ jobs!

Detailed explanations were given every session.

In the process, we were asked challenging questions, like this one:

We also did graded quizzes (which threw us back to our schooling days!)

  • Content in every module had realistic case studies that put you in the shoes of a digital marketer; in the Search Marketing module, we were given the opportunity to run our own Google Adwords campaign through Digital Marketing simulation provider Stukent. You’ll get to have hands-on experience with industry-used tools like Hootsuite and Hubspot, too.

 

The Course has a resources section, which walks you through how to use tools such as Google Analytics step-by-step.

  • Helpful learning aids that smoothen the learning journey. Using UpGrad’s course as reference:
  • Video lectures interspersed between readings (plus point: all with English subtitles!)

These lectures are delivered by veteran industry experts (from organizations such as Microsoft and Hewlett Packard) as well as faculty from Cambridge Judge Business School (CJBS).

  • Helpful features such as the ability to download module transcriptions and summaries, so that we could learn on the go or reference previous modules’ content more easily!

  • A Q&A (slide-out) tab where you can ask your burning questions and view answers to the ones other students have asked. Questions are a vital part of any learning process.
  • Strong student support and resources
  • Such as a student mentor (1:1), who follows the UpGrad Digital Marketing course-taker throughout his/her 4-month learning journey and helps out with any problems faced.
  • Chances to network, in person (through offline workshops) or through the web.

Link your social media accounts to your profile so fellow course takers can reach you.

  • Mentorship from industry experts (which for UpGrad is in the form of three 1-1 mentorship sessions with mentors of the course-taker’s choice), is a plus!

3. And, last but not least…how would I know if a course is worth it?

When you take the course, you’d most likely have a few objectives you want to meet. If you don’t have a clear idea, list them down and evaluate if the course you’re eying will fulfill them. Can you find another course similar in content, but provides you with extra services? Do your homework and see if you can find reviews from previous course-takers on the net. Grill the course’s counsellors if you must!

While UpGrad’s course isn’t cheap, at USD1800, it had this major plus point: it issues a joint certificate with the Cambridge Judge Business School (which, along with industry experts, collaborated on the course’s curriculum) upon course completion. The University of Cambridge is recognised by everyone, and their business school (established 1990), ranks amongst the top 15 for MBAs globally (Financial Times, 2018).

Another draw? The course comprises of both online and offline learning! Sometimes, nothing really beats face-to-face interaction. While online learning takes up 90% of the course, there are 2 offline workshops (basecamps) run by digital marketing experts, and live webinars that take place every 2-3 weeks. These can be conducted either by Cambridge Judge professors, teaching assistants or industry professionals.

Do keep a lookout for value-adding support/services as well! If you were a student of UpGrad’s Executive Program in Strategic Digital Marketing, for instance, you’d be provided placement opportunities through partnerships with recruitment agencies such as IoTalents and JobTech , membership to an exclusive Membership to Program Alumni Group (run by CJBSEE and UpGrad), and lifetime access to networking sessions.

During the course itself, the industry professionals that students can seek mentorship from include veterans such as the Head of Marketing APAC at Facebook or a Senior Digital Manager at Adidas—opportunities hard to come by elsewhere.

Things like these will be very helpful if you’re looking into pursuing a digital marketing career.

We hope we’ve helped you guys through this post! If you’re curious to find out more about the course we tried, we’ve asked and put together a mini-FAQ for you below. Here’s wishing you all the best in your learning quest!

This post was written with the help of UpGrad!

FAQ on UpGrad’s  Executive Program in Strategic Digital Marketing

Q: What is Cambridge Judge Business School?

  • Cambridge Judge Business School (CJBS) is the business school of the University of Cambridge. It is consistently ranked among the world’s top business schools by publications such as the Financial Times and Times Higher Education.

Q: Who can take this course?

  • Anyone serious about learning digital marketing, and fulfills the minimum criteria (≥3 years bachelor degree holder and ≥2 years of overall work experience). There will be an application and evaluation process.

If you do not fulfil the above criteria, do have a chat with their admission counsellors to have a case-by-case personal review!

Q: What is the commitment level?

  • The course is 4 months long (an upcoming run begins this Sept and ends in January), with an average of 4-6 hours of engagement weekly.

Q: Who teaches the course?

  • The course is taught by professors/lecturers of Cambridge Judge Business School, accompanied by industry practitioners (from companies like Adidas, Marks and Spencer). The curriculum has received input from leading industry professionals every step of the way, too, to ensure its relevancy.

Q: What’s the intake like?

  • Your coursemates will be from around the region, which you can network with at basecamps.

UpGrad makes sure that no matter the size of the intake, students will get all the resources they require. Students will get their desired industry mentors, for example, as UpGrad makes sure to tailor the pool based on student demographics.

Q: How much is the course?

  • USD1,800. Upon being shortlisted, you will need to pay a deposit of USD250 to reserve your seat.

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