To say I’m a huge fan of digital marketing titan Jay Baer would be an understatement bordering on criminally remiss. Not a week goes by that I don’t feast my ears on the delicious audio awesomeness that is the Social Pros Podcast.
On episode 266 of Social Pros (one of the better ones, which is saying something), guest LaSandra Brill made the profound statement that AI (artificial intelligence) is where social media was ten years ago. AI presents a huge headache in terms of staffing, as relatively few people have the necessary skills to play in this burgeoning space.
Jay readily cosigned this sentiment, referencing an Oracle CMO Summit he recently hosted. At the summit, Jay asked 150 CMOs what their biggest challenge was. They responded, “Finding the right people for our teams, given where marketing is today and where it’s headed.”
I have a message for those 150 CMOs: Stop making excuses, and put your money where your mouth is.
Fixing the Shortage of Trained Digital Marketing Professionals
Digital marketing evolves so rapidly that people’s mindsets often don’t keep pace with reality. There’s this tendency to lean on soothing myths like, “They don’t teach this stuff in school.” (I’m looking at you, Gary Vee!)
As with most myths, this one contains a nugget of truth. While I would certainly agree that the current state of digital marketing education is, on the whole, pathetic, I’ll borrow from my podcast interview with Mark Schaefer: To assert that current digital marketing isn’t taught at the collegiate level simply isn’t factual. It’s a rare and endangered species, to be sure, but it most certainly does exist.
The first step in solving any problem is admitting there is one. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Internet Marketing from Full Sail University. Full Sail’s IMBS program was incepted in 2007. It’s 2017, y’all! The degree program has been around for a full decade at this point. So just how long is the industry going to hold on to the myth that degreed internet marketers don’t exist?
(FTC Disclosure, a.k.a. Factually Told Candor: No one from the alumni association put me up to this. I’m not being compensated in any way by Full Sail University. I’m writing this because I genuinely believe formal education has a huge role to play in solving the personnel pipeline problem plaguing the industry, as articulated by Jay’s 150 CMOs at the Oracle Summit.)
The following is an excerpt from my book Beyond Buzzwords: Social Media, Mobile & Other Marketing Buzzwords Ain’t the Half of It!.
“For those who don’t know, Full Sail University is a well-respected digital media school. Its graduates run the gamut in the entertainment industry from one mixing Pharrell Williams’ platinum song Happy, to another working on popular video games franchises such as Call of Duty, Halo and Grand Theft Auto; as well as many movie blockbusters including The Avengers, X-Men and The Hunger Games. From The Emmys to American Idol, Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder, professional sporting events in the NBA, NFL, MLB and everywhere in between; there isn’t too much of the entertainment business a Full Sail grad doesn’t touch in some capacity.”
And then you have us lowly internet marketers, by far the black sheep of Full Sail University. We may work in the entertainment industry, or we might work at a bank. Just about everyone needs internet marketing services nowadays, so we aren’t limited to one industry. We make up anywhere from three to five percent of the student body.
Due to the high profile, seriously cool nature of the work Full Sail grads do in the entertainment industry, the school has no problem attracting not only top talent but corporate sponsorships as well. As of 2016, the WWE has awarded $250,000 in scholarships, $10,000 at a time, to Full Sail students. But the on-campus awesomeness doesn’t stop with being presented with a cardboard check by Triple H. You’ll also see bona fide superstars regularly making the rounds on Full Sail’s campus, everyone from hip hop artist Joell Ortiz to NFL Quarterback Cam Newton.To assert that current digital marketing isn’t taught at the collegiate level simply isn’t factual. Click To Tweet
How to Recruit Degreed Internet Marketers for Your Marketing Team
Sponsor a live digital marketing conference and scholarship award on Full Sail University’s campus. Conferences and seminars are by far the predominant way the industry professionalizes itself and disseminates best-in-class practices, so you wouldn’t have to look very hard to find top-notch speakers like Carlos Gil, Brian Fanzo, Ann Handley, C.C. Chapman, David Meerman Scott, etc.
Full Sail University has the added benefit of coming replete with a concert-quality live venue and full production staff (students), so you wouldn’t need to rent out a hotel ballroom or meeting space—a huge way to save on cost.
All your organization needs to do is bring in the speakers, cut a few cardboard checks to well-deserving students, and watch your digital marketing personnel pipeline swell. Full Sail has the venue and production staff baked in, so it wouldn’t cost that much compared to a regular conference.
An event like this accomplishes several things for your organization:
- It shows you have a commitment to education.
- It puts trained professionals in your personnel pipeline.
- It gives your organization both insight into and a degree of influence over what is being taught to your soon-to-be employees.
- It shows you’re serious about solving your personnel problem and aren’t content to lean on dated, sorry excuses.
Partnering with institutions such as Full Sail can directly address the shortage of trained digital marketing professionals, get enrollment in the degree program up, and be a call to action for other CMOs and institutions of higher learning to get their acts together.
Think about it, then take action! Reach out to internet marketing program director (a.k.a. the Dean) Rob Croll, and tell him his favorite outspoken problem child sent you. The right people for your marketing team are out there, ready and waiting.
Get a weekly dose of the trends and insights you need to keep you ON top, from Jay Baer at Convince & Convert. Sign up for the Convince & Convert ON email newsletter.