New School of Search Marketers

4 comments

For quite a while now, I’ve been thinking about why there is such a limited supply of people with a good working knowledge of SEO/PPC available for hire?

Companies and SEM agencies are struggling to recruit talent. Many SEM agencies wind up turning away prospective clients because they don’t have enough manpower to manage them adequately. And getting new hires isn’t easy at all, since most traditional marketers are not too familiar with SEO and PPC.

If you look at it from the corporate angle, the situation is even more dire. Many corporations would prefer to hire people in-house to manage their SEM efforts rather than outsource it to agencies. But they don’t have a choice, since it’s incredibly difficult for them to find people and even more difficult to train them.

From the educational point of view, I was wondering when colleges and universities will begin offering courses in search marketing to their students? After all, being knowledgeable in SEO/PPC these days is pretty much a sure-fire way of landing a very well-paying job in a pretty exciting industry. Furthermore, online marketing is quickly catching up with all other forms of media, so somebody that doesn’t know the fundamentals will actually be at a disadvantage in today’s business world.

So, who does the burden lie with? Is it the colleges and universities that are being expected to churn out graduates with knowledge of search marketing? Or is it with individual agencies and businesses to find fresh minds and mold them until they become experts?

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4 Comments

  1. Pratt

    I believe you have to start with the Colleges and Universities. I graduated from Grove City College this past May, and had I not taken my E-Commerce class the semester prior, I would be missing the boat on this amazing industry.

    It seems like the schools doubted the success of this industry and they are now beginning to realize its potential. I only wish they had while I was in school so I would have been better prepared.

  2. Boris Mordkovich

    Absolutely.

    The thing about PPC and SEO is that it can be taught. Granted, there are many technical aspects to it, but it's not rocket science by any means. Of course, the ultimate success depends on the talent of the individual, but that applies to any form of marketing.

    The key is to let people know that this industry exists, that they can learn the skills and actually do something with them.

  3. I spoke at the class of a former college professor of mine last week. Was kind of a "here is some perspective from someone in the trenches" + "career advice" type of presentation.

    As part of my "trenches" portion, I covered what my company does, paid search marketing management - the kids were clueless about the search industry! Further, it was a PR/Media Relations class, so I tried to talk about the "new" way to approach PR on the web (e.g. using social media, linkworthy content etc.) My professor, god love him, is an old school PR pro so they were kinda clueless about that too as his course taught the how-to on traditional PR.

    So, I agree with Pratt, it has to start in higher education. Even just a foundation about what ecomm is, what online marketing is, the basics, ya know? Surely there is more than enough topics/content to fill an Online Marketing 101 course. Make it a requirement for all advertising/marketing majors, especially since the interplay and influence between online and offline has never been stronger.

  4. camo

    I'm currently taking a web design degree and a big part of the focus of the program is on practical aspects of building websites, including a whole course on e-commerce and most of another course concentrating on usability and SEO. This is the only program I could find locally that offered this kind of approach. I think it will come, slowly but surely, into the academic community, who from my experience, are usually quite conservative in implementing what they perceive as "new" ideas that may just be a flash in the pan.

    Once more and more graduates emerge with this kind of training, expect the scales to tip and see the importance of teaching these techniques trickle down into general advertising/marketing classes. Just my two cents ...