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Published on January 18th, 2010 | by Saurabh Pandey


Are they making a fool of you- the digital & social media trainers?

I have been visiting various management institutions to speak on social media and digital marketing.

It’s heartening to see that management institutions and students are begining to realise the potency of digital marketing, but I guess it’s a long way to reach a situation where these courses are integrated into their curriculum

But today I am not going to talk on this subject. I feel that there is an even greater challenge for young

professionals in the advertising, marketing and PR functions who want to get trained in digital and social media marketing but are perhaps confused as to

who to trust?

I am talking about 2 types of training institutions which have popped up overnight:

1. Small search engine marketing companies that have diversified into training
2. Training institutes whose only claim to fame is unknown foreignersas faculty members.
to my mind both the above options cannot do justice to the training needs of young professionals, and are nothing more than money minting outfits: Here is why?

The small search engine marketing companies/small didgital agencies- have very restricted intellectual capital and exposure.Many of them can make you believe that digital marketing or even social media

marketing is 90% search engine optimization. Which is not just factually incorrect but also leads the student nowhere.
The second types- have only 1 thing to showcase- the international faculty- but my advice to students is to go skin deep (pun intended)!

The international faculty for all you know may have been just an operations person responsible for let’s say online community interaction or worse a low end email marketing person in an obscure direct marketing agency!

While one should stay away from the above two types – what if there is a large institution which ties-up with an industry association and starts dispensing courses in internet marketing?

The answer to this is in the following points:
1. Ask yourself-why would you do a course in internet marketing?

a. To enhance your knowledge

b. To show on paper that you have attended such a program

c. To network with others
2. Ask yourself- what do you intend to focus on– Operations, Strategy & concepts or a mix of both
Ideally join a course with a good mix of both, but again it’s a personal choice.
3. Find out- the background of people who  designed the course and people who deliver the course.

Are these people from reputed internet and technology organisations? Have they achieved something in these organisations? Have they held leadership positions? What is their academic or exposure quotient?
4. Check if there are case studies, whitepapers and discussion opportunities alongwith project or assignments
Very few training institutes can boast of original whitepapers and case studies or use of licensed videos and softwares.

Opportunity to engage in group dscussions and group projects also enhances value of the course

5. See if the pace of learning is well spread (see the duration and how well the course is spread)
One day courses have a different objective and can work well as a plug-in course.

If the need is to get well acquainted with a subject choose a spread out course

6. Does the content appeal to you?- you can immediately fnd out if the course content and design appeals to you by just looking at the topics.

7. How many intakes– The real guys will never have a large group. Beacuse the real objective is not to make money but to create equity and really give maximum focus and time to everyone. Choose an institution that has the guts to say that they wil only take 5-8 people in one batch.

8. What next?

what happens after the course is over. Is there a forum or email support that continues to send you whitepapers or supports your queries even after you pass out

Don’t believe this?– check out the so called top 3 training institutions and see what do they tell you about the faculty’s background or about the depth of course structure. You will see that there is a very ambiguous information about both aspects and focus is always on format and fee. 

My take is that most of the training instituions in digital and social media marketing seriously lack many of the above points- and as prudent learners all of us need to ponder and support the training institutions that may be small but have great people, content, accessories and passion for digital media.

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