July 19, 2018

Marketing Pros: How to refresh your skills and win new clients

Merrilee Parsons
Written by:

Merrilee Parsons

Go beyond what you can read in a book or watch in a video to gain the skills required to pitch high-value work.

With 25 years of marketing experience and the last 12 as an independent contractor – I have to own up – my knowledge and skills in the world of Digital Marketing are not what they should be in this day and age.  While my education and experience as a marketer are rock solid, I have not taken the time in the last five years to undergo significant skills re-training that address this fast-changing and dominating sector of modern marketing. 

Most of my clients hire me to “hold down the fort” for a medical leave or a hiring gap, or to execute a discrete project. And I am increasingly asked to perform digital marketing services and strategies, such as PPC, SEO, nurture, and marketing automation, to name a few.  This is when I begin to feel uncomfortable. 

Am I proficient enough to have a fluent discussion in digital marketing-speak? Sure. Can I really execute these tasks to a standard that I could pitch them as a core component of my capabilities stack?  Not confidently. 

While I know the discipline of marketing inside and out, achieving competency and training in today’s digital marketing in a comprehensive and experiential way has seemed elusive. I suppose I could jump on Amazon and order a bunch of XXX for Dummies books and read my way into being able to have a coherent conversation around Google Analytics or sign-up for online tutorials and try to absorb a slew of videos about this and that as my eyes glaze over. But that just is not the same as actual proficiency, and I would not feel confident telling a client “yes, I can do that” – whatever ‘that’ happens to be if I haven’t done it. 

To me, being able to say I can ‘do’ something, means I have rolled up my sleeves, gotten my hands dirty and actually done it – not just read or watched about it. 

This is why the GreenFig program is so enticing to me as a seasoned marketing professional and contractor – the unique hybrid online and offline learning model forces you (in a good way) to get your hands dirty. You walk away with the certifications that say – yeah, I can do this. A very cool addition to your portfolio, services menu, or whatever you call your resume. So let me share some of the reasons why I think this program is awesome for people like me – independent contractors, marketing consultants, guns for hire, etc. 

A time commitment that is manageable and won’t interfere with your billable hours. 

I get it – finding a program that works for your schedule is tricky. At an average of 10 hours per week, GreenFig’s program is totally doable. Classes are held in the evening and one Saturday per month so you can keep your “day job” humming along without the worry of having to trade-off between income-earning hours and learning the skills you need to stay relevant. 

The return on investment just makes sense.

As they say, the price is right. Earning a microdegree from GreenFig is affordable.  At $2,499 spread across approximately 200 hours – you are looking at an investment of $12.49 per hour to become proficient in today’s digital marketing landscape. With your microdegree and certifications in hand, you can easily bump your hourly rate and increase the number of opportunities you are qualified to pitch. 

Connections, connections, connections.
We have all heard the adage “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”  While it is not entirely true, knowing people sure helps. GreenFig’s instructors are innovators, market leaders, and field experts passionate about sharing their business knowledge and helping learners succeed. The who’s who list of entrepreneurs, executives, and strategists is not a bad crew to get to know and connect with. While you need to have the skills and capabilities to get the job or project done right – having a few more influential doors to knock on cannot hurt. 

Hands-on learning – or as I like to say, getting dirty.
Nothing says “I can do this” like actually doing it. GreenFig combines both online and offline formats with live instruction and opportunities for team collaboration in a state-of-the-art learning experience. The curriculum includes a collaborative project where you actually “get dirty” by creating, designing and implementing campaigns for a real company – not a hypothetical – under the mentorship of field experts. The result is having the confidence to say to your clients -  “sure, I can help you with your XYZ project – I have done that.” The fall course in Digital Marketing Science is scheduled to start in September. Go to greenfig.com to take a look at the program and a detailed course curriculum. Be relevant. Be 21st century-current.  Be confident in offering these high demand digital marketing services to your clients.

Best of luck! 

Merrilee Parsons


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History Majors: You’ve Got a Future in Tech

We’ve all heard the joke: What’s the difference between a large pizza and a history degree? One can feed a family of four. For the purposes of the pun, history can be replaced with any liberal arts major. From English and art history to political science and philosophy — the notion has been that those who choose a humanities tract graduate from college with heaps of debt yet find themselves working as a barista or the checkout line at Whole Foods. But that doesn’t mean their liberal arts degree doesn’t have value — even as we transform to a digital age. Many assume that in our current (and future) tech-consumed and driven world, that math and science education — software engineering, programming, coding, and the like — is the exclusive golden ticket to career success. To be sure, we need these kinds of minds and this kind of training. But, it’s a mistake to believe that the liberal arts educated don’t have a critical role to play in the digital workforce. Because after all, who is going to do the selling, the marketing and the customer servicing of today’s technology services and products? Answer: Those who have honed critical thinking, writing and interpersonal skills, and who possess the nontechnical ability to connect with end users a la their liberal arts education. This notion is confirmed in “That ‘Useless” Liberal Arts Degree Has Become Tech’s Hottest Ticket,” a Forbes article that provides example after example of liberal arts degree holders achieving success in today’s tech world, along with stats to back up the claim that tech companies are increasingly recruiting more nontechnical talent. The article uses the analogy of the automobile industry in the 1920s, which “created enormous numbers of jobs for people who helped fit cars into everyday life: marketers, salesmen, driving instructors, road crews and so on.” A similar trend is unfolding today. The article goes on to reveal that “throughout the major U.S. tech hubs, whether Silicon Valley or Seattle, Boston or Austin, Texas, software companies are discovering that liberal arts thinking makes them stronger. Engineers may still command the biggest salaries, but at disruptive juggernauts such as Facebook and Uber, the war for talent has moved to nontechnical jobs, particularly sales and marketing. The more that audacious coders dream of changing the world, the more they need to fill their companies with social alchemists who can connect with customers — and make progress seem pleasant.” And the ability to connect is what liberal arts thinkers do best. But don’t pack your bags for Silicon Valley just yet, English majors. Yes, you’ve got great critical thinking, writing and communication skills. And yes, tech companies are hiring nontechnical people like you. But to land one of the aforementioned sales and marketing positions requires more than just a degree. While you have the right foundation, your university education did not prepare you with the up-to-date digital skills and experience required for a job-ready resume in the fast-moving, fast-changing digital age. That’s why a liberal arts degree crossed with a microdegree in applied business science from GreenFig is such a powerful combination for procuring a growth career in tech. GreenFig’s curriculum has been tailored by industry experts to help you gain these high-demand skills and master critical strategic concepts in a short period of time. And unlike traditional online courses, GreenFig’s hybrid training platform is laser-focused on experiential learning — combining live, interactive online and offline team-based instruction, all the while guaranteeing its students gain real-world, practical experience. So you can demand a higher salary in an evolving industry faster than it takes to perfect latte art. For more details on how you can transform your liberal arts resume into a tech-ready ticket in less than 10 hours a week, visit greenfig.net. Click here course schedule for September 13, 2017 term.

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