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


Related Posts.

CMOs: Striving For Competitive Differentiation? Don’t Overlook Your Number One Marketing Asset

By and large, the strategies of growing a relevant business are the same. Brand growth and awareness, market penetration, product expansion and acquisition. The marketing tactics employed to achieve those goals is what sets the front-runners apart from those playing catch-up. So how do you achieve competitive differentiation? Your people: the individuals responsible for designing and implementing those marketing tactics must rank high on your business-critical scale. Because if you don’t hire and retain top digital marketing talent, your ability to plan, execute, measure, and improve a digital campaign will be limited and impact revenue, the customer experience and brand perception. In other words, you may have the right tools, but you won’t be able to leverage their usefulness as business drivers without skilled marketers running the show. Marketing executives and industry insiders across the country are singing this tune: Better talent = Better business performance. “Talent will drive competitive advantage. Companies that invest in building digital skills in their marketing teams have a huge opportunity to accelerate ahead of their peers.” The Talent Revolution in Digital Marketing, Think with Google, 2015. What does it mean to be a skilled digital marketer in the 21st century? From a global understanding of how to align business, brand and messaging strategies to pay-per-click, SEO, and social analytics and targeting, to name a few, the breadth of skills required to be an effective digital marketer today are innumerous. Combine those skills with hands-on experience -- not just theoretical knowledge -- and the expertise to design, create, implement and analyze a digital campaign, and you’ve got a capable 21st century digital marketer. After all, the ability to harness data-driven insights is how companies gain a competitive advantage. The challenge CMOs everywhere are facing, however, is a pervasive shortage of skilled and experienced digital marketers. Companies that turn to recent college graduates are frustrated by this group’s lack of experience and outdated knowledge (not surprising, slow-to-change university curriculum can’t keep pace marketing’s fast-moving digital evolution). Meanwhile, seasoned marketers don’t possess the technical skills required to execute an effective digital campaign. “Tools and strategies that were cutting-edge just a few years ago are fast becoming obsolete, and new approaches are appearing every day.” The Ultimate Marketing Machine, Harvard Business Review. To solve the problem, marketing departments need to look inward by shoring up the expertise, technical skills and hands-on experience of their existing teams. The benefits of upskilling your staff are many, including:

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Contact us

Need a quote.