Are Marketing Degrees Worth the Paper They Are Printed On?

PHOTO: Shutterstock Do aspiring marketers need to study formally, or is self-learning and and a good portfolio enough to make it as a digital marketer in 2020?

While degrees were once a requirement for aspiring marketers, the digital era has made the world of digital marketing far more accessible to, well, just about anybody with an internet connection. Many new marketing professionals have gotten their start without a university degree, and many seek innovative ways of self-learning using online education platforms, or good old trial and error. High-profile marketing expert Seth Godin has even gone so far as to create a short altMBA course for aspiring marketers and business leaders.

A recent study carried out by ClickMinded revealed that attending graduate school can be up to 10 times less profitable and 3 times slower than self-learning online.

Compared with attending graduate school, learning digital marketing with an unaccredited course and starting a website is: 10 times more profitable, with a return on investment of 521% three years after getting a digital marketing job — compared to a return of 53% from a digital marketing degree.

4 times cheaper, with a total cost (including opportunity cost) of $20,752 in the worst-case scenario — vs. a total cost of $84,086 for attending graduate school.

3 times faster, which on average takes 6 months of self-learning and growing a website full time — instead of the typical 19 months, it takes to complete a master’s in digital marketing.

With these thoughts and findings in mind, we’ve asked marketing managers how they view degrees today. More specifically, we wanted to learn whether degrees are a requirement and why aspiring marketers may still want to get one. The experts also share some best tips for getting educated in marketing and hired without a degree.

Related Article: Marketing Certifications That Can Help You Earn More Are Marketing Degrees a Requirement?

“In my opinion Marketing degrees are not a necessity depending on the role,” stated Kyle Turk, VP of marketing at Keynote Search . When hiring a digital marketer, for example, it’s often best to choose a candidate with experiences using specific software so they can quickly hit the ground running. “If the role requires technical expertise for certain softwares,” Turk continued, “self-learning would prove to be more valuable.”

Paula Connor, chief content marketing officer at 256 says employers — especially government organizations — still require formal marketing or business qualifications, but that’s rapidly changing. “My short answer is no, [marketing degrees] aren’t useless,” Connor began. “many employers still look for formal marketing or business qualifications, especially in government organizations.” However, he points out, you can definitely learn a lot of digital marketing skills by yourself for free. When Do Marketing Degrees Still Make Sense?

Tony Mastri, digital marketing manager at MARION Marketing believes someone that wants to move into a more general business role beyond marketing will want to get a university degree. “A university degree will really help expedite the move from entry-level to some sort of senior […]

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