Kaspar Szymanski: State of Digital Summer School, Learning from the Experts
This summer we are taking you back to school! We are focussing on education in Digital Marketing: what is the best education, what background is important? Questions you will see answered throughout the summer by those you can learn from the best: the experts. Those that already earned their stripes and are now willing to share with you how they got there and what you should do to get that far as well.
If working at Google is part of your education, you are certain that you will learn a lot. But even without Google’s background Kaspar Szymanski is a very interesting and knowledgable person. He’s one of those people where you think ‘how much knowledge fits in that head of his?’. So we are very curious where he got all this knowledge. Let’s find out!
What type of education did you have?
I studied German linguistics and Politics at the University of Stuttgart and graduated at the University of Applied Sciences in Information Science. My thesis was on the application of computers as persuasive technology. It was the early days of User Experience Marketing, even if no one called it that way yet.
Is your education related to what you do now?
Absolutely! It’s been a excellent foundation to build experience on.
How did you get into digital marketing?
Like it happens in life occasionally I was the right guy with a relevant background, at right place and time. That was early 2006, when I successfully applied for a position what was a secret team at Google at the time. It was called Search Quality Evaluation. That group grew over time into Google Search Quality team and that is where I earned my ranks in the industry. Last year I moved and started my own company, focusing on helping clients to make sure search engines understand what their sites are about.
Did you need extra schooling? If so, what type of extra schooling did you get?
Does flight training count, too? 😉 On a more serious note, no never formally. I was lucky though to be often around people I could learn from.
How do you think the state of education in marketing is these days? Do marketers learn what they need to learn?
The levels of expertise in our industry vary immensely, depending on the vertical and language market. In some niches and countries there are far more development potentials than in others.
How do you feel about online training courses?
Finding the right ones is unsurprisingly key. There are very useful ones available. Like with so many things asking friends, peers and the relevant community are best ways to come to an infirmed decision, while choosing the right course for you.
What is your tip for those that want to learn more?
Find the one or two opinion driving industry rock stars, see which sources they utilize, follow them and learn from them. And take every bit of information with a grain of salt. Don’t pollute your attention span with sensational noise making.
What resources are best to learn marketing?
Personally, I utilize GooglePlus a lot for that purpose by following what I consider the knowledge hubs in our industry. That methods never fails me to stay on top of what is happening and what new trends are up and coming.
What’s the last lesson in marketing you learned?
I’m not sure whether is the very last thing I learned but as I work with my clients as an SEO consultant it’s striking how much more of a natural process it is for those among them who actually use their own product or service to market it in a compelling way to their prospective customers. Before marketing anything, you need to understand it the first place.