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.
Today it’s time for the US Search Personality of the Year in the US, Marty Weintraub. Marty is Founder & Evangelist and CEO at aimClear.
What type of education did you have?
When I was a boy, I took a lot of guitar lessons, studied composition and attended summer college programs. After graduating from high school I attended Berklee College Of Music for 7 semesters. Then I went on the road with a rock band. Let’s just say I [cough] got street-educated quickly.
In my 40s, I trained and qualified as a Mediator/Visitation Expediter (family law mediator/arbitrator), which has proven seriously valuable to running aimClear. In Minnesota you don’t have to be an attorney to mediate, even to render a decision, which is enforceable unless vacated by a judge. I learned so much.
Now I consider the incredible trade shows each year part of my “education.” Add in all the incredibly giving thought leaders who share content, blogs, studies, theories and mad rants with the rest of us.
Is your education related to what you do now?
Everything is related to everything. Learn to fish and you’re better at riding a bike and solving math problems. So, in that sense, my education was perfect.
How did you get into digital marketing?
I was genuinely fascinated, more like entranced, at the early Internet. We’re talking like 1992 or so, when words like BBS, Pine, Modem, Lycos, Newsgroups and Archie were radical. I installed TCIP from a floppy onto my Mac II CI. Wow. Pretty soon I was engaging an etymologists at Stanford and making friends in England via newsgroups. In 1995 I took a job as Creative Director of a CBS affiliate television station. I registered the domain, designed the site and posted it using Adobe PageMill. I worked with the news departments and media salespeople to monetize the website, which we told users to visit each night, after sports, on the news show broadcast. We had reach, audience, traffic, intent, content and money. I was “Into” digital marketing.
Did you need extra schooling? If so, what type of extra schooling did you get?
Nope, and nope.
How do you think the state of education in marketing is these days? Do marketers learn what they need to learn?
It’s the Wild West. Whatever country you come from, academia for those who will enter the workforce is slow moving. Changing programs is like trying to turn a battleship around in a bathtub. All the while, the online marketing world is moving very quickly. Classroom professors can’t hope to see enough case studies, keep up or stay current. Most great marketers are trained on the job, if they’re lucky enough to get the right job.
Though there is SO much talent, the quality of skills in American college graduates is surprisingly mediocre, in terms of basics. Most don’t write very well. Many think they’re entitled to success without earning it. aimClear is proud that a substantial percentage of our multi-time Inc.500/5000 company graduated from marketing school here in Duluth, Minnesota. We hire the best of the best.
How do you feel about online training courses?
I like watching people’s faces and hearing their voices in person. There is a LOT more to education than the education. Online training is a great way to learn things from cool teachers. It’s a bad way to have a beer with your classmate and talk about what’s going on in your job.
What is your tip for those that want to learn more?
Exhaust free channels before spending money. There’s SO much to learn about online marketing for free from thought leaders. Prove to yourself that you WANT and WILL to learn. Then, once you’ve proven seriousness to yourself, invest a moderate amount. Prove that spending yields results and then go all-in, with full confidence.
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Read the Daily SearchCap from SearchEngine Land. Go to PubCon, SMX, ClickZ, PPCHero Summit, MozCon, Ad:Tech, MediaPost SearchInsiderSummit, SEMPDX SearchFest, Charlotte Search Exchange, International Search Summit, Dallas State Of Digital, Alltop.com (SEO, PPC, Social Media Marketing Categories), Minnesota MIMA and Zenith Social Media Marketing Conferences, moz, Marcus Tober from SearchMetrics, Rand Fishkin, Eric Enge, Digital Marketing Depot, Brad Geddes, Lisa Buyer, Lisa Grimm, Duane Forrester, Danny Sullivan, Todd Mintz, Brent Csutoras, SearchEngine Watch, Merry Morud, Manny Rivas and (of course) aimClear Blog J.
What’s the last lesson in marketing you learned?
I learn it every day. To goal of marketing is to sell things.