Marvin Liao: State of Digital Summer School, Learning from the Experts

Marvin Liao: State of Digital Summer School, Learning from the Experts

8th September 2014

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 is time for a special one. In some industries he is very well known, in others less. But his knowledge without a doubt is big. I am not impressed easily with how much some people know and especially how fast people learn, but Marvin Liao, former Yahoo Commercial Director, EMEA Expansion Markets, Startup guru and marketing expert surprised me in a very positive way. If there’s one person we all can learn from, it’s Marvin, and that’s not because he did a similar education to mine ;-).

Today’s Summer School interview therefore is a must read.

More about Marvin here.

Summer School

What type of education did you have?

I actually got a Degree in History (Asian & European with focus on Political & Military).

Is your education related to what you do now?

I would say at first glance, NO but the degree was helpful in understanding the importance of history & culture in decision making.

How did you get into digital marketing?

Accidentally: got a job running online marketing at an ecommerce startup during the first dotcom Boom in 1999 here in Silicon Valley. Had NO idea what i was doing but then at that time nobody did, as it was still very early in the industry. So pretty much learned on the job & learning what NOT to do first before i got the hang of it. Glad i had patient bosses 🙂

marvin-liaoDid you need extra schooling? If so, what type of extra schooling did you get?

Well I probably did need extra schooling but no did not get it. Wish we had Udemy & Tradecraft & other things we have now.

How do you think the state of education in marketing is these days? Do marketers learn what they need to learn?

I think the state of education in marketing at formal level is pretty crap cause it changes so fast so its challenging for textbooks & best practices to keep up. Also with proliferation of all new digital channels & crazy new consumer behavior, most formally trained marketers are behind from the start. I think this is even more the case for marketers at large corporations who are already behind on latest in marketing.

How do you feel about online training courses?

Big fan of online training as they are good supplements and great way to keep up.

What is your tip for those that want to learn more?

3 things

1) Read all the time, whether they are blogs, books or articles;

2) Use things like Udemy to keep on latest in marketing classes by real practitioners;

3) Do mentoring for startups who are the most cutting edge on online marketing, its all about ROI & getting the most out of their what little they have;

[Tweet “Read all the time, whether they are blogs, books or articles – @marvinliao”]

What resources are best to learn marketing?

Read anything by Sean Ellis, Brian Balfour, Andrew Chen, Ryan Holiday on Growth Hacker Marketing. This is where the marketing is going.

What’s the last lesson in marketing you learned?

Think about entire marketing process using Pirate Metrics; AARRR

Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral & Revenue

Traditional marketing has only been about Acquisition, but the future is about all 5 sections of funnel.


Written By
Bas van den Beld is an award winning Digital Marketing consultant, trainer and speaker. He is the founder of State of Digital and helps companies develop solid marketing strategies.
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