The value of professional development
It’s a fact: Any serious professional worth their salt – in any industry – should be dedicated to ongoing professional development, skills enhancement, and lifelong learning. It provides those with experience expanded career opportunities, and make new professionals competitive quickly. And a comprehensive training program means faster onboarding of new staff. It’s what makes conferences, in-house training sessions, and professional certifications so valuable.
A recent poll by Kelton Global, on behalf of University of Phoenix, revealed that “nearly nine-in-ten (89 percent) working Americans believe there is still room for them to grow in their current careers, and can point to at least one skill they will need to learn to take their jobs to the next level.”
But with tight budgets and increased competition comes a heightened sensitivity to lost opportunities while away from the office, travel and lodging expenses, and a desire for quality training that moves fast.
Enter online training
At the end of 2012, the New York Times highlighted the growing need for professionals in all industries to keep their training chops up. “Going back to school for months or years is not realistic for many workers, who are often left to figure out for themselves what new skills will make them more valuable, or just keep them from obsolescence. In their quest to occupy a useful niche, they are turning to bite-size instructional videos, peer-to-peer forums and virtual college courses.”
Market Motive has filled that niche for web-based Internet marketing training courses as the leading provider of internet marketing training curricula for higher education clients, corporate accounts and agencies, and professional training for individual marketers seeking to improve their skills. If you’re new to the Internet marketing industry, or a seasoned pro who’s concerned about staying professionally competitive and relevant, online training and development may be your answer.
Never stop learning
There may be no service provider more dedicated to responding to the volatility of the Internet marketing industry — and SEO trends and tools specifically — than the crew at MOZ. When Joanna Lord was VP of Growth Marketing at MOZ, she was already a recognized online marketer and speaker. But her commitment to professional development compelled her to tackle Market Motive’s Web Analytics Coached Training Course in 2012.
“I’m a firm believer in continuing education no matter how comfortable you feel in a topic,” she says. “In our industry things move so fast, and you really can lose your advantage if you don’t expose yourself to new ideas around old concepts. I love hearing about new tools, and new ways to push the limits of conventional thinking. Market Motive’s Analytics class was a great way for me to hear how others are measuring success, and I picked up a ton of great ways to take my analysis to the next level.”
Good for employers
All this training is a plus for employers too: having a staff that’s dedicated to ongoing professional training means businesses can provide better service, broaden their service offerings, and differentiate themselves from competitors who haven’t invested in staying up to date with trends in their industry. A company culture that sees the value in education, and supports its pursuit, will reap the benefits in measurable ways.
MOZ gave Lord all the support she needed. “The final project was particularly demanding as I handled my job responsibilities at MOZ,” she says. “I feel really fortunate that our culture at MOZ really supports continuing education, so I found my coworkers were really flexible and considerate as I worked through the course. I think being honest with your team about the commitment and evangelizing the rewards prior to signing up gets the team excited about what you might learn and how it can be applied to help the company. I felt really supported when taking the course, which was critical since at times through out the class I was really tested around time management and output.”
The New York Times article sees that same growing corporate commitment, and more employers supplementing or covering the cost of learning for their employees. “Businesses have responded by pouring more money into training, even in the current economic doldrums, according to several measures. They have experimented by paying employees to share their expertise in internal social networks, creating video games that teach and, human resources consultants say, enticing employees with tuition help.”
It’s all about ROI
Of course, the proof is in the pudding, and professional training is only valuable to individuals or businesses if it generates measurable improvement.
That was certainly the case for Lord. “I have seen a number of lasting benefits from taking the class. In general I find myself more comfortable with the analytics tools I’ve always used and I see myself applying more advanced filters, reports, etc. as a result of what I learned. I also think about how I can supplement quantitative data with qualitative sources more than ever before which has provided me with a far more complete picture of what our visitors want and our customers need.
Lastly I find myself more willing to experiment and get data analysis wrong, since the class really showed me that is how others were learning the softwares and approaches.”
The depth and breadth of the training added to the value. “I was happy to see that we weren’t just focusing on Google Analytics,” she says, “but that Avinash was supplementing the material with other tools, software, and ideas. I walked away having a better sense of multiple data sources and how they can come together for the deepest insights. As a marketer getting that ‘full picture’ can be a real challenge.
Once I was inside the course I was reminded just how many avenues of feedback and data there are, and I was motivated to rethink some of my current approaches to research and analysis. The class has been great at igniting my excitement around data again, and I am really thankful for that.”
Come prepared to learn
While the courses are challenging for experienced Internet marketers, those new to the industry shouldn’t be discouraged. Setting realistic expectations, and being willing to learn, are critical for success.
“I think the key piece of advice I would give is ask questions,” says Lord. “Don’t feel foolish for not knowing something and just embrace learning from others and their experiences. Classes like this, and opening yourself up to learning more is so valuable. It keeps you excited about what you are doing and connects you with other passionate marketers. It doesn’t get any better than that!”