Filling in the Gaps: What College Marketing Classes Don’t Teach You

lessons from our LAB

February 4, 2015

Filling in the Gaps: What College Marketing Classes Don’t Teach You

Samantha is a digital marketing intern with a passion for business, travel, and digital marketing.

The field of marketing has drastically changed in the past decade due to technology and it continues to evolve. With that being said, curricula provided to aspiring marketers should progress as well. Unfortunately, marketing degree programs continue to heavily focus on the traditional side of marketing and fall short of providing the necessary education about digital marketing and the future of the industry. As a result, most college marketing programs fail to cover these important and current marketing topics:


Digital Marketing Tools

Classes cover market research, consumer behavior, and brand development, but most don’t emphasize the massive impact that the digital world has on these topics. For instance, in my marketing research class we learned about different ways to gather market data and analyze it using basic formulas, but there was no mention of the digital marketing tools available for gathering and interpreting data. While the information I learned is still relevant, it hasn’t been optimized to include lessons in market sustainability, or in other words, digital integration.

Digital Advertising

Most college marketing programs include classes that cover advertising and its effects on target audiences, but they focus more on the effects of print and television ads. These classes often don’t acknowledge that advertising has largely transitioned to email and online banners, and that it continues to move into other digital areas. As a result, students don’t learn how digital ads are optimized and integrated online in order to increase their impact.

Social Media

Social media is another huge resource for marketers, if it’s used effectively, but those techniques are not commonly taught in the marketing degree program. It also expands marketing capabilities into real-time marketing as it promotes direct interaction with the consumer.


Other invaluable information for aspiring marketers to learn is about search engine optimization (SEO) and the best ways to utilize it. With so many people using online keyword searches to find what they need , SEO will continue to be important in the industry. Not having this kind of knowledge before entering the workforce puts students at the disadvantage of having to learn the skill on the fly instead of already being prepared.

Solution: Internships

With the gap between course content and current digital marketing trends, internships can be very beneficial. Real-world experience in these areas where the curriculum lacks will give students the opportunity to enter the workforce better prepared.

Upon entering a career in marketing, the learning never stops. The evolution of technology and its correlation to marketing is constanmaking it essential to continue to seek education on the existing and future trends. When internships are no longer relevant, professional workshops and seminars provide the tools necessary to stay up to date.

With the constant progression of technology, marketers need to learn and adapt to the changing environment--and so should the degree program. This way, it will not only properly educate students, but it will also to give them an in depth look into how the industry works.

Comment below if you have any more solutions for current and former college students to learn more about digital marketing!

Featured Photo, Phoenix. StringCan Interactive. 2015.

Image by Pixabay

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