Top Digital Marketing Courses and Training for Working Professionals
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Top Digital Marketing Courses and Training for Working Professionals

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Digital marketing courses can help keep you or your team on top of the latest strategies and technology. But not all are accredited or worth your time or money. So we’ve curated a 2020 roundup of some of the best programs out there for all price levels, from renowned academic programs to free online courses.

The purpose of a digital marketing course is to help executives and professionals grasp rapid changes in the industry that they might otherwise miss. Now that marketing has gained a digital slant, innovations come daily. To stay on top of your game, you must keep up with current knowledge. Online or in-classroom training can help you to remain in touch with the latest marketing shifts — and they can fit into your already-full schedule.

Our guide breaks down each type of digital marketing course, what to look for when choosing a class and the top digital marketing courses available in 2020.

Check out this 2020 roundup of some of the best #digitalmarketing and #contentmarketing programs out there for all price levels, from renowned academic programs to free online courses. Click To Tweet

What makes a good digital marketing course?

  • Helps you become a better online writer: When you understand the market and your ideal audience, you can better craft your writing to target the right person. A digital marketing course can help you know your crowd on a deeper level.
  • Betters your marketing skills: The field of marketing is changing every day, so setting aside time to study the latest updates and trends will help to modernize your overall marketing game. You may learn new ways of connecting with followers that you hadn’t thought of before or unique tricks that help you reach your ideal customer.
  • Teaches the newest innovations: Digital marketing is changing at lightning speed, and you need to keep up. A digital marketing course can help you grasp one of the many areas of the field, from data analytics to SEO writing to content writing to creative planning.
  • Offers the right pace for you: Whether you want an online or in-person course, you can choose the best option that fits your timeframe. Maybe you only have a few hours, or perhaps a couple of years, to devote to increasing your skills, but you’re sure to find the right digital marketing course for your lifestyle.
  • Builds your resume: Many courses give you a certificate upon completion or even a degree. These badges should help you to ramp up your resume or CV Portfolio. The class you choose should be an area of study you want to display proudly.

How to choose a digital marketing course

To decide which digital marketing course to take, you need to consider several factors. You’ll want to think about your budget, the preferred topic and skill level, how much time you can commit each week and for how long, as well as whether you prefer an online or in-classroom format.

  • Budget: As with most things, first and foremost is money. Before deciding on a course, calculate how much you can allot to a digital marketing course. If you have some capital to invest in training, you’ll have many options — from degree to certificate to individual programs. On the other hand, if you would prefer to spend only time rather than cash, you’ll still have several great choices for free digital marketing courses that can help you gain an edge over the competition.
  • Topic: Some courses on digital marketing cover a general overview of the field, but others focus on specific topics. You can choose a course narrowed in on content marketing, SEO marketing, analytics, digital media, and more, or go for a more generalized choice. To ensure you choose the right class for your needs, read the course descriptions carefully before applying.
  • Skill level: Some digital marketing courses provide beginner-level information, which won’t be super helpful for you. Make sure the class you choose targets professionals who have been in the field for a while. You want a descriptive course that will teach you something new rather than reiterating facts you already know.
  • Time commitment: Ask yourself how many hours per week you have to put toward this coursework. If you have a couple of spare hours consistently, you might consider a longer program, like a multi-week certification or a degree program. However, if you only have a few hours total to dedicate toward learning more about digital marketing, you might consider a free course or an individual course
  • Duration: Figure out how many days, weeks, or months you want to devote to enhancing your digital marketing skills. If you prefer a quick rundown of new trends and innovations, you might want to go for a one-off individual course or a free online course that you can peruse at your own pace. On the other hand, if you’d like a course that will get into the nitty-gritty and teach you everything you need to know on a digital marketing topic, you might choose a degree or certificate program.
  • Format: Digital marketing courses are taught in two ways: in-person or online. You’ll need to decide whether the perfect class is worth transplanting your life to another city for up to several years or if you would prefer to stick with the options you can complete from the comfort of home. If so, you’re in luck — many of the best digital marketing courses are taught 100% online. Also, some institutions provide the flexibility to either come to class or take the course online.

Types of digital marketing courses

If you’re looking into a digital marketing course, it might seem tricky to decide which type of course you want. Here’s a breakdown of the different kinds of courses that are on the market to help you with your decision.

Degree programs

A degree program is what it sounds like — you end up with a degree after several years of study. Many of these programs are taught online through well-known universities, so they may not require relocation. However, you will need to make a long-term commitment to bring in a master’s or another degree at the end of the course of study. Typically, a specialized degree enhances your resume incredibly. These are the most expensive option and usually bill per credit hour.

Certification programs

A digital marketing certification program is typically shorter than a degree program and allows you to gain a certificate from an accredited institution or university. You do a deep dive into a topic and come out with plenty of knowledge you can take back to work. A certificate can also enhance your resume and provide proof to current or future employers that you have enough experience with a specific digital marketing topic to do the work well. Also, you’ll pay less for a certificate than a full degree.

Individual courses

Universities, companies and associations often offer stand-alone digital marketing courses. These can give you insight into new digital marketing trends and act as a refresher when you are feeling overwhelmed or stagnant in your career. This type of marketing course is perfect for individuals seeking a shorter and less time-intensive commitment. Often, you can complete these courses at your own pace, as well, but they do usually require payment. You also can find one-off courses or sessions at most marketing conferences.

Free courses

A free digital marketing course requires no capital to register. These are usually online so that you can complete them on your timeline. You won’t typically receive a certification, but there’s no reason you can’t add the course to your resume. These courses are quick to complete, but usually are more focused on beginner marketers and might not give you the deep dive into a topic that paid classes will.

Top digital marketing courses with degree programs in 2020

Marketing Analytics Course at Penn State

Penn State

Penn State (Pennsylvania State University) is one of the top-ranked schools in the United States, so gaining a degree from the school could launch you into the next tier of marketing professionals. This degree focuses on the data side of digital marketing. You’ll study topics like brand positioning, product strategy and marketing campaign performance through a data-centric lens. It’s entirely online, as well.

If that’s a bit too much of a commitment right now, Penn State also offers a Graduate Certificate in Marketing Analytics that only requires 12 credits. Completing this certification may be enough for your career, but if it’s not, the credits can count toward the master’s degree.

Mini-MBA in Marketing at Rutgers

Rutgers University

Rutgers offers a 12-week in-person and online “Mini-MBA” in digital marketing for those wishing to continue their education outside of traditional higher education. This program provides an excellent overall view of digital marketing and content creation.

  • Currently available: Mini-MBA in Digital Marketing
  • Will I get a degree or certificate?: Possible certification from Rutgers Business School and graduate credits
  • Price: $4,995 (accelerated) and $3,495 (self-paced)
  • Length of course: 1 week (accelerated) and 12 weeks (self-paced)
  • Format: Classroom (accelerated) or online (self-paced)
  • When: March 30, 2020 (accelerated) and April 2, 2020 (self-paced)

The online program currently costs about $3,500 and takes a total of 40 hours or so to complete, while the in-class program costs about $5,000. The entire course has a teacher and starts on specific dates, much like a traditional college course.

Top digital marketing courses with certification programs in 2020

Integrated Marketing 360 program at Cornell University

Cornell University

For a certificate in digital marketing from a renowned Ivy League, Cornell University offers its Integrated Marketing 360 online program via the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business. Students take a series of 10 courses, each two weeks long, covering a range of topics, including the customer funnel, strategy, brand positioning, paid media, analysis and more.

  • Currently available: Integrated Marketing 360 certificate program
  • Will I get a degree or certificate?: Certificate
  • Price: $7,200 or $500 per month
  • Length of course: 8 months
  • Format: Online
  • When: TBA

Although the price is a bit hefty at $7,200, students can opt to pay all upfront or “pay as you go” over 16 months, with their course schedule. Cornell faculty create and lead the courses, all “100% online.”

Northwestern University

Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management is a prestigious institution. The top-ranked business school offers a digital marketing certificate that targets early career professionals, professionals wanting to switch to marketing, traditional marketers looking to gain skills in the digital field and digital marketers who want to expand their knowledge base. The certification program consists of 20 modules and concludes with a Capstone Project that allows you to pull together everything you learned.

Also, Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism hosts its Content Strategy for Professionals certificate program on Coursera. All the courses can be taken (aka “audited”) for free, but to receive grades and take tests, it costs ~$50/month for the courses. In most cases, it may cost additional tuition to receive an actual certificate from Northwestern.

The content strategy program consists of five courses completely online, four of which last three weeks each, with the fifth and final project course taking four weeks (the project course is only offered 3-4 times a year).

Digital Marketing Courses at UCLA Extension

UCLA Extension

UCLA Extension is a continuing education program that provides a curriculum approved by its parent school, UCLA, and currently offers a certificate in digital marketing. You’ll learn all about digital analytics, social media marketing, digital advertising and marketing strategy. You must complete five required and 10 elective credits to get the certificate, so it’s one of the more intensive trainings on this list.

Its sister campus, UC San Diego, provides an extension course in content marketing that runs for about three months and is in person or online at various times of the year. It’s next available online or in-class starting April 6, 2020 (online), or April 14, 2020 (classroom) for a price of $595.

Storytelling Courses at University of Washington

University of Washington

This Seattle-based university has an 8-month online course that offers a certificate in storytelling and content strategy with three courses: content creation (the power of storytelling), content strategy (crafting the user experience), and content science (data analysis & understanding the problem).

  • Currently available: Certificate in Storytelling and Content Strategy
  • Will I get a degree or certificate?: Certificate
  • Price: $3,498
  • Length of course: 8 months
  • Format: Classroom and online
  • When: March 31, 2020 (online) and October 2020 (classroom)

The certificate currently costs ~$3,500 and requires work experience, a basic understanding of marketing, and a presence on social media.

Content Marketing Strategy Course at DePaul

DePaul University

If you want a structured program with more attention from an instructor, DePaul University in Chicago offers a six-week certification course specifically for online content marketing, with classes limited to 15-20 students. This program targets established marketers, but also freelancers looking to increase their digital marketing prowess. The schedule from the next syllabus includes weeks focusing on topics like long-term content strategy, content promotion and data-informed content.

Course availability changes; however, DePaul offers several other courses in marketing in its Continuing and Professional Education department.

More certificate programs in digital marketing

Top individual digital marketing courses in 2020

Digital Marketing at AMA

The American Marketing Association

Bootcamp isn’t only for members of the military. The American Marketing Association provides trainings and conferences throughout the year, like its Digital Marketing Bootcamp, that can help you quickly evolve in the world of digital marketing. Although it’s only offered in-person in Chicago, each training is short enough to make a brief trip of it and then return home rejuvenated.

  • Currently available: Digital Marketing Bootcamp
  • Will I get a degree or certificate?: No
  • Price: $1,495 (member) or $1,869 (non-member); early bird pricing available before 3/18/20
  • Length of course: 2 days
  • Format: Classroom
  • When: April 15-16, 2020

Instructors go over topics like email strategy, social media, digital advertising, SEO and content marketing. Also, this bootcamp prepares you to take the AMA Professional Certified Marketer Digital Marketing exam if that’s in your future.

Marketing Courses at MIT

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Having a name like MIT on your resume is a surefire way to get noticed by potential employers. The esteemed school offers the Digital Marketing and Social Media Analytics course that is “designed to help you understand the new rules of marketing in the digital age.” Learning about the tech side of digital marketing from one of the leading institutions could be game-changing. You’ll learn about things like video advertising, predictive modeling, mobile marketing and “social listening.”

This course is part of MIT’s larger Strategy and Innovation Certificate that might be worth looking into if you have the time and money to commit.

Digital Marketing Courses at University of Oxford

University of Oxford’s Future of Marketing Initiative

Oxford’s Saïd Business School launched the Future of Marketing Initiative to create a space to debate and solve the most significant marketing challenges in the future. The Initiative partners with industry giants like L’Oréal and eBay to bring in the practical side of things. It hosts multiple courses throughout the year targeting senior managers, heads of function and other managers who need to understand analytics better.

  • Currently availableDelivering Value Through Digital course
  • Will I get a degree or certificate?: No
  • Price: £5,500 (around $7,100 USD)
  • Length of course: 4 days
  • Format: Classroom
  • When: June 30, 2020

To qualify for the course, you need at least five years of managerial experience.

Top free digital marketing courses in 2020

Email and Content Marketing Courses via HubSpot Academy

HubSpot Academy

HubSpot is a popular marketing software that also runs a course series called HubSpot Academy. All the courses are free, online and at your own pace. They cover topics like content marketing, inbound marketing and email marketing, and some even offer certifications.

HubSpot is useful if you’re looking for a refresher or an accessible introduction to digital marketing innovations and technology.

Marketing Courses at Learn@Forbes

Learn@Forbes

Forbes is one of the most well-known business publications in the country, so why not learn directly from the best? Learn@Forbes provides online training and programs that cover a multitude of marketing topics, like messaging strategy, client relations, SEO and mobile marketing.

  • Currently available: Mobile Marketing, and more
  • Will I get a degree or certificate?: No
  • Price: Free 14-day trial, then $199 per course
  • Length of course: Around 3 to 6 hours
  • Format: Online
  • When: Anytime

Also, it offers certification in digital marketing for a price of around $2,450, but the cost may be less when you buy a subscription.

Courses at MarketingProfs

MarketingProfs

Ann Handley’s empire, MarketingProfs, is a fantastic resource for busy marketing professionals who don’t have much time to focus on learning new skills. If you feel burnt out and need some perspective on your longterm customer strategy, the Marketing Strategy class from MarketingProfs may be able to help.

  • Currently available: Marketing Strategy, and more
  • Will I get a degree or certificate?: No
  • Price: Free with Pro membership ($395)
  • Length of course: 5 courses
  • Format: Online
  • When: Anytime

Although it’s not technically free since it requires a Pro membership, you can access the rest of its many classes once you sign up. All classes focus on six main digital marketing topics: Analyze, Communicate, Create, Management, Plan and Strategy.

More sources for on-demand learning and content marketing training

Besides the above colleges and learning platforms, there are several case studies, guides and books available from some of the most well-known content marketers in the industry today, such as Seth Godin’s ‘This is Marketing‘ and Donald Miller’s ‘Building a StoryBrand‘. Because our industry is continuously changing, it’s essential always to be learning, whether it’s a new course or actionable handbook. Consider your schedule, what you’d most like to learn, and your budget when it comes to taking advantage of all academia has to offer in content marketing.

The field of marketing is changing every day, so setting aside time to study the latest updates and trends will help to modernize your overall marketing game. | #DigitalMarketing Click To Tweet

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About Tiffany

Tiffany Verbeck is an experienced personal finance writer. Although she was born in the Midwest, she transplanted her life to move to Washington, D.C. in early 2011 and pursued a master's degree in writing. She enjoys putting her degree to use to tell brand stories of small businesses and entrepreneurs, and her work has appeared on The Financial Diet, Fast Capital 360, Matador Network, The Write Life, and more. Although she's always open to new opportunities, her writing mostly focuses on personal finance, budgeting, travel, and small businesses.

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