Course review: Fundamentals of Digital Marketing by FutureLearn

Course review: Fundamentals of Digital Marketing by FutureLearn

Marketing

When I started this course, I had fragmented ideas of digital marketing. Fundamentals of Digital Marketing helped put the pieces of the puzzle together.

Harry Sanders, Founder and Director of Studiohawk, talks about how marketing has evolved

What prompted me to do this course?

I have been an entrepreneur for over three decades and have managed a few business ventures more so with traditional tools and in the small and midsize business category. One of the areas we struggled with in terms of implementation as a small team was to incorporate the digital into our work process; this stunted our business growth though. We were successful prior to that, but not being able to go through that transformation has had its negative effects. So, with that in mind, I venture into new ideas. My plan is to first understand the fundamentals of digital marketing and learn how they are implemented. Because without this knowledge, most business ventures, no matter how localized or small, will struggle to survive, sell, and scale up.

Who is the course for?

Before I started this course I was struggling to put together pieces of information from the internet from various blogs, articles, reviews, and courses, none of which could actually give to me, a beginner, an overview of the basic foundations of Digital Marketing. This course solved that problem as it has handled a fairly complex and ever-evolving subject to pull out the basic infrastructure from which we can each then continue our journey as we wish, but armed with some vision of how and where to go. Whatever your objective is in taking this course, it has something for everyone who is interested in learning the basics of digital marketing and building the skills to complete entry-level digital marketing activities.

Simple and Practical Digital Marketing Plan

Of the various problems most of us might face is the complex nature of multiple contact points that we have to deal with, such as websites and social media platforms. Depending on the target audience it could be LinkedIn, Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, or YouTube. Where do we start? This course takes us through a simple and practical work sheet of tasks to create a marketing plan by putting together various pieces of information. For example, it is important to start by creating our personas, which is a profile of the ideal target customer or person this campaign needs to reach out. Based on this framework, the efforts now are focused on those that fit these criteria rather than a shot in the dark and having a blank campaign. This is what differentiates Digital Marketing from the old traditional methods. Digital marketing can be more focused, and the steps taken can be carefully analyzed to evaluate the effectiveness of each step with real time data primarily from Google Analytics which is a free tool. The course shows steps of this analysis that can be carried out. This way we get to fine tune our campaign actively at a low cost unlike, for example, a Billboard which once set up stays that way; it would not be practical to change the location or message. In a Digital campaign, we can change the location of our adverts and the content quite easily.

My key takeaway from this course

For me personally, the big takeaway is that now when faced with hiring a specialist Digital marketer for my next venture, either a company or from the hundreds of digital marketing freelancers floating around, I would not be totally blinded by their jargon and can at least be able to choose the ones who are better informed and trained. One thing is certain: no matter how savvy a digital marketer is, they can never be 100% specialized because the technology that can be used to implement it is growing in quantum leaps. Each one is playing catch up in their own way. AI has a very big impact as it can automate a lot of tasks that were previously cumbersome to handle.

FutureLearn courses overall quality

Another useful aspect as has been with other FutureLearn Courses is the amount of careful research that has gone into developing this course to keep it simple yet filled with a bounty of resources that would have been very difficult for us to find individually. There are several useful links to various providers of materials and solutions, videos, blogs each of which can lead us into different directions and explore this realm further at our own pace. Each direction is a journey on its own but that is where the fundamentals learned in this course become more relevant – we now have a clear reference point to relate these to so we do not lose focus on the objectives.

Where do I go from here?

Having started my migration from dinosaur’s land to this digital landscape, I can see the amazing benefits of the same not only from the commercial viewpoint but also from the fact that these technologies can be used in education to bring down costs of learning, in developing and helping communities that might not have had access to information, reverse information flow has now become easier as these channels allow even an individual to share experiences and knowledge with others.

Well done to the creators of this course and I hope they can update at least twice a year to refresh their content and how the new tech connects to the fundamentals I’ve learned.

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