Online vs. Traditional Education for Digital Marketers

Mark Zeni

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People often email me asking what is the best way to get certified as an online marketing professional. There are basically two options if you are looking for an education program: You can get an offline, traditional college degree or master, or you can enroll on a online program or master.

Both options can work and will give you the information and qualifications you need if you pick a decent institution. However, choosing an online program has several advantages, ranging from the cost to eligibility criteria and employement opportunities.
Here’s a comparisson:

Traditional Education
– Costs around $50,000 per year for a masters
– Unemployment rate of college graduates in 2008 was over 35%
– Require academic scores, English certifications and so on

Online Education
– There are programs available starting at $1200
– High chance of landing a job due to job-oriented training
– Only work experience is required

Apart from those factors, by choosing an online program you also have the advantage of studying from anywhere and at your own hours/pace.

At this point you might be wondering what are some good digital marketing online programs.

There are plenty of options.

If you’re looking to walk away with a real college degree then I’d consider a marketing degree (or similar), whether it’s traditional classroom learning or an online program.

Another option (and one that is likely cheaper, quicker and more targeted) would be to pursue a certificate or specialized course in digital marketing. While not a true college degree, these types of programs teach you only what you need to know.

One that I came across recently is called Digital Marketing Specialist Masters Program, offered by the Simplilearn guys. The program is quite complete, lasting for one year and covering the following areas:

1. General Internet Marketing: Here you’ll learn the basics of websites, the Internet, marking online and so on.

2. Advanced Web Analytics: A great part of having success online comes from knowing what to measure and what to measure, cause marketing campaigns, especially online, only become profitable after some fine-tuning. That is what you’ll learn here.

3. Advanced SEO: Search Engine Optimization involves making sure that the elements on your website and outside it are in the right place so that your Google rankings will be as high as possible. This, in turn, will send more visitors to your website, which is essential to its success.

4. Advanced Pay per Click: PPC or Pay Per Click is the most popular and efficient type of advertising online, and it’s the fastest way to get people to visit your site. Knowing how to create and optimize PPC campaigns is a must for any digital marketing professional.

5. Advanced Social Media: In this section you’ll learn how to leverage social media to boost the traffic and visibility of your websites and online projects. Social networks are becoming are very important source of visitors these days, and that is why this section is quite important.

Many programs I have seen around only give you the lessons and you are on your own. On this Masters program you’ll have access to 35+ live instructure bartches, so you’ll be able to learn by watching the pros do it.

You’ll also have access to a community of digital marketers where you can ask questions and exchange advice.

Finally, if you need a certificate to show your employer you actually went through the program, they provide one upon conclusion. Here’s the official page where you can get all the details and enroll.

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17 Responses to “Online vs. Traditional Education for Digital Marketers”

  • Ognjen

    At first, I was skeptical about online education. But after few tutorials and online classes, I learn a lot more than with traditional approach. Most important is that teacher has a good understanding of the subject and that he/she knows how to teach you. Most classes that I watch are for web design and SEO, marketing and WordPress. That way I build my websites.

  • Shahbaz khan

    Thanks Mark Zeni for your awesome post. I definitely with you that digital programs and studying online is far much better now a days than to take admission in University and bare heavy expenses.

  • Greg

    Great article! The web evolves constantly, so much so that you will have to relearn everything you were taught at university by the time you get your degree. That’s why I think online learning is the way to go whether you are learning web marketing or web development.

    Of course, traditional education gives you a recognized diploma. But I believe it’s your hands-on experience that matters the most nowadays. If you managed to create a website and make it successful, mention it on your CV. It’ll be your best asset to get a job.

  • Sehrish

    All the tips are really amazing, I used to blog back in 2012-2013 but due to some personal crisis let it high and dry. Now I am thinking of getting back at it. After reading your post I realized that , we must have dedication and must have our priorities straight if we want to achieve something.

  • Tauseef Alam

    Indeed a great topic to debate on.
    I personally feel that education system should be a mixture of traditional+online education. A balance is required. Both of them their own merits & demerits. Online education has not become as matured as traditional education. On the other hand Online education offers a lots of options.

  • Shibam Kar

    Thanks for sharing the post with us. online education is the best way to learn marketing. According to me, we should avoid offline ways to learn blogging and marketing. It will save our money.

  • facebook profile visitors

    According to me Online Working Is better option Because you can earn money from your home.

  • Andy Petrosyan

    Cost difference between online and traditional education is huge. However I believe both systems have their advantages and disadvantages that we need to consider. For instance, one advantage of traditional education is that you have opportunity to be directly in contact we your lecturers and course mates in case you have questions or if something is not clear. One can argue that this is also possible to do online, yes, but I think face to face interaction makes things easier especially if you have questions about complex topics. Also, traditional education can establish your professional network which is critical for future job prospects. In contrast, online education is more affordable and flexible, you don’t have to attend classes and be required to take lectures when you don’t feel doing it etc.

  • Provaty

    I have searched from last couple of days this kind of post, Online vs. Traditional Education for Digital Marketers. Its helped me a lot.

    Thanks Mark Zeni,

  • newztelugu

    However, choosing an online program has several advantages, ranging from the cost to eligibility criteria and employment opportunities.

  • Serkan Secer

    Hi. I liked your article. But you never talk about online education disadvantages. I want to make a few additions to this issue.

    1: Face to face interaction opportunities in distance education are more limited.

    2: Learning difficulties in the learning process can not be resolved immediately

    3: Planning challenges for individuals who are not their own work habits and have the ability to develop,

    4: Lack of communication caused by excess in the number of students.

  • Ploy The Movie”

    Great Article !! Very good this article, find lots of interesting information, I am always visiting this site, and I have learned lots of good info.
    Congratulations !!

  • Ploy The Movie”

    Digital marketing today is a broad domain that generally covers search engine marketing, email marketing, social marketing, mobile marketing (across devices), Online advertising and media buying, digital PR, e-commerce, web analytic, website design and marketing, digital signage and “Internet of Things” among other areas. Within each of these areas, new advances are adding layers of complexity to the map.Thank you for sharing your experience.

  • OpportuniHub Samuel

    Digital marketing education is just getting a foothold in most African cities. I encourage the proprietors of these online programs to reap into amazing opportunities that Africa has for them. They will make great sales.

  • Alex Grey

    Thanks Mark Zeni for your awesome post. I definitely with you that digital programs and studying online is far much better now a days than to take admission in University and bare heavy expenses.

  • Paul


    I feel like I wasted my money on a business degree in terms of educational value. Unfortunately, it is required to be considered for a job.

    If one were to spend 4 years just focused one learning digital marketing, the results would be exponentially better.

  • David

    As a father to two second graders, I’ve often wondered about if traditional college would be really worth it for them. I’m paying for them to be in a private school.. which ultimately may cost 50k already.

    I think sending them to a Community College for the first two years and getting an online degree while gaining business/intern experience would be the ticket. I would obviously nudge them into the digital marketing direction. 🙂

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