The Myth of Graduation – We Never Stop Learning

Graduation is just one of many steps. We graduate from one area and generally continue on to the next school, class, tier…but we never truly graduate from learning. No matter what industry, sector or specialization, the need to learn and grow as a professional and an individual doesn’t stop once you have reached a certain point in your career, age or even when you reach the pinnacle of success. Learning never stops, especially if you work in technology.

shutterstock_213436291I’ve been talking with marketers at networking events and industry conferences and the issue of developing new skills or enhancing our existing skills keeps coming up. Marketing enablement is a something I am fascinated with because there are more and more technologies, processes and skills that we as marketers need to know (to master) to do our jobs well. But how can we do this and still perform in our day jobs?

A perfect example of this is the focus on “The Stack”…the marketing technology stack. Take a look at the latest post from Scott Brinker on the newest award, “The Stackies.” or how about the series from Lattice-Engines called, “Show Me Your Stack” or my colleague Jason Stewart’s latest post on the subject. Clearly, we are in need of more and more technology to enable us to perform our jobs, yet who has the time to learn new skills, let alone perfect the ones we just acquired last quarter? Analytics, search engine optimization, marketing automation, HTML, CMS , CRM and others are essential, basic tools for B2B marketing. Yet most marketers are self-taught and report they feel deficient in their mastery of skills.

Marketers know they suffer from a marketing skills gap. According to the 2014 ANNUITAS B2B Enterprise Demand Generation Study, 55.7 percent of marketers say they are unskilled in demand generation. How is that possible? Organizations that rely on marketing don’t offer marketing enablement for their teams and up and coming marketers certainly aren’t being taught the necessary skills or technologies used in marketing today in school. The time has come for marketers to take responsibility for their own skills gap and bridge it by committing to their own marketing enablement.

There are ways to solve the skills gap…classes from amazing resources like MarketingProfs, Content Marketing Institute, Marketing Sherpa, certifications, events and more webinars and online content than you can image. However, we need to start somewhere. Focus. Set a goal and then pick one skill that will help you perform better in your job today and sign up for the webinar or class that you have been eyeing. Commit to one skill or class a quarter and track your progress.

To get ideas on how to begin acquiring new skills, take a listen to the ANNUITAS Marketing Enablement webinar series part one with Heinz Marketing and two with MarketingProfs. The short webinars share ideas on what skills are essential and how and where to obtain new skills.

We never really graduate or stop learning, especially in B2B marketing. Take marketing enablement and new skills acquisition seriously. Focus on defining what skills you want to acquire, set goals and time frames to accomplish this and go. It’s up to you.

Author: Erika Goldwater CIPP/US @erikawg is VP, Marketing for ANNUITAS

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