5 Things That Marketing Degrees Will Not Teach You

I am currently in my final year of a marketing degree at University and amidst my first internship program. However, one sinister thing has quickly come to my attention… I really don’t know much.

This shocking and eye-opening realisation has left me feeling quite ill-prepared. I assumed what I was learning at university would be easily transferrable to the professional world, what a fool I was.

Whilst the experience of starting my first marketing internship has been exciting and more educational than my previous 3 years at university, I just wish I had something more to offer them.

A silver lining of this ordeal is that I have learnt I am not alone, and this feeling is quite abundant amongst university students. The Conversation outlined that only 37% of University students in later years felt that their studies have contributed to their work knowledge and skills.

Granted, theories and textbook lay the foundations of a proficient marketer, but in most instances, I have found they are not applicable in most real-life circumstances. Simply quoting a theory to your client will not magically grow their product.

This has led me to develop a list of things that I wish university had taught me about marketing in the real world.

 

Marketing strategies

The development of marketing strategies is crucial when first taking on a new product. Providing a clear and detailed strategy to present to your client as well as a guide to follow will help lay the foundations of a successful marketing campaign.

University has offered a brief opportunity to learn how to create a strategy, however, I have found that it’s quite useless and non-applicable. The assignments they give you are outdated and hold little relevance to the fast-changing marketing world.

Everyone creating a marketing plan for the same fake business does not sound like an individual and genuine learning experience. I was extremely overwhelmed when I realised that not all business structures, markets, and products fall in line with the blanket marketing strategy, learnt at University.

After learning this generic marketing strategy, I have no idea how to even implement it so that I can achieve my goals. This seems like a no-brainer for universities to teach as it is the logical next step.

Universities should be attempting to excite young and inexperienced marketing students and allowing them to develop specific strategies for companies they are connected to. This way students can gather advice from their expert tutors about where they have gone wrong and how it could have been done better.

 

Social Media Management

In my time studying marketing at university, it is criminal how much they avoid talking about the giant technological elephant in the room. The extreme lack of education towards social media management and strategizing is mind-boggling.

3.6 billion people use social media platforms, and this number is set to keep increasing to 4.41 billion in 2025 (Sprout Social). Something tells me that this may be a large audience that should be given more focus. However, it feels like University has tossed this to the wayside in favour of more traditional types of marketing.

One thing I have always known, even before studying marketing, is Social media is an efficient way to reach consumers. University should be acknowledging its power and preparing us for the marketing world of today, not yesterday.

I have now realised that a lot of small and medium-sized businesses cannot afford traditional styles of media. So social media marketing should become a priority. Providing students like myself with the tools to efficiently manage social media marketing is key to prepping them for the real world.

 

Blog Writing

It is a little ironic to be reading that the author of this blog submission, does not know how to write a blog. But, writing pieces such as blogs onto the long list of things my marketing degree did not prepare me for.

Blogs are integral for increasing a company’s visibility, which is important as it increases your interaction with consumers as well as strengthening your SEO. If your company continues to write relevant and engaging blogs then they are more likely to appear in searches, thus creating higher rates of traffic.

I had never even considered the importance of blogs when marketing before my internship, but now I see their value. Learning of this value I would have enjoyed one of my tutors or lecturers educating me on how to write in a blog format.

I would have thought facilitating engaging content would have been necessary to teach, but I guess tired and worn-out essay structures is what the consumer wants to read.

 

Analytic Platforms

Numbers. Some people love them, and some hate them. But you cannot discredit the importance that they hold when trying to successfully market a product.

However, whilst university tutors will explain what the numbers mean, they will not teach you how to use the platforms that they come on. Platforms such as Google and Facebook analytics are at the forefront of measuring the success of online marketing campaigns.

Being able to easily navigate and use these numbers to manage my marketing strategy best and effectively grow my audience would be a terrific asset to have. This should be a practical skill taught in a marketing degree, not something you learn on your first day of a job.

 

Networking

The university networking experience I gained was somewhat dismal. The cornerstone of university networking is a group assignment. The mention of a ‘group assignment’ is one sure way to strike fear into any student and bring back memories of pain.

However, this is the only type of networking they really teach. Networking is crucial in the world of business and can be the make or break of someone’s career. Whether it is with fellow staff members or clients, there needs to be more focus shifted on it.