On 15 December 2021, Storyboard18 wrote an in-depth piece on whether one needs a degree or just YouTube to be a marketer today. The feature opened up a conversation around how marketers and agency professionals are increasingly using online avenues and channels to master marketing and to upskill. This is slowly changing the value placed on marketing knowledge and degrees obtained in traditional ways. Free YouTube tutorials on learning digital marketing have been a go-to for several newbie marketers.
Cut to 2022. YouTube announced on December 19, 2022, it will allow qualified creators in India to provide free and paid courses to consumers starting next year. With this move YouTube will directly compete against homegrown edtech brands like Byju's, Unacademy, and PhysicsWallah, many of which began on the Google-owned platform, ironically.
While educational content has been available on YouTube for several years, making it an open and free university of sorts; the platform's latest move to boost educational content will allow creators to provide viewers with a more comprehensive, structured learning experience. Creators will get a new monetization option in addition to advertising, channel memberships, and subscriptions. Creators will also be able to provide viewers with supplemental materials such as documents, images, and PDFs via the YouTube app.
In a previous conversation with Storyboard18, several marketers stated they are upskilling with various digital marketing courses. Ronnie Screwvala-led edtech company upGrad saw a growth of 48 percent for its digital marketing courses in January, February, March (JFM) 2021 as compared to 2020. The growth remained on an upward trajectory and upGrad’s marketing programs had more women (54 percent) than men. In September 2022, the company also released an ad with a woman protagonist who fast-forwarded her career through an online course.
Arjun Mohan, CEO - India, upGrad, told Storyboard18 that it’s important to have “generalist and specialist” in a talent tool. “Specialising in subjects gives learners ample opportunities to expand their thinking, thus enabling them to make their skills indispensable.”
He explained, “You could be a data analyst but what would make you a high-grade employee is your unique ability to interpret the data differently and then apply it in a manner that increases the company’s efficiency and productivity.”
The pandemic turned homes into classrooms, not only for young students but also for career professionals who want to learn new skills, hone existing ones and stay up-to-date. A shifting view of online, formal and informal education is also changing the way some companies hire people, looking not just at degrees and colleges to make hiring decisions.
This trend is catching up in the agency side of the business too. Holistic marketing solutions agency Schbang has been investing in upskilling programs for employees. Through Schbang Academy, the agency has been facilitating training across the organization on everything from social media marketing and e-commerce to content writing.
While the education, knowledge and experience equation is changing, many brand experts think, there is still a certain cache attached to doing a course from a reputed college. Whether online or offline, the bottomline is marketers and ad agencies want their talent pool to grab new skill sets to stay relevant and future facing.