15 Reasons Why A Marketing Degree is Useless

23 January 2021

While Technology Can Be Kind, It Hasn’t Been So Much to the Marketing Institutes. They Just Can’t Keep Up.

Thinking what jobs marketing degree has to offer? Stick with us through this article and you might want to think again. 

The last thing we’re doing here is bad-mouthing the field of marketing. It’s a super exciting domain, with unique challenges, and plenty of opportunities to get creative and have fun. Better still, no matter how fast trends are changing, businesses will always need to market their products. So guess what that means Mr. or Ms. marketing genius? Yep, there’ll always be a well-paid job waiting for you. And if you start a business, that marketing know-how will give you one hell of a head start. 

We’ve said before that in today’s world everybody should have some marketing knowledge up their sleeve. But the question is — do you think a university degree is going to teach you that? We don’t think so. And here’s why.

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One reason why this article is useless, would be that you prefer video content. Check out a fun and vivid YouTube upload on this topic:

With some video marketing done, let’s get right into today’s topic.


Marketing Is Constantly Changing — and University Courses Can’t Keep up the Pace

This is right at the top reasons why a degree isn’t going to help you much in such a fast-moving domain like marketing — despite what the degree might say on the label. You’re going to need to be savvy in things like strategies for marketing on social media; understanding how the algorithms for search engines work; and these are the things that are changing at lightning speed. 

By the time you graduate, you may as well have a degree in ancient history. Which is kind of what you will have, with the amount of dust it will have gathered.


Big Employers Are Getting Rid of the Degree Requirement

Everybody knows that if you want a career as a freelancer, you don’t need a degree. But what about working for the big companies? What jobs marketing degree will help you secure with them? 

Let’s take a look at what they say. IBM’s former executive chairwoman, Ginni Rometty said “getting a job at today’s IBM does not always require a college degree.’ And LinkedIn’s CEO, Jeff Weiner, also stated “What matters most is relevant skills”. Even take a look through marketing positions advertised, they’re increasingly saying “marketing degree or relevant experience”. 

So seriously, why go to all the effort of getting a degree if there are other ways you can pick up that experience? 

Being up-to-date with the latest developments in careers, business and tech can count for more than having a piece of paper saying what you studied. This is definitely true in marketing. And remember, here at Alux, we’ve got loads of videos keeping you up to speed. So, if you haven’t hit that subscribe button yet, be sure to do it now, for more quality content every day.  

Let’s quit the “Degree VS Technical Skills” debate for a while, and think about universal skills. Here are 15 Skills That Will Pay Off Forever, regardless of your career goals.  


Loads of Theory — Little to No Practice

The thing about marketing is that it needs on-the-job experience. It needs results — and for you to learn in a hands-on way how you can get those results. 

And the problem with a lot of marketing degrees is that they’re all about theory. And there’s no practice of getting those all-important results. 

Take a look at what Dan Palmer has to say about it in Medium.com. He’s an Australian entrepreneur who took a marketing degree and ended up regretting it. He compares his marketing degree to ‘a medical course (that spends) its entire time teaching you how hospitals work, without teaching you medical issues or how to treat them’. 

He also says that he didn’t learn much beyond what he touched on taking in Business Studies in High School. Now, we’re not even saying you won’t learn anything useful in high school business studies. But are you really going to drop 40 thousand dollars on it? Nah, didn’t think so.


You Might End up Learning Other Business Topics You Don’t Even Need

It’s also common for marketing degrees to water down the marketing stuff, with a load of other business theory you never even asked for. Like a few basics of accounting, finance, economics and perhaps a bit of management added in. 

But not enough to actually get you a job in accounting or finance — not that that’s what you were looking for anyway. Because, guess what, the emphasis on those topics is going to be on heaps of theory, no practice, same all over again.

And besides, when you take a marketing course, what you really want it the nitty-gritty of how to do marketing. You want it to do what it says on the label. And a large number of marketing courses just aren’t delivering on this. 


You’ll Probably End up Learning a Load of Stuff You Already Knew 

Again, we’re talking about really general no-brainer stuff. Which marketing courses have now got themselves a reputation for filling their courses with. Like, learning that marketing is all about understanding the consumer. Yep, well done, genius. Or how brands need to position themselves to cater to their target market. No shit Sherlock. Think we could have got that from a Google search of inspirational business quotes. And what jobs marketing degree offers, will in themselves require you to know a lot more than just such basics. 

Or basics like the four Ps that make up the marketing mix. If you need to get clued up on that, take a look at the entry for ‘marketing’ on Investopedia.com — no need to put the time and money into a degree.


A Lot of Marketing Professors Are Out of Touch

Now, this does depend on the university. But it’s a common complaint from students on marketing majors that professors have little idea of what’s going on in the real world of marketing. And they get their academic kudos from the amount they publish in academic journals — not on how they can deliver social media campaigns. 

Check out what Mark Schaefer says in businessgrow.com, where he talks about a department chair who argues that social media is a passing fad. Seriously!? Mention Tik Tok to some marketing professors, and if you’re lucky they’ll be able to tell you it’s something that involves teens doing cringy dances. What they may not have figured out is that in the US alone, people spend a billion dollars on Tik Tok ads.


They Don’t Teach You How to Write Great Copy

Writing copy that grabs people’s attention is one of the most valuable marketing skills you can have. Put simply, it means writing text that will get the people who read it to actually do something — like subscribe to a newsletter — or push that button to buy your product or service. If you can learn that, what jobs marketing degree can offer will be a mole hill in front of the mountain you will then have access to.

And how do you learn it? On the job. By writing lots of copy, seeing what works, seeing what gets a lot of clicks or likes, and what makes people end up buying. And when it doesn’t work, changing it until it does work. 

To get good at it, start writing your own blog — even if you don’t have anything to sell yet — just see what gets reactions. You can develop your skills with the help of an online course — that costs a fraction of one module of a marketing degree.

The thing is, when you’re busy learning a lot of theory, there’s no focus on things like this — the stuff you need to be doing on a daily basis to be great at marketing.


Or How to Manage Social Media Channels

Is there still any business out there that doesn’t think of social media as one of their key marketing tools? We’ll we;ve seen there might be one or  two marketing professors who think that. But let’s be clear, this is a huge part of marketing, and again, you need to learn on the job, not from theory. And social media is advancing at lightning speed. 

Just think about a few developments in social media that changed the way businesses reach out to their followers. Like when Facebook and Instagram launched live videos, allowing advertisers to interact in real time. When Snapchat started using stories and then Instagram followed their lead. Or when Tik Tok took off.

These all change the way businesses interact with their followers  and grab the attention of new ones. And any business that doesn’t keep up, will look way behind the times. Just like most marketing degrees. 


They Don’t Teach You SEO

If you don’t know what the term means — and by the way, if you want to sell anything on the internet, you’d better start looking into it — it stands for search engine optimization. It means knowing how to make your page come up on searches.

Again, it’s constantly evolving, and universities are always about fifty steps behind. Google is known for always changing its algorithms — the ones that decide how high up your page comes on a search. More and more searches are being done on Siri and Alexa, which bring up a whole other bunch of SEO problems for marketers to solve and keep up with. 

To get good at it, we recommend you start with an online course on SEO. Ones provided by sites like Udemy give you a good grounding. Yes, they go out of date as well. But they’re a good starting point, and are good value for money. After that, get playing around with Google AdWords — the part of Google that deals with search rankings — join forums where people post the latest tips, and see what works and what doesn’t.  


They Don’t Teach You Photoshop Editing

To be a great marketer, there are a lot of tricks to have up your sleeve that will come in super handy. And creating great images is just another one. Again, it’s the practice side of marketing, not the theory — and what jobs marketing degree offers are going to demand this skill while you will be unprepared. 

But remember, anyone can learn these skills to a basic level online for free or for a very reasonable price, where you can learn a lot of what you have to do. And then start experimenting. 


Get Networking

Get connected with what’s going on, and get meeting people involved in marketing. Join meetups, in your area or online, or co-working spaces, and find out what you can about what marketing opportunities are out there. 

If you’re looking for a job in marketing, see who can hook you up with some experience. And if you’re starting your own company that you want to market, see what advice you can get from the people you meet. 


Marketing Degrees Are Expensive

Another reason to avoid them when they’re just not delivering. Of course, it varies from country to country, but university degrees are getting more expensive pretty much everywhere. 

Just taking the USA as an example, according to bestcolleges.com, a marketing degree will cost you between $4 400 and $44 000. The lower end of that may not sound bad. But remember, the reason they’re cheaper is because they’re also the least relevant. And basically, the crappiest. And regardless of whether it’s at the low or the high end, do you really want to pay for all of that when it’s something that just isn’t necessary?  


You Can Get the Skills You Need Without a Degree — Much More Effectively

The chances are, taking an online accredited course and starting a website is a lot more profitable — in fact about ten times more profitable than what jobs marketing degree will help you earn. Need proof? Check out this study in clickminded.com, which compares an accredited online course in digital marketing, with a college degree in the same subject. 

The online course turns out four times cheaper. You’ll complete it three times faster — in 6 months instead of 19. And the return on investment after three years of completing the course is almost ten times better — a 521% return on what you paid, as opposed to 53% taking a college degree. 


Even With a Marketing Degree, You’ll Need to Do Loads of Extras to Get Ahead

After all that, just in case you’re still not convinced, think about this. As well as the degree, you’ll still want to get some hands-on experience for your CV to look good. 

That means doing things like internships during holidays, starting your own website and experimenting with it, taking on small jobs for clients. All things you can be doing anyway, without taking the degree. So really, why bother with the degree?


Business Courses in General Often Come Out the Worst Rated

This is probably down to the reasons we’ve already mentioned. The business world is fast moving and college degrees just can’t keep up. And they teach you all theory, and little or no practice. 

In fact, according to a survey in the UK, courses related to business studies were the worst value for money of all. Just check out this article in the Guardian by Martin Parker — himself a professor at a business school — who suggests we should bulldoze them all.


So in the end we would like to know the side you want to take on becoming great at marketing. What jobs the real-time marketing offers, or what jobs marketing degree offers, which ones will be for you?