The Ultimate Guide
to Marketing Training

Find marketing training that fits your needs, from everyday know-how
to career-launching investments.

The world of digital marketing is spinning faster than ever. In order to keep up, the most successful marketers are always learning new ways to reach and engage their audiences. We created this guide to help you navigate all the marketing training options you have, from quick daily habits to rigorous full-time initiatives.

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Marketing Blogs

Summary

Marketing blogs come in all shapes and sizes, and can teach you as much as any other item on this list if you know where to look. The motivation for writing good blog posts is simple: to attract and retain relevant audiences by providing them value. Combine this with their lightweight, shareable format, and it’s no wonder that blogs by companies and individuals alike have become some of the most widely accepted and oft-sourced content on the web.

Value

While the financial return on investment can’t be beat, the time investment in finding good content and applying what you’ve learned makes blogs (at least in terms of marketing training) more of a recommended career-long habit than a marketing training tool. Many of the best marketing blogs are written alongside other types of marketing training on this list, so if you're looking for more of a specific author or company, look for their blog.

Pros

  • Lightweight content typically meant to be read in one session.
  • One, clearly defined topic or solution to a marketing challenge.
  • Often open to critique and discussion, automatically filtering out low quality content.

Cons

  • If you have access to them, it’s likely that everyone else does as well.
  • It can be difficult to separate truly relevant educational blogs from noise.
  • It’s up to you to reflect upon and apply tactics learned from casual reading.

Our pick

Search Engine Journal offers both breadth and depth in their coverage of digital marketing topic areas, such as content marketing, social media, and paid search. Whether you’re just starting and looking up from the bottom of the learning curve in these areas, or you’re an expert in one and building out your T shape marketer profile, you’ll find great posts here.

Hidden gem

Maybe not so hidden, but entrepreneur, author, and marketer Seth Godin is second to none at providing inspiration to be the best marketer you can be on his blog. His short, witty blog posts are an easy daily read. 

Your pick


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Marketing Books

Summary

For every great marketing book, there are hundreds of less-than-great marketing books. Whether you consider yourself a voracious or casual reader, the best books have a way of making you turn the page unendingly, and teaching you valuable marketing advice in the process. Similar to many of the more expensive options on this list, books can get a team on the same page (no pun intended), but for a much lower price. Consider inviting a colleague to read the same book you’re reading, or even start a book share within your team. The right book can turn anyone who is “too busy to read” into a lifelong bookworm.

Value

The cornerstone of any career-minded marketer is her book collection. Marketers should always be reading, no matter what genre they prefer. You can all find great copywriting techniques in the classics, such as Hemingway, who's stocatto style lends itself to the quick and impactful marketing copy required by today's skimming digital readers. The more you read, the more perspectives you'll have to enrich your creativity. That being said, buying new books can add up quickly in cost. Fortunately we have digital options that save space and money these days, and don’t forget your old friend, the local library.

Pros

  • Read on your own time, as part of your routine.
  • Books offer an endless variety of topics, personalities, and styles.
  • When audiobook options are available, reading becomes even more schedule-friendly.

Cons

  • Enormous variety can make choosing the right book overwhelming.
  • A library of books can become expensive and space-consuming.
  • Trending topics can skew which books make it to you.

Our pick

In terms of actionable marketing training and digital marketing know-how, Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs is one of the most helpful books around for marketers who are new to online marketing. The book walks you through the inbound marketing methodology, wherein the process of attracting website visits, converting them into leads, closing them into customers and delighting those customers so that they promote your business, is explained in detail. 

Hidden gem

Simon Sinek’s Leaders Eat Last goes beyond tactical marketing training to provide readers with a heavy dose of life training. Sinek draws evidence from human physiology, historic political power structures, and anthropological team dynamics to help you navigate your marketing career.

Your pick


surveys
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Marketing Tools

Summary

In the wake of the software-as-a-service revolution and the inbound marketing movement, it has become vital for software companies to educate their users and make them successful marketers to keep their business. This has resulted in marketing tech vendors producing some of the best educational content available, and often for free. Want to learn more about marketing analytics? Download a free trial of an analytics software platform. Curious about visual design? There are some 232,000 results for “Photoshop for marketing” on YouTube.

Value

Any marketing software is an investment in making its users more productive, typically through the technology’s tactical efficiencies supporting broader strategic marketing initiatives. But what about the training materials they offer? Many marketing tool companies have learned that boring documentation simply isn't enough to make their users successful. By learning how to use their tools, you'll likely learn much more.

Pros

  • These resources are typically very practical knowledge that can be applied with said tool.
  • Often freely available to anyone who fits the profile of their audience.
  • Easy-to-digest content created to keep you using their tool.

Cons

  • Having lots of marketing tools can get expensive, so take advantage of the educational resources your existing marketing stack offers.
  • Don’t just buy tools for the sake of buying tools. Strive to understand how marketing software will fit in your marketing strategy.
  • Implementing marketing tools can seem daunting to non-technical marketers.

Our pick(s)

This one is a tie between the visual and the analytical. If you want to level-up your visual design skills, watch a few Photoshop tutorials on Phlearn.com. You’ll learn about color theory, graphic layering, and composition all while looking at pretty pictures. If you’re feeling less-than-confident about your analytics game, it’s time to re-introduce you to an old friend named Microsoft Excel, and all the free resources out there to help you use it.

Hidden gem

Check out the training page of whatever tool you use most on your team. Obviously, you shouldn't have to buy a new marketing tool just for its training material. Whether it’s Google Analytics, Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Excel, Salesforce CRM, or HubSpot, the teams behind these systems all have real motivation to produce content that makes you a better marketer.

Your pick


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Marketing MOOCs

Summary

MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course. A growing population of people think education is a human right and everyone who wants access to it should be able to get it. Many institutions have jumped onboard the open-courseware movement, including Stanford, Harvard, and MIT, just to name a few. Even companies such as Google and HubSpot have made free courses a part of their content marketing strategy.

Value

For the right type of do-it-yourself learner, MOOCs offer a library of marketing knowledge second to none in volume and diversity. That being said, these courses can test your ability to sit and learn from a video, so persistence, routine, and a distraction-free time and place are highly recommended.

Pros

  • Learn from professors of top tier institutions in the comfort of your own home, for the cost of an internet connection.
  • Choose from a huge variety of courses (and the opencourseware movement is only just beginning!).
  • Zero in on a particular skill you wish to improve, or find an integrated marketing course that combines subject areas.

Cons

  • Many of these courses are just in-class courses recorded for on-demand viewing.
  • You won’t have as much motivation to get you through these courses.
  • It’s up to you to reap and demonstrate the value from what you’ve learned, as there is often no degree or certificate to lean on.

Our pick

HubSpot Academy’s Inbound Certification Course is one of the few MOOCs that comes with a globally recognized certification. Improve your understanding of the inbound marketing methodology, an altruistic style of customer-first content marketing that has become a marketing movement in its own right. The course is relatively short compared with most MOOCs, but gets updated yearly to keep up with the latest digital marketing trends.

Hidden gem

Sam Altman’s How to Start a Startup, is a who’s who of inspiring lectures and actionable advice from entrepreneurial think-tankers such as Reid Hoffman, Ben Horowitz, Alex Schultz, and Aaron Levie. This course may not be touted as a marketing training course, but it gives viewers an invaluable eye into the minds of the visionaries that teach it.

Your pick


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Marketing Mentors

Summary

There’s nothing like having an experienced mentor who understands your particular goals and challenges provide you with career-advancing advice. Great mentors don’t come easy, but when you’ve found someone who wants to help you become a success -- whether that person is a boss, professor, or relative -- grab the opportunity and don’t waste it. Times and techniques may change over the years, but it takes tenure to gain the timeless marketing skills you need to start honing now.

Value

A great mentor is an invaluable asset, both personally and professionally. That doesn’t mean you should be spending time searching for one, though. If you’re lucky enough to have someone in your shoes, plus 15 years, you might want to buy them a beer, and just … listen.

Pros

  • Mentors can help you blend career decisions with life decisions, and teach you skills that align with your immediate needs.
  • Your mentor can provide the type of one-on-one marketing training that few others receive, making the lessons you learn from them particularly unique assets in your marketing toolbox.
  • Outside perspectives are always valuable to your marketing skill set, but add relevant business experience and a willingness to make you a better marketer, and you’ve struck gold.

Cons

  • Mentorship can be a nebulous method of training. Make sure the relationship is transparent enough to set expectations.
  • Mentor relationships can take years to build, and often only become valuable long after an initial introduction.
  • Mentors are the epitome of quality over quantity. Choose them carefully.

Our pick

If your current boss is as much a leader as they are a manager, they’re a well-motivated candidate to be your marketing mentor. While they might not have an outside perspective, they likely have a just-as-valuable inside perspective (as in, inside your company and your job role).

Hidden gem

A little bit of curiosity and an appreciation for the mentor/mentee relationship is all you need to find out that elderly neighbor of yours happened to be a marketing executive at GE for 20 years, or your old biology professor moonlights as a content marketing ninja.

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Marketing Certifications

Summary

Marketing certifications typically come in the form of study material and an exam or performance-based practicum with set criteria for evaluating mastery. There are mixed feelings about certifications, particularly in marketing, as experts without formal certifications often have more experience and know-how than anyone. But if the marketing training you’re looking for has a technical component, such as learning a specific software, certifications are a great way to check that box.

Value

The value of a certification is determined by what the certified party does with it. In practice, though, certifications can be an easy filter for hiring managers to assess the skill sets of job candidates. If you're in between jobs, entering the digital marketing world, or honing your digital marketing skill set - consider making it official' to back up what you've learned.

Pros

  • Certifications represent a third-party’s stamp of approval on your mastery of a specific skill, increasing the value of your personal brand.
  • A detailed certification exam or practicum can help you clearly evaluate your abilities in a particular subject area.
  • A performance-based certification that includes a practicum, or some method for sharing results, can help you to clearly evaluate your abilities in a particular subject area.

Cons

  • You should value the skills the certification provides over the badge on your resume, as you’ll forever be expected to deliver on what that badge promises.
  • Certifications are made for the masses, so it’s up to you to take what’s relevant to your own work and apply it.
  • Certifications can be an expensive investment that only breaks even when you’re looking for your next marketing job.

Our pick

HubSpot Academy’s Inbound Certification course not only provides the fundamentals of important marketing skills such as search engine optimization, email and social media marketing, conversion rate optimization, and contextual persona-based marketing, it combines all of these tactics into one cohesive marketing strategy, making the process of going from learning to applying all the more natural.

Hidden gem

You might be surprised to learn that certifications outside of the marketing world are some of the most valuable to marketers. Scrum software development and project management certifications not only train you to turn massive, nebulous projects into organized, iterative, process-centric ones, but they’ll also teach you how modern development teams operate, a vital collaboration-enabling skill for any digital marketer.

Your pick


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Marketing Events

Summary

Marketing Events can bring all types of marketing training to life. There’s nothing like hearing an inspiring keynote directly from the mind of a marketing visionary. Breakout sessions are chock full of new ideas and perspectives that give you experiments and projects to try out. Networking is arguably the most valuable part of any marketing event, and there’s no better way to start fostering a relationship than with a real handshake.

Value

Sure, tickets and travel can add up quickly and good events are often over before you know it, but getting inspired, hearing from the experts, and forging new professional (and not so professional) relationships can make events worth every penny.

Pros

  • Get insights and strategies from the experts.
  • Explore new cities with like-minded professionals.
  • Start new relationships with marketing peers.

Cons

  • Travel expenses can add up quickly.
  • In-demand sessions require hustle to get a good seat.
  • It’s up to you to put what you learn to practice.

Our picks

INBOUND. Sure, we might be partial to this particularly HubSpotty get-together in Boston, but so were 14,000 other marketing and sales professionals from over 70 countries this past November.

Hidden gems

Your local meetup. If you live in or near a city, check your local meetup.com listings for marketing gatherings in your area.

Your pick


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Marketing Classes

Summary

Whether an expert is coming in to teach your team, or you’re attending an off-site training session, spending a few days (or weeks) 100% focused on improving your skills as a marketer can have career-trajectory-changing benefits. Classroom training courses typically dive deep into a particular marketing skill or framework, leaving you with expertise in that particular area of study. Sitting alongside marketing peers with varied perspectives provides an environment conducive to learning you can only get from in-person training.

Value

The value of classroom training rests on a few variables. The first: How well does the class content and environment work together to fit your needs? The second: Are the students able and willing to contribute to the course discussions in a meaningful way? Next, the training will need to have well-defined goals and a curriculum that leads to proven results. Lastly, the training course will need to inspire you to experiment with new concepts.

Pros

  • Focused learning on a particular subject matter.
  • Cross-pollination of ideas and perspectives among classmates.
  • Distraction-free setting that’s all about making you a better marketer.

Cons

  • Prices range, and you typically get what you pay for.
  • It’s up to you what you get out of it.
  • Travel expenses may apply.

Our pick

The HubSpot Education Partner Program was created to enable college and university educators with resources, community, and software to transform the way their students learn marketing and sales.  Not currently in school? Sign up for HubSpot Classroom Training.

Hidden gem

In just 3 months, Udacity’s Digital Marketing Nanodegree program gives you the skills you need to land a job as a digital marketer. This flexible and focused online learning experience combines Udacity’s groundbreaking virtual classroom with expertise from world-class partners (including HubSpot!), and provides real-world opportunities to run and analyze live campaigns.

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Marketing MBA

Summary

The Masters in Business Administration with a focus in marketing is a must-have for some (many of whom are hiring managers), but a mountain of academia with nebulous results for others (who will likely be hiring managers one day). Though the time investment compared with experiential learning is undoubtedly higher, the network and reputation of a higher education institution can put a lifelong stamp of approval on your resume.

Value

As the most expensive and extensive type of marketing training on our guide, you’ll get back what you put in, both in terms of money and blood, sweat, and tears. Don’t let expenses hold you back, as there are plenty of financial aid sources to investigate.

Pros

  • When you graduate, you will have a globally recognized master’s degree on your resume.
  • You’ll learn alongside professionals with their own interesting perspectives and experiences.
  • You could enjoy one of the many lesser-known benefits for attending B-school, such as finding a like-minded spouse, or gaining inspiration to switch industries/job functions altogether.

Cons

  • Cost of tuition tops 100k at top schools, with the opportunity cost of not working during that time.
  • Lack of disposable income might re-inspire your undergraduate appreciation for ramen noodles.
  • It’s a careful balance between socializing with your new business network, and acing your exams.

Our pick

MIT’s Sloan School of Management has launched as many careers into the business stratosphere as its AeroAstro counterpart graduate program has launched rockets into the actual stratosphere.

Hidden gem

Babson College offers an MBA program that gives students business expertise and acumen to hit the ground running in any industry, but it’s the business school’s entrepreneurial underpinnings that really light a fire under you.

Your pick