TPractical Marketing Topics That Universities Don’t Teach Students 1hanks to Kevin Nelson for this week's article on the controversial topic of whether a university marketing course adequately prepares marketing students for a career in the “real world”.

Author's Bio

Kevin Nelson is a professional educator and a private tutor with over 8 years of experience. He is also a content writer for various blogs about higher education, entertainment, social media & blogging.

During his off time, Kevin enjoys traveling and cooking.

Feel free to connect with him on Twitter, Linkedin & Google+.

Over to Kevin…..

Practical Marketing Topics For University Courses

We know you’re probably excited about joining a university to pursue your marketing course. So we hate to say this, but you will get a raw deal in the university.

Take it from people who have gone through the system! You might think this statement is outrageous, but we have proof to back it up.

The marketing discipline has transformed over the years, and this transformation is still happening up to date. There are a lot of inclusions that universities have failed to put into marketing courses. As such, students who undertake these courses get a rude awakening when they come to the real world.

In most cases, the skills required in the modern day marketplace are quite different from what they were taught in university. It doesn’t take long after graduating to realize that their marketing degrees are merely impressive looking papers.

It’s a tragedy that universities which are supposed to be the havens of knowledge are slacking in giving relevant knowledge for the modern workplace. Let’s consider some neglected topics that universities should teach marketing students. 

Digital Analytics

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Analyzing digital data forms part of the modern marketer’s work

 Data largely influence the work of modern-day marketers. Data is central to business decision making processes. It plays a crucial role such that everyone that is part of the business decision making process ought to have a good grounding in data analytics.

What does data analytics entail?

  • Collection of data from available sources.
  • Breaking down such data into understandable parts.
  • Processing the data to obtain meaningful inferences.
  • Analyzing the data to make hypothesis and assertions.
  • Assessment of results.
  • Monitoring and evaluation.

Marketers use digital analytics to inform decisions on marketing campaigns. Tools such as Google Analytics are employed to enhance the process. Social media sites such as Facebook also have digital analytical tools that can be of great utility to marketers. However, most marketing graduates are unable to use these analytical tools merely because they have no grounding in digital analytics.

Mobile Phone Marketing

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Everyone seems to be on their phone today

When the digital wave hit the world, almost everyone acquired a smartphone.

These phones came so many features and utility that people can’t seem to get enough of them. Everyone seems to be stuck on their mobile phone – eyes glued to their screens.

This has led to the start of the end of physical interactions. However, it has also opened an opportunity for sharp marketers. Because most people are glued to their phones, some inbound marketing can be done to mobile users. For example, web pages can be optimized for mobile users so that they can receive marketing content.

Also, by studying the behavior of mobile users, marketing could be done to suit the behavior. But do universities teach this form of marketing?

Content Marketing

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Content is king

Marketing in the contemporary world is purely content-based! You can take that to the bank. The types of content that dominate modern day marketing include:

  • Text
  • Visual content (images, graphics, videos, infographics, etc.)

Recent statistics on marketing even report that more than 70% of companies have adopted content marketing in their marketing departments as a means of increasing the quality and quantity of leads.

It defies logic why universities fail to impart content marketing skills, yet, they are the face of modern-day marketing.

Instead, they just focus on the traditional aspects such as good cause and effect topics, which is not bad, but they need to go with the times. Well, if you are a smart marketer who never got this training, you should look for institutions that provide it. You can even master the concepts from online sources.

Community Building

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Communities are built by the inherent need to connect

The business of the 21st century centers on building relationships. In the ever competitive market, a business can only thrive if it forges relationships and builds business communities.

The premise of building relationships is the inherent need of people to connect with other people. The social media craze has also prompted people and business to show their presence online or else suffer social exclusion. Businesses have now placed more focus on building large communities and belonging to large communities as a means of marketing. Thus, marketers ought to have basic community building and development skills for them to achieve this. Universities have however neglected community building as a compulsory topic for marketing students.

Email Marketing

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Email marketing is a force to reckon with

Emails have been utilized for more than 20 years in business communications. Over the years, they have gained prominence and have been incorporated in business online marketing. 82% of B2b companies use email marketing technology. Even the oldest marketer can attest that he/she has used an email somehow in marketing. When leads are generated through say, blog posts or web content, they are nurtured and converted into actual customers through email marketing.

Email marketing is such a crucial form of marketing that universities should teach marketing students. Marketing students could learn a lot of vital marketing concepts that are directly related to the market needs. The important email marketing elements include:

  • Crafting compelling headlines.
  • Writing Cold Emails.
  • Initiating email campaigns.
  • How to create email lists.
  • Coming up with short and targeted emails for prospecting.
  • Use of social proof, etc. 

Social Media Marketing

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Social media is a haven for marketers

How many of you were taught how to use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or YouTube for marketing, in university? We are sure none of you got any instruction about these social media platforms. In fact, no university don would volunteer to teach such a class – at least if their inflated egos are to go by.

Interactions are increasingly being made on social networks, and this has prompted businesses to shift their marketing focus on social networks. About 22% of the world’s population is on Facebook. Presently, we have many businesses creating Facebook pages, Twitter handles and also YouTube channels to market their agenda. Social media has also provided an excellent avenue for direct customer engagement for most companies. They connect with their customers and solve their issues on social media.

Commerce has even shifted to the social front; whereby through groups and pages, business market their products and services to their niche markets.

In essence, social media marketing is a skill that modern-day marketers should possess. Sadly, universities have neglected it, and most marketing graduates end up getting trained on such ideals outside the university.

Teamwork and Being Team PlayersPractical Marketing Topics That Universities Don’t Teach Students 8

Teamwork is an essential marketing skill

You may have scored well in class and graduated with a first class honors degree in marketing. You may probably have gone the extra mile and learned a few of the neglected marketing topics that have been mentioned above. However, one thing that university did not teach you about marketing is teamwork and being able to work in a team.

Marketing takes the effort of a team. In fact, most marketing departments refer to themselves as themselves as marketing teams. The marketing manager acts as the team leader or captain. The captain has to be well versed on how to lead a team. He/she also has to know how to be a follower. The rest of the members of the department are referred to as players. The captain too has to know how to be a player for him/her to lead effectively. There is high interdependence amongst the team players such that one cannot function on their own. This interdependence makes tasks be done swiftly, efficiently, and objectively in order for the overall organizational objectives to be met.

Universities specialize in teaching the four P’s of marketing, that is, products, price, promotion, and place. They fail to teach how these four P’s apply and are met through the effort of marketing teams. You’d better start teaching yourself how to work in a team if you intend to remain relevant in the modern day marketing departments.


This article has outlined some topics that represent what universities are failing to teach marketing students. You’d better arrange your affairs well so that you acquire knowledge about these topics if you want to improve your employability and accelerate your marketing career.


Now I didn't study marketing at university, so I can't comment as to whether these topics are taught or not – although I will say that if they're not, they should be.

So – marketing students, or anyone employing a marketing student: please feel free to add your own experiences of the skills that marketing students possess or lack.