The digital landscape is evolving at a rapid pace, and it’s essential for companies to harness wide-ranging technical expertise in order to stay ahead. Today’s marketers must be able to analyze massive amounts of data, IT workers must be able to design compelling mobile app experiences, and a “product” is no longer only a physical object but could be a website, a piece of content, or even a training curriculum.
General Assembly’s recommendation for keeping up is simple: Companies need to invest in learning. The Economist magazine recently issued a special report that highlighted the importance of “lifelong learning” as a habit that both skilled and unskilled workers must incorporate to keep pace with a rapidly developing economy. They profiled GA’s approach to tech education — including upskilling promising individuals and reskilling those with outdated competencies in data, web development, and design — as an effective way to ensure employees’ skills were kept up to date.
In this digital age, employee roles and responsibilities are changing as quickly as industries are evolving. Most jobs available today don’t have higher education programs, standardized exams, or textbooks that definitively tell people which skills they need in order to land them. Without this industry standardization, employers also struggle; they don’t have clear boxes to tick when evaluating job seeker’s qualifications. How can companies get a better sense of which skills job candidates and employees need? How can job seekers become more savvy about developing and communicating their qualifications?
At General Assembly, we work every day to answer these two questions. We provide job seekers with the competencies they need to be successful in today’s workforce. We also help employers understand how to evolve with their industry and connect with skills and talent that will enable them to grow. But in order to provide guidance to employers and job seekers most effectively, we must have a clear definition of each field ourselves. As the job landscape changes and General Assembly grows, we constantly refine our offerings and frameworks to better unite our product and message.
Let’s look at the field of digital marketing, which has seen exponential change in the last few years.
With digital media surpassing TV as the largest channel for ad spending in 2016, digital marketers are more important than ever. Through clever concepts, smart storytelling, and a keen understanding of audience behavior through analytics, these data-driven brand specialists move business forward through strategic email, paid search, social media, and beyond.
Recent data from General Assembly’s Credentials division — which helps companies determine the capabilities of team members and potential hires through assessments and more — suggests that digital marketing is an open playing field for anyone who can acquire the skills needed to succeed.
But once you have the skills, how do you land the gig?
All aboard! It’s never been a better time to embark on your digital marketing journey.
We all seek experience. Personally and professionally, experience captures what we’ve done and what we have the potential to do. In hiring, prior experience is used as a shortcut to qualify job-seekers for interviews, job offers, and higher compensation. This shortcut works well in steady fields where the practices of the industry rarely change. If someone has done it before, they can probably do it again.
But does this shortcut work in a field that is dramatically changing? Marketing is an occupation undergoing rapid change. Adults now spend six hours a day with digital media, compared to three hours a day in 2009. As consumers move social, professional, and personal interactions online, advertising has followed. 2016 was the first year that digital media overtook TV as the largest channel for ad spending. Successful digital campaigns now require proficiencies across a host of new platforms, and the question for veterans and aspiring marketers is: Does general experience in marketing still matter?
Since founding General Assembly in 2011, I’ve heard some incredible stories from our students and graduates. One of my favorites is about Jerome Hardaway. Jerome came to GA after five years in the United States Air Force. He dreamed of tackling persistent diversity gaps in the technology sector by breaking down barriers for other veterans and people of color.
Exceptional stories like Jerome’s embody GA’s mission of “empowering people to pursue the work they love.” It’s a mission that motivates our instructional designers, faculty, mentors, and career coaches. It also inspired the development of an open source reporting framework which defined GA’s approach to measuring student outcomes and now, our first report with verified student outcomes metrics.
Running a political campaign is a lot like running a business’s marketing department. To be successful, you have to determine a target audience, then find the best ways to reach them to sell your product.
Just over a month before the 2016 presidential election, three leaders from Hillary for America’s digital team visited General Assembly’s New York headquarters for a captivating panel conversation moderated by Fast Company writer Ruth Reader. They shared insight on the Hillary Clinton campaign’s digital marketing strategy, from experimenting with new platforms, to choosing data sources and breaking through the echo chamber.
Clinton’s team shared tips that digital marketers can apply to amplify brand messages, create stronger communities, and capitalize on new tools and trends. Get an exclusive look at how the campaign operates by watching the full discussion below.
Today, General Assembly is making a couple of big announcements.
First, we have closed on our company’s first acquisition — Canadian tech and design career accelerator, Bitmaker. We’ve known the folks at Bitmaker for a long time and I’ve been incredibly impressed with the way their CEO, Andrew Mawer, has built his Toronto-based organization. I’ve watched him lead his team and grow their community to become Canada’s largest career accelerator, and I’m so excited to have them be part of GA as we continue to pursue our long-term vision around education-to-employment.
Second, we are announcing the largest expansion of our campus footprint in GA’s history — we are increasing our number of campuses by over 60%. Our ongoing mission is to impact people’s careers and more broadly solve the talent needs of employers everywhere. We see big opportunities to leverage our burgeoning online communities and audiences with new campuses that are closer to the biggest pockets of potential students, just outside of traditional urban hotspots more commonly associated with the tech sector.
Last week, General Assembly packed the house — both at our New York headquarters and online — for a conversation with Hillary for America’s digital strategy team. The evening focused on considering the campaign as a startup, and the conversation highlighted digital marketing lessons that strategists and entrepreneurs can use to build a responsive team.
Steph Hannon, chief technology officer, Teddy Goff, chief digital strategist, and Sara Solow, domestic policy advisor, had a lively discussion with General Assembly CEO Jake Schwartz about the realities of building tech for a startup that, as Goff noted, is “designed to go out of business in 18 months.”
With all of this content floating around the Internet, digital marketing struggles to truly engage and convert an increasingly fragmented online audience. Reliance on manual processes to seek out and engage with relevant social media posts is not enough. Therefore, there is a growing demand for applications that allow digital marketers to automatically understand the content shared about their brand, pinpoint the users to target, and market to them in a personalized way.
The shift to data-driven marketing is changing the way we all do business. It is a powerful tool that enables us to cultivate more meaningful relationships with our customers – all of whom expect more value, more services, more engagement, and more conversations with all of our beauty brands. This is what makes our 7,000-person worldwide marketing team so invaluable to L’Oréal’s success.
We’ve always invested in the growth and development of our employees, and last year committed to building an online learning platform for our digital marketers through a customized education program with General Assembly. By arming our marketers with the most innovative tools and trainings, we are simultaneously upskilling our talent while transforming the company’s digital capabilities.