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Continuing the Lost Generation of Marketers

A Special Breed

Search marketers, like you and me, fancy ourselves as specialized marketers. A unique breed. A breed that’s primarily autodidactic, built on newborn technology and marketing principles. A breed of marketers that at once employs measurable metrics and, to quote Milton, trips the light fantastic around human search behaviors.

Search marketing itself seems capable of taking any degree and is able to incorporate that canon of knowledge into itself. Hell people, I’ve got a MA in Literature and Creative Writing. Nuff’ said, right? All search marketing asks is that you learn it and devote yourself to the knowledge of it.

It seems that universities still don’t quite understand that principle yet.

Universities don't get internet marketing


The Academic Injustice

The marketing students coming out of the universities today are singularly clueless about search marketing as a discipline, and even more clueless about the sub-disciplines that make up SEM. The marketing degrees awarded to kids today continue to hold the limelight on traditional marketing philosophies and strategies. Want an example? Harvard.

Harvard offers an Internet Marketing Strategies course but only as a graduate level course. Here’s more proof; try this query in Google: [ + undergraduate marketing degree + sem course]. Sure, there’s of plenty results, but there are only a handful of universities that actually provide any kind of search marketing, and mostly as an afterthought. One good ole’ “e-Marketing Fundamentals” course taught by some guy/gal who just surfs the web and steals strategies, ideas, philosophies from our blogs for their curriculum.


It’s About Time for Inclusion

I think it’s about time that someone taught these kids what search marketing is all about. How long do legitimate universities really believe they can keep ignoring this subject? Pretending and insisting the “internet fad“ will just go away? A course about “e-Marketing” isn’t going to cut it any longer. Whether they believe it or not, these universities are crippling their students when they finally make it into the “real world”. News flash Bub, traditional marketing tactics need search and online strategies more than ever.

Every traditional agency on the planet is hooking up with a web firm, hiring “search directors“, or building their own (don’t laugh) in-house teams to service the demand and need for search marketing strategies. To shove these kids out the door with absolutely no knowledge about the integration, and dare I say dominance of search in a marketing strategy, is not only damaging to their careers, but brazenly ignorant.


Go Ahead, Turn off the Lights

In fact, you should just keep ignoring search marketing. Because what I’m really asking for is more competition in the market place. Just turn off the lights and sit in a corner with your decrepit, old text books. Why students haven’t filled out their alumni surveys and taken a nice bite out the administration’s butt is beyond me? Believe me, this is a selfish act on my part.

I want the universities to teach these kids about search and online marketing because it’ll help to legitimize and establish what has recently been ousted from the “fringe“ of marketing tactics. It’s only been a couple of years since search has been recognized as an essential part of the overall marketing strategy and started eating up companies budgets. Prior to that, it was only something “forward-thinking” companies participated in (and doing it badly as well).


Creating the Found Search Marketing Generation

It’s not exactly as if this is a new marketing strategy. Search folks have been at this for close to 15 years; it’s safe to say it’s not a fad trend any longer. There are conferences, lots of conferences, devoted to search marketing. There are lots of bright, intelligent folks from every discipline of search marketing that could help you build a curriculum. Hire us. We’ll teach you everything you’d need to know.

Heck, some of us would probably even teach a few courses and take office hours. 🙂 I’m not saying that search marketing has to be a degree on its own, but it does have to be heavily integrated in to a marketing degree.

Why don't universities get it?

More than just a class about what e-Commerce is and some high-level theories. As institution preparing kids to contribute to society with a skill set, it’s damn near criminal that search marketing and online marketing tactics and theories are not included as a main staple in university marketing degree curriculum.

The 1980’s have come and gone, marketing is at a new level. Step out of your ivory towers and come play with us down here in the search marketing soup.



  1. Ross Monaghan November 4, 2010


    Great post mate! I could not agree more…it still baffles me that students cannot learn search marketing as part of their integrated marketing course. Obviously universities are blind to statistics that show online marketing budgets putting on average 40% of their budgets towards Search. Also, don’t they understand that if they actually increased their internal knowledge of Search Marketing as a discipline, that it probably would also increase effort spend on their own site which would increase brand awareness in the market place and lead to an increase in enrollment numbers? Isn’t that all they really care about anyways right?

  2. Jon Sujecki November 4, 2010

    In 2006 I took an internet marketing course at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater. It was part of their marketing program. It took a relatively broad approach to Internet Marketing, however we did get our hands dirty with PPC campaign construction, keyword tools, and analyzing site traffic data & such.

    Course Description if you’re interested: This class is designed to provide marketing majors and minors with basic knowledge of the Internet so that they can understand why this technology has and will continue to exert such an important impact on marketing practice. It will also consider such topics as web demographics, the online business model, web enhancement of products and services, personalization, traffic and brand building, net exchanges, and online community. In addition, the class will explore the impact that the Internet is having on such traditional areas of marketing concern as research, new product development, segmentation, personal selling, pricing and distribution.

  3. Jun Baranggan November 4, 2010

    All true Anthony. Same thing here in my country. Actually there’s only one university here that offers post-grad search marketing SHORT courses. I’m even tempted to take one of their courses just to see what they are teaching 😀

  4. Jim Ryan November 5, 2010

    20 years ago I was a radio station general manager and I taught an evening class at a major university in “Broadcast Sales”. Interesting that today, I would suspect that very few business or marketing students even consider a career in the traditional radio or newspaper industry. So, how can any marketing degree not include an Internet Marketing class where search marketing is 50% of the course work?

  5. Doc Sheldon November 5, 2010

    Great point, Tony! Seems a bit like offering a literature degree, but examining nothing after the 1600s.

    It’s much the same here, I’m afraid. The small amount of attention paid to on-line marketing is taught as part of a module of journalism, of all things!

  6. Tanya McTavish September 13, 2011

    What a great post! As a former academia professional-turned-SEO, I am quite aggrieved at the fact that educational institutions are lagging more and more behind real-world business.

    And the issue is not just with the marketing discipline. It would be a stretch to say that my (pricey) MBA has prepared me for the real job market. I do know lots of management theories though 😀

    Watch RSA youtube lectures on education, and the message is clear: going to college these days brings nothing other than debt and disillusion.

    Something’s got to change. The question is how do we make colleges more for-profit-like and efficient and at the same time make sure they don’t turn into greedy profit machines that career college corporations have become?

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