The field of Digital Marketing grows every day. It demands the constant development of its practitioners, challenging them to continually improve their tricks and techniques. They might ask themselves, "How can I boost my career? What new opportunities are there for me to pursue? How do I improve or acquire the right skills?"
Most of the time, we just learn as we go. It's true; nothing beats first-hand experience. But that doesn't invalidate the fact that there are resources and platforms out there that can significantly accelerate our progress. Ones that prove beneficial not just to ourselves as individuals, but also for others within our organizations.
And the best part? You can probably start out for free. To get you up to speed with the best of breed that's out there, this blog will break down what a select number of platforms have to offer in terms of learning paths (courses) and certification programs. Specifically, we'll talk about:
Oracle’s Marketing Cloud University has an extensive database of knowledge, which mostly consists of video training that include theoretical explanations and practical exercises.
The university pass is relatively expensive for an individual user, but you can also go for the “Explorer” training on both Eloqua and Responsys for free.
Eloqua also has the best multi-language support, as all the educational videos offer captions with automatic translations for a variety of different languages. And for the French speakers out there, you'll be happy to know that the certification exams are also available in French.
Cloud University is structured into learning paths that cover different Eloqua "roles" (i.e. the level of detail you'll be operating in across a specific area):
- Eloqua Master
- Eloqua Marketing Operations Master
- Eloqua Campaign Execution Master
- Eloqua Creative Master
- Eloqua Insight Master
- Become a Certified Eloqua Implementer
There are three levels of achievement in Oracle's Marketing Cloud: Explorer, Specialist, and Master.
Explorer is the first and most "basic" level of achievement available. It covers standard usage of the platform and is overall a great starting point for anybody who wants to start is starting to work with Eloqua.
This last path prepares you for, you guessed it, "specialist" certification. That means by that by the end of the path you'd have learned all there is to know about Eloqua implementation, although to a less advanced degree compared to the Master level. This is great for people who aren't the designated day-to-day Eloqua "super users", but who still need to know their way around the platform.
The so called "master" paths are designed for day-to-day practitioners. It will teach you both absolute fundamentals and advanced skills, covering creative assets, forms, email best practices, data management, and reporting. Master paths also lead up to a certification exam and, if passed, you get your own verified badge.
Marketo used to be rather scarce in terms of educational offerings about how to use the platform. It has only relatively recently introduced its own version of a training academy. Now they have a whole directory of topics you can study for free.
Many tend to think that Marketo's courses are interactive and engaging, on top of that the platform probably has the most user-friendly documentation library ("Marketo Docs") out there, not to mention an engaging community that regularly asks and answers questions all about Marketo (like its own sort of Reddit, pretty much).
The platform offers three very different product paths:
- Marketo Sales Insight Learning Path
- New to Bizible Learning Path
- New to Marketo Learning Path
Marketo Sales Insight Learning Path has two modules - one more tailored for sales teams and another for marketing teams. For the sales module, it focuses on how to use the Sales Insight tools in your CRM and ultimately focus on the leads that matter the most. For the marketing module, it focuses on how marketers can best enable their sales counterparts in their own CRM.
New to Marketo Learning Path is fully focused on helping you understand the platform, teaching you everything you need to know about navigation, sending emails, smart campaign and integration.
New to Bizible Learning Path is about how to correctly hook up your Marketo with Bizible; how to efficiently attribute revenue to all of your channels and campaigns; and how to use multi-touch attribution that lets you measure account-based performance.
Having been acquired by Adobe, Marketo is currently in process of aligning their certifications with Adobe's format and standards. This means that they're continually improving the preparation resources for certification, of which there are two types:
- MCA - Marketo Certified Associate
- MCE - Marketo Certified Expert
Since Pardot got acquired by Salesforce, learning Pardot has never been easier. Their now-parent company, Salesforce, is probably the king in terms of education. They're got their Trailhead platform to thank for that.
Trailhead has an extensive system of educational paths and modules that comprise just about everything Salesforce related. The whole education package is free; there’s nothing stopping you from building an industry-recognized Pardot profile for yourself. I particularly like the gamification of the process; you can collect points, gain ranks, and earn badges along the way. Think of it like a kind of "achievement hunt".
Individual Salesforce study modules are grouped into trails. Currently there are 223 different paths across all Salesforce products. For Pardot specifically, you have four different trails for both the lightning app and for SFDC classic:
- Increase Engagement and Nurture Leads with Pardot Lightning App
- Increase Engagement and Nurture Leads with Pardot for Salesforce Classic
- Automate Marketing to Business with Pardot Lightning App
- Automate Marketing to Business with Pardot for Salesforce Classic
Each module is wrapped up with a quick test to verify that you’ve studied the materials properly (materials usually come in the form of text or videos). You also get access to practical exercises and your very own test instance.
A particularly notable feature is the "trailmix". Trailmixes allow you to create "playlist" modules that you can discover and follow (e.g. a trail that helps you prepare for a certain certification). They're created by people from Salesforce or other users.
Just something to note though -- it's pretty clear that Salesforce prefers Marketing Cloud over Pardot; the Marketing Cloud app offers much better coverage compared to Pardot, both as a learning platform and as a source of relevant documentation.
There is wide variety offered certifications by Salesforce around their product. Six certifications are focused on marketing roles and two specifically on Pardot:
- Pardot Specialist
- Pardot Consultant
Hubspot has an advanced learning platform that is particularly suitable for SMEs (small- and medium-sized enterprises). They regularly churn out updated and useful content and materials, which you can easily access for free. You can even get free access to a training sandbox.
Hubspot obviously offers Hubspot-specific materials and courses, but they're also great at providing resources that cover best practices for inbound marketing, social media, video marketing, and even sales.
All the major Hubspot trails lead up to a certification exam. Exams are also free and unproctored, so you can easily make the most out of great content whilst also taking your time getting through them.
- Hubspot Marketing Software
- Content Marketing
- Inbound Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Growth-Drive Design
- Service Hub Software
- Hubspot CMS for Marketers
- Hubspot CMS for Developers
- Frictionless Sales
- Digital Advertising
- Social Media Marketing
- Contextual Marketing
- Hubspot Sales Software
- Sales Management Training - Strategies for Developing a Successful Modern Sales Team
- Hubspot Reporting
- Sales Enablement
- 2020 Hubspot Champion User
- Inbound Sales
WHERE TO START
Check out the Hubspot Academy here.
Looking for more?
If you're looking for something to supplement your marketing automation and CRM platforms, here's a bonus: Drift.
Drift is a relatively new platform, which has quickly proven itself to be a leader in conversational marketing and chatbot solutions, and are now branching out into the broader area of "revenue acceleration", such as through ABM solutions, AI technology, and integrations with different marketing automation platforms (MAPs) and CRMs.
Drift's backlog isn’t the most extensive (yet), but their learning hub is one of the most interactive and conversational (easy to digest) out there. Besides Drift platform training, they also cover conversational marketing, conversational sales, content marketing, leadership, and more.
The academy is structured into "classes", which usually consist of several explainer videos and downloadable assets. Drift has developed its own methodology for certain topics, and also regularly incorporate product demonstrations.
The platform also gives you access to a rich Drift resources center, including on-demand and live webinars, podcasts, and newsletters.
Currently, they offer three different certification paths:
- Conversation Marketing Certification
- Conversational Sales Certification
- The Playbook Basics Certification
Certification paths consist of several classes and quizzes, and are each finished off with an on-demand exam to test everything you've learned. They're all fairly 'easy' to pass, especially compared to other certification programs like those of Marketo, Eloqua, or Pardot. As you can see from certification names, Drift's tracks are focused more on theory and methodologies. You don't necessarily need to have Drift platform experience to acquire any of the Drift certificates - you'd simply need to follow their courses.
As you can see, there are many accessible and financially friendly options out there. We all know that expanding our skillsets and honing our expertise can significantly boost our careers, or maybe even help you to build a new one.
Just remember, sometimes it's more productive to ask for help - you don't always have to go at it alone. And besides all the available resources out there, there are plenty of experts and niche organizations (like us) that have spent years on end building up expertise and learning from their mistakes so people like you don't always have to -- so that you can scale your operations more quickly and effectively than we have.
Feel free to share your experience with us reach out if you're looking for help! Our lines are open.
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