It is something to be shameful about that colleges and universities in Nigeria still haven’t deemed it fit to teach digital marketing or digital communications to their students. While some Nigerian universities offer marketing as a course, they stick to the conventional traditional marketing methods which is phasing out faster than the speed of light.
In the nearest future, businesses will no longer see the need for traditional marketing as internet marketing is becoming more popular and yielding better results since there are over 4. 4 billion people who use one electronic device or the other to access the internet, and possibly make a purchasing decision. What then becomes of our Nigerian marketing graduates when the traditional method is totally phased out? How would they be able to market products and services to their prospective customers offline and online?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying traditional marketing should no longer be taught in schools, but I’m saying it should be taught alongside digital marketing as this would give the students higher employment opportunities upon graduation, and also add a competitive edge when compared to their counterparts from other countries.
Out of curiosity, I searched for possible reasons why digital marketing is not being taught in Nigerian colleges and universities and came across the result of a research carried out by Stuart Draper, the author of Internet Marketing Essentials. According to him, most colleges don't teach internet marketing because:
• Most traditional marketing professors have no formal education in internet marketing.
• Self-taught internet marketing education is time consuming, expensive, and difficult to do if you don't have access to the right tools and a large budget.
• Many professors fear that students will know as much or more about the internet than they do.
• Internet marketing textbooks and other hardcopy materials are likely to be outdated as soon as they are published. If any educational pursuit is still in the Wild West days--this is it.
• Professors often fear they will be teaching incorrect or fast-expiring principles. Some even think social media is a fad that will soon go away.
• Adding and changing courses in the catalog requires considerable discussion and sign-off by school administration.
While these might be valid points, colleges and universities in Nigeria still have to figure out a way to introduce digital marketing to its students because the internet has become a force of incredible power, change, and a platform for business.
If the job of our education system is to prepare students to succeed in the “real world” or life after school, then teaching them about the internet, social media management and digital marketing as a whole should be a prerequisite, more so these are practicable techniques. Most people go on social media without knowing how much potential lies in there. If only they know!
If truly, our schools train the next generation leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs, wouldn’t it be shameful that after spending all those years in school, students can’t really take full advantage of the opportunities that lie in the digital world, but instead have to start learning from the scratch? Let us not hand over a world-changing technology to a new generation without educating them on how to use it.
Very few schools are already introducing digital marketing to their curriculum but the majority still turns a blind eye to it. Digital marketing prepares the students for employment as it is one of the most sought after skills by employers. It will also increase the number of entrepreneurs in the society as well as increase the chances of new and existing businesses excelling in Nigeria through the use of digital marketing strategies, whilst also reducing the huge problems caused by unemployment.
A quick search on “digital marketing agency Lagos” on a search engine or on a top job board shows few hundreds of search results. This shows that digital marketing skills are increasingly being sought after by employers.
Imagine how many of the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page and Sergey Brin we would have if colleges and universities decide to include digital marketing in their curriculum. It is also worth mentioning other notable influencers who have contributed immensely to the digital marketing world:
• Rand Fishkin (“Wizard of Moz”)
• John Rampton (Founder of due. com)
• Neil Patel (Founder of Crazy Egg, Quick Sprout and KISSMetrics and
• Larry Kim (Founder of WordStream)
There is surely a chance for a Nigerian graduate to make the list, this can be easily achieved when we incorporate ‘digital marketing’ to our curriculum in Nigerian colleges and universities. The world is fast developing into a technology hub and we need to teach our students how to reach this ever growing audience. How else do we achieve that goal than to introduce them to the world of digital marketing at an early stage through our schools and universities?