Why Is There No Continuing Education For Marketers?

Insurance, legal, real estate, healthcare, engineering, finance, building and design – all of these industries issue licenses that require some form of continuing education.

Mandatory license renewal is a growing necessity, as new codes, amendments, and bylaws are passed every day, and the continuing education that’s required for license renewal has the potential to save lives, businesses, reputations, and money.

While a marketing misstep is hardly illegal, the pressure on today’s Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) is real, and their failure to meet ever-increasing ROI demands could cost them their jobs.

In fact, the IDC 2016 CMO FutureScape predicts that the CMO position turnover will continue at 25% per year (or higher) through 2018.

Inspired by the insightful discussion at our #MarketersBreakfast, we wrote a white paper called In the Future, Marketers Will Need a PhD, in which we hypothesize that a future marketing doctorate degree could become the norm, especially given the escalating (and sometimes unrealistic) expectations of marketers.

CMOs are now expected to keep up with their customers’ accelerated adoption of new technology, which makes older marketers suddenly irrelevant.

When companies recruit a new CEO or CFO, their preferred candidates are older and have many years of experience. By contrast, the average age of CMOs has sunk below the age of 45, favoring the young digital marketers who’ve grown up with technology.

If digital proficiency is what separates the good marketers from bad (and subsequently, the young from the old,) then why aren’t there more continuing education courses for marketers?

Sure, there are endless digital marketing conferences that any marketer can attend, but it’s one thing to sit in an audience and learn about a new digital tool, strategy, or concept, and it’s an entirely different thing to apply that knowledge to your own business.

Higher education institutions like Emory, Cornell, Duke, and even the for-profit colleges like University of Phoenix have begun to offer marketing certificates, but none require the continuing educational upkeep.

Do you think marketing should require licenses, certification, or continuing education? Why or why not?