Modern Online Marketing Education: 18 Courses and Resources

graduation

There are many paths to becoming a great marketer.

Even more so, there are tons of different roles that marketers excel in.

There’s a great degree of flexibility.

Take your education as an example. Did you go to school to get a marketing or business degree?

There’s a good chance you didn’t, but you still enjoy marketing, and it plays a part in your business or job.

And while you can pick up a ton of skills on the go, you might be missing a few fundamentals.

The best solution for this is to take courses online.

I’m not talking about sketchy courses offered by schools you’ve never heard of. I’m talking about courses from schools such as Harvard, MIT, Cornell, and more.

Most of these courses are available free.

Want to learn modern online marketing? Then don’t miss to check out these 18 courses and resources.

That’s why I’ve put together a list of 18 courses and resources that you can find online.

Pick the ones that interest you, and do them in your spare time.

Note that this list doesn’t exactly mirror a complete marketing degree, but it does contain most of its components. 

Core Courses

The courses in this section should be taken by every marketer. If you haven’t taken any of these or similar courses in the past, I recommend adding them to your list of courses to take.

1. Introduction to Marketing (University of British Columbia): Everyone needs to start somewhere, and this is the best place for marketers.

This is a very introductory course that will give you a general overview of marketing. It’s not very difficult, but it will make the gaps in your marketing knowledge obvious.

If you have a tough time clearly defining concepts such as market research and brand strategy, you should start here.

2. Networks, Crowds and Markets (Cornell): This course, on the other hand, is fairly advanced.

It’s a great course if you’re an analytics junkie like me. The main concepts covered in the course are:

  • applying game theory to various parts of marketing
  • understanding how marketing connects to various aspects of life (social, economic, technological)
  • exploring how ideas spread

It mainly focuses on these concepts in the context of the Internet, which is ideal for most modern marketers.

3. Digital Branding and Engagement (Curtin University): This course is essentially digital branding 101.

You’ll look at the basics of getting positive attention for your brand through paid, owned, and earned media.

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This course focuses on how a brand can use these different types of media to increase brand presence and user engagement.

Essentially, it provides a high-level look at ways of incorporating many of the tactics you read about on Quick Sprout and other marketing blogs into your marketing.

4. Principles of Macroeconomics (MIT): Economics is a fundamental subject that all marketers should have at least a basic understanding of.

This course is an introductory course to macroeconomics.

Macroeconomics is a study of economics on a national basis. It’s good to understand how your industry as a whole responds to changes in:

  • output
  • employment and unemployment
  • interest rates
  • inflation
  • and more.

Since MIT is a US school, most of the examples are within the context of the US economy, but the lessons can be applied to any country.

5. Principles of Microeconomics (MIT): This is the other side of economics, which is more interesting to most marketers.

Microeconomics looks at economics on a much smaller scale: individuals, companies, and groups.

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This is another introductory course, where you’ll learn fundamental concepts such as supply and demand, types of competition, and welfare economics.

While a lot of this will seem simple, it will be useful in all your marketing roles to some degree.

6. Introduction to Financial Accounting (University of Pennsylvania): One of the most important things to know, as I keep telling you, is what your return from your marketing work is.

Whether you’re running your own business or working for someone else as a marketer, it’s crucial for you to have this ability. Being able to present hard numbers behind your performance to your boss is a great way to stand out.

This is a very short course—only 4 weeks.

It’s not going to make you a financial wizard, but it will teach you how to interpret three main aspects of financial accounting:

  1. income statements
  2. balance sheets
  3. cash flow statements

By the end of the course, you will have a higher level of financial literacy and a better understanding of your business’s financial needs.

Specializations/Electives

As I pointed out previously, there are tons of roles marketers might find themselves in.

Depending on your job or your interests, some of these courses will appeal to you.

I included them into this section because you could be a very good marketer without taking any of them. However, they may be worth taking as they are logical extensions and specializations of marketing.

7. Entrepreneurship 101: Who is your customer? (MIT): A high proportion of marketers are interested in starting their own businesses. Not all, but many.

You can be a fantastic marketer without being an entrepreneur, but you can also apply your marketing knowledge and skills to become a successful entrepreneur. Either path is fine, but don’t be afraid to try both.

Entrepreneurship is a tough thing to teach in a course, but I like the approach of this MIT course.

Instead of standard lectures, each class consists of a detailed case study of actual entrepreneurs across different industries.

During these classes, you will learn the skills you need in order to understand your customers better, which is a fundamental ability for an entrepreneur.

8. Entrepreneurship 102: What can you do for your customer? (MIT): You will have the same instructors as in the course above as this course will pick up where the previous left off.

Instead of focusing on figuring out who your customer is and why they buy products, this course focuses on figuring out what value you can provide to your customer.

If you’re experienced in content marketing, you’ll see a lot of parallels. Just as good content must provide value to readers, products must provide value to customers.

9. Startup Success: How to Launch a Technology Company in 6 Steps (MIT): There are many types of entrepreneurs, but most commonly, people want to found their own startups.

The source of the desire is obvious: it’s a chance to have full control of a business where you can apply all your marketing and business knowledge.

But you need more than marketing knowledge to launch a startup.

This course will help you fill in the gaps in your startup knowledge (kind of the reverse purpose of this whole list).

This is another introductory course, but it will answer all the basic questions you might have. Once you finish the course, you’ll know how to:

  • generate startup ideas
  • develop prototypes and improve them
  • recruit a team to help you
  • raise funds (if needed)
  • grow your business (where marketers excel)

Note that this course focuses on technology startups, but most lessons will apply to other types of startups as well.

10. Digital marketing specialization (University of Illinois – Paid courses): This isn’t actually a single course; it’s a series of five.

I included this for anyone who already has a good foundation in marketing but needs to update or extend their skillset.

These courses are all connected to each other and are focused solely on digital marketing. That includes things such as:

  • digital marketing analytics
  • SEO
  • social media marketing

A note: you’ll have to pay to take these courses. However, they only cost about $100 each, which is incredibly cheap compared to an actual university course.

11. Social media marketing specialization (NorthWestern University – Paid courses): This is also a series of five courses.

The main difference is that this is even more specialized, focusing solely on social media marketing.

The first few courses are really basic, so if you have any experience with social media marketing, you can probably skip them without falling behind.

This course is great if you work (or plan to) in a niche dominated by social media marketing.

If social media is going to play a big role in your success, you want to learn as much as you can about marketing effectively on it.

12. Introduction to Project Management (University of Adelaide): If you have aspirations to run your own business or be promoted to a managerial position, this is a useful business course to take.

It’s exactly what it sounds like: an introduction to all the basic project management skills you’ll need.

It’s more of an abstract course because projects can be very different from each other, but the basic fundamentals will still be useful if you’re managing a project and a team.

13. Quick Sprout University for Internet Marketing: This is the first of a few items on this list that is not from an actual university.

I created this a few years ago, and it is now available free.

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It covers all the major areas in Internet marketing:

  • SEO
    • Link building
  • Content marketing
  • Social marketing
  • Paid advertising
  • Email marketing

…and a few more niche topics.

The whole course consists of many short videos that address a particular skill, tactic, or strategy you should know.

Even better, you can choose your skill level by using the menu on the left. Most topics are covered from the beginner level to advanced.

In my opinion, this rivals any course on this list in terms of completeness and value. Think of it as an “introduction to Internet marketing.”

It’s a good complement to the earlier mentioned digital marketing course as it is more specific and teaches you things you can apply right away.

Extras

This final group of courses will teach you skills that are, although not crucial, useful to you as a marketer.

If you want to have advanced or unique skills that other marketers can’t match, take these courses.

14. Introduction to Computer Science (Harvard): In a post on the most important skills for a content marketer, I mentioned that being able to code is a big plus.

Honestly, this single course will make a huge difference.

It’s not as hard as it seems to learn how to program on a basic level. This will allow you to automate repetitive marketing tasks, analyze large data sets, and do things like scrape websites.

I understand that the concept of programming can seem overwhelming, but this course is of reasonable difficulty and will take you step by step over all the hurdles you need to overcome.

If you have any interest in programming, you’ll enjoy it.

15. Data Analysis for Your Business (TU Delft): Data should be the core of marketing in most situations.

You need to understand how to sort and analyze data so that you can use it to make decisions that grow your business.

This course in particular focuses mainly on using advanced techniques in Excel (spreadsheets).

If you’re already fairly advanced with Excel, you can skip this course. However, if you’re looking to learn a few new tricks, it may still be worth your time.

16. Data Science and Analytics in Context (Columbia University): This is another option for learning data analysis.

It focuses on more advanced concepts such as natural language processing (NLP), machine learning, and approaching data with a statistical mindset (important).

It’s less practical than the course right before it, but if you’re interested in working with large quantities of data, it’s a great place to start.

17. HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing Course & Certification: This also isn’t a university course, but it’s extremely well-established nonetheless.

HubSpot is famous for its contribution to inbound marketing, and this course covers a lot of digital marketing topics in detail (although still focusing on the basics).

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I recommend this mainly to marketers who don’t have much experience with digital or content marketing. It’s a great introduction to inbound marketing.

18. PPC University: Finally, this is another free resource and probably the best set of courses you’ll find on paid advertising (for a reasonable price at least).

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It covers just about everything you need to know to get a good start in paid advertising, which all marketers should have at least a basic understanding of.

Conclusion

We’re living in an amazing age when courses from the top universities in the world are at your fingertips.

Even if you weren’t fortunate enough to get a formal education in marketing, you can still learn everything you need to know about the subject.

Take as many of the courses on this list as you’d like if you feel they will teach you knowledge and skills that fill in your gaps as a marketer.

If you’ve taken any other marketing courses online that I haven’t included, let me know what your experience was with them in the comments below.

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Comments

  1. Enrollment is closed for Entrepreneurship 101 & 102.

  2. It’s a dream to read in those big university, however we have your quick sprout university.
    All the 18 courses give idea which one is fit for us. If i get chance to read in those big uni, I will go and keep your guide in my mind.

  3. Nice list, didnt know such sources existed. I will took a look.
    Thanks Neil.

  4. Vasilis Panagopoulos :

    Hello Neil,

    This is a great resource, as always, but I have a critical question for you, if, of course, you feel like sharing your thoughts…

    If you had to peek 3 courses to begin with, which ones would them be?

    Thanks for posting my comment!

  5. Wow!! I didn’t know that Universities are officially teaching these courses now. This is great news and digital marketing is a must thing in today’s world, considering more and more business are coming that are totally internet and website based!

    • It’s awesome isn’t it? These are colleges I use to wish I could attend, so I would imagine it would be a pretty exciting opportunity for the ones who take it.

      • Anil Agarwal :

        Great compilation Neil.

        I absolutely love reading more online marketing studies be it case studies, guides or anything that enlightens me.

        And you should have included your own marketing sources as well. Any beginner can a lot of marketing stuff by reading your content.

        They are all informative, detailed and anyone can implement right away.

        Thanks again for spending time on compiling the list.

        • Glad this was helpful Anil. If you take any of the courses, please let me know how its working out for you.

  6. that’s cool list Neil.
    I’ve also used main stream courses and word stream. both free and fun.
    Social media marketing too by social media examiner is great one.
    thanks.

  7. This is a great post, Neil. I know I need to get a better marketing foundation, but never thought to search for an online college course. This is going to be great! Thanks for always adding value.

  8. Great post with great courses big thanks From Dubai

  9. Hi Neil,

    Overwhelmed with the list of knowledge these universities provide (Whether Free/Paid). Confused which one start with. I have just started blogging. Which course do you recommend for me.

  10. Neil,

    Thanks for sharing this great list. I am starting with the 1st course right now.

    Keep kicking ass!

    -Damian

    • Awesome! Keep me posted on how it works out for you. Love to hear about what you learn and your biggest take aways.

      • Quick Update:

        I finished the 1st Course: Introduction To Marketing. Learned some pretty cool stuff like Dynamic Pricing, SWOT analysis or that people buy products because they like to associate themselves with the brand (example: buying a BMW).

        Yet, what seemed strange to me is that the course lasted MUCH LESS than it should.

        On the courses’s page, it’s written that the course is 6 weeks and requires a time effort of 3-4 hours a week.

        However, I finished it in a couple days by investing only 45″ a day. Overall, the length of the video wasn’t even 4 hours in total, when I would expect it to be 4x.

        I enrolled in another course about People Management and it’s even smaller (with videos of 1 min and 23 seconds).

        Do I miss anything here Neil? Or is that normal?

  11. Hey Neil! Great post. Keep creating more like this. This type of content is incredible for showing young entrepreneurs that you don’t have to go to a school and rack up a bunch of debt to get a world class education!

    • I think the world is changing a lot and and our education system is about to experience a major shift.

  12. Great courses ,I always appreciate to learn new things about online marketing from quick sprout .thank you once again for this courses.

    • With the landscape that’s constantly changing and evolving, it’s smart to continuously sharpening your skills

  13. Hi Neil,

    I am interested did u watch some of this courses?

    There is one big difference between quicksprout, hubspot courses and university courses:

    -Of 100 % information on qsprout and hspot 80 is useful (reverse Parreto)

    -Of 100 % information on university courses just 20 is useful (normal Parreto)

  14. Peter Engelhardt :

    Great informative post Neil – as a digital designer and marketer/strategist – I see one important element missing from all these courses – strategic thinking. It’s all great (in fact it’s mandatory today) to learn about SEO, keywords, Facebook ads and the myriad of tactics covered in all of these courses, but often a company’s problem is their competitive positioning. If a company is not clear on their point of difference, and the core foundational issues that make up their brand strategy, then time and money tipped into online marketing is not as effective as it could be. Recently I have migrated my strategic branding workshops online – we took a LMC base and had a developer add a lot of extra functionality – I think it’s a first and I would love your opinion. http://creativebrew.com.au/ecourses-and-workshops/build-a-better-brand/

    • That’s a good point Peter, strategic thinking is probably the most critical factor in putting this all together. Love your site design, it feels like an enjoyable experience.

  15. I went ahead and signed up for the first one. It is nice that there is also the certificate option. Working in a University, this is really valuable not only for my resume but also for my colleagues. I’ll be sure to share these with them.

  16. Hi,
    Love your posts. Am your biggest fan and loyal follower. To add to your post I would suggest you include Seth Godin’s altMBA Course or workshop which is also a wonderful program, I guess.

    What do you think.

  17. These are really valuable. I even bookmarked this. I think that this resource is very useful not only for employees who want to improve their CVs but also for people who want to learn about Internet marketing in general.

  18. Hello,
    I interested in pursuing Digital Marketing Course in Mumbai,India will you suggest me the best one

  19. This is a great list, Neil. You covered almost all key courses one can do to get skilled in online marketing. I came to know a few in this post that I didn’t know earlier. Thanks for curating and sharing. I’d also add guides available on QuickSprout and Kissmetric as additional reading for those who wish to go beyond! They help me sharpen my saw! 🙂

    • I’m happy this was helpful for you Jabal 🙂

      Keep me posted on your progress and let me know if there’s anything I can help with.

  20. I’ve been through most of your free guides, I truly got an education and an insight into marketing that I will always be grateful to you for 🙂

  21. An excellent resource that you provided us.I’m very grateful to learn from you.It’s a good way of learning more!I eager to learn more.Thanks for this awesome post.

  22. Hello Neil,

    I came across your website and you are so amazing. I will start to learn from you from this week.

    Thank you for your work!

    Warmly,
    Roc

    • Great to hear! If you get stuck or have any questions about digital marketing, please don’t hesitate to ask.

  23. Wow, GREAT list of courses. I can’t wait to get into as many as possible and learn new stuff. I spent months reading and taking courses and it’s having a great impact on how I do business.

  24. Michael M. Rumpf :

    This is such an intersting list, great Ressource. Thanks, Neil & Team ?

    Here in Berlin there is another online university, many lectors from universities but privately driven, offering courses in German AND English.
    They have marketing courses, business courses and courses in design and design thinking, as I remember.
    URL: https://iversity.org/

    A much broader spectrum, strictly academic origin, is offered, mostly in German language, on https://www.lecturio.de
    Warmly, Michael

    • Thanks for the suggestion Michael. It’s great to see strategies from the digital world being taught in schools.

  25. Hi Neil,

    I think this post is a great source for online marketing beginners. I remember that as a beginner marketer I had a hard time to distinguish between credible courses to low quality courses.

    The fact is that being an online marketer is a journey, exploration that you do by yourself. You can’t really learn SEO as a degree.

    It would be great if you’ll publish more posts like this that will give people guidance as for the question – where should they start from.

    Thanks!

    • I think you’re right, most people have the most difficulty with where to start, or how. The whole things cannot be taught in school, not yet at least, but it’s great that it’s getting traction.

  26. Hey Nile,
    Is there any course in India related to digital marketing?

  27. Running a financial software business necessarily involves a lot of marketing. I’m very grateful to all the information that you provide.

    • You’re welcome LJ! Hopefully this is helpful, I know how challenging a financial software business can be

  28. Thanks for sharing This is a great post, Neil. I know I need to get a better marketing foundation, but never thought to search for an online college course

  29. Wow, everything can be learned online

  30. silverbulliondealerss :

    Hi Neil,

    I think this post is a great source for online marketing beginners. I remember that as a beginner marketer I had a hard time to distinguish between credible courses to low quality courses.

    • I totally understand and what you’re saying is one of the reasons why I decided to put this post together.

  31. Shayan Tawabi :

    This course “Introduction to Marketing (University of British Columbia)” was quite effective for me! I kinda learned Marketing from the end to beginning.

    Thanks for this useful courses Neil!

    • Oh that’s great, I’m glad you shared that Shayan. If you have any specific things you learned that are working for you and want to share, leave another comment!

  32. Mohammed Asif Iqbal :

    Hello Neil 🙂

    You are acting like my mentor 🙂 .. Amazing source of Information, that definitely going to help me.

    Thank you so much 🙂 Professor

    • I’m happy I could help Mohammed 🙂

      If you get stuck or have any questions, feel free to reach out.

  33. this is such a great resource thank you thank you! do you recommend getting a Bachelors degree in Business or Marketing too? I have a BA but did not specialize in communications, nor marketing nor business but those are my current passions now. Or do you recommend just a certification program like Hubspot or just get the Google certification? thanks

  34. Neil, where did you get the digital marketing trifecta infographic?
    Did you make it yourself? its a heap easier to understand what you are trying to say when you display it like that.

    • I agree with you Richard, visuals can take complicated topics and make them so much more simple and easy to understand.

  35. Sikhar Dhawan :

    Hi Neil,
    Great list man, I am very much interested to pursue the “Entrepreneurship 101” course. I want to learn more about Enterpreneurship with details.

    Thank You!

  36. Krify Dot Co :

    Thanks for share ! nice article…i too supposed to say “fact is that being an online marketer is a journey, exploration that you do by yourself. You can’t really learn SEO as a degree.”

  37. Thank you for such a useful resource! I am currently studying alongside working in Marketing and think continued education is so important, and with marketing you are never finished learning!

  38. Simon Dunant :

    And for all of the marketers that want to take advantage of the opportunity podcasting offers brands, you can learn the art of professional podcasting hat http://podcastpowerblueprint.com

  39. Neil,

    As always, you delivered great content and pointed out some very useful resources. You are a blessing to the business world. Keep the great content flowing and I look forward to being kept abreast by your keen insight and resourcefulness. Thanks.

    • I’m glad you enjoy Bobby, and the pleasure is all mine. If you get stuck or have any questions about anything you read, please don’t hesitate to ask.

  40. Prosper @ Journey to Real Life :

    Great compilation of online marketing courses. I just wonder, did you take all of these courses yourself?

  41. Sue J. Maselli :

    Nice and very helpful post..

    Thanks Neil for sharing this post

  42. Hi, Neil,

    Thanks for all this great info.I am a great fan of yours.You have achieved so much at such a tender age.
    i want to take the entire 5-course, business foundations specialisation, by university of pennsylvania, if its is free.if free, how can i access it.as you know, intro to financial accounting, is one of it.

    thanks & regards,

    shivraj.k

  43. Hi, Neil,

    hav u stopped replying to comments.im assuming u r very busy.im eagerly waiting for your response to my comments posted a day or two earlier.

    thanks & regards,

    shivraj.K

  44. Hi, Neil,

    can’t help it.i hav to send a message in order to read ur earlier responses.sorry.

  45. Hi,Neil, thanks for the reply:

    my earlier message:

    i want to take the entire 5-course, business foundations specialisation, by university of pennsylvania(wharton) , if its is free.if free, how can i access it.as you know, intro to financial accounting, is one of it.

    thanks & regards,

    shivraj.k

    • I’m not sure if it’s still available, but I would just email their support to see when the next class will be

  46. Thanks, Neil.

  47. Aasiyah Maasdorp :

    What a really nice post Neil! What and awesome combination of online marketing courses. Thank you so much for sharing.

  48. This is a great post, Neil. I know I need to get a better marketing foundation, but never thought to search for an online college course. This is going to be great! Thanks for always adding value.

  49. I really liked this list Neil, but it’s a little out of date. Will there be a 2017 update?

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