7 inexpensive Martech professional development ideas

By Steve Petersen

Marketing and technology are two fields that constantly change, and the intersection of the two fields – martech – certainly reflects that. That’s why as martech professionals, we need to develop our skills and knowledge constantly. Here are some reasonable and cost-effective opportunities that require varying levels of commitment.

1) Company-provided training

Companies have a strong motivation to develop their employees. They tend to offer training applicable across disciplines for skills like coaching, teamwork, emotional intelligence, ethical behavior and prioritization, in addition to helping onboard new hires and promoting the established organizational culture. Most importantly, they typically don’t cost participants personal money and can help them network within the organization.

2) Industry and discipline outlets

Understanding your company’s products is crucial no matter how technical or in the weeds a martech practitioner is. Plenty of industry-specific outlets provide up-to-date news about trends and forces affecting industries. They typically have websites, newsletters, podcasts and webinars.  Following such outlets is helpful for professional development. They can help you understand the needs and motivations of customers and users to inform strategies and tactical decisions.

3) Vendor offerings

Many tech vendors offer product training and certifications – especially big players like Salesforce and Adobe. Common offerings include webinars, white papers, user communities and user conferences. Of course, this is to their advantage in developing a strong and devoted user base.  In many cases, such offerings are free or low cost, which makes it easy to justify effort and time. It is important to note that many of these offerings are product-specific, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have broader value. 

4) Professional groups/communities

Like other professions, many martech-related groups and communities aim to provide a venue for members to assist and support each other.  These groups may have LinkedIn groups, Slack workspaces or listservs. They also require participation and volunteer leaders, so help out and simultaneously strengthen your network. 

5) Online courses

On-demand training providers, like Coursera, LinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight, offer access to most content for free. In some cases, libraries offer access to their patrons at no additional charge. While on-demand courses lack real-time interaction between instructors and fellow participants, they are very convenient. Many also have hands-on projects and offer legitimacy to course completion through quizzes and exams.

6) Mentor relationships

Don’t forget mentor relationships. While these typically don’t require much financially, they certainly require mutual commitment of time and planning between mentor and mentee. Both parties in a mentor relationship must contribute to making it worthwhile for both people. 

7) You

Yes, you are another great professional development resource for others. There are many ways requiring a wide range of commitment that you can help others grow professionally. Present at an event or conference. Mentor another professional. Contribute to an outlet. Attend a virtual or local meet-up and then participate. 

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