Brush Up And Accelerate—Marketing Classes And Workshops

You always promise you’re going to try an online class, right? Now, as we all hunker down and providers make it easier, it’s a good time to catch up on what you’ve missed, and perhaps get ahead in an emerging area. 

Through a mix of investigating, sampling and crowdsourcing, here’s a list of potential classes, workshops and demos with a learning bent, for free or for a fee. Several organizations and even the Ivy League have free classes, and others have reduced pricing during this time. Many technology platforms offer classes or certification presented as education or career development; obviously, this also serves as content marketing to drive demand and adoption of their tools and services.

Marketing Classes

I’m surprised how few people know the foundational elements of marketing. Perhaps they don’t remember from their MBA days, they skipped these classes, or the knowledge is a bit dusty. As much as we all want to jump to modern digital marketing and channel strategies, you also need to understand the basics of value proposition, segmentation, pricing and customer dynamics.

Introduction to Marketing: This free class through Wharton covers how to build a strong brand, how to value customers and to bring a product to market (University of Pennsylvania/Wharton).

Marketing Strategy in a Digital World: Framed in a Asian context, this NUS marketing class ranked top in my colleague’s evaluation as a regional course for more advanced marketers (National University of Singapore) 

Marketing Analytics: Learn how analytics help businesses drive marketing to maximize its effectiveness and optimize return on investment (Columbia University). Google also has a suite of free sessions to learn its tools.

Digital Marketing Fundamentals: A free option from Google, I started it but didn’t have the patience for it.

Digital Marketing certificate programs: These are longer involvements, but credentials for your profile and resume. My alma mater Cornell University offers one, as does Northwestern’s Kellogg. The Digital Marketing Institute has a program affiliated with the American Marketing Association (AMA), and a representative saw this and let me know that four of their classes are now free. There’s also General Assembly with New York and London campuses. I asked a few folks if the pedigree certificate mattered more than a more generic brand, and the advice skewed to go with the name that has the most universal recognition.

Digital Marketing 12 classes in 1: A beginner class on sale that touches on a bit of everything across digital marketing channels. (Udemy)

Lead Generation: This more focused class looks more substantial than the broad, be-everything beginner class. (Udemy)


Search is an ever-changing foundation of digital marketing. There are plenty of free classes from the search giant itself in SEO, Google Ads, Youtube, Google AdManager and more. (Google)

Workstream provides free articles, videos and webinars through its PPC University for search and SEM.


Master Class in Advertising & Creativity from Goodby Silverstein; format is a series of 18, short 12-minute lessons ~$90-$180.  (Master Class)


Creativity and innovation: Former creative director and author Dave Birss is running bespoke virtual workshops. (Dave Birss) 

Design Thinking: Ideo U says it equip you with creative problem-solving skills, easy-to-use tools, and leadership mindsets to stay resilient in our fast-changing modern world. (Ideo U)

Residual Income for the Creative Class: A class designed for Creatives that have seen work come to a grinding halt in the past few weeks, on how to market and monetize the creative assets and ’know-how’ you have on hand right now. Taught by Ezra Cohen following his hit success selling Cinematic + Film Textures online. There’s a 3-hour masterclass. (Ezra Cohen)

Content Marketing

Marketing Writing Bootcamp, hosted by Ann Handley is coming up on April 28. She’s a rockstar writer and educator in content marketing so it’s a pretty safe bet it’ll be valuable. (MarketingProfs)

Viral Marketing and Contagious Content: Professor Jonah Berger is recommended by colleagues including Greg Hall, and this is among the free Ivy League marketing classes. (U. Pennsylvania/Wharton)

Content Marketing University: Six core modules along with 50+ ancillary lessons focused on specific content marketing disciplines. They just shifted to all-year round enrollment from previously only quarterly. (Content Marketing Institute)

Content Strategy: Contently, an enterprise content marketing platform, offers a free course which I learned about on my buddy Jay Acunzo’s 3 Clips podcast.

Content Marketing Certification: Free, video-driven sessions for beginners through Hubspot, a leading inbound content marketing platform. Comes with a content marketing workbook you fill out as you go along. (Hubspot)


Social media marketing and platform management: Learning the basics and learning the tools are two separate issues. Hootsuite, a leading social media management management platform, offers a series of 45 video tutorials with a test for certification for free, and a class in social media marketing for a fee. (Hootsuite)


Introduction to eCommerce Marketing: Taught by Ethan Giffin, CEO of Groove Commerce, on Hubspot’s free academy, is a very quick basic primer for this type of inbound marketing. I found it provides basic terminology, goal setting and understanding of the flywheel – free.  (Hubspot)

Salesforce Certification: Learn the core administration features of a leading CRM platform. Skillwise is heavily discounting its classes including this one. (Salesforce)

Emerging Tech (A.I.)

Artificial Intelligence: Implications for Business Strategy – My colleague Fred Geyer raves about this six-week class, which includes video interviews of MIT faculty and industry experts as well as discussions and a self-directed project. $3,000 (MIT Sloan & MIT CSAIL) 

Designing Your Brand’s A.I. Strategy: For CMOs and their teams, this is the foundational work required to future-proof your brand while offering an inspiring and collaborative innovation space for your WFH Global team. See available courses here. (BRAIVE)

UK-Specific Recommendations

My colleague Alex Whittaker in London offered up several U.K.-based resources with virtual marketing offerings: 

Chartered Institute of Marketing – the U.K. industry body for marketers who offer formal qualifications through courses and programs. (CIM)

Advertising – like the CIM, but more targeted at advertisers, these courses from the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising have more of a bias towards agencies some courses which might appeal broadly. (IPA)

Design – for the more creative elements of advertising, design and technology, these training programs through one of the top organizations in creativity (D&AD).

What’s your time worth?

Thanks so much for contributions Greig Hall, Samantha Papadakis and Alex Whittaker. Hope these shortlists provide ideas and inspiration.

Would love to hear which are valuable, and why, via Twitter or Linkedin.

This post was updated on April 8 to include updates from the DMI.

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