16 Essential educational resources for the marketing professional

educational resources for the marketing professional

By Kiki Schirr, {grow} Contributing Columnist

educational resources for the marketing professionalBeing a marketer in the digital age is a matter of keeping up with the times. The dynamic world of social media and customer success require the modern marketer to seek out more knowledge constantly. It can feel daunting to keep up at times!

I’ve compiled a list of resources for self-educators, divided into three sections: General learning, creativity and learning hubs.

educational resources for the marketing professionalGeneral Learning Resources

Five books that will teach you methods to learn any subject, including marketing,

Don’t Go Back to School: A Handbook for Learning Anything by Kio Stark

A series of case studies on autodidacts, Kio Stark’s look at self-guided learning is 200 pages of engaging stories. This book is a little light on direction, choosing more to teach through examples. I found the resource guide at the end to be a great overview.

DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education by Anya Kamenetz

Part of Anya Kamenetz’s book is a well-researched manifesto against the necessity of a college education, but the other part is a list of places to gain knowledge outside a classroom.

Mastery by Robert Greene

Robert Greene’s classic take on education is a highly motivating series of stories about masters, people who have perfected their craft. While “marketing” rarely comes up, I included this book because reading a few pages at the start of each day has motivated me better than any cup of coffee.

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

This is the book in which Malcolm Gladwell lays out his now-famous theory that learning any skill well takes 10,000 hours of practice. It can seem a little scary, though, so I also included the next book:

The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything . . . Fast! by Josh Kauffman

Josh Kauffman’s book stands against Gladwell’s to say, well, you can get pretty good at any subject quickly. I think it could have been titled, “20 Hours to Mediocrity,” but really, that wouldn’t have sold books.

educational resources for the marketing professionalCreative Learning Resources

Resources focused specifically on becoming more creative on your job. 

Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon

This amazing and pithy book by Austin Kleon shows how to use artistic borrow-but-credit methods to grow and learn — in any field. While this book was written for creatives, it’s applicable to almost anything you do in life.

Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered by Austin Kleon

Austin Kleon’s second book is less about the creative process and more about social media marketing! A lot of the strategies he outlines for creating and engaging a community will seem familiar, but his take on how to showcase your art and talents makes this book a gem.

Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All by Tom Kelley and David Kelley

Okay, I’ll admit it: I’m only halfway through this book. But it’s one I couldn’t leave off this list because it’s already so useful for listening to your inner creative voice. It will really help anyone who feels that they’re in a rut creatively.

educational resources for the marketing professionalOnline Courses and Hubs

Eight online destinations for marketers to congregate and learn.


Udemy is a series of courses created by, well, anyone. Udemy is likely the most egalitarian of a group of sites called Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), which are repositories of courses gathered onto one site for general consumption. However, as the barrier to entry is lower than the other MOOCs, you’ll need to do a little research as to which courses are the best — this site charges per course.


Udacity is also in the MOOC category, offering “nanodegrees” to get one up to speed in many different industries. The data analytics nanodegree might be the most useful to a marketer.


edX is a MOOC created by Harvard and MIT, but now includes courses from many prestigious universities. Courses are supposed to be as rigorous or exactly the same as courses offered in a live setting.


Similar to edX, Coursera is also a MOOC site. Recently Coursera began offering more and more streams of courses. If completed successfully, the student can be granted a certificate of achievement that looks great on LinkedIn. However, while most courses are free, the certificate programs do have fees.


Skillshare is similar to Udemy, with a more artsy focus. You’ll find marketing classes on both, however — and there might be some overlap, so compare prices!


Inbound is Hubspot’s latest interesting project, a community site for marketers. Articles, videos, and other learning materials can be submitted to the site to be reviewed by the community. If the content is useful, any community member can give it an “upvote” and it will rise closer to the top listing. This is not only a great place to learn, but also a method of disseminating your own content.


Growthhackers.com  is Sean Ellis’s community devoted to creative growth strategies. It functions almost exactly as Inbound does, so you can often use it for the same purpose … growth hacking and marketing aren’t too different!


Primer is Google’s tutorial app for marketers. Since it is a Google product, there’s a strong focus on things like Google Adwords. This site can be very useful to any marketer and it is now available on both Android and iPhone — ironically, it was first available on the iPhone!

I hope that you find this list of resources useful and please feel free to share any I’ve missed with the {grow} community in the comments!

KikiSchirrKiki Schirr is a cofounder of the fitness app Fittr, and also does the company’s marketing. She is the author of the The Product Hunt Manual and Tech Doodles. You can find her on Twitter, or at her brand-new (please don’t judge) website.

Original images taken by Kiki Schirr

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