Can Digital Marketing Training Courses be a Commodity?
I’ve been having a lot of discussions about our business model at 312 Digital lately, which I find to be a lot of fun. Talking about our upcoming course and future courses helps keep me focused on where we are headed, which is really exciting.
Yesterday, I had a conversation with a guy I really respect as a thinker and businessman. During the conversation, he said something that caught me off guard. He said:
Training is a commodity.
I was shocked. Quite a bit. I think he may have seen it in my reaction.
I don’t know about other types of training. Maybe they can easily be turned into commodities – one the same as another. I highly doubt it. Nevertheless, I’ve been thinking about that conversation ever since it happened.
Now, to be fair, there are multiple definitions of the word commodity. Here a screen capture of the that links to the original source.
I’m fairly certain he was referring to definition 1(c) and 4 – something that has diminishing value and diminished profits. That’s certainly the way I took the meaning of his comment.
Can digital marketing training courses be considered a commodity?
I don’t think our classes here at 312 Digital can easily be replicated. Here’s why.
- Instructors. We focused exclusively on finding and featuring expert practitioners; people who practice what they preach and are REALLY good at it. Andy Crestodina is one of the very best content marketers I’ve ever met, AND he’s an excellent teacher and speaker.
- Content. Of the four sessions we are presenting on January 22d, none of the four presenters have even begun to build their slides yet. Not one. This educational experience will not be a re-worked presentation you’ve seen at other events.
- Process. Maybe a 30 minute webinar can be a commodity. Our sessions last TWO HOURS. An hour and half of that two hours is devoted to lecture and discussion with the instructor. The last 30 minutes is reserved for small group breakouts where the students will have a discussion with each other about how they plan to apply what they just learned to their business. This last step is one of the most critical. It ensures students cement what they just learned by putting it into the context of their own business. It also helps students build relationships they can take with them beyond the class room.
- Integrity. I’m not sure if “integrity” is the right label for this, but it is the way I think about it. I’ve talked about this in the past and written about it as well. One of the ways 312 Digital is going to be VERY different is we will never have sponsors. I want there to be an unfettered (maybe pure is a better word?) relationship between our business and our customers. Our customers pay us money. We deliver a day of learning. If they see value in that, they will come back. Or refer us to others. So simple. I do not want the purity of that relationship to EVER be tested or complicated by sponsorships or other third parties getting in the way.
I understand the point he was making. His business is focused on building a replicable product that can be introduced into organizations. Our model is quite a bit different, as you can see above. So can digital marketing training courses be turned into a commodity? I really don’t think so. At least not in our case. What do you think? What about other types of training? I have to be honest here – commodity is never a word I would use to describe training of any sort. Training. Education. Learning. No matter what you call it – it’s simply not an industry that is open to being a commodity.
Are all Universities the same? All public school systems? Of course not. And it’s silly to suggest otherwise. What say you?
Featured image courtesy of DavidDennisPhotos.com on flickr via creative commons.