Skip to content

The Way We Teach Marketing is All Wrong

Mario Schulzke
Mario Schulzke
1 min read

Learn then test. Or maybe even learn then do. Read, listen, watch and then show up and nail your quizzes, midterms, finals, or worst yet, group presentations.

I have been doing marketing at a high level for the last twenty years. Yet every time I make decisions based mainly on past experience, I jeopardize the outcomes of a campaign. Marketing is constantly evolving, and you need to be in the game of "doing marketing" to be a successful marketer. Yet somehow, we expect students to consume a bunch of knowledge and then know what to do.

They won't. And as an employer, you're probably better off hiring some kid from the /entrepreneur subreddit than a recent graduate who has been nailing their exams for the last four years.

How we teach marketing needs to change.

Here is how.

1. Do then learn. Not learn then do. Structure the class to force students into creating from day one. If they feel confident in their ability to do the task, you waited too long.

2. Knowledge needs to be "just in time" rather than "just in case." Make knowledge available to your students to help them "just in time" as they struggle to complete their tasks. Relevancy improves long-term absorption way more than short-term test-taking.

3. Forget about tests, quizzes, papers. Make all output public. Nothing provides more accountability than showing your work to your peers. Nothing builds camaraderie faster than struggling independently together.

4. Reward progress through iterations. Encourage people to improve their work and apply lessons learned. Don't like the results on day 25. Try again on day 26. Measure progress at the end.


Mario Schulzke Twitter

My name is Mario and I grow ideas, companies and hot peppers.

Related Posts

Members Public

Do Then Know > Know Then Do

I have been teaching at the university level for the last couple of decades, first at the Academy of Art University and then at my alma mater, the University of Montana. At the same time, I've been both a marketing practitioner and entrepreneur. When I first started teaching,

Members Public

Focus on those leaning in

I have done marketing for twenty years now. Without exception, I can tell you that the best people to market to are the ones already "leaning in" looking for a solution to their problem. Yet somehow, too many marketers and brands decide to go after everyone and their

Members Public

How To Structure Your Marketing For Success

In this essay, I will show you a dead-simple method to structure and organize your marketing. Most marketing fails. A lot of it has to do with our inability to plan the work and set realistic expectations for the strategies you'll try. Here are the three ways to