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News 10 Sep 2021 - 2 min read

As lockdowns bite, media and marketing execs race for programmatic skills and Ritson's mini MBA

By Sam Buckingham-Jones - Senior Writer
The Trade Desk's Edge Academy has seen widespread takeup in lockdown

“It’s definitely kept the team motivated, engaged and on track," PHD's Jo Barnes says.

While Australia's media and marketing supply chain is suffering a serious talent crunch, thousands of agency staff and marketers have used the pandemic to upskill. Since last year, more than 1,600 people have taken The Trade Desk's Edge Academy, which covers the basics of real time bidding up to advanced programmatic strategies, while 700 people took the heavily discounted ADMA-Mark Ritson 'working from home' mini MBA. 

What you need to know:

  • Marketers and agency execs have been piling into online training over the pandemic, upskilling as lockdowns hamper traditional education initiatives.
  • More than 1,600 people have taken The Trade Desk’s Edge Academy courses since early 2020.
  • More than 700 people took the 12-week Working from Home mini-MBA with Mark Ritson through ADMA last year at a bargain price of $445 for members. This year, fuller rates apply.

The number marketers and agency execs doing virtual training courses in a bid to upskill through Covid lockdowns has soared.

The Trade Desk says its Edge Academy courses – three online seminars on Marketing Foundations, Data-driven Marketing and Trading Essentials – have had 1,600 sign-ups since early last year and more than 300 since the current east coast lockdowns.

“Nobody wants to sit and watch a 25-hour video about The Trade Desk,” the company’s ANZ General Manager James Bayes said, “So we very much approach Edge Academy as an agnostic education resource.”

The courses were initially only for The Trade Desk’s clients and partners, but in 2020 it was opened up to anyone. It was “an effort to help the industry to transform and upskill,” Bayes said. “Ultimately, a rising tide floats all boats.”

The Association of Data-driven Marketing and Advertising (ADMA) has also recorded a boom. Over 2020 it ran Mark Ritson's 12-week Working from Home courses with more than 700 people completing the 12-week mini-MBA.

COVID forced us to rethink our face to face education, and since we moved to a virtual format, we have seen double digit growth in student numbers in our instructor-led courses (ie live, virtual online format),” Andrea Martens, ADMA's CEO, said. "To date, we have run 3 extremely popular masterclasses (Marketing, Loyalty & Customer Engagement, Internet Cookies) with many hundreds of marketers joining each event."

ADMA secured the work from home courses at a bargain $445 for members in 2020. This year, members will pay closer to full rate, £1,305, or $2464 at current exchange rates.

Self-development has been a focus for some agencies, too. Jo Barnes, Head of Investment at PHD, implemented a “programmatic accountability” mandate for her trading team. The agency’s trading team has completed The Trade Desk's Edge Academy program, which starts with fundamentals of Real Time Bidding and introductions to device IDs, Demand Side Platforms (DSPs) and Supply Side Platforms (SSPs), and builds up to advanced programmatic trading strategies.

“It’s definitely kept the team motivated, engaged and on track. We’re accountable for our clients’ investment on digital Out of Home, broadcast TV, we need to understand the intricacies of how it’s traded," said Barnes. "The trading essentials course is quite technical, but we need to understand that too. This is general upskilling – it’s been a huge success.”

Other companies are also launching education services, including Quantcast, which has created its free Quantcast Academy.

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