The Web Writer

Google’s Digital Garage course: life saver or sales pitch?

Google’s Digital Garage course: life saver or sales pitch?

Google's Digital Garage Icon

I’ve recently completed Google’s Digital Garage course. It’s an introduction to all aspects of digital marketing, from optimising your website for organic search to tips on video production. There’s 23 topics, with videos, quizzes and end of topic assessments to keep you on track.

At first glance, it seems there’s nothing not to love about the course. It’s current, comprehensive and free. But it’s had some flak for promoting its products under the guise of helping digital newbies. So…

…Is it worth your time?

In an article posted last year Dr Steven Dumbleton argues the course exaggerates the importance of digital marketing, misleading small business owners into spending their budget solely on digital. Others have noticed a sales pitch in many of the topics, while more recently Carolyn Mcintyre points out that cheating to get a certificate for online courses ‘’…is actually quite easy to do.’’ A quick search will give you the answers, so does this limit the value of adding it to your CV?

I think the course is both life-saver and sales pitch, and here’s why:

Does Google exaggerate the importance of digital?

Well, yes. But would we expect anything else from the internet giants? The world hasn’t gone digital…Yet.

At the moment digital advertising still complements traditional methods. But the tide is shifting, with digital now overtaking TV as the biggest advertising medium. Businesses can only benefit from being prepared to utilise the growing market that digital offers: ignore it and be left behind.

Does Google use the course to promote its various marketing tools?

The course always gives you options other than google when discussing marketing tools. But the sales pitch is there, mixed with the advice. Many of the videos include statements like this:

‘’Use this tool, and your advert will work, Isn’t that great?’’ The presenter smiles encouragingly. ‘’But it gets better. Because this feature means your advert will reach even more of your target audience.’’

It’s convincing, And as Dumbleton points out, most of the end of topic assessments plug the usefulness of their marketing tools, too. But that doesn’t mean they’re not useful. Internet behemoth that Google is, any business will need to know how Google’s tools work to maintain its online presence.

Also, I’m willing to bet you small business owners have enough sense to resist temptation and assess which tools are best suited to you. What the course does is equip you with the knowledge to choose between them.

Is it worth adding to your CV?

Maybe, maybe not. But you can benefit from the course anyway, regardless of whether you add it, regardless of whether it’s possible to cheat, or whether it’s scoffed at for being too basic. That’s because you’re not taking the course to learn new skills so much as familiarising yourself with the digital landscape.

The bottom line is you’ve more to lose by not taking the Digital Garage course.

Sales pitch aside, it’s an excellent introduction to the world of digital marketing. Just take the course with a pinch of salt and choose which tools will work best for your business. If you don’t know where to start with your online marketing campaign, this is the place. Even seasoned marketing veterans might pick up some new ideas!

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