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What's the big deal with inbound marketing?

Posted by Joseph Hwang on July 12, 2016

MOOC.jpgIf you're like me and trying to get your feet wet in the digital marketing world, you need to understand the basics of today's approach to marketing. When I first learned about the DCI apprenticeship experience and how an inbound certification is essential to landing a marketing job, I didn't know what to expect - and I didn't know much about the inbound approach. But now that I've earned my Hubspot Inbound Certification, I'm here to share my tips on how to conquer the certification and why it's an essential learning goal.

Far are we from the days of flashy banners saying "Click Here!" or "See How You Can Increase Your Profitability by 500%!" - that was the norm in the past. Today's digital marketing tactics instead revolve around a new perspective: it's all about the customer. But what does that mean exactly? We've heard that "the customer is always right", but how does that translate to marketing?

Rather than focusing on what your business can provide to the customer, your focus should be on how you can provide value and insight to the customer. This modern approach is referred to as inbound marketing. Hubspot provides a free certification course where you can learn all about inbound and earn a certification to establish your foundations. 


Diagram above created by Hubspot that outlines the inbound methodology.

How to start

First, you will need to create a free account in Hubspot. Then you will be given the opportunity to start the free inbound training courses. It includes 12 topics, with 3 video modules per topic. Each module has a text transcript to follow along with and after each topic there will be a quick quiz to test your knowledge.

Here's the free study guide you can download to review key concepts and get an idea of what questions the assesment will ask.

The final assessment is 75 minutes and contains 60 multiple choice and true/false questions. Hubspot considers a 75% as the passing mark, which equates to at least 45 questions correct and up to 15 questions incorrect. There is a large margin for error and it provides a nice cushion in case you don't get every question right. 

When I took the inbound marketing final assessment, I scored 90% on my first try! Now I'll outline the methodology I used when going through the course as well as other recommendations that might be helpful for you.

Study, study, school's your buddy!

Okay, I joke. But in all seriousness, this test is easier than you think! I first downloaded the study guide and answered the questions for each module as I watched the videos for each topic. Then after reviewing the information covered in that topic, I took the quiz to check my understanding. After watching all the videos and covering all 12 topics, I re-read certain sections in the text transcript that were unclear to me.books-3.jpg

....and that was all I did to pass the Hubspot inbound marketing certification test! The total time to watch all the videos and complete each short quiz is 4.5 hours total - easy to accomplish in one day. Husbpot gives the option to speed up or slow down the pace of the videos depending on your personal learning style. You can slow down the videos and spend more time on topics that are more difficult for you and you can speed up the videos on topics that are already familiar with. 

Test question types

In general, the test will include the following types of questions:

  • Gives you a term and tells you to select the correct definition.
  • All of the following are examples of best practices for [some practice] except?
  • An example of [some concept] would be? 
  • Provides a scenario then asks you to pick the appropriate answer - tests your ability to apply concepts to a specific situation

These are the four types of questions I clearly remember when I took the test. There may also be other question types, but a solid comprehension of all the tested material will nonetheless grant you a passing score. Remember, all you need is a 75% to earn the certification and Hubspot will not reflect that score on your certification itself. 

Other recommendations

If you are an audio learner:

  • Watch the videos more than once. Each video covers a solid amount of information and you will likely need to review certain topics multiple times in order to fully understand everything.
  • Though this may not be practical for all, you can listen to the video modules during your daily commute to work. (It might eat up all the data for your phone plan though)
  • Follow along with the study guide as you listen to the videos to ensure you comprehend all concepts.

If you are a visual learner:

  • Fill out the study guide as you watch the videos - jot down short answers.
  • Read the included text transcript to reinforce the main ideas.

Concluding thoughts

If I knew how straight-forward both the material and test were, I wouldn't have stressed the way I did when first going through the course. I was instantly relieved when I saw my passing score and realized that inbound marketing is a digital marketing foundation.

So, take the inbound course (here), nail the exam and put to use your understanding of inbound marketing principles!

The concepts and strategies taught by Hubspot will pave the way to a future career in digital marketing. Oh, and believe me, there is a big future for digital marketing. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted marketing research analyts positions to increase by 19% from 2014 to 2024, for a total of 92,300 new jobs. They also projected advertising, promotions, and marketing manager positions to increase by 9% for the same time period, for a total of 19,700 new jobs.

Yes, there will be a ton of room for career growth. Stay positive and happy studying!

Want more resources on how to launch a career in digital marketing? Download the free ebook "Breaking Into Digital Marketing" to kick start your career today!

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