Mark Ritson thinks marketing ‘experts’ should be trained in marketing. Agree or disagree?

Mark Ritson’s column this week has fuelled a huge amount of discussion both on our site and on social media, but it seems most disagree with him that marketing “experts” need a formal marketing qualification.

This week Mark Ritson’s column, ‘Maybe it’s just me, but shouldn’t an ‘expert’ in marketing be trained in marketing?’ caused huge debate. The column presents Ritson’s belief that anyone that is declared “an expert/ninja/visionary in marketing” needs some sort of formal qualification.

The responses came in thick and fast. Commenting on the article, many pointed out that they had “learnt on the job” and that many marketing qualifications are out of date given the speed of changes in the industry. Yet others suggested that Ritson was “bang on”.

Given the difference in opinion highlighted in the comments, we ran a (very scientific) poll on Twitter. It found that just 40% of respondents agreed with Ritson that marketing “experts” need a marketing qualification.

One tweeter, David Cohen (@explorionary) joined in the poll by saying “Sure [you don’t need a qualification], it’s called Revenue growth. If you can deliver that you’re qualified to be a marketer”. To which Ritson replied, “No that’s sales orientation which, three weeks into a marketing qualification, you learn is not same as market oriented.” The conversation continued with graphics to demonstrate their points.

Over on Facebook, however, most seemed to agree with our columnist.

Commenting on a Facebook post, Marc Brida, said: “I agree, the term marketing has become some sort of buzzword many use without being aware of what this discipline actually includes. The problem is, that the job description e.g. marketer, marketeer, marketing expert, etc. can be used by anybody. The job title should be protected like in other disciplines e.g. architects or theoretical physicists”.

Some readers even created videos to voice their opinion, with Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of VaynerMedia, saying that he believes that there are many people going round claiming they are “marketing experts” that don’t have the qualifications. However, he went on to say “at the end of the day the person that signs the cheque is left to decide”.

If you want to join in the discussion, head across to the original Ritson post, where many readers have already left comments. Or we’ll see you on social media!

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  • Jonathan Cahill 18 Jul 2016 at 9:20 am

    Ritson is someone who has made many cogent and relevant points on marketing, despite his puerile use of expletives. Generally his points are strong enough without these.

    It is instructive that his points often cease to have any coherence when he starts referring to marketing theory. A recent example was his introduction of the benefit ladder into an argument which he was making quite successfully but which this red herring only served to confuse. Like many academics he seems to suffer occasionally from what Nobel prize winner Robert Shiller described as ‘theory-induced blindness’.

    It would be best if he stuck to his often excellent observations as opposed to try to squeeze in some fatuous theory to demonstrate his knowledge of these. Who cares? They seldom add to his argument, rather they divert from it.

    Marketing qualifications often lead people to default to theory as opposed to thought. The latter tends to be more potent

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