365 Digital Marketing Scam or Legit? Uncovering The Truth

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  • Post published:January 7, 2024
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Beware of misleading “365-days digital marketing training” packages that claim to teach you everything you need to know about online business but actually leave you worse off.

In this post, I’ll expose the deceptive tactics used by these programs and help you identify red flags to watch out for. More importantly, I’ll provide clear guidance on alternative learning paths that can truly help you succeed in digital marketing without risk of being scammed.

Why 365-Day Programs Raise Red Flags

The idea of getting a “complete digital marketing education” in just 365 days through pre-packaged video lessons may sound appealing at first glance. However, there are several reasons why these types of programs are almost always too good to be true:

Lack of credentials or expertise: Legitimate online education is overseen by accredited institutions and instructors have verifiable experience and certifications. 365-day programs are usually created and taught by marketers with no background in education.

Overly simplistic content: Digital marketing is a complex field that takes years to truly master. Breaking it down into bite-sized daily lessons results in a superficial overview that leaves you unprepared for real-world challenges.

Focus on selling, not teaching: The primary goal is selling additional upgrades and programs, not providing a quality education. Lessons are designed more as lead generation than knowledge transfer.

No accountability: There is no structure, supervision or deadline pressure to keep you learning consistently over the full year. Most people quit within a few months with little practical knowledge gained.

Pointless qualifications: “Certifications” awarded at the end are meaningless, since there are no standardized exams or accrediting bodies overseeing the program quality.

Expensive for what you get: Prices start around $1,000 but usually multiply through mandatory ongoing fees. For that money, you could get a college certificate or professional training with far better career outcomes.

So in summary, reputable 365-day digital marketing programs simply do not exist. Their business model is flawed and designed more for profiting off false hopes than equipping students with in-demand job skills. Let this be a warning before getting sucked into misleading marketing claims.

Decoding Deceptive Sales Tactics

Be on high alert for the following red flags routinely used by 365-day program marketers to lure unsuspecting customers:

Exaggerated success stories: Testimonials from “students” who quit their job after just 6 months are likely fake or extreme outliers. Most people see no significant career benefits.

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False income projections: Claims of average annual salaries over $100k for program graduates are completely unrealistic. Digital marketing is a long-term investment with earnings that increase slowly over years, not overnight.

Unrealistic timelines: “Becoming an expert marketer in just 1 year” is impossible. Recognize these as empty promises meant to generate quick sales rather than achieve long-term career development.

Coercive upselling: Program sites design sequences to psychologically pressure you into more expensive upgrades before you’ve seen any results from the initial purchase. Walk away from high-pressure sales tactics.

Limited refund policies: Short refund windows (often 14-30 days), complicated processes and disclaimers of “no guarantees” allow them to keep almost all payments while providing minimal value.

Unclear legal status: Look out for offshore companies with questionable registration, especially when refusing refunds or disappearing with customer money. Stick to reputable vendors.

Avoid any program that relies heavily on these “marketing spin” techniques rather than real educational merit, qualifications and provable outcomes. Authentic training focuses on empowering students, not exploitation through misrepresentation.

Identifying Legitimate Learning Alternatives

If you’re serious about building a career in digital marketing, focus your time and money on proven paths that lead to tangible qualifications employers actually value:

Accredited College Certificates & Degree Programs

Look for courses through community colleges, state universities and online programs from respected institutions like Google Digital Garage, HubSpot Academy or Coursera. Coursework is directly applicable, faculty have real expertise, and credentials carry weight with hiring managers.

Professional Certification Exams

Earning certifications like Google Ads Certified, Facebook Blueprint Certified or HubSpot Inbound Certified demonstrates your knowledge through rigorous standardized testing. These open many doors in the industry.

Internships & Apprenticeships

Get hands-on training by assisting marketing teams at companies and non-profits. While unpaid, you gain meaningful experience to add to your resume and build your network.

Mentors & Masterminds

Surround yourself with successful mentors through local meetups, workshops or online communities. Pose specific questions and get tailored feedback to take your skills to the next level.

Targeted Skill-Building Courses

Micro-learning platforms offer in-depth courses taught by experts to hone technical abilities in areas like SEO, pay-per-click advertising, analytics and more. Focus on high-demand specialties.

Portfolio & Freelance Projects

Get real-world client work under your belt through referral sites or freelance marketplaces. Quality samples showcase your abilities better than any certificate alone.

While taking the long-term view, keep learning through multiple modalities tailored to your goals and learning style. Avoid falling for scammy 365-day programs promising overnight riches, when legitimate training requires ongoing dedication and focus. With the right strategies, you’ll develop a solid foundation for long-term digital marketing career success.

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Detecting Deceptive Online Courses

Be extremely wary of any digital marketing training courses marketed through Facebook ads, YouTube videos or third-party websites making lofty unattainable claims. Scammers are masters of manipulating search engines and social platforms to mislead consumers searching for keywords like “365 digital marketing scam”.

Some things to watch out for with online courses advertised outside of reputable education platforms:

  • Vague or no information provided on instructors’ qualifications
  • No accreditation or affiliation with recognized universities/colleges
  • Price seems too good to be true (often hundreds vs. thousands for real programs)
  • Overly hyped testimonials that don’t check out
  • Dishonest refund policies or terms of service
  • Aggressive, fear-based sales tactics
  • Inflated job placement or salary figures
  • Unclear company address/registration

Evaluate course creators carefully by searching their names with keywords like “scam”, “complaint” or “reviews”. Also verify accreditation and instructor backgrounds independently from other sources before committing any money to unknown programs.

Your digital marketing education and career are too important to risk on questionable opportunities pushing suspicious marketing gimmicks instead of real educational substance. Proceed with extreme caution when the source can’t prove legitimacy or outcomes upfront.

How to File a Complaint Against Suspected Fraud

If you’ve fallen victim to a 365-day scam or misleading online course that failed to deliver as promised, take action by reporting it so others don’t get cheated too:

✅ File a complaint with your local consumer protection agency and state attorney general offices. Provide all payment and contract details.

✅ Report the business URL to the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov if it uses deceptive advertising or misleading business practices across state lines.

✅ Inform credit card companies for disputed charges if refunds were denied (often gets your money back faster than court).

✅ Warn others by leaving public reviews on platforms like Google, Facebook or Sites Like Trustpilot documenting your experience as a warning.

✅ For off-shore companies refusing contact, report domain registration details to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) for possible investigation.

✅ Consider small claims court as a last resort if all else fails, but the process can be time consuming versus the monetary amount involved in many cases.

Having an official public record of misconduct makes it harder for scammers to prey on new victims under different company names. Your warning may help others avoid wasted investments and frustration down the road.

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What to Really Expect from Digital Marketing Training

While flashy marketing plays up overnight riches, building a strong digital marketing foundation is a long-term commitment like any other serious career path. Here are some realistic expectations:

Months 1-6: Gain introductory knowledge through foundational certificate programs. Get acquainted with key tactics and technologies.

Months 6-12: Earn advanced certifications demonstrating deeper skills. Build portfolio projects and intern for experience. Pursue mentorship opportunities.

Years 1-3: Transition into junior roles with ongoing self-study. Specialize in 1-2 high-demand areas. Build professional network and contacts.

Years 3-5: Progress to mid-level or managerial positions. Continuously upgrade abilities through conferences and master’s programs. Lead major client projects.

Years 5+: Senior leadership, potentially starting an agency. Earn 6-figure salaries and direct teams through hands-on experience and advanced degrees over time.

Rome was not built in a day. Success in digital marketing requires dedication, humility, continuous learning and patience through various career stages. Beware of fraudulent get-rich-quick promises that defy reality’s slow and steady trajectory for achieving mastery in any field.

FAQs

Q: Is there any scenario where a 365-day program could be legitimate?

A: Extremely rare cases exist, but only if it’s a fully-accredited college certificate program overseen by experienced instructors, includes hands-on projects and measurable learning outcomes, and has reputable career services backing.

Q: What should I look for in a bona fide online course?

A: Accreditation, instructor credentials, employment guarantees, third-party reviews, outcome metrics like placement rates, capstone projects, mentorship opportunities, and affiliation with recognized schools/organizations.

Q: How can I get digital marketing experience if nobody will hire me without it?

A: Build your portfolio through freelancing sites, volunteering for non-profits, assisting startup founders, contributing to relevant blogs/podcasts, and more. Enroll in certificate programs that include client projects. Network aggressively through local events and associations to find openings.

Q: What if a program promises a full refund if I’m not satisfied?

A: That’s still not enough – read fine print for strict time frames, passing arbitrary exams, non-disparagement clauses and other gotchas limiting refunds. Legitimate training stands by outcomes without loopholes or coercion. Consider accredited options for your protection over risky unknown vendors.

Q: How do I choose a good mentor if I can’t afford expensive programs?

A: Look locally through meetup groups, community colleges, or pro bono advisors. Online, join digital marketing communities and pitch specific challenges to solicit free guidance. Seek out rising leaders willing to share knowledge beyond direct transactions.

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