Pay the Price Now to Avoid the Cost Later – Employee Perspective

There’s no denying times are tough at the moment, many businesses and indeed professionals simply don’t have the same disposable income in the current economic climate, so it’s no surprise that both individuals and organisations will be looking for the best deals on any training solutions they might need.

If you’re looking to enroll in a marketing or management course, it can be very tempting to head straight for the ‘cheapest’ deal. It seems a no brainer to go for the option that isn’t charging as much and of course if they’re paying for it, it’s likely your boss will be more inclined to go for the cheapest option too.

But hold your horses!

Pricing can be deceiving. Sometimes courses which appear cheaper on first glance can actually end up being more expensive for you in the long run both in terms of literal price and cost to your time and resources.

Cheaper courses might not provide the same quality of service and level of training you need and you may end up having to shell out more to bolster the learning and develop the skills you wanted, costing you more.

American salesman, author and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar used the analogy of purchasing a bike. You can either pay for a cheap model less sturdily made and incur a steady stream of additional costs in terms of maintenance and repairs before it inevitably becomes beyond repair far quicker than you’d like, or you can pay that little bit extra to begin with to ensure a higher quality quality product built to last.

Can you afford to waste money on a sub-standard product?

Here’s why a cheaper course may actually be more expensive in the long term. 

Cheaper courses can often take longer, meaning more time when you’re unable to give 100% to duties at work:

Even if you’re completing a course part time and studying in your free time, usually when you undertake an additional qualification or training, the studying will demand a significant investment of your time. You’ll likely find yourself taking the odd hour at work to attend a live webinar for the course for example, or taking time off for your course exams if you have to take them in person or using up some of your holiday time to study. 

This can have a significant impact on your productivity and keeping up with your workload and lead to increased stress. It can also cost literally if you’re having to work overtime for free in order to keep up at work.

Whilst, particularly if your organisation is paying for your qualification, they may be more understanding in terms of the workload they give you, you don’t really want to juggle the dual responsibility of work and study any longer than necessary as it can cost you a lot of energy and mental space and possibly income if you find you have to ask to go part time whilst studying. In an extreme scenario you could even end up being demoted or disciplined or even lose your job if you are not keeping up with your responsibilities and failing to balance your studies with your work.

Less expensive courses often take longer because they are more self-directed and you are left to work through the content at your own pace. This can not only make studying even more stressful for some people, but the longer the course is, the longer you will be left potentially falling more and more behind and struggling to make up the time at work.

In contrast more ‘expensive’ providers will cost significantly less in times of your time, professional marketing qualifications like those from the Digital Marketing Institute for example can be achieved in as little as 8 weeks, plus with providers like us at MMC you’ll benefit from much more structured tuition and classes helping you get through your studies and achieve the qualification you need as efficiently as possible.

The quality of teaching and learning content might not be sufficient to develop the skills you actually need in your role:

There’s nothing worse than paying for something, only to realise it doesn’t actually do/ give you what it said it would.

This can essentially be the case if you go for a less expensive course provider. Unlike more premium options, less expensive learning providers probably are so because they haven’t sourced the best academic tutors or experts in the field to teach on their courses. They are also unlikely to have invested in developing the very best learning materials by consulting with designers to create a more engaging learning experience.

This may not seem like an issue at first glance, you may think you’re willing to sacrifice slightly on quality to save on price. However, consider that going for a course which is below standard on quality can actually mean you haven’t learnt what you needed to from it. If a course does not cover the practical learning and skills you need in your role in enough detail for example, or a teacher doesn’t know their stuff and can’t instruct you properly in a certain area, you might find yourself returning to your work no further ahead than where you started. You could be left without a full understanding of the industry and what’s expected of you in your role, particularly if you’re a beginner to marketing or management.

Not only could this result in you having to shell out for yet another, better course or additonal training but this could also have a serious cost in terms of your productivity and future prospects. If you’ve not received proper training, you’re unlikely to be able to do your job as well or progress within the organisation. Without the right training, you’ll likely miss opportunities to grow professionally and may not be able to meet performance goals. 

When employees do their jobs well, they tend to receive more opportunities for progression, professional development, and special projects.

Going for a more expensive provider can do far more to help you progress in your role and get promotions and find new opportunities and a well-known and well-regarded qualification is more respected amongst employers.

Cheaper courses aren’t as experienced or specialised they might not give you the most up to date knowledge in the field:

As we know, marketing and management are both fast-paced industries, the theories and practices of which change quickly. Professionals need to stay up to date to stay ahead of competition. 

Continuous learning and development to ensure your knowledge stays up to date with the industry is important in any field, but perhaps none more so than marketing and management where consumer and employee trends respectively, change so fast you can essentially be left unable to properly carry out your role unless you engage in learning to ensure you have the most relevant knowledge.

Having the proper knowledge and professional capabilities to carry out your role is vital to continued success and it’s your job to stay on top of and replenish your skills and knowledge throughout your career through additional learning.

For additional learning to have an impact it also needs to be continuous. Truly successful professional learning is sustained and focussed on your individual needs so you can improve in areas you’re less confident in.

Because less expensive providers usually do not have as much experience of delivering professional qualifications and may not be specialists in purely marketing and or management, (often spreading themselves too thin by teaching multiple subjects) they may not actually cover the most important and up to date marketing or management knowledge.

More expensive providers, particularly those accredited by prestigious organisations like the Chartered Insitute of Marketing and Chartered Management Institute, have usually consulted with industry professionals and experts to create the best possible training solutions, incorporating the very latest in industry thinking so you can rest assured you’re getting the latest thinking and you’re not going to fall behind.

If you don’t actually get taught the up-to-date skills and knowledge currently most desired by employers because you’ve gone with a substandard product, where does that leave you in five or even ten years? Probably still stuck in the same role you might not want, making the same mistakes due to outdated methodologies and way behind the competition in your field.

In contrast, for a little bit extra, a higher quality provider will not only give you the latest skills to set you ahead of the rest, but also provide a qualification that’s more tailored to you and the areas you feel you most need to work on, often allowing you to pick and choose from a variety of modules or even whole courses so you could choose to specialise in a particular area of marketing e.g. search for example, playing to your strengths.

Cheaper courses won’t offer as much support or extra resources, leaving you to source and possibly pay for any extra help you need:

Put simply, ‘less expensive’ course providers cannot afford to offer the same level of individual support or specialist marketing or management resources you will receive from a more expensive provider. 

Often, less expensive providers are more interested in getting you signed up to a course and getting your money, than helping you once you are actually studying with them.

Less expensive providers usually involve more self-directed learning with little directed teaching and they probably will not have a dedicated student support team. Less expensive courses also may not offer the same extras and added bonus content that more expensive courses afford you. Some cheaper centres won’t be able to offer any more than what they say on the tin.

More expensive courses in contrast will often include a wealth of extra materials in the form of E-books, webinars and even marketing templates and other resources you can take forward and use in your organisation.

You may end up having to pay extra, subscribing to sites like Management Direct or Hubspot to source the resources you need or pay for extra coaching.

Now of course it’s mostly down to you as a learner and if you work hard there’s no reason you shouldn’t achieve great results on any course, but having a lower quality of resources to help you practically implement your learning in your business, and little support certainly isn’t going to help you achieve your best on the course and in your role.

More expensive courses do indeed tend to be able to boast better results. When choosing a course make sure to take a look at their past grades as well as their student reviews which will often say something about what they’ve gone on to do with their qualification and what they thought of it. Often you’ll find the courses with the best reviews and pass rates are not the cheapest, but they do tend to have better outcomes, with students going on to work for some of the top brands.

It seems a no brainer if you’re already paying for a qualification to pay for one which is going to give you a significant boost to your career.

A more expensive qualification is going to help both you and your organisation more:

It’s not just you who wants you to benefit from the best quality training. Your employer may be the one suggesting you undertake a marketing or management qualification and may even offer to pay for it, even if that’s not the case they’ll still probably want you to get the most out of any qualification you take on yourself. A report on workplace learning from Linkedin found that 82% of Executives actively support employee engagement in professional learning. 

This is because the knowledge and skills that you will gain from that learning will not only have an immediate effect on your capabilities and awareness regarding your role and current and future marketing or management trends but in doing so also benefit your employer and the business.

Research has shown that effective training will help you in your role and therefore your organisation by supporting you to:

  • Develop your ability to reflectively assess your skills, attitudes and behaviours
  • Improve your thinking and keep it up to date by incorporating new ideas and marketing or management techniques into your applied marketing or management plans and activities
  • Take advantage of advanced networking opportunities through working with people from a range of different industries but all focused on achieving a similar goal
  • Better connect with and work with or lead a teams by becoming more connected with colleagues

Generally, the more expensive, the better quality the course is and the more effective training you will receive and the more relevant skills and practises you will be able to take forward to your organisation. 

Poor quality training can have a serious cost in terms of your motivation and productivity.

A less expensive qualification can result in you feeling demotivated as you may not feel it is helping you to progress in your role or develop the skills you really need.

In extreme cases poor quality training and subsequent lack of security in your abilities can lead to failing to meet your attainment goals and keep up with your responsibilities at work.

You may end up having to pay for extra better quality training anyway in order to become more productive at work and assured of your capabilities.

It’s important to ask yourself if it’s really worth the stress and brain space that paying for a substandard product could cause for you and consider the drain it could be on your organisation to have to support a poorly trained member of staff.

Less expensive courses sometimes aren’t as transparent about prices and might not offer the same financial support, so you may not be getting as cheap a deal anyway:

‘Less expensive’ courses might turn out to be just as expensive if not more so than ‘expensive’ providers in terms of literal cost anyway.

Some providers might not be transparent about all of their prices when they quote on their website for example. They might fail to include the assessment fees or membership fees to an accrediting organisation in order to look cheaper.

They are also unlikely to offer much financial support to those signing up to their courses. More expensive providers usually understand that deciding on a course can be a difficult decision and they don’t want cost to be a barrier to people getting a Qualification. They will often offer scholarships for the most deserving as well as discounts and payment plans, all serving to, counterintuatively, make the qualification more affordable in the long run.

They might not be accredited or the accreditation might not be as good:

If you’ve been reading up on professional marketing or management courses you’ll probably know that really, the only ones worth doing are those that are accredited by well known and regarded awarding bodies such as the Chartered Institute of Marketing or the Chartered Management institute.

There are plenty of online courses you can take in marketing or Management, many are even free, but they likely won’t count for much in the industry amongst potential employers once you come to look for jobs unless they’re backed by a powerful accreditor.

Many cheaper courses might have foregone accreditation or be accredited by a lesser known organisation. Accredited courses necessarily cost more because they involve the course provider having to pay membership fees for students to the accrediting organisation, plus assessment costs which then come back to the student.

However, the benefits that accreditation can offer you as a student in terms of the extra resources you gain from the membership plus the connections you will build with other members and the prestige that comes with having a powerful accreditation on your CV makes the cost more than worth it.

The recognition it will get you with potential employers and the doors accreditation can open in terms of job prospects means it’s barely worth doing a course that isn’t accredited or that’s accredited by a lesser known organisation. Being accredited can significantly increase your salary by putting you one step ahead of the competition for the best jobs.

When you choose an organisation which is accredited it also ensures you’re getting the best quality content and courses from an experienced provider as the course provider has to pass rigorous annual checks to remain an accredited study centre as the accreditor won’t want to partner with any sub standard trainers who could damage their reputation. 

So there you have it, cheapest isn’t always best, so when you’re embarking on your hunt for the best course to help you take that next step forward in your career, don’t be blinded by low prices and fooled in to a costly mistake, make sure you’re really getting the best deal for you.

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