Why we created DGM Camp

In January of 2015, I partnered up with the newest campus of General Assembly down in Atlanta’s Old 4th Ward in their temporary space next to Dancing Goats. Our first offering was “Blogging for your brand”, a two-hour meetup to help wannabe bloggers get started. More than fifty people showed up. It was a great start to what would be a great year of teaching marketing technology.

“the more hands-on and technical the class, the stronger the demand for the class”

Since that strong start, I’ve taught more than 50 digital marketing classes at General Assembly in their great space on the 2nd floor of Ponce City Market. What I’ve noticed over these last 14 months is this: the more hands-on and technical the class, the stronger the demand for the class. Case in point: last fall, we decided to run an all-day boot camp for the Google Analytics IQ certification. We added it to the schedule, and within a few days, we had more than 20 people sign up. When the day of the class came around, 40 people attended! This Google Analytics class hurts your brain. It is not fun. It’s incredibly boring, yet 40 people showed up to the first class. The second and third classes each had 24 people attend. Now we’re running that class every month.

It became clear to me that what new and experienced marketers want out of a class is to leave with something solid that they now know how to do. They want some sort of knowledge or skill transformation. I see this most clearly every time I teach the 20-minute segment on UTM parameters. It’s a really simple tool that anyone can use, but I’m shocked at how few people — practicing marketers — do not know anything about UTM parameters, the Google URL Builder, and how to track a campaign in Google Analytics.

That’s how DGM Camp came to be. I thought — and suggested to the folks at General Assembly — why can’t we create a deep-dive, hands-on, brain-bending class that will create new marketing technologists? Well, we can. We will. We are! In 5 days, every student will create their very own martech stack, train for two Google certifications (Analytics & Adwords), build their own WordPress website, and drive and track traffic through that site.

Today, marketing is done using digital technologies, tools of the trade, martech tools. In 5 long, hard, brain-bending days, you can become a junior marketing technologist.