The Martech arms race is creating tremendous demand for trained and certified digital marketing professionals. Trade organizations, for-profit companies, colleges, and universities are responding with a growing array of online and in-person options.
One of the primary challenges facing CMOs today is developing in-house digital marketing expertise needed to harness the power of in-house and third-party data.
Many companies are working to bring core data marketing technologies as well as digital marketing and advertising functions in-house. The effort will require not only spending billions of dollars on IT infrastructure but training or recruiting thousands of employees needed to build, maintain and run highly complex and often AI-enabled systems.
Marketers need new skills
A traditional marketing or advertising education consists of a bachelor’s degree in advertising, marketing, or journalism, with classes on consumer behavior, market research, sales, and the like. As marketing has become increasingly data-driven, marketers must continually build upon that foundation by becoming fluent in a wide and rapidly changing array of technologies and platforms.
Today’s marketing ecosystem is complex and poised to get more so as data continues to grow exponentially. In 2019, digital voice assistants and smart TVs will swell the amount of real-time data signals available to marketers. As the torrent of consumer data grows, companies need employees who can decide which data matter and how to integrate it into an increasingly complex data marketing infrastructure and strategy.
To stay competitive, CMOs are increasingly turning towards training and certification programs. Below we highlight just a few being offered by reputable trade organizations, companies, and academic institutions.
MarTech® Conference Workshops
MarTech® offers a variety of workshops at its conferences designed to provide marketers a deep dive into such topics as agile marketing, customer data platforms, buying marketing technology, creating connected experiences, or building a marketing team with talent optimization. Workshops offered at MarTech’s recently concluded conference in San Jose, California included “The Right Way to Buy Marketing Technology,” “Using CDP to Make the Most of Your Customer Data,” and “Agile Marketing Advantage.” The company’s next conference, MarTech® East, is scheduled to take place in Boston in September 2019.
The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) offers certifications in Digital Media Sales, Digital Media Buying and Planning and Digital Ad Operations.
More than 9,500 participants representing more than 300 publishers, agencies, and ad technology vendors have enrolled in IAB’s certification programs since they were established in 2012. Many of the nation’s leading media companies—including AOL, Bloomberg, CBS Interactive, Collective, Condé Nast, Discovery Communications, NBCUniversal, Time Inc., Time Warner Cable Media, and Tremor Video—have pledged to have all eligible digital sellers across their organizations become IAB-certified.
The Digital Media Sales and Digital Ad Operations programs earned the American National Standard Institute’s (ANSI) first accreditation in digital advertising in 2015. The ANSI accreditation process, based on international benchmarks, increases the integrity, confidence, and mobility of certified professionals, and represents the highest standard in personnel certification.
Shoptalk launched two education initiatives at its 2019 conference, which drew 8,400 people to Las Vegas from March 3-6. The first is a standardized set of sessions referred to as Shoptalk’s Core Curriculum, which covers many of the fundamentals of retail and will be repeated annually with updated perspectives and examples.
Shoptalk also launched an Annual Retail Education Certificate which is awarded to those individuals who complete 10 credits of continuing education at Shoptalk conferences. This certificate helps recipients distinguish themselves at a time when there is a significant divide in retail industry professionals’ knowledge of digital innovation.
Collegiate degree and certificate programs
A growing number of academic institutions are offering certification programs, ranging from community colleges to elite business schools such as Wharton at the University of Pennsylvania and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern.
Duke University has partnered with Simplilearn, an online training provider, to deliver a curriculum that provides students with advanced knowledge of the eight most important digital marketing domains and includes real-world projects and virtual simulations for practical experience. The program offers hands-on simulation labs and projects for practical learning with 350 combined instruction/study hours. Completion of the program meets the course criteria to sit for the Online Marketing Certified Professional certification exam.
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