To stay top of mind with today’s digitally savvy consumer, your company’s brand needs to stay fresh and relevant.
You need to approach the development of your digital marketing career the same way.
To become the top candidate for your next digital marketing job, your skills need to be fresh and current.
The skills you have today may not be the ones you need tomorrow.
In fact, there are 48 marketing skills you need to succeed in today’s digital world.
However, it can be overwhelming to try to keep up with the hottest digital marketing skills.
The rise of digital marketing certifications
There are a lot of digital marketing certifications available today to help you learn new digital marketing skills and keep your current ones fresh.
With new marketing technologies speeding up the pace of things, the demand for digital marketers is growing.
In fact, 59 percent of marketers with hiring influence confirm digital marketing is the top area of demand for marketing talent.
And marketing is one of the top 50 highest paying college majors.
To become the top candidate for your next marketing job, a digital marketing certification gives you a competitive edge because it can help you learn and sharpen specific marketing skills.
However, be smart about what digital marketing certifications you choose to obtain.
A piece of paper saying you’re certified means something but it’s all about the results you achieve from certification.
It is important to use a certification to show others how you can create digital marketing strategy and implement digital marketing campaigns.
Not all certifications are created equal
Sometimes getting a digital marketing certification is worth it and sometimes it is not.
A certification is not a replacement for real-world digital marketing experience but it is a great way to grow your digital marketing knowledge, skills, and understanding.
A certification can help you become a leading candidate for a new job if you really show the results you achieved from obtaining the certification.
Holding certifications can signal to recruiters and employers you have specific skill sets they are looking for in certain marketing roles.
Digital marketing certifications are becoming a real alternative to college as companies realize that they need people who truly understand the industry.
The benefits of a digital marketing certification
What are the benefits of getting a digital marketing certification?
A certification can demonstrate you have mastered a certain digital marketing subject matter area, you have a passion for learning digital marketing, and you are committed to your marketing career.
Some of the benefits of a certification include:
- Gain a competitive edge. Having training that your peers don’t have can set you apart and differentiate you from other professionals in your field. If you have the certification, and the other person does not, you are at a definite advantage.
- Execute projects better. Certifications can help to provide you with a solid foundation and specialized coursework can provide you with up-to-date tools and technical strategies to help you better execute your project.
- Increase your earning potential. The time and effort invested in a certification most likely results in a higher income. Employers are willing to pay higher for professionals who have certifications.
- Improve your confidence to trying something new. By acquiring new and updated industry information and techniques, you can tweak your current work habits, increase your output, and overall competency in marketing.
- Demonstrate a commitment to professionalism. With a certification, you show others you have a demonstrated commitment to understanding and excelling in superior professionalism, boosting your professional credibility and prestige within your own network.
Everything counts when you are building your personal brand.
However, many digital marketing professionals may not have a digital marketing certification.
Digital marketing has not been a big part of today’s university and college curriculum until recently.
To keep pace with developments in digital marketing, marketers have gradually shifted toward obtaining digital marketing certifications to keep themselves fresh, to differentiate themselves against other job candidates, and to help them excel in their career.
Is a digital marketing certification worth it?
According to the American Marketing Association, a certification is one of the hottest trends in today’s adult learning and employment space.
Over the next couple of decades, there will most likely be a shift from getting advanced college degrees to getting certifications.
However, the value of digital marketing certifications fluctuates wildly within the industry.
One certification may be well-regarded, while another certification may not help you.
The difference lies in the amount of work and study it takes to achieve your desired certification.
Questions to ask yourself
There are some key questions you should ask yourself before signing up to get a digital marketing certificate.
1. What is your motivation for getting a certification?
If becoming a certified digital marketer is one of your career goals or if you think being certified will help you attain your career goals, you should obtain one.
But there’s no guarantee your career will automatically advance with a digital marketing certification.
Tip: explore how certain certifications can impact your salary.
2. What is the cost to obtain the certification?
When considering getting a certification, consider the following costs:
- Annual membership fee with the certifying organization
- Courses required to take the certification exam
- What the final certification exam looks like
- Re-certification requirements such as additional testing expenses, obtaining continuing education credits, or doing volunteer work
- Travel costs to classes, volunteer work, and examination sites
- Time away from your job and family to obtain the certification
You won’t have to consider all of these costs with all certifications, but some of these costs will be associated with obtaining a certification.
3. How long will the certification stay valid?
It is important before getting a certification to know how long it will be good for.
For example, Google requires re-certification after 12 months.
With the American Marketing Association, you can renew after 3 years and retake the certification exam after 6 years.
Before you sign up for a certification, make sure you know how long it will last.
When you post your certification on LinkedIn, it will ask you when you obtained it and when it expires so it is important to do your research and know how long your certification will be valid before you get certified.
4. What is the reputation of the organization giving the certification?
Ask your co-workers and friends what professional organizations they like or have joined.
If you’re looking at certification or certificate courses at a for-profit company such as HubSpot, make sure you check out their reputation online.
Search for positive and negative reviews from people who have taken the certification before.
For traditional academic organizations, reputation is based on their track record in top media outlets.
5. Who teaches the certification?
As a general rule of thumb, the more professional experience a teacher has, the greater chance he or she will have vital knowledge to pass on to you.
The best way to determine the skills and experience of the teachers in the certification program is to talk to them before signing up for the certification.
If that’s not possible, check out their LinkedIn profiles or ask for advice from past students.
Before you invest in a digital marketing certification, think about who is providing the teaching.
Just like in a regular classroom, the quality of learning is usually dependent on the quality of the teachers.
Not every certification course is worth it or respected in the industry because it depends on the teachers giving the certification.
You can’t improve your digital marketing skills and knowledge from poor teachers.
6. How convenient is the certification program?
Digital marketing certifications come in a variety of forms such as online (on-demand, scheduled or virtual classroom) or in-person via traditional classes or a boot camp.
Depending on your situation, certain forms are beneficial and certain forms are not.
It goes back to what you want (question #1) and what you want to market about your certification.
Consider the kind of educational situation you want before you commit to a certification.
The value of a digital marketing certification
Certifications are an excellent way to reinforce your skills and expertise on your resume, but not all certifications are worth your time.
The value of each certification is dependent on the demand for skills.
Conduct a search on LinkedIn to see which digital marketing experts are certified and what certifications they have obtained.
Start connecting with other digital marketers and ask them what certifications are worthwhile.
If you can show what you learned and prove a specific certification made you a better, savvier, and smarter digital marketer, you got the right certification.
In short, your digital marketing results have to speak louder than your words.
Most employers can see if candidates have it or not.
5 reasons to obtain a digital marketing certification
Here are five key reasons why you should earn a digital marketing certification.
1. You establish your credentials
In today’s world it is not good enough to say you are a good digital marketer.
Why should recruiters, human resource professionals, and hiring managers believe you?
To convince them that you are a good fit for the role, it is helpful to have experience and a certification.
Employers are looking for a well-rounded digital marketer who knows a wide range of areas under the digital marketing umbrella of terms.
Marketing now influences nearly every part of a successful modern business so a wide range of skills is critical to success.
A digital marketing certification can help you support your credentials, reinforce you have gone through the training, the tests, and the projects needed to earn the certification.
A certification will help you grow your knowledge, improve your marketing skills, and give you tools to succeed in job interviews (and most importantly) on the job.
2. You broaden your opportunities
A digital marketing certification can help you earn their trust, especially when it comes to competing against your peers.
A certification in a specific digital marketing area that you don’t work in every day can communicates your professionalism and expertise beyond your current marketing role.
A certification can help you move beyond what you are good at and help you broaden your opportunities within digital marketing.
3. You deepen your understanding of digital marketing
The digital marketing landscape changes quickly.
A certification helps you better understand digital marketing skills and terms beyond the core such as paid per click advertising (PPC), performance marketing, content marketing, search engine marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), social selling, social media, and influencer marketing.
With a certification, you will be able to understand the key digital marketing terms, best practices, and what’s next for digital marketing.
Certain certification programs such as the one from Duke University are accredited and approved by an industry association called the Online Marketing Certified Professional (OMCP) that maintains the competency and exam standards for online marketing in coordination with industry leaders.
These programs provide certification verification and credentialing of individual practitioners, agencies, and educational institutions.
When you choose a training option that aligns with an accredited certification body, you can rest assured you’re receiving a standardized education.
And when you obtain a structured digital marketing certification, you’ll learn each of the major areas of digital marketing and how they work in practice.
It is important to have a deep understanding of all the digital marketing domains and how they work together to build an overall digital marketing strategy.
4. You increase your professional network
Interacting and learning from smart people and experts in their field will help you keep you up-to-date and increase your professional network.
A certification is more than just a certification, it is a great way to meet other like minded people who are looking to grow their careers and those who are looking for up and coming digital marketers.
Career growth is more than just landing a new job or getting a promotion, it is about growing your professional network.
A recognized digital marketing certification validates you have achieved proficiency in certain areas of digital marketing and you can become a valuable part of a modern digital marketing department.
5. You stay fresh
With new technologies, new channels, and new devices, it is tough to keep up with the latest in digital marketing.
For example, answering questions like:
- How will artificial intelligence impact marketing?
- What about the adoption of augmented reality?
- How will voice search change search?
There are many opportunities for digital marketers and a certification can help you understand how it all works together and know when to implement these new technologies, new channels, and new devices.
Explore top digital marketing certifications
A certification is just a piece of paper.
Its true value lies in what other people think about that certification and how you use that certificate in the real world to make things happen as a successful digital marketer.
To be a successful marketing professional today, you should always be learning, practicing what you learn, and seeking out challenging work opportunities to make you grow.
Whether you are entering the workforce or you have been in the digital marketing field for awhile, it is important to keep your skills sharp and always take the time to learn new ones.
Do you have a career strategy for keeping yourself fresh in a competitive and evolving digital marketing industry?
To get you started, you should look into the top 15 digital marketing certifications.
Employers are always looking for digital marketing professionals who really know the industry, where the industry has been, and where the industry is going.
With more companies spending more of their marketing spend on digital, it is important to be on the cutting edge of an evolving digital marketing industry.
A certification is a great start but the results and experience using skills learned during a certification is even better.
What are your thoughts on digital marketing certifications?
Do you think it is a good idea to get a digital marketing certification? What tips would give others about digital marketing certifications? Please comment below.