As an adjunct instructor at the New York University School of Professional Studies (NYU SCPS) for over 15 years, there have been hundreds of traditional marketing and digital marketing professionals who’ve joined me in my digital marketing classes at NYU SCPS en route to earning their digital marketing certification.
Looking back, I’ve found there are three main reasons these digital marketing professionals make the decision to invest in a digital marketing certification program.
Fill Gaps in their Digital Marketing Knowledge
For many, the road to a rewarding, long-term career in digital marketing has many stops along the way. Some marketing professionals get their start in direct response, media, or operations, working in an agency or on the brand side. Others fall into their digital marketing jobs when their traditional marketing gig is phased out.
In some instances, the digital marketing manager’s I’ve known have actually been unexpectedly thrust into the role. I’m sure you’ve known situations like this, where the boss calls you into her office and says something like, “We love your passion and energy, Julie…how would you like to manage our website and social media?” A digital marketing manager is born!
Thrust headlong into the position of digital marketing manager, these go-getters embrace the challenge and step up to drink from the digital firehose with nothing but the best intentions. However, the challenge is that most are ill-prepared to “think and do digital” and their bosses aren’t usually willing to spend any time or money on training.
Many digital marketing managers jump on Google to discover a better way to get their current jobs done and possibly advance to something better. While NYU SCPS isn’t the only place you can go to obtain a digital marketing certification, being located in the heart of New York City doesn’t hurt (can you say “Silicon Alley?”). In the seven years I’ve been involved as an adjunct instructor in the digital marketing certification program, I’ve met and taught digital marketing professionals from all over the world, which supports my theory that digital marketing is not just happening in the United States. 😉
Transition from Traditional Marketing to Digital Marketing
Marketing professionals transitioning from traditional marketing to the digital marketing side make up the second group of digital marketing students I see at NYU SCPS seeking their digital marketing certification.
In some cases, they are long-time marketing professionals who feel like their careers have stalled or that they’re so far behind the digital marketing curve they need to catch up quick or become extinct. For others, it’s simply a need to move from the comfort of traditional marketing to digital marketing, which provides not only a chance for growth, but job security.
The folks in this group tend to skew older, but that doesn’t mean they’re not as sharp as their younger counterparts. I’ve found these experienced marketing professionals willing and able to embrace the new ideas that digital marketing represents in their world and to take those ideas and put them into action.
Pursue a New Career in Digital Marketing
Last, but not least, the third group is comprised primarily of people with no experience in marketing at all. While the transition group I spoke of above skews older, this group is generally younger. They, too, are hungry to explore the landscape of digital marketing and feel that a digital marketing certification will be an important box to have checked when meeting potential employers.
I think the first two groups probably have an edge on the last, but my experience has been that employers looking for talent in the digital marketing space are seeking people who are passionate, know how to problem solve, and will be a good organizational fit within their companies.
Is Digital Marketing Certification Really Necessary?
As for the question I posed in the title of this article, “Digital Marketing Certification – Is It Really Necessary?”, the answer is…it depends.
No way – I’m not copping out! I’m being honest. It depends.
If you’re the type of person who’s done a good job defining and packaging your personal brand and can tell a good story that conveys a solid value proposition, I’d say a digital marketing certification is much less important to you than to someone who hasn’t spent the time to develop their personal brand or can’t articulate a compelling value proposition.
Employers today are looking for problem solvers. Their asses are on the line and they need to surround themselves with people who can make shit happen. Showing that you’ve taken the time (and spent the money on) some training from a world-class institution like NYU SCPS can’t hurt. Having that digital marketing certification as an artifact of that training can’t hurt either.
What do you think? Is digital marketing certification really necessary to move your career forward in the digital marketing space? What group do you see yourself in – are you trying to fill gaps in your digital marketing knowledge, transitioning from traditional marketing to digital marketing, or are you starting from scratch and pursuing a new career In digital marketing?
I’d love to hear from you…please leave a comment.