Are There Any National Recognized Credentials for Online and Social Marketing?

The lines between marketing and digital marketing are blurring, with many tactics existing in digital spaces.

While many organizations still rely on traditional marketing methods, such as advertising and direct marketing, the use of data and analytics to target consumers is fundamentally changing the way brands market to and interact with their customers.

The marketing world is evolving, and so is the way brands choose to market to consumers. Traditional marketing methods may still be used alongside digital marketing strategies, but the focus is likely to be on engaging with customers where they already are rather than trying to reach them out in the digital wilderness.

The increasing importance of digital marketing is undeniable, and with the right skills and tools, it’s now possible to have a fully integrated marketing strategy that doesn’t rely on out-of-home media.

Although it may be tempting to equate ‘national’ with ‘government’, the truth is that not all national bodies regulate or oversee digital marketing, however, it is overseen by government bodies, such as the Federal Trade Commission in the United States and the European Commission.

Why Should You Study Digital Marketing?

The value of a traditional marketing degree is undisputed, with studies showing that holders of these degrees are more likely to get a first job in marketing. However, even with the same level of education, you stand a better chance of getting a job in digital marketing.

A degree in digital marketing may not replace your chance of getting a job in a traditional marketing position, but it can only enhance it. A survey conducted by the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s) in 2018 revealed that 66% of employers are more likely to hire candidates with a background in digital marketing.

The Evolving Role of Digital Marketing

Traditional marketing, when it comes down to it, simply means spreading the word about a brand or product. This may involve advertising, marketing research, or even direct marketing, where you reach out to an existing customer to promote a product or service.

Although the delivery mechanism for traditional marketing has shifted to digital platforms, the focus remains the same: getting the message out there to as many people as possible.

The lines between marketing and digital marketing have blurred. Marketers can use data to target consumers, and social media platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, allow companies to have real-time conversations with customers, gathering valuable insights into what is actually said.

In today’s world, marketers use every available source for potential customers, including data from various online and offline platforms, social media, and even radio and TV commercials. The information obtained from these different channels is stored in a central database to ensure that all the relevant data is available at all times for analysis.

This evolving role of digital marketing has only further complicated the world of marketing education. While many universities have incorporated digital marketing into their bachelor’s or master’s degree programs, it is still not common to find a recognized certificate for this field. Companies turn to professional associations, such as the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s) to standardize and regulate certification for digital marketers.

Recognized Credentials

Government oversight in the form of regulating bodies, like the Federal Trade Commission or the European Commission, ensure that standards are upheld and competition isn’t hindered. Even if you’re not directly regulated by a national body, you can still benefit from holding a recognized credential. The Internet Association (IA) launched the Certified Digital Marketer (CDM) certification in 2018 to identify individuals who can responsibly conduct digital marketing activities. A digital marketer’s responsibilities include collecting, analyzing, and acting on customer data while also measuring the effectiveness of marketing programs.

The CDM certification is focused on identifying competent professionals who can take on any digital marketing role – from strategy through to execution – and have the training, skills, and experience required. The aim is to create a standard of excellence that all practitioners can achieve.

While there is no denying the value of a traditional marketing degree, it’s vital to continue educating yourself about the rapidly evolving world of digital marketing.