How to Approach Digital Marketing Certifications
Benefits of CertificationI coordinated the pre-conference workshop on teaching digital marketing with Dr. Janna Parker from James Madison University and Dr. Leila Samii from Southern New Hampshire University. The benefits to certification appear to be indisputable. Students who receive certifications in industry programs such as Hootsuite™ for social media management or HubSpot for Inbound marketing get a real world experience and also get a badge or a certificate for their resume or LinkedIn profile. For digital marketing, where comparatively few students receive this type of certification, at this point certification can be a true point of difference. The types of certification we discussed at the Conference were Google AdWords, HubSpot Inbound and Hootsuite Platform certification. The above graphic shows how we have incorporated certifications or 'badges' throughout or Marketing undergraduate curriculum. The three approaches discussed at our presentation and at the conference are outlined underneath this paragraph.
Three Approaches1) Make certification optional. In this approach, certifications are optional at the end of particular courses and are mentioned in the course but not integrated. A benefit of this approach is that students get to choose the certification that are really of interest to them. However, from experience I found that few students take advantage of this option.
2) Use the certification as the final exam. A colleague of ours, Archana Kumar from Montclair State University, discussed using the Google AdWords Fundamentals exam as a final examination in a retail course where the students promoted an e-commerce website using AdWords. Students took the examination in class and reported a good pass rate by studying for the examination as for any final.
3) Integrate certification in to the course. This is the approach I am taking this semester with our Digital Marketing and Analytics course. Students are getting HubSpot Inbound certified because the course focuses on web/mobile design and conversion optimization, email and social media marketing. The HubSpot modules mirror what is happening in class, although with less of an emphasis on mobile technology. and the general structure of the HubSpot inbound methodology is similar to that used in our class. During the course the students watch the module and will take the HubSpot Inbound examination.
Students are also studying Google AdWords and getting certified in that program. The AdWords training videos are excellent and include many Unfortunately, we don't have the time to have them work on a project using AdWords so that might be a more difficult certification project to manage. I will certainly keep everyone posted on our progress. We just started the process this week and everyone in class became a Google Partner and is ready to go.