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SourceKnowledge to certify marketers’ data-driven skills

Free online program could appeal to ad ops roles and beyond

Brands may want to own more pieces of the digital marketing puzzle, but Montreal-based SourceKnowledge is offering a certification that will ensure those who do can successfully put a strategy together.

The free, on-demand online certification announced Tuesday will cover six core areas including digital marketing fundamentals, measurement and optimization, audience segmentation and analysis, attribution, tag management and macro implementation, ad creative and variant testing models. The training is being offered through the auspices of SourceKnowledge Institute, a new offshoot from the firm, which specializes in cloud-based tools such as a platform for testing and optimizing digital creative called Engage that was released last month.

Speaking with Marketing the day before the announcement, SourceKnowledge co-founder and president Patrick Hopf said the idea for the certification came from some of the company’s own account managers and the questions they were fielding.

“We were noticing that there were a lot of gaps in the understanding of data-driven marketing and how it’s being performed,” he said. “A l0t of this, we feel, is due to companies that are now bringing a lot of their digital advertising out of the hands of the agencies and back within their own doors.”

More organizations are starting to manage their own Google AdWords spend, for instance, Hopf said, but they want to ensure they continue to get the best value for those investments. The SourceKnowledge certification, which will not only give graduates a certificate but a badge they can put on their LinkedIn profile, will use a “narrative approach” to tell them how to build a data-driven campaign.

“It will go over everything from getting a basic understanding of what (digital marketing) is to how to effectively put together the creative, what to do operationally, the different attribution models and which would best fit your objectives,” he said. “It’s to really hone the process of accumulating analytics and optimizing what you’re doing.”

Canadians already have several digital marketing programs and certifications to choose from, including an integrated digital marketing course from the IAB, but they cost more than $500 for non-members. The University of Toronto also offers a certificate program in digital marketing, but Hopf said SourceKnowledge will differentiate itself by ensuring what’s covered is accessible.

“Someone who does marketing in the offline world should be able to do this and get the value out of it. It’s very much built in layman’s terms,” he said. “We didn’t want to overly complicate the material.” 

Anyone coming into an ad operations role would be a good candidate for the certification, Hopf added, though the interest could be more wide-ranging than that. He also said the program would not focus on SourceKnowledge’s own products, since the goal is to address industry pain points. 

“Theres’ this ongoing discussion about programmatic advertising and the amount of wasted dollars being spent driving ads online in the open web without a clear undersatnidn of what the results are,” he said. “This is in part our first step in trying to rectify that and provide some value to marketers so they can understand it. It’s not enough to just put your video ad and run it.”

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