The announcement from the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) that it would offer SEO certification was received with skepticism within the SEO industry. This was not a surprise. Many have asked why or who, especially because some see that the DMA may be treading on on their territory. Conversely, the announcement was received with excitement within the DMA and from those outside of the SEO industry.
The DMA has been featuring SEO and SEM sessions for a few years now, as they have seen the value of it in their own organization. Many marketers know and understand the potential that this industry has, so the fact that a large marketing organization is getting involved should not be a shock to anyone.
Being an instructor for the DMA SEO Certification, I recently had some questions sent to me by Dave Temple, who recently started the SEO/SEM Certification Blog (nice eye on the future, Dave). I think he has some very important concerns, so I’ve decided to address them, or at least give my opinion, here on the Marketing Logic Blog.
There’s a lot of talk about this certification but I think the bottom line is you need to check out the instructors. Matt, did the first group at the DMA certification only take 4 the 10 level 1 coures? How do they continue to take the remaining courses? Also are the level 1 courses a pre requisite or can some just take level 2?
Lots of good questions about the DMA Certification – I think they are necessary and relevant, so keep ’em coming.
There were four out of ten planned courses presented at the DMA conference. These were planned as the introduction to the rest of the course and DMA members could take them at a discounted rate because it was the inaugural event.
The DMA is taking both the content and the presenters very seriously. Reviews from attendees were being graded over very closely. Amanda Watlington, who is in charge of the certification, is in close contact with the DMA staff. Obviously, the DMA wants to ensure a quality presentation of anything to have their stamp of approval.
The Level One Course is designed to be an overview for site managers, business owners and CEO’s to give them the level of knowledge they need to make competent hiring decisions, vendor selection, and direction for their sites.
Level 2 is designed for businesses to send their employees who will be managing the sites the PPC and SEO for their sites. This could reach as far as SEO companies that need to train new hires, but do not have the time, or a company that wants to train their IT or marketing staff for developing an internal web marketing program. Level 2 certification will have 5 core classes and 5 specialized classes, either PPC or Organic, depending upon the attendees focus. I’ll defer to Amanda for the specifics, but that is ideally how I understand the program will run.
As far as speakers, I will say that Amanda has been in the industry since it started and has seen and heard almost all of who the industry has to offer. Amanda comes from the Academic world, being a professor in her previous life, and is familiar with creating learning objectives and teaching to those objectives. She not only has to find people that are knowledgeable and can communicate, but also people that can teach. Teaching a class towards specific learning objectives is very different than being on a panel discussion group with a 15 minute presentation. Many of the instructors for this certification either have the experience or the ability to do this. This is also why the DMA is taking the attendee evaluations very seriously.
If you have any questions about the DMA Certification, feel free to post them. If I can’t answer them, I’ll certainly get someone’s attention who can.