Digital and Social Media Marketing Certifications

Establish Your Confidence and Credibility

Soft Skills in High Demand: Communication, Problem-Solving, and Management

On this episode of Endless Coffee Cup, I sit down with Jennifer Radke to discuss the value of certifications in marketing and social media management.

Our discussion covers the importance of specific platform knowledge and communication skills, as well as the need for strategic thinking in managerial roles. We also dive into the use of analytics and data in decision-making, the importance of a clear goal and strategy, and the role of certifications in establishing common vocabulary and standards of practice.

Join us as we explore the benefits of certification for professionals at different stages of their careers and the impact it can have on their credibility and job prospects.

Episode Summary:

[00:02:53] In-demand social media skills are misunderstood.

[00:07:52] Social media role requires specialized skills.

[00:14:31] Creators dominate, brands lag behind.

[00:18:28] Analytics value hinges on leadership’s understanding.

[00:23:06] Certification creates unified language amongst professionals.

[00:28:47] Certification helps credibility, confidence, salary, and networking.

[00:36:07] Platform certification, rigorous question evaluation, and fair assessment.

[00:42:07] Life skills needed for work and life.


[00:00:00] Matt: Hello and welcome to another edition of the Endless Coffee Cup Podcast. As always, I’m your host, Matt Bailey, and we’ve got another great guest to share with you today.

Those of you that have been listening know that I do talk a lot about skills and training and certification, and one of the certifications that I have always aligned myself to is the OMCP, the Online Marketing Certified Professional, and there have been some changes recently and exciting changes. I love it when it changes for the better.

And so my guest today is Jennifer Radke, she not only has acquired the OMCP, but she is also the CEO of the National Institute for Social Media. So we have two certification bodies coming together under one. Jennifer, how are you doing today?

[00:00:50] Jennifer: Hey, I’m doing great, Matt. Thanks for having me here.

It’s exciting to talk with you about both OMCP and NISM.

[00:00:57] Matt: Yes. One of the things that I’m excited about is- I shared with you, we talked briefly about the LinkedIn skills report and how social media skills are some of the most in demand. And then you see these digital marketing skills underneath them, and I’m like, well, to me, I’m like, do people know what they’re asking for or what is this demand for social media skills that are so big in the marketplace right now?

[00:01:26] Jennifer: So that is a massive question that you’ve just asked, and it takes a little bit of unpacking. The short answer to the question, “Do they know what they’re asking” is no. Unfortunately, no offense to anyone out there hiring for a marketing or social media position, but most people right now don’t know what they are asking for, but they’ve heard that they need it.

And in addition to digital marketing skills, they need social media marketing skills. And for some people, they have some inclination of what that might look like. They’re familiar with a platform or two, but the reality is right now our industry is struggling to figure out how to quantify the skills that individuals should possess for different roles.

And we’re confusing a little bit of the marketplace by thinking that one person should be able to do everything.

[00:02:30] Matt: I think that is an absolute travesty when you look at the job listings. And I caught myself doing it as well. I just put out a listing for like a part-time social media manager. I just need someone to manage some stuff. And I caught myself because I was like, oh if you have video experience, that would be great.

And yes, I’m throwing that in there, but yet at the same time, I’m like, well, you’re gonna have to learn it anyway, but it is easy to just sort of toss a bunch of things in, and I guess why is it so easy to conflate all of these? I mean, it all takes place on social media.

What are some of the very specific skills that people have to have when they start talking about social media? What are these core skills that would enable them to, I guess, broaden themselves? But what are we looking at when we just talk about social media marketing?

[00:03:22] Jennifer: Yeah. And so it kind of goes down to setting out some standards and credentials, which is what both of the organizations I’m affiliated with. In social media strategies specifically. It’s taking a look at the strategic plan. It’s understanding the broad compliance and governance regulations, what you can and cannot do, it’s having a broad understanding of marketing and communication strategies, these would be internal and external, and how social can really play and support each of those, and even looking at traditional saying, “Okay, well how can social support be traditional? So we’re not working in a vacuum.” Project management skills come in here because we are oftentimes running different campaigns or different video projects. So we need to, at the strategist level, right?

We need to understand how does this work? How do I set effective deadlines? How do I help hold people accountable? I may not do all of the editing, for example, because that’s a skillset set that I may not know, but if I can put the right people together, for social media strategy, online community management is a big one.

So you’ve built an audience online. That’s fantastic. But now what? How do you keep them engaged? How do they keep them interested? How do you handle a crisis if that happens to come up? And then last, but certainly not least, is research and analysis. How are we using data even in this social world to back up the decisions that we’re making for our organizations or our brands?

And how are we looking at numbers to say, “Yep, we’re on the right track.” That’s kind of the core sixth standard for social media strategy. It looks different though for like the position you were talking about, where somebody’s gonna do a social media management role, where they might be in charge of putting content out on social, engaging with other people on social, answering questions, and responding to people who ask questions in social platforms, that’s gonna look a little bit different, They might need to know some platform specific things to understand how to best utilize those. They’re gonna need to have some clear communication skills so that they can adequately respond. So, it all kind of depends on what we’re asking people to do and what we’ve seen in marketing as social came on the scene and it’s now, it’s been, quite a while, but as it came on the scene as people just said, “Okay, well you do marketing, so you pick up this new thing.” And this new thing just evolved and transformed so quickly into so many different areas that we weren’t doing a good job of kind of driving lines or dividing lines.

[00:06:20] Matt: Well, I think when it starts with the attitude of get the intern who knows Facebook and have them start posting, and then so many organizations, it was a matter of frequency rather than the message.

And so if that’s the way it starts, it’s not gonna grow well. The maturity is going to be stunted. And so, you described the manager level, the strategic level. So now I feel like, and especially with organizations like yours, we’re starting to define what those roles are and what’s expected.

I’m gonna lay this out. This is like the big question and because I get it a lot, and I also talk to people a lot when college kids, university kids graduate and they’ve got a marketing degree. Some of them even have some social media on them. What’s the biggest shock, what they get that first job?

[00:07:08] Jennifer: Oh, there’s been a few that I’ve seen. One right now is getting that first job, how hard it is. A lot of college grads are expecting that, you know, they just graduated and therefore they should be able to jump into a higher-paying job in digital media. And they’re not finding those positions as readily as they expect and part of it is because we’ve got a workforce right now that is overloaded. We’ve got a bunch of really qualified and experienced people who are looking for work. And so a lot of organizations are looking for that once they do land. I think what their shock is that they didn’t know what they didn’t know.

And I know that sounds silly cuz we were once that way when we entered the workforce, we said, Ooh, I didn’t know this about our, you know, our given industry. But right now they’re thinking, “Well, I grew up with Instagram. I know how it works.” What you use your social for as a person, a personal brand is not the same as a business brand.

The requirements and rules and regulations are different, and we’re not clearly, in most cases teaching that right now.

[00:08:19] Matt: Absolutely. I couldn’t agree more. And it shows definitely even students that are coming out with marketing degrees and there’s even digital marketing degrees being given out, but yet the depth of what they know.

I hate to criticize, but I have to, because even when I go into companies and train people that have had marketing degrees, what they’re coming out with is tactic-based information, rather than an understanding of the strategic level, and just like how you walk through those six areas of strategy, how it fits with corporate governments, with building a community, with integrating and supporting other departments.

There’s very little of that. And yet it seems to be mostly tactical, which means it’s going to be outdated by the time you hit the job market or within a year or two. And we’re seeing that not just in social media, but in digital marketing across the board.

[00:09:18] Jennifer: A hundred percent.

There are some schools and some professors doing a great job. Yes. So I don’t wanna lump them all in and say it’s not valuable. But you’re right. We, as an education profession, and I put myself in there, I spent 15 years in higher ed before transitioning into business leadership. And I still think what I do, Is education.

It just happens to be at the professional development level. And the reason I love what I do at this level is cuz we can move a little faster. And we can be a little bit more responsive to the needs of our market. Higher ed institutions struggle with some bureaucracy and some red tape, but they also have some traditions that don’t always help bring new media, new technologies, and new learnings easily into the classroom. And so we do, we see them struggling with theory versus strategy, which I would say are two very different things. We’ve got a lot of people teaching the history of social media.

Okay, great. You knew where it came from, but what does that do to help you today? How does that position that student to understand what we’re working with? And, something we talked about yesterday could be history tomorrow. It’s fun but not helpful. And then those tactical things that you talked about, those are what’s sexy, right?

That’s going to get the enrollments. People are gonna be excited to learn about TikTok, but if the professor has never used it in an agency or brand setting. Now again, we’re talking about theoretical applications of a platform and something that’s tactically going to go away or change or update by the time that student finishes their four-year degree.

And so how do we effectively position people? To get out into the workforce and strategy is the best way to do it.

[00:11:11] Matt: Absolutely. And one of the things I often find is, especially in the university setting, if they do study what’s working and they’re starting to drive into a more practical, they tend to focus on what brands are doing.

But what’s interesting is it’s the creators. It’s the individuals who are pushing the envelope, who are figuring out the algorithms, who are commanding millions of followers, and who have much deeper influence because they don’t have anything to lose. That’s Greg Jarbo, one of the other professors in OMCP, very similar, has a great story on some of this, that it’s the creators that are dominating everything, but yet we study what businesses are doing, but they’re way behind.

They’re afraid of tarnishing the brand. And so they’re very limited in what they’re doing.

[00:12:01] Jennifer: Hundred percent. There are some amazing creators out there doing great work, but they’re not necessarily being implemented in the brand world. Some brands do a good job, and then some are still in 19 98.

[00:12:18] Matt: Well, and on the converse side, some creators started just them and now they’re a corporation. Now they are a big brand. But yet it’s so fascinating how they have created their organization. Got a chance to talk with Matt Pat, who has millions of subscribers on YouTube.

He’s got a 40-person organization and most of them are dedicated to analytics. Finding out what’s working and developing new businesses, developing new content based on that, and it’s just so fascinating that here we have a social media-driven corporation, built on trial and error and testing, and how they’ve been able to succeed at that has just been fascinating.

And yet, I don’t think anyone will include that in any university curriculum.

[00:13:06] Jennifer: Probably not, and that’s unfortunate. Analytics is such a lost art. I mean, we have so much data in the digital space and most companies are not utilizing it. There was an organization that I had some connection with a few years back, and they paid for all of this amazing analytics tools and social listening tools, and they had it up in their offices.

But when asked how they used that information, they had no response. They weren’t using it at this point because they didn’t know what to do with that data. And I thought, what a waste.

[00:13:42] Matt: Well, and that’s the traditional approach, I think by businesses agencies, is spending on tools and not upskilling people, not focusing on the people’s ability to use those tools.

And I always was of the mind that if you train someone in analytics, it doesn’t matter what tool you’ve got. If they understand how to gather, analyze, and report. The tools are irrelevant because you have invested in that person. But to that point, it reminds me of, I think it was probably, around 2010 that time, I would go into companies and talk about analytics and they’d say, “Oh, we have Omniture.” I’m like, “Really? Where does it live? Which computer is it?”

And it’s on this dusty corner with cobwebs and it’s over there. We had training on it three months ago, but nobody knows how to use it. I heard that story over and over. Why is analytics? It’s so critical and everyone wants it.

It’s one of the top five jobs. But yet it’s always lagging in terms of competency. Is it just not as sexy as the rest of ’em?

[00:14:42] Jennifer: For those of us that love analytics, it’s a sexy opportunity. Right? It’s such a great thing. And I know some people that consider themselves huge data nerds and they just eat that up.

Honestly, I believe it’s driven by our organizations right now. We can bring data to the table of leadership, but if leadership doesn’t understand how data drives the decisions we’re making, then it’s seen as worthless or over their head or whatever- whatever scenario, right? You wanna enter in there and we as marketers need to better describe the data and the results that we’re seeing and why for our leadership.

But it all comes back to setting those goals in the first place. Do we understand the strategy for our different digital initiatives? And if we don’t, then we’re not measuring the right things and therefore we’re not seeing the value in that data.

[00:15:36] Matt: Absolutely. And you got to this when you were talking about from the strategic level as communication is one of those key skills.

And I see that as well in analytics, if you cannot communicate your insight, your recommendation, and then I love to add this little part, the financial impact of your recommendation. And what that means is you have to learn the language of the C-suite. You have to learn the language of management, which is financial because every other part of the organization runs on financial estimates and impacts.

I talked with one CEO, he knows the value of the square footage of every building of every office. And he knows how much of that square footage is taken up with paper files and, you know, he’s thinking financially. And in the back of my mind I’m going, “Oh, I pity any marketer who talks to him without an understanding of the financial impact of their recommendation. Cuz they will just- they’ll flame out and die right there if they can’t talk that language.”

[00:16:46] Jennifer: Oh. And some of that comes from a history of us not knowing early on when social came out, right? We’re testing different things and trying to get in front of people. And this is where creators, who became marketers, maybe have started this process a little bit where they didn’t know what, why it was working. They just knew it was working. And so that language was lost. And now marketers are saying, “Well, we can’t track that which I call bs.” We can accurately track things way better than we could with billboards and phone calls years ago, right? The data is there, but we don’t know how to use the language that the C-suite wants us to be using. And it’s not that difficult if we just stop and think about, “Okay, what is their goal?” Their goal is not to have more likes on Facebook. Their goal is to make money, sell more widgets, whatever the case may be.

To speak to them, about their goal and how your likes on Facebook relate. And I hate likes as an example, but you know, I use it,

[00:17:51] Matt: Well, but it’s likes and views and so this is one of the things and I love this, with the certification, one of the first things I do in my training is, I have the whole marketing team there and I ask them to write down two definitions.

What’s the definition of an impression and what’s the definition of a view? And it’s always shocking to them that there are as many definitions as there are people in the room. And this is where it starts. That if you don’t all agree, if you don’t know what these key definitions are, then why are they on your reports?

Cuz if it means something different to you, something different to you, something different to the C-suite, they think impressions are eyeballs, and we’ve got a problem. So this is one of the things I love about certification, is that certification brings about a common vocabulary that is, has been pulled together by experts and agreed upon, and that’s the beginning, I think, of an organization coming together to be mature in their marketing. If you could talk about why is so important to have those common terms, and common terminology within the organization and why does certification enable that in terms of a company building that maturity?

[00:19:12] Jennifer: So you’re a hundred percent on point. Most of all the areas we’ve been talking about so far.

There are so many different definitions. One of the things that both OMCP and the National Institute for Social Media have set out to do is create standards of practice. Those standards of practice that regardless of the company you work for or the platform you’re using, you can accurately communicate the goals, the objectives, the outcomes with your team, with the C-suite, with the stakeholders, whoever that might be.

And so having a common dictionary, if you will of terms that are being used by a professional group, allows us to understand each other better, allows us to be more efficient in our communications because we’re all on that same playing field, and allows us to speak a language that is uniform and understood by a wider population.

Certification allows for that. And it also, and people hate the term, but we’re assessing the individual skillset. It’s one thing to go through a class and say you learn it and it’s another to put that information down in an assessment and prove it. We all go to conferences and I’ve heard from people all the time, “Oh, I learned so much at that conference.”

And I’ll say, “What was one takeaway?” “Oh, well, there was one guy who talked about this thing…” and I’m like, “Okay.” Certification allows us to align and prove our expertise. But it’s all going to eventually go back to what we were talking about at the beginning, as the more that we are adopting standards of practice and the more people who are being assessed and proving to use those same standards of practice, the easier it’s gonna be for us to put out job descriptions with a common language to create some uniform job titles. Marketing has some of the wildest job titles I’ve ever seen. Let’s do some uniformity. Cause now we’re all speaking that same language, right?

[00:21:31] Matt: Yes. Job titles, it doesn’t take too much browsing on LinkedIn to start some eye rolls with some of the things that I’ve seen. Marketers are a unique bunch.

[00:21:40] Jennifer: Indeed. We are, and we wanna be creative. Right? And so that’s great, but the more creative you are, the less clear you are about what it is you do.

[00:21:48] Matt: Absolutely. Alright, I’m gonna throw some softballs at you. Jennifer, are you ready?

[00:21:53] Jennifer: I guess, yeah, let’s do it.

[00:21:54] Matt: Okay. All right. Why, if I am in marketing, should I consider getting a certification? Let’s say I’ve been in a role, I started as a social manager. I’ve been in the position for about two years. Why would I consider certification?

[00:22:09] Jennifer: There are multiple reasons for an individual some of the most common is to build credibility for those around you, right? We struggle in marketing a lot of times. Having a seat at the table or having our voice be heard. When you add an external certification to that, the industry standard, it provides you with a little bit more credibility with those people you’re trying to talk to.

It also gives you additional confidence. A lot of us, as we talked about, didn’t necessarily enter this field as marketers. We might have been the intern or the receptionist who knew Facebook, so it gives us confidence in knowing that what we know is the right thing and that we’re speaking the right language.

We know what the standards are within our industry. So those are a couple. Certification is proven to increase salary. The more professional development you have, the better you are at negotiating terms for a salary increase or perhaps a promotion, and then last but not least on my short list is gonna be professional development.

Industry certifications, like those offered through OMCP and ISN, require ongoing learning and reassessment. And that means in a world that changes as fast as digital marketing and social media do, you’re having to do something to keep up and you’re not becoming the dinosaur in the corner that’s always done it that way.

[00:23:35] Matt: Absolutely. I love those. And I know it was a softball question, and the thing is I was thinking about do I make this someone who’s two years enrolled or do I make someone who’s eight to 10 years in the role. What’s the difference there?

[00:23:46] Jennifer: The answer to those four 10-year-olds is there isn’t much difference.

It’s still gonna give that eight to marketers the credibility, and confidence. It gives that person additional credibility because what I’m seeing right now is as the hiring managers become younger, the more experienced. I’m being very politically correct with age conversation right now. But those of us that are a little bit more experienced, don’t believe we know the digital tools. And so a certification definitely can help us with the credibility piece there, but it still helps us with a salary increase. It helps us with job role changes and having that seat at the table and confidence in knowing that we are keeping up.

The one nice thing that I would add for that more experienced group is networking. A lot of us who have been in the industry for eight to 10 years perhaps are not as used to networking within the industry to keep up with different things that are happening, new changes, maybe funnels for our team to add new people and becoming a part of an organization like OMCP or in ISM will allow that to happen more freely.

[00:24:57] Matt: Great. I love that. Now let’s talk about what makes a certification. What goes into making a certification? If I’m a digital marketer and I’m gonna compare, there are certifications all over the place. How do I distinguish among different certifications?

[00:25:15] Jennifer: Oh, such a good question, and I get to nerd out a little bit on this. So, first of all, there are some clear definitions between like a certificate and a certification. A certificate means you showed up and attended, right? There might be assignments that you did in class or something like that but you’re not having a large assessment at the end.

You’re earning a certificate for completing a project or a class. A certification typically is held by a third party. And there is an assessment. That assessment can look different, right? In some places, it might be a multiple-choice exam like ours. Others might be project-based assessments or panel interview-type assessments.

But we’re assessing skills and knowledge experience but it’s typically done by a third party. A governing body OMCP and in NISMR There are platform certifications. So Meta, for example, has an ads certification where you can take a class, but then you have to pass a test. So that’s a situation where it’s not a third party, it’s meta doing it for its tools, but it is a platform-based or product-based certification.

So when you’re looking out there at the differences, you wanna look at the reputation of the organization, what goes into building it, which is one of your questions. For industry certifications like ours. This is not Jen’s test, right? Like I didn’t build it. You didn’t build it. There was a group of industry or subject matter experts that did a job or role delineation study, depending on the organization, what they call it.

But we do some analysis and research of the marketplace, what’s necessary, what’s needed, what are those standards. And then we create a certification that directly relates to those standards. And we update that cuz the marketplace changes. And so, for both of the organizations, we have advisory board meetings, we have subject matter experts and we do about every other year job studies that really evaluate social media or digital marketing and put together “Okay, are we on the same path?”

And that’s how those are built. There are a lot of other nerdy things that happen with certifications, are the test questions built properly? And there’s a fancy word called psychometrics that we have to use. No human needs to know that unless they’re in certification. But the nice part is when you are part of a certification like that, you get to know that people are doing that so that the test questions are not biased, they’re not weighted disproportionately.

They are meeting those standards and they’re laid out by a body that is ended keeping those standards up to date.

[00:28:08] Matt: I’m so happy you nerded out on that because that’s exactly what I wanted to know. And it is because part of it is there are training companies that offer certification, OMCP, and ISM.

You’re not a training company. What’s the difference between being strictly a third-party certification versus a training company that then gives you the certification? And you kind of answered there, I’m gonna let you tee off on that though.

[00:28:37] Jennifer: Yeah. So OMCP is a hundred percent separate, right?

So they only do the assessment and we provide educational partners and trainers with the standards. We say, here’s a list of standards. You build the class so that at least it meets these standards and prepares people to take the test. And ISM is a little bit different. We have kept a separation of church and state if you will.

So our advisory board creates the exam and issues the exam. The standards there are also provided externally. But then we do have an internal education team that has created some prep materials. And so the main differentiation there is that they’re not allowed to do both, right?


Your standards can be interpreted in more ways than one, but the important thing is that we’re not teaching to answer question A. We’re teaching to understand the process and material around those credentials, around those criteria, and then we can take questions one through five and answer them because we understand the process, the problem solving that’s come in, and it’s keeping that delineation of or separation of standards from education

[00:29:57] Matt: That is so important. I have seen so many training organizations create the training first. Then they create a test based on things in the training and call it a certification. And I’m trying to, you know, same with you, I am loudly proclaiming from the hilltops. That’s not certification. Actually, it’s closer to a platform certification that you explained earlier because it’s our content.

We created the test, but they’re not going through the rigors of the question evaluation. That is a true certification goes through. And I doubt many of those are even aware of that methodology of ensuring that these test questions are fair. That they are precise and that constant reviewing of the questions and the answers to be sure that they’re on target.

[00:30:44] Jennifer: We have to constantly evaluate the numbers. So we look at the questions on all of our exams, if there are outliers, so questions. Let’s say we had a question that passed all of the psychometrics reviews initially. But after we had a thousand test takers, we found that only 10% got that question right.

Okay. There’s something wrong with that question, so we look at the numbers, and on the other side, if you’ve got a question where a hundred percent of a thousand people are getting it right that’s a little too easy, so we find those middle ground and we have to use the data, right? To assess and look at the certification so that we’re making a fair and adequate assessment of people.

The other thing that most training companies don’t do, and I mentioned this a little bit earlier, but most certifications, require some sort of continuing education, or they will expire. A training company that has their own, it’s a one-and-done. And in marketing, I would be very careful of anything that’s one and done.

There’s nothing you learn today about Instagram. That will be the same in six months.

[00:31:46] Matt: Absolutely. And it’s so funny right now because the conference invitations are rolling in and all of them are asking for AI. AI in social media, AI in the video AI and how it’s going to change everything, and last year it was all metaverse. And so, we talked about at the beginning, the tactics are going to change, but one of the things that is most important, and this is why I like the competencies that have been produced by both organizations is they are, what they’re encouraging is critical thinking skills.

In a lot of companies, HR managers may evaluate these competencies looking for hard skills, but I mean, I’m gonna ask you because I know the answer. What’s going on with soft skills in the job market?

[00:32:34] Jennifer: Well I have some young professionals right now, and I can tell you the soft skills are insane. It’s incredible to me, and it’s happening in the job market too. We have somehow created an entire community or group of people who don’t know how to get to the bottom of a problem. We want to Google it or ask AI or, you know, go to somebody else and say, this is what’s going on. And the reality is sometimes we have to use our process of elimination to figure out what is really the situation, what is the problem here.

A good example might be crisis management and looking through the different levels of that in social or digital, right? How did the negative comment come through? What platform? How many people saw it? What about it was negative? Cause sometimes negative feedback is feedbacthe k that we just need to have. Sometimes it’s a troll just trying to do damage. Sometimes it’s legitimate feedback, but it’s harmful feedback. So we have to look at the different buckets that these things fall into, and then assess how we respond. What a lot of people are doing is responding the same way to everything, and that’s where you’re getting into trouble.

And some things are blowing up in a viral sense. They’re, this was an irrational response to a complaint. Or they’re ignoring things and allowing things to blow up. And the reality is, we have to take those things and look at them and say, “Okay, this is a troll.” We’re gonna ignore the troll because our community knows better than to listen to somebody just spewing nonsense.

This is somebody with negative feedback, but we control this. So let’s respond positively and help create a narrative that shows we’re listening. We’re taking that feedback and addressing it, and we’re helping that person have a better customer experience, likely even making them loyal customers in the future.

Or wait, this is above my pay grade because this is a very serious issue. I need to escalate this quickly, maybe even get legal involved, and then find the best way to respond. So we’ve got different buckets and we need to critically analyze those things. And look at it and we’re not doing a good job of teaching our professionals how to do those things.

[00:34:58] Matt: No, and I think it goes back to what we were talking about in analytics. If we’re not preparing students, again, we’re teaching ’em tactics, but we’re not teaching critical and creative thinking skills, problem-solving skills, information evaluation skills like you said is and treating everything equally.

It’s because we’ve not given. And the thing is, these are not just skills for the workplace. These are life skills of determining, “What do I pay if I have a limited budget, what do I pay first? I kind of need my electricity to run my laptop, so let’s make that a” but I think that it goes to analytics, it goes to be able to make decisions about issues large and small, but I agree, and this is something that I’ve seen in both corporate education, but also in working with university level, its this inability or unwillingness to just sit down and try and solve a problem. It’s- someone else is gonna do it or that’s someone else’s job or AI should be able to do it.

But yeah I see that. And it’s showing as well in the LinkedIn skills report, which I’m sure you kind of looked over there as well, that communication skills, problem skills, management skills. It doesn’t matter what industry it is, they’re all asking for those same and I know everyone it’s starting to become popular to call them soft skills.

They’re human skills.

[00:36:24] Jennifer: Yeah, exactly. I don’t like soft because they’re really valuable and soft implies they are less than important, but…

[00:36:31] Matt: But they are in demand and especially when we see the market changing as much as it does I’m seeing, and now here, I’m seeing rumblings of adaptability is the key skill.

That I think is gonna, as things and the speed of things at which changed in the past year, I said has defreased.

[00:36:47] Jennifer: Oh, a hundred percent. Yeah. I would agree. It’s interesting to watch too with COVID and the changes that we had to make rapidly when Covid hit in 2020, and now organizations are going okay, but we don’t have to do that anymore, so we’re gonna try to rapidly change things back again.

And it’s like, “Wait, okay. Whoa, stop for a second. What’s the rationale for making the change back? Is it better than it was before? Because if it is in certain ways, then why don’t you continue that? And if it isn’t, then let’s think through first how to do that and how do you get some buy-in with that?”

Usually, rapid pivots are not the best way to get buy-in for people. Whiplash does not help get them to say, I need to do this. And honestly, the same thing goes for something I’ve dealt with for, you know, the last 10, 12 years in social media marketing is make this happen, do social media, and it’s supposed to be done in a week or two.

We’re gonna see revenue flying in. Things take time, it takes time to build community. It takes time to speak to your audience and help them see the vantage of what you’re doing. Yeah, we need to teach our people how to think critically, not go for that viral flash-in-the-pan type thing but be looking critically at what’s gonna move the needle for our business in the right direction for the longer term.

[00:38:12] Matt: I told someone the other day, they were asking about training and I was telling them if you’re gonna do content marketing, it should be a five-year plan.

And they about choked on their coffee. I’m not gonna deliver you results in two quarters. I mean, that’s, this is long term. I said this is everything to do with your corporate communications. If I told you to change your corporate communications in a matter of six weeks, would you do that?

But that’s what content marketing is doing is so, so we’ve talked about individuals. What about teams? HR departments adopt certification as part of either an evaluation or an internal professional development process. Is that happening and what have been the advantages of some of that?

[00:38:53] Jennifer: Oh, a hundred percent it’s happening in both organizations. We’ve got some larger companies or smaller companies, frankly, who are using this for a couple of different possibilities, right? We’ve had some social media agencies or public relations agencies who go through and get their entire team certified at the same time.

It’s a great way to make sure everyone’s speaking the same language, back on inefficient communication. But we also have companies who are using it, like you said you know, you’re here for six months now. I want you to go out and get this industry certification. It’s an incentive.

Keeps people engaged in the organization, but they’ve learned the basics of the company culture, and the brand. But now we wanna make sure that you understand the big picture of digital marketing and so they’re going out and sending their people in, some people at six months, some organizations we work with, it’s, you know, six months after they’ve been there.

Some, it’s a year. Summit, it’s right away. It just kind of depends on the goal for the company. It really has shown benefits in efficiency, in communications. It’s also shown benefits in helping identify individuals skillsets. So people might go in, for example, on the OMCP side, they might have the OMCA certification, which covers eight different digital marketing competencies or areas.

Well, you might find that you’ve got a team of 25 and Susie over here is really good at mobile and John over here is really good at pay per click. Why do we have to make them do all eight? They know them they can work really well together and understand how they come together, but let’s focus on the areas in which Susie and John are really experts and excel in those areas, and so it’s helping teams grow, be more efficient keep people longer cuz they believe in them and they’re receiving professional development. It is so many positive things that are coming outta it.

[00:40:56] Matt: But you brought that up. I mean, how important is professional development and internally building that education, encouraging certifications? How important is that for retention?

[00:41:09] Jennifer: Yeah. I wish I had a quote for you or a statistic to give you right now. I don’t. We are in the process of working on a new study so we’ll ask that question.

[00:41:17] Matt: Oh, great.

[00:41:18] Jennifer: But the last time we evaluated it, there was more than 60% of the people that were pulled into marketing stayed at a job because it offered professional development. Development opportunities and it’s higher than wanting more money. People are staying because they want to feel valued.

And when you’re offering them opportunities to learn, to grow, and to get better at their job, That’s building loyalty and showing that you’re valued. Just giving you a little bump in your paycheck doesn’t necessarily show today’s workforce that you’re valued.

[00:41:55] Matt: Wow. I love that. That the company is investing in the employee and Wow! That’s amazing. I like the statistic. Anyway, we’ll get it later, but that is just, that’s great. I love it. Because I think it does so much more for building a culture of encouraging learning, of encouraging this, and the companies can, as you said, more efficiencies that I think is the key.

The key aspect here is that efficiency because before that everyone was doing their own thing with their definition. Now we’re aligned.

[00:42:28] Jennifer: A hundred percent. It’s so funny cuz 10 years ago when I talked to companies about, keeping people engaged, they’re like, we’ll start having, you know, beer in the fridge and we can do beer on Fridays or whatever, and we’ll have these comfy, I think of beanbag chairs, but these lounge areas and whatnot.

We’ll do all those. That’s what people want. The reality is that’s not what people are wanting. People want to feel intellectually valued for what they know they want to be invested in, and professional development helps that, especially when it’s specific to certifications in their industry.

It’s not like we’re asking them to sit down and watch, how to handle conflict video. That was done in 1982 for the 20th time, right? I’m not, we’re talking about different professional development opportunities here.

[00:43:14] Matt: Oh, that’s amazing. I love it because I’m remembering that experience in my head of that. What I love about these certifications is, I mean, to me, this whole digital marketing industry is fun. It’s funny cuz I talk to people and I absolutely love what I do and when other people hear that it’s always, kind of, the reaction is interesting.

It’s like they just can’t believe it. And to explain it is just interesting. You know, I’m trying to tell ’em, well, you know, I teach digital marketing, but also do it. And we’re developing this and just talking about it is seems to be such a foreign concept and digital marketing seems to be one of those unique areas where it’s just plain fun.

[00:44:00] Jennifer: It is plain fun, and probably because you and I maybe both strive for variety and we get that in spades. But that creativity piece too, that you were talking about earlier, you know, we can use that even in analysis. You can get creative and do data charts and, you know, visualizations and have some really great outcomes in ways that are helpful for you and for your organization. So, I don’t know. I love it. I think it’s fun too. I tell people all the time that, you know, yes, I’m a business owner and leader. That’s my main role. But I love speaking about social media and digital marketing. I love teaching it. And I even pick up a client or two once in a while because if I don’t, I’m gonna become the person in the thing that I despise.

Which is the out of date, out of touch individual who’s never done it, and that won’t be me.

[00:44:54] Matt: No, absolutely not. Staying sharp in this industry I think is one of the biggest things we need to do. And I love what you’re doing and what are the plans? I mean, you just acquired OMCP, there’s still a lot going on there. What are the plans? What are the big ideas that are kind of coming around here?

[00:45:13] Jennifer: So there’s a few fun things I can’t share, but what I will share is we’ve got, I know, not yet.

[00:45:18] Matt: I knew it, I knew there was something you’re gonna hold back.

[00:45:22] Jennifer: But there are some really great opportunities for us to put really amazing communities together and so that is one of the things we are definitely working to do is find a way to introduce the OMCP people to the NISM people share ideas, share experiences. Share professional development opportunities and learn and network and grow together.

So those are coming, that might look differently depending on what works with our audiences. We’re global and so it’s really hard to just say, we’re gonna all meet up at, Minneapolis, Minnesota and say hey, right? Cause that’s probably not geographically a great location for some people.

[00:46:02] Matt: No. The Tim Horton’s down on the corner, you know, Minnesota, I’m wearing my flannel.

[00:46:10] Jennifer: You’ve got it going. It’s good.

But there will be some opportunities for that. For example, OMCP will be sponsoring the Minnesota Search Summit happening in June here. We’re gonna do a happy hour and try to introduce those that are local.

To the Minneapolis St. Paul area, both on OMCP and NISM side of the house to each other. So those are different opportunities I wanna get going across the globe, but we’ve got some good learning opportunities that we’re doing virtually as well. Together, those things are happening. We’re toying with a online professional development membership opportunity but there’s more to come there.

So we’re really just working with lots of angles on how to help the folks in this industry and in our community specifically get more from their certification. Whether that is because we’re connecting them with more opportunities because we’re connecting them to each other, we’re helping them educate how to speak about their certification.

Okay. We’re really just wanting to help develop community in these brands.

[00:47:18] Matt: Love it. Absolutely love it. And I think the strong points over the next few years is that community. Building up the networking, finding out who’s there. I know being an OMCP member, I would absolutely love to have a roster of people just so, as opportunities arise, you know, there’s some alumni organizations I’m with where it’s on WhatsApp and people are saying, I need someone who can do this, need someone who can do this. So I’m looking forward, Jennifer, to that. And of course, give me a call anytime you need any help.

[00:47:50] Jennifer: Absolutely will. No I’m really excited about that.

We’re also gonna see more places teaching to the OMCP, OMCA and NISM standards. So more colleges and universities that are bringing in certifications as value add, those are those cutting edge ones that we were talking about earlier. The few and far between that are doing some strategy planning and that will help us create a bigger community and network as well. So some of those things are for sure in our future.

[00:48:20] Matt: Fantastic, and I am absolutely loving some of these adjunct professors that are coming in and shaking things up. I was contacted by one the other day. She had listened to one of my older podcasts on ad fraud, and she was having her students research and report on ad fraud, and I love you. I’m like, yes. You’re not just teaching how awesome programmatic is, you’re making them solve problems and find out why. What’s the danger of it? And so, oh I’m like, you are my new favorite. This is great stuff, Jennifer. Thank you so much for your time today. I really appreciate you coming on the show.

[00:48:56] Jennifer: Oh, it was a pleasure. I always loved talking about this stuff.

[00:49:00] Matt: I could tell. Okay, here’s the question. If someone wants to know more about OMCP or NISM, how can they find out more? How can they learn more? How can they find you?

[00:49:13] Jennifer: Yeah, so I can give you the websites, the for the Online Marketing Certified Professional and for the National Institute for Social Media.

Otherwise, if people wanna find me directly, you can find me on LinkedIn, Jennifer Radke or at RadkeJen on Twitter, or pretty much any other social platform. I am happy to answer questions. I know people sometimes say, I don’t wanna reach out to the CEO. Do it, I might be slow sometimes in responding, but I do my best.

I really wanna be able to provide, value and benefit, so reach out.

[00:49:55] Matt: Absolutely. And I would encourage any listener, take her up on that because especially the certification organizations, Michael with OMCP before, now, you, they are more than happy to answer questions about certification, explain any questions you have about that.

And I know I’ve had a few students that have talked to you and it’s one thing when the trainer or training company is saying it, but to get it checked on by the certification company, that’s a lot of credibility there to go back to one of the things you said.

So yeah, definitely take her up on that, Jennifer.

[00:50:31] Jennifer: I encourage it.

[00:50:31] Matt: Absolutely. Thank you again. I appreciate your time and this has been a wonderful conversation today.

[00:50:37] Jennifer: Thank you so much, Matt.

All right. Dear listener, thank you for tuning into another edition of the Endless Coffee Cup Podcast. I hope you enjoyed this, learned from it, and if you haven’t looked into certification, I highly do recommend it.

You can, of course, always contact, or you can talk to Jennifer directly. Until then, I look forward to our next conversation over coffee on the Endless Coffee Cup podcast.

Endless Coffee Cup podcast

Featured Guest:

Jennifer Radke

President, National Institute for Social Media

Jennifer Radke



Digital Marketing Training Courses

Learn @ SiteLogic