Certification Program: A Winning Chip For Marketing

The Big Picture

Some of the world’s biggest brands, namely Starbucks, Nike, Google, were initially built through their communities. The most significant benefit of a certification is the community of dedicated professionals that you’re helping make.

The perfect example of community building through certification would be L’Oréal and their salon certification program, which helped them become one of the most renowned companies in the world.

How Can a Certification Program Help My Business Model?

Organisations develop certification programs when they want to create a preference in the marketplace for various types of people or technology. Certification helps validate the efforts of people who have invested their time and energy to learn how to implement a standard or best practice.

And certifications are a very powerful tool for driving market adoption of a standard or skill set. For the leading customer experience platform service provider, the certification program had clear benefits.

 

Helped Standardise Their Position in The Industry

In business, potential clients decide to choose either you or a competitor. It’s an ‘either/or’ proposition.

A certification program allowed the company to define the rules for the industry, in turn, making the decision-making process for their potential clients an easier one. They did this by influencing their buyers to choose them because they were seen as having the edge over competitors

Zipf’s Law states that the marketplace will choose the company or person seen to be on top of that industry.

Reached Their Potential Clients Through the Community

Certification is more than just a training and validation that someone goes through. It’s an opportunity to attract the best clients in the industry to assist you to move into new marketplaces, and this organisation knew how to take advantage of that.

“Entrepreneurs must have a base of loyal customers who are willing to pay a premium price—it is even better if these people become advocates—thereby creating a massive, loyal and vocal unpaid sales’ force.” – New York Times Bestselling authors Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman

Protected their business from competitors

With a certification program, they positioned themselves instantly ahead of their competitors—making it increasingly difficult for others to compete against them—especially since they leveraged their certification program with a co-branding opportunity for their clients.

This created two types of royalties for the company:

Monthly usage-based fees (Their customers, trainers and coaches paid them monthly payments for long-term assistance.); and

Lump-sum royalties (These were payments made to the company by the clients, trainers and coaches who were certified by them also to use the systems with their own clients.)

But the initiative did come with its share of obstacles

Challenges You Will Face in The Certification Program

There are several challenges the company considered before setting up a certification program. The chief ones were the program’s foundation, scale, legal issues, pricing and the need to anticipate problems before they appeared. Within all this, the company also had specific requirements as to how they wanted their certification program to work

Scale

When setting up the certification program, the organisation expected to interact with an entirely new set of customers. The organisation was opening itself up to interactions with anyone who wanted to be in its marketplace, not just its existing members.

Therefore, it had to consider the potential reach of its program and how far and wide it would like it to spread. The organization pondered upon some of the following questions:

How far reaching a program did they want to implement?

The number of people could they feasibly put through the process

Possibility of promoting the certification to a larger number of people

Authenticity

Building a strong foundation was crucial because, by their nature, certifications are intended to alter the way people buy and sell goods and services, so a solid sense of the program’s goal had to be present from the beginning. This foundation was also responsible for establishing the standard competence level.

Automation

Throughout the process of setting up the certification program, automation was one crucial factor which held the company back. They wanted to deploy a seamless process right from registration of a candidate and payment to the training, certificate generation and record updating. They wanted to do it right, and fast.

Hurdle-Busting: How They Solved the Problems

Given the above hurdles, it made sense to the organization to engage a third party to help set up their certification program. In addition to providing for a shared-cost infrastructure, an independent, vendor-neutral third party also would also be able to help with planning for the evolution of the certification.

This is where the company met Mettl.

Create, Schedule and Conduct Tests – Online Assessment Platform

Easy to author tests, item & response randomization throughout an assessment, Permission based content access, multi-language support, ready to use catalogue of over a hundred thousand questions in 10,000 banks were some of the key features that convinced the company to partner with Mettl in creating their certification program.

Monitor – Remote Invigilation and Auto Proctoring

In evaluating Mettl as a partner, the company was largely impressed with the former’s advanced web proctoring platform, which remotely authenticated users, prevented cheating, impersonation, and any other activities of the kind – cases that would compromise the integrity of any assessment.

Award Certificates Real-time on Assessment Completion – Certification Engine

The certification engine allowed the company to design and customize the certificates with candidate data and QR Code, which could be verified both offline and online. They also explored the process of awarding certificates based on gamified workflows and pre-set performance criteria.

Integration of PayPal – Payment Gateway

The integration of payment gateway with their certification program allowed them to overcome a huge geographical barrier – the ability to accept payments from any country without payment restrictions and minimal taxation

Report – Results and Analytics

In-depth comprehensive reports on candidate performance, question by question analysis  with built-in graphs and charts, combined group reports with benchmark scores, and reporting dashboard for quick slice and dice through results was an insight the company did not want to miss as it provided them valuable data to improve both their certification program and products.



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