It’s one of the industry’s worst-kept secrets that our world is a fractured one. With agencies constantly creating, testing and innovating on behalf of clients, it’s rare that one day in advertising looks the same as the next. And as data and technology become increasingly sophisticated, the media discipline is often the hardest-hit by knowledge gaps opened by an ever-expanding landscape.
Luckily, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has a solution: the Digital Media Buying & Planning Certification program, which will allow those who engage to be recognized as having a solid foundational knowledge of such fields as media channels, purchasing methods and measurement/attribution.
Similar exams already exist for ad sellers and publishers, and knowing that potential partners have invested in training and certification has always been a boon for media planners and buyers; however, their agency counterparts have always suffered from an uneven level of knowledge. Polling ten different planners about one subject might yield as many as ten different answers.
At the heart of the issue is that, until now, there has been no comprehensive, formal education program for media planners and buyers. While major platforms might offer training classes and senior members of media departments guide their juniors, training and development can take a backseat to client, new business or internal agency work. As well, learning within an agency setting can be limited by the knowledge an agency has. With the IAB and the 4As at the helm of the new certification program, there is finally an opportunity to establish a baseline of comprehensive knowledge among all planners and buyers.
But the program is not intended only to teach; the final exam is also designed as a critical thinking tool to help participating planners and buyers come to the most strategic conclusions. When developing the exam, media leadership from a group of diverse agencies placed an emphasis on what the exam could teach as well as what it could measure. The end result is a test that will allow those with 1-2 years of experience in the field to demonstrate to clients and agencies – whether current or prospective – that they have a proven and actionable understanding of core media concepts.
Media is a living, breathing thing – just like a day in advertising, it changes from one day to the next. By demonstrating their comprehensive understanding of the ecosystem through this certification program, planners and buyers will have a competitive edge that will prove invaluable as they grow in their careers.
Those interested can visit iab.com or participate in monthly informational sessions to learn about upcoming exam prep sessions.