When anyone with access to a computer, internet access and a couple of followers can claim to be a ‘digital marketing professional’ how can agencies differentiate themselves in such a way that leaves the novice accountable for himself and the professionals accountable for their actions? This answer was the focal point of Firewater’s most recent TILT session with Dr Ivor Blumenthal.
Blumenthal who is the CEO of Ark Konsult is working towards setting up a professional body for the digital industry, enlightened us about why our industry has no professional recognition and why we, the digital marketing industry, need to band together to create one. Without a professional body, our industry runs the risk of losing its identity. Without a professional body, our industry cannot take responsibility for what is and is not our fault and we cannot take advantage of lifelong learning (CPD) opportunities. “Simply put, if your industry does not establish a home for your professionals then you are going to lose who you are and who you could become,” said Blumenthal.
Dr Blumenthal explained that in order to be regarded as a professional, a person needs to be accountable for three things. The first is competency, “Whether this means you have a degree or you are self-taught, you need to show the employer that you can fulfil the job requirements that they are looking for,” said Blumenthal. Second is a portfolio of evidence. “If you have worked on 30 projects, you need to prove it within your portfolio of evidence. Lastly, “You need to be ethical.” The way in which you behave needs to be ethical because when push comes to shove, you want to be reassured that the person you are doing business with will always do the right thing.
The establishment of a digital professional body is more than simply what the professionals do; it is a guarantee that the work produced is up to standard. By having a professional body in place, digital practitioners can show accountability to themselves, their peers, their employers and the public. “The public need to be reassured that the professionally designated individual is completely competent, ethical and committed to a lifelong pursuit of self-development,” explained Blumenthal.
When the idea of lifelong learning was addressed, Blumenthal used a great example of a doctor. “Would you trust a doctor who qualified 30 years ago and has not been to a medical conference since? I know I wouldn’t.” The concept of constant learning is extremely important within our industry too, since technologies and best practice is constantly evolving.
“Professionals are always learning and are always trying to better themselves for the sake of their work,” Blumenthal said.
At Firewater we are always looking to expand our minds, our knowledge and our expertise and TILT is simply one example of this.
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