Digital marketing: raising standards across the globe

Operating in more than 100 countries, the Digital Marketing Institute has certified more marketing professionals to a single digital education standard than any other body

Ken Fitzpatrick, chief executive, Digital Marketing Institute: ‘Digital marketing skills are more important than ever and we are responding with training and certification programmes all over the globe.’ Picture: Fergal Phillips

With the acceleration in our reliance on digital products and services brought on by the pandemic, global demand for the skills taught by the Digital Marketing Institute (DMI) have never been more in demand.

“Digital marketing skills are more important than ever and we are responding with training and certification programmes all over the globe,” said Ken Fitzpatrick, chief executive of the Digital Marketing Institute.

Although headquartered in Ireland, DMI does most of its business overseas, according to Fitzpatrick. “We are the global leader in digital marketing training and certifications, operating in well over 100 countries from our base in Dublin.”

DMI has certified more marketing professionals to a single digital education standard than any other certification body.

“We are the largest certification body in digital marketing with over 32,000 people certified,” Fitzpatrick said.

DMI was established in 2009 and Spectrum Equity, the US growth equity firm, became its majority shareholder in 2017. The company employs 78 people at offices in Dublin, Dallas in the US and Brisbane in Australia.

“There is a large skills gap in digital marketing globally and we are helping to fill that gap by training and certifying marketers to a consistent standard,” he said.

DMI’s biggest market is the US, followed by Britain, then Ireland, Canada and Australia. “Our US market has grown significantly since the start of the pandemic, when a new partnership with the American Marketing Association propelled our business there over the 18 months.”

Digital marketing is fairly consistent worldwide, Fitzpatrick added. “The same social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, have a presence all over the world.

“Since our model is online learning, this lends itself to overseas expansion and has proven a big benefit to us during the pandemic. We are also fortunate that, during Covid, most companies accelerated their digital transformation and needed people to upskill in this area.”

The Digital Marketing Institute was uniquely positioned to address this growing global skills gap through its “innovative, industry-validated” certification programmes, Fitzpatrick said. “We recently agreed a partnership with the Australian Marketing Institute whereby they are endorsing a DMI programme for Australian marketers.”

With the largest network of marketers across Australia, the Australian Marketing Institute has been supporting the career progression of members since 1933.

“DMI is the only international provider endorsed by the AMI and DMI Pro is the only professional certification endorsed by AMI,” Fitzpatrick said.

“Endorsement means that the AMI recognises the quality and value of DMI Pro to the marketing profession and the impact on a learner’s knowledge and skills to perform in their job role.”

The Australian contract followed a similar partnership agreed last year by DMI with the American Marketing Association in the US.

“When you study for a digital marketing certification with them, it is our programme you complete. You get a cert from DMI and from the American Marketing Association when you finish,” Fitzpatrick said.

“We have also significantly increased the number of university customers delivering our programme in the recent past, including UCD here at home, plus universities like Penn State, Auburn University, the University of California and the University of Northampton overseas.”

A DMI programme is also being used by Sport England, a government body in Britain, to help sports clubs learn how to use digital marketing to encourage people to get out and exercise as Covid restrictions are eased.

“Since the start of the pandemic, we have reduced pricing for customers and also introduced a significant increase in free training, skills resources and technical support,” Fitzpatrick said.

“We increased the communications, technical and health and wellbeing support for our team working in a remote environment.

“All of these actions and strategic responses remain in place. We are in an industry where, thankfully, demand has increased as digital transformations have accelerated, but the strategic changes we made helped both our customers and our team.”

DMI is one of 25 new winners this year in Ireland’s Best Managed Companies awards programme. The welcome accolade gave due recognition to its “fantastic team,” Fitzpatrick said.

“It brings genuine recognition of the team we have, and to the work they do. That is important to note. It’s great to have external recognition of their efforts for our customers.

“In addition, the award gives us added credibility. There is media exposure and the opportunity to potentially network with other winners.”