Personalization, lead scoring, tracking, custom web content and more, are all things that help marketers truly connect with customers and enable them to grow their digital experience maturity. In this blog, Jessica Katz, Managing Director at GoldenComm, tells us how the certified marketer exam has helped level up her knowledge of these capabilities in Kentico.
Jessica Katz, Managing Director at GoldenComm (an international web development and digital marketing agency and Kentico Gold Partner), has passed the Kentico Certified Marketer exam. As the marketing automation expert in her organization, she was the company guinea pig for taking the course. Let’s dive into her thoughts on the course and the benefits she and her company has garnered since her certification.
Why did you decide to take the course?
As a digital marketing agency, it was important for us to be able to prove our level of expertise and business acumen to our clients. I was also aware that Kentico Xperience 13 had leveled up to meet the marketing automation requirements customers really need. And when I say automation, I don’t just mean drip campaigns – I mean the ability to implement personalization, lead scoring, tracking, custom web content (and more), and tie all of that into automation that helps create efficiencies in one’s business processes.
How much time did you spend on the course and exam?
I made the course a priority and spent a good deal of time on it. As with any project or objective; if it’s important to you, you will make the time.
I went through every module, quiz, and training exercise available for content creators and marketers. Though I am familiar with Kentico and have an extensive background in marketing, I really wanted to take advantage of the depth the course offered.
I liked that I could easily pop back into the home screen to see where I had left off and really appreciated the progress bar that showed how much time I had left to complete any given module.
I made sure to carefully plan and block time in my day to study. When it came to the exam, I took it late at night, knowing I could focus and not be interrupted. Overall, I probably spent 30+ hours on the course and used the full 90 minutes on the exam.
Which topics did you draw most inspiration from?
I learned an incredible amount of information. One takeaway that was a surprise to me but incredibly valuable, was how to handle URLs when dealing with a multi-language site. There are some careful considerations for URL structure that can get a little complicated. I appreciated that this was called to the attention of those taking the course. If I run up against this, I will know what to do and that there is supporting Kentico documentation that covers it in great detail.
In terms of inspiration, one of the biggest struggles I see with clients is that their marketing teams lack the ease and flexibility to move quickly and without having to wait on developers. But the way Kentico allows your site to be set up with custom widgets is quite impressive. It puts the power back into the hands of the marketer, enabling them to create landing pages on the fly, all while maintaining things like proper branding, page elements, and custom form logic and validation.
Not only can a marketer quickly create a new landing page for a campaign, but they can also personalize the content in each widget with any persona-based messaging they would like, and can even A/B test them. On top of that, they can leverage new data with what feels like an endless library of macro conditions in order to appropriately segment and target. This all happens without having to “bug” a developer or BI team. (The site and widgets need to be built to support this, of course).
For me, this is powerful not only for coming up with ideas to help our clients take their marketing to the next level, but it’s a great discussion point in the sales process. As teams are thinking about how they want their internal workflows to happen, and how their company needs each team to touch the website in order to accomplish their goals, this is a solution for just that.
Why would you say the tech side is so important to marketers?
At the end of the day, I’d say almost all true marketing automation systems can accomplish the same thing. But what is most important to understand is how to get what you need done inside the system you have chosen.
In fact, so much of marketing automation happens before you can even touch the system. As with any large-scale systems implementation (think ERP, CRM, etc.) there is an incredible amount of planning that needs to happen upfront. Specific to marketing automation, it’s things like: personas, segments, workflows, lead score thresholds, content (so, so much content), emails, landing pages, forms, personalization, and more. In order to be successful in the implementation of all of these items, you need to understand the system you are going to implement them in. That is why this course has been so helpful on the technical front. (Don’t skip the sandbox environment and exercises!)
Having a new lens on the marketing tech inside of the Kentico platform gives our team the confidence we need to guide our clients on their marketing journey. It can get very complicated, very quickly. However, the course clearly defines the levels and layers of marketing capabilities, so you can crawl or run, depending on where your/your client’s organization is at.
What have you and your team noticed since your certification?
I would say that the biggest positive outcome of understanding the marketing tech inside of Kentico and what levers need to be pulled in order to accomplish a particular goal, is our enhanced ability to strategically consult on the marketing features with our clients based on their specific business case.
Additionally, since completing the course, it has been great to discuss and strategize with our Director of Project Management, Chief Delivery Officer, and Chief Technology Officer. Since our CTO heads up our .NET Back-End dev team, and our CDO heads up the Front-End dev team, we all have different expertise and views as to how we can leverage Kentico for our clients in separate technical areas. So being able to come together and discuss the solution holistically has been great.
In addition, I have had some fruitful discussions with the marketing division of our agency. This course and certification are something I would like to get a few more of our team members to go through. The level of technical education you get is very thorough and unlike a lot of the certification courses I have been through for other platforms.
What would you say to someone considering getting certified?
As Coach John Wooden says: “If I am through learning, I am through.” I like to think that marketers are inherently curious people – and if you are passionate about your marketing skills, this is a great course to dive into and level up with. The course and certification are a lot, but whether you are someone who likes to take their time over many weeks, or binge it in one, I think you will be surprised at how well thought-out it is. This isn’t a “fluffy” certification.
If you or your clients are leveraging Kentico, this is valuable. I don’t feel like I wasted my time. It was a solid refresher on the things I did know, and a great resource for pointing out the things I didn’t know. It speaks to the technically savvy marketer who thrives in the web world.
How can I level up my marketing knowledge?
Education is key. Delivering results is dependent on knowing how to leverage the right tools to maximize your marketing impact.
If you want to really take control of your marketing, talk to one of our experts about Kentico. Or if you are already using the digital experience platform, you too can take the certification like Jessica.
I have been in the field of digital marketing and websites since 2008, and with GoldenComm (a Kentico Gold Partner) since 2015. We are headquartered in Newport Beach, CA and we specialize in making websites work harder. Though my current role of Managing Director touches many aspects of our business, I have an extensive background in marketing. I serve as the company expert in marketing automation, and am often involved in projects to strategically advise on advanced marketing initiatives. Every day I get to do what I love: help businesses adapt, grow, and thrive through the use of technology.