What makes a great training accreditation?

By Anna Rivers, Marketing Manager

The objectives for, and early results of, the IDM’s Professional Certificate in GDPR course greatly impressed the 2018 memcom judging panel at awards entry stage back in February this year. It was a pleasure to then see the IDM taking home the trophy for the Best Training/Accreditation Initiative at the awards ceremony in May. This award recognised innovation in creating training or accreditation materials, programmes, courses or events as well as the legacy of the initiative itself.

The Professional Certificate in GDPR course is a Level 5 professional qualification, equivalent to a foundation degree. The IDM commissioned noted experts in the GDPR and data law to produce modules on eight different topics, giving specific detail on what marketers now need to know.

For the IDM, the aim was to produce a course to help marketers manage their business transition to the GDPR or for those who aspire to the role of Data Protection Officer, a role many larger companies now need in order to handle the management of data.

“The GDPR changes how marketers around the world operate. But we know that many have found the new law to be confusing, while many others see the law as a direct threat to their business. We also know that real experts are thin on the ground. Making the course was down to the generosity of the dozens who contributed their expertise in order to make the course as comprehensive as possible and to dispel the many myths around the GDPR. We also hoped to give individuals the confidence to grow their business by embracing the GDPR. It’s the law after all. We’re obviously delighted that the judges have recognised this hard work.” Ed Owen, Head of Programme Content, IDM

Digital courses can be dry. This course aims to enrich the experience by supplementing the detailed e-books with other material such as webinars from noted experts to take the student through some of the tougher concepts and guides that students can use immediately in their business. One example included alongside the IDM awards entry demonstrated just this – the Legitimate Interests Assessment checklist. This allows a marketer to test whether their campaign can be run using Legitimate Interests – a legal alternative to consent. The concept is notoriously difficult to understand, and more difficult again, to decide whether the use of Legitimate Interests is, well, legitimate. The IDM’s checklist is designed to make the call simple – those responses adding weight to a marketer’s claim go to one column, those responses counting against your claim go in the other column. As a marketer myself, I really appreciate this straightforward guide!

We’re aiming to interview all our memcom 2018 trophy winners over the next few months in order to understand the background to their success, sharing their insight and learnings with our audience. A huge thanks to the IDM’s Ed Owen, Head of Programme Content, for answering our questions below…

The GDPR is notoriously difficult to understand, how did the IDM make the training and learnings easily accessible?

Apparently, engineers solve problems by breaking them up into smaller problems and then solve those individual problems. This was basically the approach taken here, to package the legislation up into smaller bits and then tackle those specific areas.

How did you promote the training?

We have our own alumni and interested parties to contact and we are part of the DMA which gives us good links with industry. In addition, the DMA Group has good links with the Information Commissioner’s Office, which is the body that polices the GDPR. Through all of these avenues we were able to get the message out to industry.

At the time of the awards entry, the course had broken even and was quickly approaching double the return on investment. Do you have any learnings to share from this success?

Make the course relevant and worthwhile.

Could you offer some top GDPR tips to help membership professionals?

There is one thing any business can do that will help them get their head around the GDPR, which is to remember that the customer data they use is exactly that – it belongs to the customer (or potential customer), and not to your business. Once businesses understand this, then understanding the GDPR becomes easier.

What did you enjoy about this year’s memcom awards?

It was so slick, and the staff really made you feel welcome – I genuinely enjoyed it before I discovered that we had won an award.

What did you enjoy about this year’s memcom conference?

Perspective. It’s easy to get bogged down in what you are doing. Hearing what others are involved with was genuinely insightful.


Would you like to feature on our blog? If you would like to share any tips or learnings with your peers in the membership sector please get in touch with anna@memcom.org.uk  – we’d love to hear from you.