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December 19, 2006

Certification + WOM

Quite obviously, I'm a WOM advocate for the Certified Association Executive credential. Oddly enough, there are tons of other people in the world just like me who, for some strange reason, get fired up about certifications in their respective industries or professions and like to talk about them, even blog about them. I happen to think that association certifications and accreditation are among the programs most likely to benefit from a WOM marketing strategy.

I have come to believe that people who are certified by their associations are very likely to talk to other members (and non-members in their field) about it because getting the certification is like joining an exclusive club. With some baseline qualifications, just about anyone can join a trade association or professional society, but getting a certification requires members to run the gauntlet. Reminds me a little of Lisa Junker's recent post over on Acronym. Going through the process of preparing for, and successfully passing, an entrance exam is exactly the kind of experience that makes participants feel a strong affinity for the program, which causes them to cherish the road they traveled, and to offer encouragement to those trying to advance their careers or stature in their industry. How can associations amplify this natural tendency?

If you have responsibility for growing a certification program, I think you owe it to yourself to participate in an upcoming virtual seminar from ASAE & The Center, Word-of-Mouth Marketing for Your Certification Program.

Lenora Knapp, Ph.D. of Knapp International, will lead the program on January 26, 2007 at 2 p.m. EST. Learn about the advantages of WOM specifically for certifications, credentials and accreditation. Those who participate in the program will get Dr. Knapp's take on what the Certified Association Executive blog has meant to ASAE's CAE program and also hear about staff-driven WOM efforts for association certification programs. I'll also have a special post on January 26 for participants.

So register for Word-of-Mouth Marketing for Your Certification Program today.

(Full disclosure: I'm a member of ASAE & The Center's Membership Section Council, but did not help plan this program and I have no stake in its outcome, financial or otherwise)

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1 comment:

Lisa Junker said...

Great point--I wish I'd thought of it myself! I personally didn't really come to think of myself as an association professional (as opposed to an editor) until I began the process of pursuing the CAE credential.

So I think you're absolutely right--associations with credentialing programs in place have a great way to create that strong sense of connection in members who pursue their certification. I'd love to hear some stories from groups that are really capitalizing on that affinity to strengthen their association ...