Published: May 24, 2021
By Steven Garner, PMP, CAE, CA-NV Section of the American Water Works Association
Discovering and gathering market data to enlighten your understanding of market receptivity is an important, yet challenging task to undertake. I.C.E. white paper authors Amy Jauman, EdD, GPHR, SMS, and Joseph Seegers developed an approach worth your consideration. Their paper, “Using Online Research Techniques to Better Understand Your Audience,” is now available via the I.C.E. Store. To complement their research, they also developed an article for Credentialing Insights, “What’s the Value of My Certification? Inside the Minds of Job Seekers and Hiring Managers.”
I.C.E. Publications and Editorial Committee member Steven Garner, PMP, CAE, recently spoke with the authors about their white paper, which introduces best practices for successfully promoting certifications by investing time in market research.
What prompted you to address this topic?
We are affiliated with Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and the field of human resource management. With our ties to continuing education and current hiring practices, we have an interest in and unique perspective on how the two come together to support people in a wide variety of job roles. We were motivated to investigate the value of certifications in an attempt to quantify their worth for individuals, but also to potentially help certifying organizations better understand their markets. It is our belief that certifications help many professionals, so if we can help certifying organizations be more effective, this will positively influence people around the world.
What key learnings would you expect readers to glean?
We expect readers to more deeply understand the value of their market, but we also hope they will see that market research isn’t as impossible as it may seem. The step-by-step approach we’ve recommended allows people with any amount of experience and any amount of resources to design and follow a plan that will ultimately help them understand the best ways to serve their target audience.
How might the I.C.E. community and their organizations benefit from the topic?
The topic of certification and how job applicants perceive them can be very beneficial to certifying organizations when trying market programs. Through the interviews we conducted, organizations can see how job hunters and employers view certifications and if they believe they are important to be earned. Also, by hearing what hiring managers’ viewpoints on certifications are, they can start to craft how they will position their certifications to candidates and to employers.
What follow-up actions might a hiring organization take to put the learnings into action within their organizations?
Hiring organizations will be able to use this research to see how their own organization feels about certifications. During interviews, they will now be able to plan on what to ask candidates who have certifications. The organization will be able to better understand why a potential employee chose to pursue a certification, how they obtained it and how they can leverage it to benefit the organization.
Do you anticipate any additional content to build upon the topic in 2021 and beyond?
We believe that each certifying organization that applies the techniques presented will have experiences that, if shared, would benefit all certifying organizations. One of the challenges of market research is that the data and best practices are constantly changing. We would strongly encourage individuals to share their experiences, write about what they did and didn’t try, what did and didn’t work and, most importantly, what they learned when they took the time to research their market.
If you plan to apply or are applying market research to learn more about your certification or certificate program, reach out to the I.C.E. editors with your story at firstname.lastname@example.org
Access the White Paper
"Using Online Research Techniques to Better Understand Your Audience” is now available to download in the I.C.E. Store. White papers are free to I.C.E. members and available to non-members for $50. Not a member? Join today!