Digital ad watchdog, the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), is mooting the idea of creating an official affiliate marketing qualification.

In conjunction with the Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing (IDM), both organisations are investigating the potential of this new course. As part of the process they are gathering market views and opinions via a survey.

Within the survey, a note added after a question says: “An IAB/IDM professional qualification would be completed over a period of approximately six months (130 hours), would involve two out of office days of training (separated), online study, completed assessment/s, a written exam and would be administered and tutored by the IDM and selected industry experts.”

The survey asks the participants if any of their revenue streams are dependent on affiliate marketing and goes on to ask about what training they give employees, and questions what they would spend on such a course.

“Similar professional qualifications can cost in the region of £1,200-1,500. Do you think this would be a reasonable price for a professional qualification?” the survey asked.

Qualification to drive higher standards?

PerformanceIN asked the strategy director at Affiliate Window, Kevin Edwards, what his views were on the affiliate marketing qualification. Edwards, who has more than a decade of experience at the network, said the principles behind the idea of affiliate accreditation are sound.

He went on to say that previously, any formal digital qualification made little more than a passing reference to the channel, so anything that seeks to expand  on that can only be seen as a good thing.

“One of the critical challenges will be getting the content right.” Edwards said.

“This will take much planning and investment from networks that will be expected to provide the majority of the course material and personnel to carry out the training.

“It’s important to remember this will be a serious qualification that will require significant investment from anyone enrolled in the course so will hopefully serve in driving higher standards.”

Raising the industry’s profile

Sales executive at affiliate network Webgains, Edward Pinnock, has been in the industry since March 2013.

Speaking to PI, he said there are a number of reasons why an affiliate marketing qualification is a good thing for the industry, and especially for new starters.

“It’s been a year since I first joined Webgains and if this qualification had been around when I first started, I know I’d have been very keen to take it,” Pinnock begins.

“Affiliate marketing can be a complicated concept to grasp, so it’s important that people have a good understanding of the basics as early as possible.

“If we standardise training we can not only kick-start people’s careers, but we can raise the industry’s profile and show we are serious about attracting talented people.”

Pinnock also questioned whether in the future, there could also be the potential to develop the training to suit those with more experience.

Hand in hand with the rapid growth of performance marketing and its many disciplines, comes the need for suitable talent in this area.

Whether you cut your teeth in the performance-based sector during the dot-com bubble, or you ended up learning the tricks of the trade at one of the many innovative UK businesses in this space, the chances are you may have not taken a specific course relating to the subject.

We want to know what your thoughts are on creating an affiliate marketing qualification?

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