- Feb 25
Positioning Your Certification: The Ultimate Mind Game
Per Lenora and Joan Knapp in This Business of Certification, the success of a marketing plan for a certification program rests on creating value for customers, as defined by the customers themselves, not the credentialing committee.
Positioning exists in the minds of your candidates and customers. It depends on differentiation, the degree to which both groups perceive something unique about your certification.
Differentiation could be based on subjective factors like the prestige and credibility of your brand. It could also center around the uniqueness of the knowledge and skills tested. Per the Knapps, it could even be based on convenience such as the availability of online testing or nearby testing centers.
It’s All About The Value
Here’s a painful dose of reality. Test takers don’t care about you. They don’t care about me, and they don’t really care about tests.
They care about outcomes. Specifically, their own outcome, which springs from core desires that can include recognition, achievement, status, money or a fear of losing (or never getting) any of the above.
Your certification delivers value when it delivers an outcome.
If you offer a certification that is general in nature, one that serves as an entrée to your industry, you could invite prospects and newcomers to a quarterly webinar to talk about outcomes related to your certification, like where it could lead certificants and the career opportunities it might present.
If your certification is positioned as an elite credential for advanced practitioners, the value received would likely be intrinsic, the prestige of joining an exclusive group.
To properly position your certification in the minds of your prospects, your value proposition must convince them that they’re moving toward an outcome that satisfies their core desires.