5 Certifications Every Demand Generation Marketer Needs To Land That Next Promotion

Editor’s Note: This article was published in November 2019 and has been updated to reflect new information.

There’s never been a better – or more challenging – time to be in demand generation.

Spurred on by the MarTech boom, company investments in demand generation have never been higher. In a survey conducted by Demand Gen Report, 70% of marketers said their demand generation budgets will continue to increase in the coming year, with 34% estimating that spending will grow by at least 20%.

This increased investment has put added pressure on marketers to level up their demand generation expertise. Unfortunately, deciding what skills or technologies to focus on can be daunting.

With the help of my demand gen teammates, and dipping into my own experience, I’ve gathered a list of the absolute must-have online certifications for demand generation professionals.

Check out the list below 👇

1. Adobe Marketo Certification

What To Know:

Who Runs It:

Marketo, an Adobe Company, is a leader in the world of software automation. They sell three core products, including Marketo Engage, Bizible, and Adobe Experience Cloud. Both certifications are for Marketo Engage product.

Why You Need It:

Technically speaking, there are two certifications that Marketo provides for demand generation marketers: Adobe Certified Professional and Adobe Certified Expert.

Both certifications are for marketers or power users looking to become certified in Marketo’s software. The primary difference between the two is the level of experience Marketo recommends:

Adobe Certified Professional

60 questions, 2 hours

The professional-level certification shows that a marketer has an introductory knowledge of digital marketing automation, including “email send programs, A/B testing, email personalization, basic forms and landing pages, and events and webinars built from cloned templates,” and Marketo’s software.

Before taking the certification, Marketo recommends test-takers:

  • Have a general understanding of what marketing automation is
  • Have at least six months of experience in marketing, and three months of experience working in Marketo
  • Check out additional training in Marketo University

Adobe Certified Expert

75 questions, 150 minutes

The expert-level certification shows that a marketer has in-depth knowledge of the entire Marketo platform.

Before taking this certification, Marketo suggests the following:

  • An in-depth understanding of marketing automation
  • 1-2 years experience in a demand generation-type role
  • At least 1 year of experience using Marketo software

While Adobe Marketo certifications do come at a cost, they last for two years.

As an added bonus, marketers who pass either certification can also join the Adobe Certified Expert – Marketo Engage Certification LinkedIn group to interact and connect with other Marketo users.

2.  HubSpot Inbound Marketing Certification

What To Know:

Who Runs It:

HubSpot specializes in automation software for marketing, sales and customer service. Most importantly, they are leaders in inbound marketing.

Why You Need It:

HubSpot Academy has a robust certification program that offers a range of certifications to enrich your expertise.

As you can imagine, picking just one marketing certification to focus on is difficult. So why inbound marketing above all others? The choice came down to value.

SiriusDecisions reports that more than 67% of a buyer’s journey is now completed digitally. In addition, almost 81% of buyers now prefer to conduct their own research before making a purchase.

Inbound marketing is a tactic used to provide value, content, and experiences catered to the buyer. From eBooks to case studies to white papers, inbound marketing works by giving buyers the information they need upfront to take them further down the funnel.

Inbound marketing is an invaluable discipline every marketer, especially a demand generation specialist, should have a solid foundation in. HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing Certification is a deep dive into everything inbound marketing – from content strategies to customer marketing.

There are 10 modules within the certification itself, which HubSpot estimates will take between three to four hours to complete. Each module has individual subtopic sections, as well as videos and downloadable content.

 BONUS: If you’re a frequent or soon-to-be-frequent user of their solution, I also recommend jumping into the HubSpot Marketing Software Certification to get a firm foundation on their marketing features. (I know, I’m cheating.) Like Adobe’s certification, this course is specifically built for those current and frequent users of HubSpot’s software.

3.  Google Adwords Search Certification

What To Know:

Who Runs It:

Google Adwords is a standard advertising channel for sponsored content. Google runs its certification program through a platform called Skillshop. To access the Google Ads Certification course, you must sign up for Skillshop.

Why You Need It:

Google divided its Google Adwords’ certifications into six different products. However, in an act of good faith, I’m sticking to my guns and focusing on their popular paid search functionality.

The Google Ads Search Certification is for marketers looking to master campaign management for Google search ads. The certification takes around three to four hours to complete and is broken up into nine different course modules.

While there are a number of awesome certifications that fall under Google Adwords, the search-based certification is a good baseline to get started if you’re looking to break into the world of digital advertising.

According to Google, those who complete the certification should be able to:

  • Develop a strategy around Google Search ads that aligns with their marketing and company goals
  • Understand how to use Google Search ads to generate additional leads and traffic
  • Create campaigns that attract new and current customers within their marketing budget

Once you complete the Search Ads certification, you should 100% look into their other Adwords certifications.

4.  Salesforce Pardot Certification

What To Know:

Who Runs It:

Salesforce is the world’s leading customer relationship management (CRM) software provider. They help businesses large and small connect with their customers by automating tasks for departments including marketing, sales, customer service, finance, and more.

Why You Need It:

Salesforce is the undisputed “CRM of marketers.”

Even if you do not currently use Salesforce in your marketing technology stack, most likely one day you will. It is also a very ROBUST platform. Meaning it’s important to focus your energy on those areas of Salesforce that matter to you as a marketer.

That’s where the Salesforce Pardot Specialist certification comes in handy. Salesforce provides a number of certifications, but this one is ideal for those marketers looking to become baseline specialists of Pardot.

According to Salesforce, this certification is made for those looking to master marketing campaign management in Pardot. After passing the certification course, Salesforce says:

“The candidate would know how to build strategic marketing processes that incorporate different tools like email marketing, lead generation, lead qualification and can use reports to make data-driven decisions.”

You have 90 minutes to complete the exam, which includes 60 multiple-choice questions. Prior to completing the exam, Salesforce suggests six to twelve months of hands-on experience creating marketing workflows with Pardot to starting the course.

Both the course and the exam can be taken onsite or digitally.

5.  Drift Conversational Marketing Certification

What To Know:

Who Runs It:

Drift is the leader in Conversational Marketing. Using chat, video, email and automation, Drift makes it easier than ever for businesses to connect with their customers in real-time and accelerate revenue.

Why You Need It:

Your top priority in demand generation marketing is to improve and optimize the buyer’s journey to increase opportunities. Drift’s Conversational Marketing Certification teaches marketers how to use Conversational Marketing to remove friction from the customer experience and drive more meetings and pipeline.

There are six different classes and quizzes to help you prepare, and the exam itself contains 60 questions. You’ll be given three hours to complete the exam, though we estimate it will take around two hours.

Always Be Learning

At Drift, one of our core leadership principles is the importance of being a curious learning machine. Beyond strengthening your resume, courses like the ones mentioned above are great for keeping you engaged and passionate about your role as a marketer. It’s also a reminder that what you do has a real impact on your company’s success.

I hope these certifications serve as a good starting point for expanding your marketing toolkit.

Ready to start building your resumé? Drift’s Conversational Marketing Certification is the only conversational marketing accreditation out there.

It’s the skill marketers of the future will set as a standard. So why not stay ahead of the curve? Click here to get started.