The Direct Marketing Association of South Africa (DMASA) has launched a new online training portal, DMASA Academy. David Dickens, CEO of DMASA, says the new portal will offer both direct marketers and consumers an easy, convenient way to enhance their understanding of direct marketing.
“We are living in a digital age, and that opens up huge new opportunities for direct marketers—but they need to ensure their skills are current to keep up with all the issues in this fast-changing world. DMASA did extensive research among its members, and it’s clear that people need these skills,” he says. “They also want to be able to do the training in their own time and at their own pace—in other words, there was a clear demand for digital training.”
The portal has been designed to provide a place where direct marketers, whether members of DMASA or not, can register for quick courses or professional masterclasses that will remedy skills gaps. It will also offer courses to help consumers educate themselves about how to protect their personal data.”
Mr Dickens says the portal will be launched in phases. The first phase includes one free course, “Introduction to the Protection of Personal Information Act”. In a fortnight, three new courses will launch, “SME & Entrepreneurs Training”, “Protection of Personal Information Act”, and “Essentials of Interactive and Direct Marketing (IDM)”.
More content will be launched as it becomes available, and moves are afoot to share content with professional direct marketing associations globally. However, a quality control process will be put in place to ensure that all material is of a comparable standard.
“We find that even recent marketing graduates are ill-prepared for direct marketing—there is a proliferation of channels and the legal/ governance requirements relating to data are increasingly onerous. People need a way to upgrade their direct-marketing skills regularly to stay abreast,” he observes. “Another major driver for us is the fact that direct marketing is the most cost-effective way for smaller companies and start-ups to market their products and services—these courses will help them do so effectively.”
The initial courses to be offered online have been converted from the Association’s previous textbook-based courses. Every effort has been made to make them interactive, and continuous assessment has been built into the course design, with some of the modules requiring an 80% pass rate. Once the final assessments have been completed satisfactorily, the system will allow the learner to print a certificate. The system will also monitor progress through the courses, and update registered members as new courses become available.
“This is a new and exciting initiative for us, and we are dedicated to working with the profession to provide the skills training it needs to become even more successful,” Mr Dickens concludes.
Interested marketers and consumers can access the online training at http://www.dmasaelearning.co.za/