What Are Your Indicators of Legitimacy-

Players on the World of Warcraft forums were debating what the best titles for individual classes or players to have were, as a proxy for prestige and proof of competence. For those that don’t play, World of Warcraft awards you titles such as Deathlord or Kingslayer for accomplishing certain feats in the game.

For players who want to recruit new members to guilds, teams, etc. there are relatively few metrics in game that indicate whether a player is good or not. Titles are one metric – someone with a specific title presumably has enough skills to earn the title.

That got me thinking – what indicators are left in the world of marketing that indicate we are good at what we do? Consider some of the more common benchmarks.

  • Being an author isn’t meaningful anymore as a barrier of entry because writing books has been democratized.
  • Even being a best-selling author doesn’t necessarily mean anything (that can be gamed too).
  • Social scores can and are routinely gamed.
  • Professional certifications and degrees from universities do show a bit more perseverance, as reputable ones do take time to earn, but most people won’t do the due diligence to research the validity of a degree or certificate.

For me, one of the things I look at is the record of social proof. If I’m trying to evaluate someone to hire, to work with, to sign on with as a client, I want to know what I’m getting into, and someone’s social media profile leaves useful clues. Recommendations (the written kind, not the cheap +1 endorsements) mean a lot to me because someone had to take the time to write one. The same is true for public praise in volume – if many, many people (who are not bots, of course) are singing our praises, there’s a reason to look closer.

Some industry certifications are fairly difficult to obtain; for example, being an Analytics Qualified Individual with Google Analytics™ is relatively rare because the test is difficult. The same is true for Google AdWords™.

However, the list of difficult-to-achieve “titles” in marketing is surprisingly short. What other achievements do you look at when evaluating a marketing practitioner?


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