THERE IS A NEW WAY for third-party merchandisers and demo associates to supplement learnings obtained from proprietary training materials.
The resources is called NARMScertifyU: the official online learning center of the National Association for Retail Marketing Services. NARMS partnered with retail marketing agency BDS Marketing to build, manage and promote the center.
“It's the first step the association is taking to elevate the level of demos out there,” Ethan Charas, chief executive officer of Stratmar Retail Services and vice chairman of NARMS, told SN.
NARMScertifyU.com courses cover a range of in-store activities including demonstrations, event marketing, mystery shopping, merchandising and others. Course certificates are granted to those who pass a test at the end of a class.
Lasting about 40 minutes, each is more involved than the typical training program.
“That's a lot more than an individual company can do in the short term,” Charas said.
Costs range from $10 to $15, depending on how many courses are purchased. Last month, discounts for companies buying at least 200 certifications were put in place.
“Sometimes the fee is paid by the hiring agent like me and other times they're paid by the demonstrator,” Charas explained.
Moving forward, Statmar might pay to have its brand ambassadors take a food safety course, for instance, on NARMScertifyU.com. An associate could then forgo food safety coursework currently required by the marketing services company. For any given food sampling event, Stratmar might work with an independent contractor, a W2 employee or subcontract a local labor expert.
For a marketing associate interested in working on behalf of several demo companies, paying for a course themselves is a smart career move since once they become certified, they'll gain higher visibility on NARMS Recruiter, Charas said. The resource is commonly used by demo companies interested in finding new talent in specific areas of the country.
“It's an indication that this person is serious, they really want to work and they've put their own money out to improve the quality of the product they're delivering,” Charas said.