Originally published on Adweek.
Since the program launched in March, almost 10,000 staff members across OMG Worldwide have become certified.
Omnicom Media Group (OMG) is calling for almost all of its employees to learn about its Omni operating system, making Omni certification an employee KPI.
OMG is the first holding company media group to require almost all of its workforce be certified in its tech stack, underscoring how technology has become crucial to media agency work.
While every large agency has a technology stack, a majority of platforms aren’t scaled across holding companies, limiting their use. This is because there’s often a learning curve associated with the new tech platforms, creating a challenge for agencies that want employees to benefit from significant tech investments made by the holding group. Omnicom itself is the first holding company to invest in a company-wide certification program for its own operating system.
“We wanted to make sure that everybody could talk about Omni in a consistent way, understood the value proposition of what Omni was and could identify what the core applications and capabilities within Omni are,” said Clarissa Season, chief experience officer of OMG data and analytics division Annalect.
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Annalect, which developed and continues to manage Omni, designed the global Omni Foundations Certification to ensure employees across all Omnicom agencies become Omni-literate and Omni-capable. It defines Omni-literate as the ability to educate clients on Omni and how it can influence business outcomes. Omni-capable, by contrast, refers to the hands-on-keyboard skills required to use the platform and its applications.
Any Omnicom employee worldwide has access to certification training, which is provided within the platform itself. And as of mid-October, 9,627 Omnicom users are certified—OMG, for example, has 40% of its staff certified.
Omni as a performance KPI
Omni certification is a performance KPI for employees working in strategy and planning, investment, marketing science, data, technology, activation and audiences. With a global headcount of approximately 22,800 across its agency brands and a certification target of 19,100, OMG aims to certify 84% of its global workforce.
“It is also an operating budget KPI, so everybody in their operating budget plans is required to tell us what they’re going to do to drive on the certification,” said Season.
The training and certification process takes about three hours and involves watching three online recorded sessions and passing an assessment. In order to pass the certification assessment, employees must answer at least 80% of its 15 questions correctly. Those who successfully complete the learning session receive an Omni-certified badge they can add to their email signatures and LinkedIn profiles.
“The feedback from teams and users has been that it’s been really effective in terms of driving their knowledge of Omni and then their ability to pass the assessment,” said Annalect’s global head of enablement Brian Petersen.
Inside the platform, users can access the recorded sessions as well as downloadable slide decks summarizing the sessions’ content.
Certification picked up quickly within Omnicom agency networks once it became available in March. Omni hit an all-time usage high in July.
“We’re digging right now into specific markets and agencies in terms of their behavior and how certification has driven different behavior among agencies and networks, and then potentially accounts,” said Petersen.
An agency operating system
The group refers to Omni as its operating system, as opposed to a technology platform or audience management platform, the term analysts use to describe the now-pervasive agency technology platforms. The platforms are commonly used by media buyers and planners to conduct audience research, create segments, activate media and view performance results.
The Omni platform also includes an attention planning tool that lets planners know which content formats on which platforms are most likely to garner desired campaign results, and helps them avoid making wasteful investments.
Omni is also an internal tool used by Omnicom employees for various purposes, like training. And while Annalect does not have a certification goal outside of OMG, it is working on developing one as it drives awareness of the certification throughout the network.
Omni has improved results for clients across OMG verticals: Its travel and hospitality clients saw 35% lower cost per booking, subscription and technology clients saw a 40% increase in gross new subscribers and DTC clients saw 20% increase in ROI year over year.