IPA - Professional Development for advertisers
The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) is the UK’s leading trade and professional body for the advertising industry. Representing around 270 agencies with more than 17,000 employees, IPA members collectively handle an estimated 85 percent of all UK advertising spend. The IPA’s role is to champion and support the long-term interests of its members.
Education has long been a primary concern of the IPA. Unlike doctors or accountants, advertising practitioners do not have to achieve a qualification for entry into the industry or take part in mandatory training throughout their careers. To address this the IPA provided a continuous professional development (CPD) programme, however uptake was not universal amongst member agencies.
The Institute’s directors were keen to increase participation in, and relevance of CPD to its membership.
The difficulty was how to engage with the thousands of employees at member agencies throughout the UK in a way that would deliver palpable and long-term career benefits without conflicting with the demanding realities of work schedules.
As a first step, V-On created an online learning system. It addressed several key elements of the challenging brief by being user-centric, practical to use, easy to track and administer as well as offering add-on features and profitability, all wrapped up in prize winning design and functionality.
To date five separate courses have been launched online and these comprise the current IPA Education Suite. Each course has a different and engaging graphic interface, the idea being to make learning more fun while supporting the serious underlying purpose. V-On also provided a range of interactive features, video tutorials, hyperlinked glossaries of industry terms and many other practical digital solutions.
The nature of the system means there is no limit to the number or complexity of courses which can be made available in future within the Suite.
Stage two was the technically complex development of a Log System with which both the IPA and its users are able to track their CPD progress. The log provides users with a long term record of training. At the same time the IPA can monitor user progress, securely set examinations across the UK, remotely mark examinations and advise users of their results.
V-On looked beyond the brief to provide the IPA with additional functionality. This includes the design and build of a portal website, the CPD Zone, which houses the CPD Programme in its entirety via a single online space. Also available to CPD Zone users is current industry news, a query based search engine and a custom-built booking engine which automates registration and payment for courses, examinations and any other service offered by the IPA whether online or not. Additionally, V-On devised a Sponsorship Engine, which enables companies who wish to market to the advertising industry highlighting their brands to this captive audience.
Since V-On’s involvement with the IPA, CPD Uptake has increased greatly. Currently more than 16,000 employees have recorded logs in the CPD Zone – the vast majority of the IPA’s membership.
So successful has the online CPD system become, that it is now a mandatory criterion for IPA membership. Brand new e-learning revenue has been set in place and secured for the fture as a diurect result of the online system, the booking engine has removed the need to invoice manually and the sponsorship engine has created an entirely new and lucrative revenue stream.
The IPA now has the most sophisticated e-learning solution of any professional or trade association in the UK and thanks to the scaleable architecture built by V-On, this will only improve over time.
Effective marketing messages are those which can be justified in reality. V-On’s e-learning tools for the IPA lead to massively increased adoption of CPD training among members’ employees, thoroughly substantiating claims of raised professional standards for the advertising industry.
In addition to promoting universal standards for the advertising industry, V-On’s solutions for the IPA have yielded new revenue streams that have enabled the organisation to continue investment in new tools that promote and reward career-long learning.
Complex software or creative design are common features of digital productions, but there are fewer examples where these elements are combined to good effect. V-On's range of solutions for the IPA unite a sophisticated e-learning engine with front-end design that is a pleasure to use.