Basis Technologies is a leading global provider of workflow automation, and its educational platform, Basis Institute, offers professionals free valuable resources to refine their skills and stay ahead of industry trends.
Recognized as the Best Education Tool in 2021 by AdExchnger, Basis Institute’s free certification program is just one of the many courses available for advertising professionals.
We chatted with Christine Kim from Basis Institute to learn more about its creation, course layout, and more.
Christine, tell us about Basis Institute.
Basis Institute is a university or academy for the industry. We look at it in two ways. We have a set of education courses for people in the industry that want to learn more. And then we also have a set of education programs for people who are actually active customers of Basis software.
The goal is to become the go-to place for education about the industry, about marketing, about ad tech, about all the things you need to know. And under Basis Institute, there are actually several programs offered. We have our certification programs which my team runs, and those are either related to people in the industry or to people who are active customers. And then we also have workshops for clients that are one-on-one.
If there’s a specific topic they want to learn more about, we’ll either do it virtually, or if they’re comfortable in person, we’ll do that as well. We also have our podcast for Basis Institute, which is Ad Tech Unfiltered. So there are several different programs within it.
With the pandemic, we really started to shift the way that we viewed our education. We started really moving some of that into a virtual format and online format, looking at how clients and people want to engage with the materials. We have a mixture of e-learning, we’ve got a mixture of live courses, and hopefully fingers crossed we’ll be back to in-person sessions this year, which is super exciting.
Where do your in-person sessions take place?
We primarily do them in our headquarters in Chicago. Sometimes depending on if we have a really big group of clients in the east we may travel. We’ve done one in New York as well for some of the smaller ones. We’ll also go into a client’s office occasionally. But for the most part they’re in our Chicago headquarters office.
Nice. What was the reason behind creating the Basis Institute? Tell me that story.
I think education has always been a very important part of Basis. The program actually started as a certification program back in 2015, and that really came from identifying this need of clients to learn about programmatic methods and a new software that we had just acquired.
We really wanted to provide clients with everything they needed to know. It started off as a one-time program that was held once a year in 2015. It was only one day, but we got rave reviews about it and clients were really craving it. Then we started hosting it maybe two times a year, and then it became three times a year.
And then as we started building out the program a bit more, we realized it was an opportunity to actually put all of our educational content together. What was happening was that different teams under Basis were all creating these educational programs, and we took a step back and realized that we had enough content, materials, and justification to really build that out into an entire institute.
So you listened to the audience and there was definitely a need there. Regarding your role, you are the lead of the educational programs. What does that entail?
At Basis, our internal education team and our external education team are actually broken out separately. The reason being that customer education has a little bit of a twist to it. Not in a bad way, in a really good way.
We’re really putting our customers’ needs first and figuring out what our customers need to succeed. Whether that be education, whether that be, you know, in a webinar format, in e-learning format, in a job aid format, how can we enable these new buyers in our platform to make sure they feel like they have everything they need? So my team specifically runs the certification programs for Basis and for our clients, and for the industry at large, which is really exciting. But yeah, external education is something we focus very heavily on.
The way customer education is packaged today with universities, institutions, and academies is a relatively new offering that’s coming out of these SaaS companies. In the past 10 years we saw one maybe here and there, and now almost every SaaS company has one.
You talked about how the pandemic has been driving more online learning, but what else do you think has been contributing to more SaaS companies creating their own programs?
I think it’s really an opportunity to show customers that you care, that you’re taking care of their growth, and that you don’t just sign up and then you’re just kind of left high and dry.
It’s an opportunity to say, ‘Hey, we’re gonna actually nurture you from onboarding all the way to the finish line.’ Even if you’re considered a mature client and know a lot more, we’re still gonna be able to provide opportunities for you to learn and really invest in clients.
I think that’s a way to show it, but I also think the other part of it is that the industry’s very complex. So even if you did not have an institute or an academy, I think it happens organically where everybody’s just trying to keep up, you know, every day. I myself have to keep up with the trades. Something’s changing every day. This company is acquiring this company. There’s a new technology, Google’s changing something. So there definitely is a need to stay ahead of it and make sure our clients feel like they’re on top of it too.
Absolutely. How are your courses laid out?
We’ve got a couple different ways that we look at it.
Our industry education right now is broken out into what we call the essential series. So right now we’ve got six of those. We have search programmatic data, digital media essentials, social, and direct buying. And those are all actually e-learning courses. Those are about at most two hours long, and people can start and go as they please, because I know that it’s hard for some people to have two hours to go through a course, but that’s our industry education.
And then for clients who are looking for a little bit more, we also offer workshops in all of those courses. Typically what we’ll do, for example, is we’ll have them go through digital media essentials, and then maybe we’ll have a workshop with them to go over what they should have learned. We’ll do some breakout rooms, anything to really help them directly apply what they learned. So that’s one format of it.
The other part is for clients, and we have a series of certification programs available and people have the option to take those a hundred percent on demand. We have all of that content available and some people prefer that because that’s how they learn. It can be according to their schedule as well because everybody’s super busy. We also offer those in a live virtual format as well. So anybody who wants to meet with a subject matter expert asks questions in real time and can meet other Basis users.
We offer those at least once a month where clients can log in and join. So we do try to offer a pretty big array of how we develop and deliver the content, understanding that adults don’t have as much time, but they still need to continue learning.
Very cool. You’re meeting them where they’re at, that’s awesome. What do you hope that learners will gain besides a better understanding of the course material?
I think for our essential series, I know that even when I first started in the industry, it was a very scary place. If we can get people more confident in having a conversation with someone else in the industry, or maybe they’re looking for a new job and they just need to kind of freshen up their knowledge of the industry, that’s really important to us.
The other goal is we want to make sure that when clients go through any of the certifications that they’re coming out of it with new ideas and new strategies to apply directly to their campaign. There’s so much to learn, and the way we have it packaged up, we try to offer a lot of different examples.
We also have a lot of different types of group work so that users can learn from each other, not just only from us, because I think there’s a lot of value in getting a group of users together. They really learn more from each other.
Yeah, absolutely. What is next for Basis Institute? Are there any new projects or programs on the horizon?
We have a ton of new projects on the horizon. We’re in the middle of potentially redesigning our current learning management system. We also want to create shorter courses for someone who might only want to learn about one specific topic. We would have a short video or a short course about that.
We have several new essentials programs that are coming up as well this year. We’ll also be hosting hopefully in-person later this year a client summit. We’re bringing together people who have gone through the certification programs and really making it a day of learning as well as going over our roadmap and celebrating that they’re mature Basis users.
Nice, that’s so exciting! Do you have any recommendations for first time course takers? Any advice you’d like to offer them, or any tips?
For anyone who’s going through the online courses, I know that it’s very easy to get distracted by pings or emails, but making sure that when you see that it takes a certain amount of time to take a quiz, really block your calendar, take the time to go through it.
Because I think it’s very easy to get distracted in an online format. So even treating it like you’re in-person, so have that notebook next to you, take notes. We always encourage people to come prepared with questions and to always ask a question if they have it.
Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to people in the industry. I think people are incredibly helpful, especially people in my type of roles, they only want to help and they have resources for you. I think just learning is key to staying on top of everything that’s going on in our industry.
Absolutely. I have two final questions for you. My first one is how can people enroll?
They can go to certified.basis.net, and you’ll see all of the ‘essentials’ courses available. All people have to do is create a login, and they’ll be able to access all the essentials courses.
As I mentioned, they can start the course and come back if they want to. After they finish the course, they can take a test to become certified and we give them a badge they can post on any of their social networks. But mostly LinkedIn is where we see them posting.
My final question: is there anything you’d like to add, anything we didn’t cover that you think would be important to mention here?
When it comes to customer education programs, what we’ve seen a lot of is, a lot of people will do one in staff – a lot of companies will. I actually think it’s really important to continue to think through the entire customer education journey.
So not only about educating someone on one topic, but what is the next thing they have to learn, and the thing after that, and really staying on top of and anticipating what those education needs are.
I always want a client or anyone that’s taking the courses to feel like they can walk into a room and know what everyone’s talking about and feel like they know the latest news. I do think that as customer education programs grow, that’s an area that we all should start focusing on, is really thinking through those other things that people need to know to make them successful in their roles.