A profusion of qualifications has been created by professional
marketing bodies and the academic world. It’s a moot point whether this
is in response to demand for such credentials or is responsible for
creating it. Either way, the marketing courses are themselves
energetically marketed and the demand is burgeoning.
Certificate and diploma courses of the Chartered Institute of Marketing
and the CAM Foundation are general. Others are more specific to
individual disciplines. Beyond that, there’s the option of doing a
Master’s degree in marketing or an MBA.
Corporations with large marketing departments are leading the way in
encouraging and supporting staff in these studies. Some virtually make
it a requirement for career progress.
IBM, for example, has put more than 1000 worldwide marketing staff
successfully through training programmes, ranging from the CIM
Certificate to its Diploma or equivalents, and it is lining up another
5000 potential candidates.
This is since embracing qualification training only five years ago in
the UK and then extending it globally. Now the company is entering its
first volunteers from among senior management in the UK for a Master’s
degree. Ultimately, it expects to sponsor PhD candidates.
An architect of this development is IBM marketing training manager Peter
Jones. ’We are trying to create an IBM ’multiversity’,’ he says.
Much of IBM’s programme parallels that of the CIM, tweaked to the
corporation’s own marketing needs and practices. The higher levels are
conducted through Manchester Business School. To a lesser extent, IBM
sponsors the programmes of the Institute of Sales Promotion, Institute
of Direct Marketing and Institute of Public Relations - ’although these
do not have equivalent academic merit and don’t give a pathway to other
marketing qualifications’, according to Jones.
As well as working with IBM on its programmes, Manchester Business
School is one of three centres accredited by CIM for its diploma course.
MBS programme director Alan Pulford says that industry is adopting the
higher-level marketing qualifications at a far greater rate than are
agencies and consultancies.
’The client side is becoming better qualified all the time. We are
approaching a point where the client is clued up in modern management
and marketing thinking, but the agency is not able to converse in the
same language. The creative, enthusiastic approach of the agencies is
not enough if they can’t deal with clients at a strategic level.’
Jones agrees: ’We are taking a view that it is to our advantage to build
skills internally rather than pay fees to outside consultants,’ he
’We have hired consultants to advise, finding instead that they are
learning from us.’
Nestle is another client that puts a high value on training. Hilary
Parsons, communications manager, says: ’When we recruit personnel for
our marketing function, one of the key qualities we look for is
commercial perspective and this could be demonstrated by having
completed a CIM qualification or having obtained a business related
Alice Hannon, junior brand manager at Nestle, comments: ’I chose to
pursue the CIM Advanced Certificate as an academic background to the
practical experience I have obtained working at Nestle and to acquire a
greater understanding of the theory behind marketing practice. As a
result, I feel I have gained a wider marketing perspective and my
confidence at work has increased.’
For marketers like Hannon looking to broaden their qualifications, the
CAM Foundation aspires to challenge the CIM in the setting of wide-based
marketing credentials. However, its new chief executive, David
Royston-Lee, admits there is a considerable distance to be made up.
He sees one of his main tasks as promoting an understanding of the
differences between CIM and CAM courses. CIM tends toward the
theoretical, he contends, whereas ’if you do the CAM course it is
immediately practical.’ But he concedes: ’CIM has been much better at
marketing its courses.’
A new weapon in CAM’s armoury will be launched next year. This is the
Diploma in Integrated Marketing, a super-diploma intended to have a
status similar to that of a Master’s degree.
As a holder of the CAM Diploma in Advertising, Martin Hart, head of
sponsorship at TV watchdog ITC, comments: ’It’s time a new diploma
replaced CAM’s more specialist ones in advertising and PR. People
working in aspects of marketing and communication outside of advertising
or PR are not persuaded to carry on to a diploma after taking the
certificate.’ Nevertheless, he considers his diploma to have helped him
in his career.
The Institute of Sales Promotion has just issued its 1999 syllabus,
promising ’a comprehensive programme which is constantly being added
IMP, the country’s biggest promotional marketing agency, encourages and
pays for its staff to go for the ISP Diploma, with an average take-up of
14 a year. Board director Ian Thomas, who took his diploma back in 1987,
notes: ’Sales promotion is a combination of common sense and
intellectual marketing knowledge. There’s a lot in the ISP Diploma that
can be carried forward into any area of marketing.’
This year’s top diploma student was Fiona Chapman, a junior promotions
manager at Heinz. ’I came over to this job from sales at the beginning
of the year, selected for my knowledge of Heinz rather than of sales
promotion,’ she says. ’The diploma course has been very good for me,
particularly regarding the laws and codes that apply and how sales
promotion fits into the marketing mix.’
The IDM Diploma is the only specific qualification in direct
Around 90% of candidates are sponsored by their employers and hold
either a degree or a CIM Diploma.
’We encourage our people to do the course, paying half the fees and
giving study leave,’ says David Poole, managing director of DP&A. ’There
is fuller commitment if there is a buy-in on the part of the
He observes: ’The agency industry generally is quite exploitative of its
staff and we put a lot of effort into staff development to differentiate
ourselves from our competitors.’
The IPR’s Diploma is for aspiring corporate directors of communications
and agency heads. IPR president, Peter Walker, says: ’It is intended for
those who have developed their technical skills through working in PR,
to lift them to the next stage where they can advise and counsel as well
He contends it is also a useful extra string to the bow for those in
more generic marketing management. ’They are going to have to manage PR
resources and not all are aware how it can add value with measurable
WHICH QUALIFICATION? A QUICK GUIDE
Most qualifications fall into one of two categories: certificate or
diploma. Certificates are designed for those planning to embark on a
marketing career or who are in the early stages of one. Diplomas are for
the experienced, usually at management level and are a ’must-have’ for
most aspiring marketers. Broadly, certificate courses teach the nuts and
bolts, while diploma courses go on to strategic applications. The
duration of most courses is an academic year.
Chartered Institute of Marketing
As well as the CIM’s new Chartered Marketer qualification (see page 34),
it also has an intermediate Advanced Certificate leading to direct entry
to the CIM Postgraduate Diploma course. Its diploma is usually
approached through an intensive course of five residential weekends
spread over four or five months. Courses are held at the CIM College of
Marketing in Cookham, Berkshire, at Napier University, Edinburgh, and
the Manchester Business School. The inclusive cost is typically pounds
4500. The diploma qualifies towards a Master’s degree in marketing.
Feedback: Regarded as a prestigious qualification for the generalist
marketer, although more academic than the diplomas for specific
It is still the most popular and seen as something of an industry
The certificate calls for around 180 hours’ study of marketing,
advertising, PR, media, sales promotion and direct marketing, and
research and behavioural studies. The diploma requires three papers, a
core one in management and strategy and the others in either advertising
or PR. Alternatively, the core paper can be taken with the ISP Diploma
in sales promotion or the IDM Diploma in direct marketing.
There are part-time or weekend courses at about 20 colleges.
Registration fees for the certificate are pounds 75 and for the diploma
pounds 70. Exam fees for the certificate are pounds 33 for each of the
six subjects covered and for the diploma, pounds 38 per subject. Course
fees vary but are typically pounds 100 for each module.
Feedback: CAM qualifications are seen as placing emphasis on advertising
or PR rather than the broad marketing spectrum. This is being addressed
with the introduction next year of an all-embracing Diploma in
Institute of Sales Promotion
The ISP Diploma is a five-month correspondence course with options of
attending evening seminars in London and one-day tutorials held in
London, Edinburgh, Leeds, Manchester, Bristol and Birmingham. It is
normally taken after basics and foundation courses. Costs: pounds 575
for ISP members and pounds 690 for non-members, with extra fees for
seminars and tutorials.
Feedback: Seen as a highly practical qualification and important for
understanding the regulatory minefield that surrounds sales promotion,
as well as for SP techniques.
Institute of Direct Marketing
Studying for the IDM Diploma can be by evening courses (two evenings a
week for 30 weeks) at ten locations around the UK, or intensive courses
(residential or non-residential) over three separate weeks with
assignment work in between. A distance learning programme has also been
introduced this year. Most candidates already hold a first degree or CIM
Course costs: evening classes pounds 1650; residential intensive pounds
4650; non-residential intensive pounds 3250; distance learning pounds
Feedback: Well regarded by direct marketing specialists and supported by
both industry and agencies. Particularly valuable in understanding DM’s
role in the marketing mix.
Institute of Public Relations
A foundation course will take six months to complete. The diploma course
consists of two 12-week semesters with two hours’ teaching per week.
This is followed by three months’ self-directed learning with tutor
Venues are Queen Margaret College, Edinburgh, Leeds Metropolitan
University and Hackney Community College, London. Course costs: pounds
Feedback: Ideal for a career in PR, but less likely to impress if it is
intended to cross over into other or broader marketing sectors.
Multimedia Marketing Consortium
The Interactive Marketing Award is a computer-based learning programme
created by ten universities for ’own-pace’ studying. Materials are ten
CD-ROMs and work books, supplemented by online tutor support. Designed
to improve the professional standards of those with no formal training,
it is recognised by the CIM in the continual professional development
component of its Chartered Marketer status.
Cost: pounds 1450 (plus VAT).
Feedback: Too early to tell, but it has been adopted by, among others,
IBM as part of its comprehensive beginners-to-veterans marketing
KEEPING UP TO SPEED: CIM’S CHARTERED MARKETER STATUS
One of the biggest recent developments in the field of marketing
training has been the introduction of ’Chartered Marketer’ status by the
CIM. Qualifying requires commitment to continuing updating of skills, on
top of being full members or fellows of CIM and holding its diploma.
The first group of Chartered Marketers, numbering 1890, was created in
October. They demonstrated they had spent at least 35 hours a year over
two years in recognised continuing professional development
These could be studying for higher degrees, attendance at short courses,
distance learning, language training or in-company management
development programmes. Alternatively, part of the time could be
occupied in training or mentoring others, attending conferences and
exhibitions, committee work, private study and presence at meetings of
professional bodies. To retain the designation, it is necessary to
Sandra Booth, CIM’s manager for continuing professional development,
says that CM status ’is recognising that one’s qualifications have a
shelf-life and their value can deteriorate, so one needs to keep up to
speed every year.’
IBM marketing training manager Peter Jones, who holds the CIM Diploma
and, at the age of 52, is studying for a Master’s degree in marketing,
says: ’People who have done a marketing degree or MBA ten years ago can
be very out of date. They need to maintain the currency of their
marketing skills and Chartered Marketer is a good vehicle for this.’
This article was first published on Marketing