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Fellow of The Chartered Institute of Marketing


Probably the best definition of marketing around (credit)

I am now a Fellow of The Chartered Institute of Marketing

I have been involved with the Chartered Institute of Marketing (or ‘CIM’) ever since my student days.  I was on the CIM Student Chapter at Sheffield Hallam University.  This basically meant I would attended the occasional lecture put on by the CIM.  When I graduated, the CIM wrote to me and said my BA Business and Marketing degree made me exempt from some of the modules required for two of their qualifications; the Professional Certificate in Marketing and the Professional Diploma in Marketing.  All I had to do to obtain these was send away my degree coursework for them to mark and, providing it was deemed to be of a satisfactory level, they would grant me both qualifications.  It didn’t take me long to realise that this meant two free qualifications without any work whatsoever on my part so I submitted my coursework and subsequently received my Certificate and Diploma in Marketing.

In 2007 I studied for the CIM Professional Development Award in e-Marketing (I actually did some work this time!) then after I gained a few more years of experience I applied for Chartered status, which I was granted and I was then able to use the title “Chartered Marketer”.

More recently I’ve been biding my time until I felt like I had enough experience to apply for Fellowship status, which I did last month and now I’m sitting here penning this blog post.  I won’t bore you with the details of all the marketing I’ve done over the years, save to say I’ve done more than my fair share.  (OK, here’s one PR story from 10 years ago).

I should add that I’ve done a lot more than simply gather qualifications from the CIM – I’ve been to quite a few events and seminars hosted by them.  I’ve also followed the CIM on social media and read their magazine and blog.

They do some great research (I’ve mentioned this before on my blog) and I feel like the CIM keeps me in touch with trends in the industry. Looking at what other are doing gives me ideas of what I could do with my own company.

FCIM - Effective marketing in action

I don’t want to give the impression that I rave about the CIM, though, because I don’t.  I find they focus too much on large companies with enormous marketing budgets who spend endless hours procrastinating analysing data and considering all the theoretical jargon like segmentation, targeting and positioning.  Personally I’ve always found the theory side boring – I much prefer rolling my sleeves up and getting stuck in – it’s about 100 times more exciting for me.  I guess this is because money is directly involved.

While I’m on the subject, another thing which bugs me about the CIM (I should probably get off this tangent given they have just granted me a Fellowship…) is the very broad range of interests they must cater for.  I was part of a breakout conversation at one CIM event where everyone debated the definition of the word ‘marketing’.  There are so many different elements to marketing nowadays.  You have traditional marketing, digital marketing, internal marketing, vertical marketing, viral marketing, guerilla marketing and so on.  Also, marketing can differ greatly from one business to another (for example, marketing in a big business will be completely different to marketing in a small one. And marketing charitable organisation will be completely different to a for-profit one).

We ultimately reached the conclusion that the definition of ‘marketing’ is about as broad as the definition of ‘business’.  And that’s the problem with the CIM.  They have to cater for such a massive audience, from sole traders to multinationals, with so many variations and viewpoints, that the organisation ends up being a bit general. A jack of all trades rather than a master of one, so to speak.

When you really want to drill down into something you need to focus on a niche. I did an interview for New Media Europe last week where I said:

“I think if you have any type of blog or website or even a business it’s good to focus on a niche”

This is not what the CIM does.  They try to be all things to all men in my opinion.

If a small business owner asked me where they should go to learn social media marketing I would tell them to read the 3 best books on the subject.  Then get involved with Social Media Examiner.  Social media changes all the time – features change, platforms come and go, automation software improves – I would leave the £575 a day CIM courses for the big companies.

Reading back I think I’ve been a little harsh.  I do honestly appreciate everything the CIM do.  They provide a great service, I enjoy being a member and I find it valuable.  Just keep in mind that it doesn’t matter what letters you have after your name; fueling the capitalist machine is what keeps us all in a job.  That’s why Marketing exists.