Asking your employer to support your qualification?

July 3, 2017 12:51 by Gill Kelley

Asking your employer to support your qualification?

Are you thinking about studying for a professional marketing qualification? If so, it may well be worth checking to see whether your employer is willing to support your studies. This may be through time off to study or financial support or both.

If there is no clear policy, then you may need to put together a business case to support your request.

As a first stage you need to carry out some fact-finding.

Selling the benefits of the qualification – this will vary from qualification to qualification; the following apply to the CIM Diploma in Professional Marketing studied at CIM Academy.

• CIM has been supporting the marketing profession for over 100 years and has a global reputation as a centre of excellence and its qualifications are recognised worldwide. This means you can trust CIM to apply high standards of quality and integrity at all times, as these values are vital for the success of the marketing profession.
• The qualifications are based on CIM’s Professional Marketing Competencies which show what is expected of marketers at each stage of their career, and this is underpinned by extensive research with employers as well as leading academics. This means you can be sure that the content is up to date and relevant to the job you do.
• The qualification will give the knowledge, skills and understanding to perform at a management level and carry out a professional marketing role in the workplace. This means you can professionalise your current role (if you are already working at this level) or equip yourself for a promotion or future move.
• The qualification is made up of modules, each of which is a qualification in its own right. By taking the two mandatory modules (Strategic Marketing and Mastering Metrics) plus one of the electives (Digital Strategy or Driving Innovation) you will achieve the full Diploma. This means that you can study a module when it is relevant to your work – you don’t have to study them in a set order. As the assessment is linked to your workplace you will give immediate payback to your employer in respect of the work you are doing on the assessment.

There are many benefits that could be included here – for example, there is an advantage in studying on the Blended route, as you only need 1 day away from work per module – the rest is done online. You need to carry out research and prioritise the benefits that are most relevant to you and your employer.

How will the qualification help the business?

Think about your qualities as if you were applying for your job – and link these to benefits for your employer. For example, think about the fact that you are keen to progress in your career, and what this means to them; there may be a business benefit in the fact that you would remain loyal to them as an employer.

However, the more important benefits to them might be the fact that you will be able to improve ROMI through more effective marketing plans and activities. Look at the content of the course and identify which parts of this will help you improve the most. Use these facts to develop a range of benefits that this course of action will offer your employer.

Of course, the ideal situation would be to quantify the benefits here, and set them against the actual cost of the course. This is quite difficult to do, but say for example that you have managed 4 campaigns costing £30,000 each this year and you assume you can improve on that cost by 10% through your improved skills, that would equate to a saving for the business of £12,000. The price of a blended diploma (including fees) would be £3,650, and so payback would be achieved within 12 months (even if you only managed a saving of 5%).

When can your employer start to see results?

We mentioned earlier that assessments are employer based and practitioner focused, so some benefit should be seen at a very early stage. It could be useful to draw up a timeline of the time it will take you to complete the qualification, and what topics will be covered when. At CIM Academy you will study intensively and should complete a Diploma in less than 12 months. The timeline will also show your employer when you will be focused on completing and submitting assessments, and so when you may need support from them.

In summary –

• Do your research
• Ask for the funding
• Support your request with benefits for the business

Good luck!

Tags: CIM Qualification, Studying, Professional Development, Funding, Employer support

Categories: CIM Qualification

Qualification or expertise, does it have to be a choice?

June 28, 2017 13:09 by Anna Hern

Qualification or expertise, does it have to be a choice? CC0 Public Domain

The newly launched CIM Foundation course for the Construction industry marks a real step forward in the drive to make an academic qualification that is of immediate relevance to practitioners – and about time too.

Marketing is a broad (and much misunderstood) discipline, whose principles need to be learnt and understood. The principles hold for any market sector, but the application is necessarily different depending on the industry in which you work. Sometimes so different that it is difficult to apply the principles without some transitional guidance.

However, it is surely impossible for a central organisation to supply training tailored precisely to meet the changing requirements of a hundred unique industry sectors: a collaborative approach that combines an established and authoritative training programme with insight from current industry practitioners has to be the ideal solution.

The construction sector is the first to have undertaken such a collaboration: marketing professionals currently working in the sector provide practical guidance based on first-hand experience of the specific challenges of this diverse industry. One small example illustrates the point. Marketing training will demand that you focus on the customer – but in the construction industry, who is that customer? The architect who specifies? The contractor who builds? The commissioner who pays, or the occupant who lives with the consequences?

With its complex supply chains and various influencers, the sector is difficult to navigate and also very much in need of skilled and enthusiastic professionals. The new course draws on the experience of marketers who have had to adapt their learning to meet the needs of the construction sector and are happy to help smooth the process for new entrants.

The result is the very best hybrid – a measured and expert framework in which the unique and specific application of knowledge is explained and demonstrated. Candidates completing the course will come away not only with an understanding of marketing principles, but also with the interpretation to enable them to apply those principles in a construction environment immediately.

The first course begins in September and registrations will close on Friday 18th August. More information is available here

About the author: Anna Hern is MD of Ridgemount PR, a consultancy specialising in the construction sector, and CIMCIG committee member

Tags: Level 3, Foundation, Marketing, The Construction Industry

Categories: CIM Qualification

Why change?

June 13, 2017 08:31 by Gill Kelley

Why change? CC0 Public Domain

CC0 Public DomainCCO Public Domain

Change is the only constant in today’s business environment. The development of a marketing oriented culture takes a long time, and when developed it becomes a measure of the value it receives from its employees, relative to other organisations.  Equally, innovation often means change, a potentially uncomfortable position for many employees. Managers have an important role in encouraging ideas and experimentation, fostering sound internal communications to keep their staff in contact with what is happening in the business, and facilitating change.

Changing environments are making the achievement of a market orientation even more difficult.  Marketers have to balance the following issues (to name but a few) with the need to satisfy the customer.

  • New political scenarios are emerging which may change allegiances of trade blocs.
  • Globalisation and deregulation are increasing competition
  • Customers are becoming more sophisticated. As supply exceeds demand in many markets, so customer choice increases and the customer gains in power. Customers’ expectations are therefore increasing
  • Governments and people are becoming increasingly aware and concerned over the impact of our actions on the environment. They are bringing pressure and legislation to bear on organisations that are forcing them to redefine their products, services and activities
  • Demographics are changing. People are living in smaller units, living longer and living in mixed-race societies and cultures. There are new opportunities for organisations but, at the same time, certain activities that are no longer required or socially acceptable
  • Technology has changed our lives. The pace of change is exciting for some, bewildering for others. Organisations have to decide what they want to adopt, make the investment and execute their plans, all before the next generation of technology wipes out their investment
  • Shareholders’ expectations for steadily increasing returns on their investment, coupled with changes in corporate governance, are leading to increased emphasis on measuring organisations’ performance in the market across a range of criteria, not just financial. Increasingly, marketing assets such as brands are coming under scrutiny and marketers have to measure and justify expenditure on marketing activities


Change and internal marketing

Many people feel threatened by change and the difference it might make to their lives, especially if they are not in control of the changes that are being made.  For example, what will happen if they cannot do the job they have in the changed organisation?  Will there be redundancies?  Will their status change within the organisation?  To overcome some of these issues, internal marketing is necessary to make sure that productivity does not drop due to employees’ fears and the feeling that it is not worth putting as much effort in to work as they may be applying for other jobs or discussing the situation with other employees. Internal marketing has been proposed as a philosophy that focuses on a firm’s employees with the aim of rendering them more effective in delivering superior customer service (Lings and Greenley, 2009). Valuing staff and ensuring that they embrace change is a key role of internal marketing and some of the internal marketing actions that can help to avoid barriers to change include:

  • Making sure there is open communicationand fostering employee involvement both before and during the change.
  • Making sure that the change is communicatednot just through words but also through behaviour.  Champions of the change should demonstrate new ‘behaviour’ and lead by example.
  • Encouraging the right attitudeto the change by understanding and removing the fear factor.
  • Developing a culture that is based on creativity and innovation, and extending the boundaries within which people are empoweredto work gradually, so that they are able to make minor mistakes.
  • Using a framework for implementing change can help support the organisation’s efforts as there will be elements that favour change and others that incite barriers to change.

Serious consideration needs to be taken about how many resources you will invest in the change programme. The influencers in the organisation need to be identified so that they can become part of the positive messaging about the change that is taking place.  It may be impossible for your staff to do their day-to-day jobs and help implement a change and so a change steering group or a change champion may need to be heralded as a new interim role until the change has been completed. Kotter (1996) suggests an eight-step model that helps frame a change programme. It starts with establishing a sense of urgency, discusses clear vision and open communication and finishes with the anchoring of the new values in to the corporate culture.

Want to learn more? Contact +44(0)1628 427240 to find out about our Marketing Leadership Programme starting in July 2017.

Tags: Change management, Leadership, Marketing Leadership Programme, Level 7

Categories: CIM Qualification

Tackling Textbooks

November 1, 2016 11:22 by Gill Kelley

Tackling Textbooks

Confused on where to start with your new textbook? Perhaps it’s been a long time since you’ve even picked up a textbook. Here we look at the top tips on how to get started with your CIM studies.

Ensure you know what chapters you are required to read- There’s little chance you’re going to be able to read the whole book whilst studying. Instead we outline which chapters you should be reading then so it coincides with your weekly online learning sessions. Perhaps page mark which pages relate to each specific topic so you can easily find it again.

Read slowly- Take your time, read what you need to slowly. It’s much better readying 10 pages in an hour and knowing all the material, rather than spending an hour on 40 pages and remembering nothing. Perhaps read a paragraph, take a few seconds to take it all in and ask yourself any questions, and then move on. This helps you know the material thoroughly and could help you quote this easily when need be.

Take Notes- General notes, Post it notes, highlighters, annotations, mind maps, bullet points… Whatever helps you best! Of course there are pros and cons to all but only you will know what works best for you and only you will know what your notes mean. Make sure you add enough information to be able to reference the original text when you come to write it up - remember to add the page number to your notes so you can go back to the original text. Colours also help differentiate certain notes from others so be sure to remember what means what.

Structure of the Book- Some textbooks have overviews or summaries and some even quizzes at the end. Focus on the areas you have little knowledge and then use these summaries and quizzes to test your strengths and weaknesses. If you understand more when you are applying your learning (so are pragmatic in your learning style) then try reading the Case Studies before you read the main content of the chapter.

Don’t let the size of the textbook put you off, stay focused and know what works best for you. If it’s the style of writing you aren’t keen on then try another book that covers the same topic; each author writes differently and again it’s about what you can digest and learn from the most. The vast CIM Library is there at your fingertips and helps you find the book you are looking for either online or on site.

Tags: Studying, Textbooks, Reading

Categories: CIM Qualification | Tips

Top 10 tips for a perfect study environment

November 1, 2016 11:14 by Gill Kelley

Top 10 tips for a perfect study environment Create the best studying environment. Photograph: 53581027 © Stokkete

Studying for a CIM Qualification involves dedicated time and so creating the best working environment for you is important. Of course the days of using a desktop PC at home are long gone and you can now access all your study materials on a tablet or smartphone. It is however still important that you find a quiet area to spend your revision time so here we give you our top 10 tips which you can hopefully incorporate into your study routine.

1. Keep a tidy work space - If you have a clear desk there’s a lot less to distract you meaning you can stop procrastinating and focus on your studies in hand.

2. Try to avoid background noise - Although some people say that background music helps, Accelerated Learning Research shows that music from the Baroque era stimulates the brain to learn - the beats per minute (60) are the same as the alpha brain wave state, and so it helps the brain to be more receptive to learning. This is however very different from being in the same room as others, as this can prove very distracting for all.

3. Break up your studying - It’s amazing the amount of difference a few minutes off a long chunk of studying makes. Take a breath! Get some fresh air and start again! Even just stretching your legs will help. Your concentration will soon start to go once you’ve been looking at something for a while and you will soon find that shortened periods of studying will help you take in a lot more.

4. Phone on silent! - Or just let those around you know you are studying. One less thing to distract you and clicking on Facebook or Twitter is too easy so put your phone on silent or even turn it off completely to stop you from this easy distraction.

5. Take advantage of downtime at work - If you’re one of the lucky ones who is allocated some time to study during work hours then great, as this environment is what you need. If not, and you have a busy home life, then take advantage of any free time you can. This may during your work lunch break or during a slow time of day. Even if it’s not for long, every little bit of time helps.

6. Lighting - It may seem simple but straining your eyes to read in dim lighting or even bright artificial light can cause headaches. Try and find natural light and remember to take breaks.

7. The Clock! - Can be your worst and best friend both at the same time! 5 minutes may seem like an hour which for some can be so off putting. It’s best not to know how long you have been studying for and instead set an alarm so you know when you should be taking that well deserved break.

8. Comfort - Sitting on your bed or on the sofa may seem like a good idea at first but you will soon want to give up on the studying and watch some TV instead. The same goes for a hard, straight back chair, this will soon feel uncomfortable. Instead find somewhere that works best for you and use this as your study area.

9. Find the time that works best for you - There’s no point trying to study late at night if you know you are tired and not going to take anything in so instead find the time of day that works best for you, incorporate this with your perfect study area and you are in the environment you need.

10. FOCUS! - Last but not least focus! Only you can be true to yourself when studying and only you will know if the environment you are working in works in your favour. You may already know or it may take some time to realise but whatever works best for you, is what you should stick with.

Tags: Studying, Time management

Categories: CIM Qualification | Tips