I was recently reading a discussion on Linkedin around Chartered Marketer status and what it means to those that do and do not have it. I didn’t join in the discussion but later was at a meeting where someone brought up the same topic and said they knew a marketer who was desperately trying to become chartered but couldn’t quite get there. It made me think about my own perception of the scheme and that of my employers.
Chartered Marketer is the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s “mark of an up-to-date, experienced and qualified marketing professional”. To become chartered you need to complete 35 hours of continuous professional development (CPD) activity for 2 consecutive years, submit evidence of this to CIM and hold either MCIM or FCIM membership.
Because I am like I am I planned ahead and starting submitting CPD records before I had full membership of the institute. This meant that as soon as I finished my Professional Postgraduate Diploma I applied to upgrade my membership and therefore with it apply for Chartered Marketer. I must admit that I have never found it difficult to submit evidence of the more than 35 hours CPD I do a year but that’s because I am really committed to my own development and go out of my way to attend seminars, read the marketing press, get involved in academia and more.
However over the 3 years that I’ve been chartered I’ve become a bit negative about it. I used to hold it up on a pedestal thinking it was something really hard to attain and that those that did so were the most up to date in their field but since then I’ve started to see it as a money-making gimmick by CIM that only academics take seriously.
I have since realised that this perception came about because of the lack of value that’s placed on it by my employer and I think this devaluation is purely because of a lack of understanding around what it really means to have it. Where I don’t struggle to complete my 35 hours I know many, many people that do and I think that those who do commit to bettering themselves should be recognised.
My perception has come round full circle and I am back where I started believing it is something that is a challenge to attain and that those that put the effort in should be rewarded in some way. However I feel CIM has a lot of work to do to communicate the importance of the scheme to employers and non-chartered marketers. I am not sure CIM knows what the value proposition is of its own product and this should be made clear in any subsequent marketing of it.
I will continue to submit my CPD records and pay that little bit extra in my membership fee but also feel somewhat disappointed that the only place the words ‘Chartered Marketer’ seems to have any resonance is on my Linkedin profile.