Getting to grips with the new CIM Syllabus
Since the summer of 2013, CIM have undertaken the most extensive research project to underpin their new syllabus for Professional Certificate and Professional Diploma levels. Having had time to digest the proposed new structure, content and assessment methodology, we believe that CIM has made a major step forward for which they should be congratulated. Put simply, these new CIM courses truly address industry needs.
CIM’s findings also align with our own industry research last year that revealed marketers must now be data savvy. Not only must marketers of all levels be able to analyse data, they must also have the ability to derive insight. This mix of left and right brain skills moves marketing away from a mistrusted black art to a respected hard-nosed business discipline.
For candidates, the news is that the content is more relevant and the skills learned will improve employability. As well as core marketing concepts, the new courses focus on metrics, integrated marcoms and customer insight. Also, the assessments are a more realistic test of ability rather than just knowledge.
For employers, the news is that these courses will develop skills with immediate impact. In turn this will improve industry’s perception of CIM. Who knows, sometime soon CIM qualifications will become the ‘licence to trade’?
The proposed changes that come into force in September 2014 challenge the study centres too. The better study centres will embrace the new opportunities provided by these syllabus changes.
Specifically study centres will need to employ current industry practitioners to teach the courses. Being able to teach theory will not be enough. Tutors will need a broader skill set including mentoring, coaching, and facilitation. Classroom activity will need to be more dynamic to enable candidates to turn knowledge into skill.
Candidates will also need considerably more individual support than in the past, in order to successfully complete the more demanding assessments.
With the range of options available to candidates, it will no longer be enough for study centres to sell a commoditised product. Instead, study centres must address the individual needs of each customer – e.g. whether they want to focus on digital marketing alone or develop the broadest range of knowledge and skills.
This summer, the challenges for all of us involved with CIM will be considerable. I for one can’t wait.
Quentin Crowe, Managing Director, The Marketers’ Forum