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Do I need to be an ACIM to have a sucessful marketing career?

ACIM is a phrase that you'll see a lot in the world of advertising and marketing, but not everyone is familar with what it means. So, today we thought it would be a good idea to break down the who's, why's and how's of all things ACIM!

What does ACIM mean?

The Chartered Institute of Marketing, founded in 1911, is a community of over 30,000 members of which 3000 are Chartered Marketers. CIM offers a range of qualifications including a Professional Postgraduate Diploma, Digital Diploma in Marketing and a Marketing Leadership Programme, in over 36 countries.

ACIM means an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM). In order to become an Associate, an individual needs to have a CIM Qualification or 3 years’ experience and influencing/reporting to marketing management. This is one of three graded membership options, alongside MCIM (Member) and FCIM (Fellow).

This is an internationally recognised qualification, with the CIM Alumni Survey stating that 60% of CIM graduates are given more responsbility or respect in their work. 35% of marketing leaders have at least one CIM qualification, making it the second most-common qualification after a University Degree (Hays, DNA of a Marketing Leader Report 2019).

Do I need a CIM qualification to have a career in marketing?

The short answer is no - Few job vacanies specify the requirement of a CIM qualification.

However, that isn't to say that having a CIM qualification won't be benefical - Particularly if you haven't got a marketing or advertising related degree. Additionally, a CIM qualification or being a ACIM is internationally recognised qualification so could prove useful if you wish to pursue a career abroad.

But don't take our word for it!! CAMSoc got in touch with the wonderful Amber-Rose Rawlings ACIM, to give you a personal account of the reality of acheiving ACIM status.

Hi Amber-Rose, thank you so much for sharing your experience with us today! Could you tell us a bit abou yourself and what you do in the marketing world?

“You have nothing to lose, but everything to gain.” That’s what one of our foster carers told me when I asked them why they became a foster carer. My name is Amber-Rose Rawlings and I’m the Marketing and Communications Officer for Hampshire County Council’s Fostering Service. I’m also an Army Reservist medic, currently mobilised to support troops during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Hampshire, we are currently looking after more than 1,600 children and my main role is to recruit new foster carers. Alongside a dedicated team of experienced social workers, I work with some amazing foster carers who help change children’s lives every day, sharing their stories to inspire others to consider fostering. It’s about making a difference, no matter how small.

Before I deployed with the Army at the end of December 2020, I had recently launched our first ever fostering TV campaign. Other responsibilities include the marketing strategy, budget management, event management, social media, content creation, email marketing, print adverts, radio campaigns and the website to name a few. I have support from not just Children’s Services, but our Corporate Marketing and Communications Team who can help our fostering team with market research, digital marketing and press releases for example.

It’s not just the workload that varies. Throughout my marketing career, I’ve been lucky enough to meet and work with lots of inspiring people. I’ve climbed 332 steps to the top of Salisbury Cathedral’s tower with Bill Bailey to show him where the Peregrine Falcon’s live. I’ve helped people design engagement rings for their loved ones, and I’ve put my waders on to tag fish in the River Frome with students studying ecology and conservation. Every day is different in this industry and you could be the most organised marketeer in the world and still be surprised with what tomorrow brings.

Wow this all sounds amazing! So where does becoming an ACIM fit into your journey?

My journey with CIM began after I left college, when I decided that university wasn’t for me. If I’m completely honest, university only appealed to me at the time because of the socials and the graduation - I wanted to wear a black gown and throw my hat in the air like they do in the movies. Instead, I found a marketing assistant job at a local family jewellers where I enrolled on my Level 4 Certificate in Professional Marketing with CIM. I based my assignments on the business I was working in, because I was able to implement everything I was learning from the course into my day-to-day job.

Fast forward a couple of years and I began studying for my Level 6 Diploma in Professional Marketing. Frequent visits to friends at university in Bristol and London for nights out meant I didn’t miss out too much of university life. Another bonus of studying with CIM was that I wasn’t taking home any of the student debt that my friends were. Don’t get me wrong, it took me a little while to complete my Level 4 and Level 6 because I was funding most of the modules myself on a low paying salary. I did get financial support with one module though, which my organisation at the time helped me fund. Don’t be afraid to ask for support from your organisation, even if they can’t financially support your courses, they might grant you study leave and that in itself is a huge help.

This is such good advice, and congratulations on your qualifications. In your opinion, what are the benefits of having these qualifications?

CIM has opened up a lot of doors for me. Predominately it’s given me credibility when applying for new jobs and I’m proud to have earned two qualifications from an internationally recognised body. It’s not just about a shiny Gold star on your CV though, I’m a real people person and I’ve met some great people because of my CIM courses. When studying for my Level 4, I was classroom based and there was one lady who worked for Stork’s marketing team and another worked for Twinnings. One would always bring in treats like Bendicks mint chocolates and Toffifee sweets and the other would bring in tea bags - lots and lots of tea bags. Some of these classmates are still in my network all these years later.

Counter to the classroom based lessons, I studied Level 6 virtually from home. I felt more productive because the time I would have spent commuting, I spent studying. There was no set time I had to turn up to a classroom, I could set my own schedule and use my ‘extra’ time to do something else worthwhile.

As a member of CIM you get access to free tools and resources, such as online webinars and podcasts, so you can continue to keep up to date with the latest industry news wherever you are. This has been especially helpful for me during my mobilisation with the Army. Besides, all these things you can add to your Continuous Development Plan which you need to become a Chartered Marketer.

Do you think then that having a CIM qualification is essential to having a sucessful career in marketing?

If you’re serious about starting a career in marketing, or if you are looking to progress your marketing career, then I would highly recommend becoming a CIM member. I won’t lie, it is hard work but it’s totally worth it if you’re committed. All it takes is a phone call or a few clicks on their website to find out more. I’ve since graduated with CIM and had my chance to throw my hat in the air like they do in the movies and now I’m saving my pennies to enrol on CIM’s Level 7 Marketing Leadership Programme, so I can expand my industry knowledge and further my marketing career.

Thank you again so much for sharing your experience with us!

Hopefully this has broken down what ACIM means and its role in the marketing world. We would like to again thank Amber-Rose for sharing her experience with us, and be sure to connect with her on LinkedIn!

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author only, and does not represent the views of CAMSoc as a whole or the University of Cambridge.