If you’re an aspiring young marketer, I really hope there’s something you can learn from this blog that helps you propel your career. I’m a big advocate of having goals, things that make me strive towards something, to give me direction and a purpose in life. Not everyone thinks like this and that’s fine, but if you’re looking for direction in marketing, I’d say the Chartered Institute of Marketing is a valuable partner and ally and well worth the price of membership.
Prior to 2003, I was employed as Sales & Marketing Director in a modestly sized private business that employed around 30 people. I was paid well and enjoyed the variation in my work but felt that the board needed to understand the importance of marketing just as I would if we were to meet its growth targets. My employer at that time (like so many businesses then and now), wasn’t interested in the intricacies or planning that marketing would force any consideration of because the only thing that appeared to matter was the fulfilment of its sales targets. Yet how could we achieve sustainable growth without formal plans and how could I inspire my team and fulfil the role without formal training? It got me thinking that if one company thought this, were there others and this would give me the confidence to invest in my skills myself?
So, in 2003, I set up my own marketing consultancy with the intention to support small businesses who didn’t have the capability, time or training to properly grapple with marketing concepts, models, supply chains, value propositions and the like. I knew without training it would be impossible to convey anything positive over a long-term so I produced a business plan that would help me focus on meeting my short-term goals first. Given I’d read that many new businesses failed in their first three years, my goal would be simple, to survive beyond this point. My initial target would be to raise enough funds during that time to fund my membership and my first round of exams. Achieving this would give me the confidence to reinvest some of the money I’d earned into each stage. After the successful completion of each stage I would be able to raise my prices as I improved my level of differentiation. As I evolved, so too did my clients and many have stayed loyal to me throughout, and so I thank each and every one of them.
There are many things you can do to evolve in business but without training this becomes much harder as you rely more on instinct than sound commercial acumen. The CIM’s training opens up a wider range of considerations and if you can use these to add to what you learn in work, you’ll truly become a formidable marketer, employee (and businessperson).
In 2006 when I joined the CIM, I set myself a goal of becoming a Chartered Marketer and a Fellow, both of which I achieved, with the latter recently confirmed in April 2020. However, whilst that target may have seemed a long way off in 2006, the journey has enabled me to build on my own skills and use them to develop the clients that have enlisted me. If ever there was a testament to training, I can say that 18 years on these skills have paid for themselves many times over with the prosperity of my own business and the fact it didn’t become an unwelcome statistic.Alternatively, if you would like to speak to me about any of the issues raised in this post, please email me, Nigel Davis.
Nigel Davis was voted ‘One of Britain’s Top 50 Small Business Advisors’, is a Fellow (FCIM) and Chartered Marketer and an ambassador for a Private Equity and exit business.