This page reviews the range of marketing education and qualifications for professional marketing and business development staff. You should also check the blog section for updates on marketing education and qualifications.

Short marketing (and communications) courses – General

There are a number of professional associations and commercial training providers who offer a wide range of marketing – and communications – courses for beginners and more experienced people. Obviously, you should check out the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) extensive range of courses but there are also good general marketing courses from many other organisations. Here are some to get you started:

Short marketing courses – The professions

For those in the professions, there are two excellent sources of short training courses – the Professional Marketing Forum (PM Forum) and the Professional Services Marketing Group. Some of the courses and webinars they provide are free to members. Both of these organisations also publish monthly magazines which contain really good articles and are available in searchable article banks on their web sites.

There is also the Profile Property Marketing Network which provides regularmeet the media sessions and other training events.

Sales and selling skills training courses

Some of the organisations mentioned above that provide courses on marketing also provide courses on selling. However, I would recommend that you investigate training in one of the more widely known sales training programmes (these are reviewed in my book Dynamic practice development – Selling skills and techniques for the professions). But some of the most important ones are:

If you are interested in the training courses that I provide, please check out the training and coaching section of the consultancy services section of the site.

Professional marketing examinations

I am often asked about marketing qualifications – which ones are appropriate, which ones are best etc. I have attempted to summarise the main options for those wishing to study marketing in order to obtain qualifications. Those with a marketing degree will find that the professional qualifications, while covering similar theoretical ideas, will focus more on practitioner skills – how to apply them to the commercial environment.

Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM)

Please note that the information below was about the CIM qualifications in 2009. They have been extensively changed and details are shown in the following blog:

I have to say that I am a firm supporter of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) route as this is highly regarded internationally and the marketing industry standard. It confers the use of the letters DipM and membership of CIM (MCIM).

However, CIM is designed for those whose career is marketing and who will grow into strategic marketing positions. There is a good CPD (Continuing Professional Development) programme with CIM too which enables you to become a Registered Marketer and keep your knowledge up to date. CIM also produces a magazine called Marketing Business and provides a great electronic scanning service called Cutting Edge which reviews all the leading marketing media.

The CIM courses are excellent at marketing theory and on producing plans but it does not really teach you the practical skills in things like creative writing, media relations, design and print – for this you probably need CAM or one of the other qualifications (see below).

The CIM qualification has three levels – depending on your starting experience.
Qualification Entry Criteria Minima Assessment Method
CIM Professional Certificate 1 years experience and minimum of 2 a-levels or degree in any discipline Written exam or Work Based Assignment
CIM Professional Diploma (general) Degree in any discipline and one years experience Written exam or Work Based Assignment
CIM Professional Postgraduate Diploma Business Degree and 3 years experience in marketing Exam only

In the past, the CIM qualifications had three levels for you to complete:

CIM Qualifications
Professional Post Graduate Diploma
Analysis & Evaluation Strategic Marketing Decisions Marketing Management Processes Strategic Marketing in Practice
Professional Diploma
Market Research & Information Marketing Planning Marketing Communications Marketing Management in Practice
Professional Certificate
Marketing Environment Marketing in Practice Customer Communications Marketing Fundamentals

However, the syllabus changed dramatically in 2009. Six key competencies are covered: research and analysis, planning, brand management, implementing marketing programmes, managing marketing people and measuring the effectiveness of marketing. The courses are now structured as follows:

CIM Qualifications – 2009
Post Graduate Diploma – Part Two (Project)
Project Definition Project Implementation Project Assessment
Post Graduate Diploma – Part One
Analysis & Decision Marketing Leadership And Planning Managing Corporate Reputation Emerging Themes
Professional Diploma
Project Management In Marketing Marketing Planning Process Delivering Customer Value Through Marketing Managing Marketing
Professional Certificate
Marketing Environment Marketing in Practice Customer Communications Marketing Fundamentals

The Certificate level is aimed at those at the start of their marketing careers. The diploma is designed for students with some experience (mid to late 20s) and the post graduate diploma is positioned as a Masters level course and the CIM would like to think of it as an alternative to an MBA. I wrote a blog in January 2009 with some more information about the way in which the various courses are assessed (some are work based assignments and a few are exam based) and their main content but you should look at the CIM web site.

Having spent several years lecturing on the evening classes for the diploma and post graduate diploma I can tell you that the course is challenging – but it does provide a fantastic foundation of marketing knowledge that you will use throughout your marketing career.

You should also be aware that the Cambridge Marketing College offers a Diploma course especially for those involved in professional services marketing – at the end of the course you get your usual CIM diploma and a certificate showing you have completed the course tailored to the professions. This innovative qualification was developed in conjunction with the Professional Services Marketing Group and further information can also be found on that web site.

You should be aware that in addition to the marketing stream, there are CIM exams at certificate, advanced certificate and diploma level for those who specialise in sales and account management.

Further information is available at the CIM web site. Regardless of how you study (there are evening class, intensive weekend and distance learning programmes) you must register as a student and to sit the exams. Many people attend night school two evenings a week doing four papers a year (two between January and June and two between September and December) but you can do one night a week and take a little longer. CIM also offers a programme of intensive residential weekends to get you through the programme super fast – but this is an expensive route. Alternatively, if you have the self discipline you can opt for a distance learning package and I recommend the Rapid Results College. There are other useful links in the links section.

My experiences teaching CIM qualifications

Over the years, I have lectured part time on both CAM (Communications Advertising and Marketing) courses and, more recently, on the Diploma papers of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM).

For five years I lectured on the old papers for Strategic Marketing Communications and the Analysis and Decision (Case Study) papers at Richmond upon Thames College in the evenings. We achieved exam results exceeding the national averages. My students – many of whom remain in contact – told me that they had lots of fun too!


More recently, I taught for the Cambridge College of Marketing – either at weekends at Guildford University or in the evenings in Canary Wharf on the Professional Services diploma course.

Some of my less conventional methods of teaching CIM courses.

balloons  shapes

If you have a particular problem or question relating to CIM courses, then drop me an email and I will try to send you some of the relevant notes I used when lecturing. However, I am busy so please don’t expect a lightening response as client work comes first! There are many articles that might help as well as guidance in the FAQ, and mo re up to date information is produced in the blog.

Digital Marketing

Please note that there are more recent blogs about new digital qualifications – please see, for example: and

In recognition of the importance of the digital revolution, CIM recently introduced some digital marketing courses:

CAM Foundation

CAM used to be a separate body with its own qualifications but was absorbed by CIM. For those who primarily involved in PR, communications or advertising then the Communications Advertising and Marketing (CAM) Foundation is a good route. It is also a little quicker and easier to obtain an overview of the main elements of marketing. This qualification is now managed by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM).

The courses for this qualification are as follows:

  • Module 1: Marketing & Consumer Behaviour
  • Module 2: Public Relations
  • Module 3: Direct Marketing & Sales Promotion
  • Module 4: Advertising
  • Module 5: Integrated Media

All candidates must be at least 18 years old and have achieved at least one of the following:

  • Have a suitable competence in a marketing communications role
  • Hold any recognised UK degree or equivalent level 5 qualification
  • Have a relevant level 3 or above qualification (eg CIM Professional Certificate in Marketing, CIPR Advanced Certificate in Public Relations, etc)

Further information is available at: CAM Diploma in Marketing Communications

Other marketing qualifications

There are many other qualifications for those involved in particular areas of marketing. For example, the Institute of Direct Marketing offers qualifications in direct and digital marketing. The Institute of Public RelationsInstitute of Practitioners in Advertising and the Market Research Society are other organisations that are worth checking out (try starting at my links section).

Business courses

For those who already have their professional marketing qualifications, they often wonder what they should do in terms of further education. Most marketers will consider either a Masters in Marketing or a Master in Business Administration (MBA). This provides a much broader base of management knowledge.

I did my MBA through the Open Business School (part of the Open University) and thoroughly recommend it. Like any distance learning programme though, you will need to be self disciplined. MBAs come with very different content – some focus on marketing issues whereas others are more broad based. It depends whether you want to gain greater marketing depth or broader management


MBAs can be expensive and they will certainly take a lot of your time so I recommend that you contact the Association of MBAs to ensure that your chosen MBA is approved and well regarded. Others have recommended

An alternative route is to do a Masters in Marketing. I have little knowledge in this area although I know that Cranfield is well regarded, as is Kingston upon Thames University.