June 23, 2014|Kim's Blog, Marketing|

Most people know that I have been a staunch supporter of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) in the past.

Call me a Luddite but I really liked the old CIM marketing standards (see above). They gave a clear picture of what marketers were expected to know and be able to do at each stage of their career – from support and practitioner grades through to manager and director level.

OK, it wasn’t an easy fit for professional services marketers but it was a practical and succinct guide. Many firms I have worked with used the standards as a foundation for their own competency and assessment frameworks.

And yes, as the world of marketing is moving at such break neck speed, those standards desperately needed to be updated.

So when the new standards were recently released http://www.cim.co.uk/About/Mktgstandards/Introduction.aspx I was delighted that elements such as customer experience, value propositions, digital, internal communication, cross-functional teams and change management were given such prominence in the mix. But I’m not convinced that the new standards are as helpful as the old ones.

Yes, there’s a distinction between knowledge and application but how easy will it be to determine this in reality?

And there appears to be some strange omissions. For example, the centrality of profit, lead generation and customer retention and relationships isn’t apparent. I couldn’t find any reference to price or to project management. Whilst MkIS is mentioned and the word digital appears frequently there’s a surprising lack of detail. I couldn’t find the word community and engagement anywhere. And what about the importance of CRM?  And to what extent are sales capabilities – so critical in the B2B environment – incorporated?

The list of behaviours is laudable – but how achievable are they really for the vast majority of young marketers? And this element is little more than a list.

I’d be interested to hear your views.

The new standards

At the top level the marketing standards are organised into capabilities, technical knowledge and behaviours:

Core Technical Behaviours
Insights Reputation,   risk and compliance Commercially   aware
Strategy Brand Financially   literate
Championing   the customer Integrated   marketing communications Creative
  Digital   capability Influencing
  Monitoring   and measuring effectiveness Collaborative
  Channel   to market/partnership marketing Responsible
  Value   propositions Entrepreneurial
  Customer   experience Challenging


Each of these are then broken down into the competency level:

  1. Aware (limited knowledge or experience with full potential to develop)
  2. Active (Meaningful knowledge with some experience and application)
  3. Able (Full knowledge of the concepts and application to the business)
  4. Accomplished (An advanced degree of knowledge and consistent application)
  5. Authoritative (Mastery at the highest level of knowledge and application)

There are then further divisions depending on the topic:


Insights – obtains information about markets and analyses information for insights

Strategy – formulates strategy (marketing and digital) and produces marketing plans

Championing the customer – Aligns the organisation around the customer, works collaboratively and manages change


Reputation, risk and compliance – manages corporate reputation and manages risk and compliance

Brand – Develops brand strategy and positioning, manages brand effectiveness and manages brand performance

Integrated marketing communications – develops and delivers integrated marketing communications

Digital – develops, integrates and delivers digital capability

Monitoring and measuring effectiveness – measures the effectiveness of marketing activities, uses analytics to explain the success or failure of marketing activities and monitors digital and social reputation

Channels to market – develops and delivers channel to market and partnership marketing plans

Value propositions – innovates value propositions and manages value propositions, products and services

Customer experience – articulates the desired customer experience and delivers the customer experience and customer satisfaction