How the CM designation is meeting the needs of the modern marketer

—This content is brought to you by the Canadian Marketing Association—

The CMA broke new ground for the industry in 2017 when it introduced the Chartered Marketer professional designation.

“The CM program was created to raise the bar for marketing in Canada,” says CMA president and CEO John Wiltshire. “Having the CM designation demonstrates a depth and breadth of knowledge and ability, and a commitment to high professional standards. This, in turn, will strengthen the credibility of the profession.”

New research by Key Media reveals the CM has already gained significant traction across the business world, with 66% of Canadian business leaders saying that marketing needed a professional designation. “These numbers support what our members have been telling us—the CM is good for them and it’s good for the entire profession,” says Wiltshire.

So what are marketers saying about CM? Here’s what some of them told us.

Emily Baillie, digital marketing professor, and CM instructor: “Marketing can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people,” says Baillie. “And sometimes it’s hard to differentiate the people who just sort of call themselves a marketer from the people who really have the chops to sort of take something and act on it.”

The CM makes it a lot easier to do just that, she says. “It provides a little bit more of a standard of professionalism, a standard of experience, a qualification that people have so that they can say, ‘Hey I’m the real deal. I’ve put in the effort. I’ve done these extra courses. I have the experience behind my name to get into the program in the first place,’ versus the folks who are taking other paths and may be newer to the industry.”

Mo Dezyanian, president of Empathy Inc. and CM curriculum developer: “Everywhere I go there is talk of a talent crisis in the industry,” says Dezyanian. In part, he says, that’s attributable to a general over-emphasis on marketing technology for the past several years. “There is this generation of practitioners that are narrowly trained in digital disciplines but aren’t comfortable with business holistically… The CM program trains marketers based on business foundations and sets ethics and standards. It can unify the industry and help solve the talent gap.”

Steve Mast, president and chief innovation officer of Delvinia and vice-chair of the CMA: The designation is invaluable in part because the industry has changed so much and it needed a way to demonstrate that marketers were keeping up, he says. “Tell me an industry or a profession that has faced disruption as massive as marketing.” From consumer trends, to new regulations and fast-changing media platforms, marketers have to constantly respond to transformative events. “That’s one of the things where the CM program is really good… They’re starting to anticipate where those changes are going to happen, and what do we need to do to continue to get better.”

Susan McVey, VP of marketing at Jump Math, and CM instructor: Too many people still don’t fully understand what it takes to perform effectively as a marketer, says McVey. “It gives credibility to the profession of marketing,” she says. Like Mast, McVey points to the remarkable change being felt throughout the profession. People talk about how Uber has disrupted transportation, or how disruptive AirBnB or Tesla have been, “but marketing has been in ongoing disruption for years. And if you’re not current, if you’re relying on the marketing ways of old, you’re not going to be successful.”

Leslie Hughes, principal at Punch Media and CM program advisor: Asked why she got the CM, Hughes points to the benefits realized in other professions with certified designations. It builds trust with customers and clients, she says. “It says that they’re at the top of their game, that they’re not just making this stuff up as they go. And I think the Chartered Marketer designation really helps to reinforce that for the marketing profession in Canada.”

Vicki Waschkowski, marketing strategist, professor, and CM instructor: Many marketers today are so focused on the day-to-day requirements of their job, it can be difficult to develop skills and acquire expertise beyond the daily grind, she says.

“The CM gives them more rounded experience and exposure to different parts of marketing that they maybe wouldn’t have had before. We’ve got some pretty good marketers in Canada, but I think the quality of those people can be elevated from where it is right now. I think we can turn people into better thought leaders, better industry spokespeople that can move to the States or to other countries, or different companies, and have the skill set to bring with them.”

Chantell Olivier, marketing manager, SureWerx and CM student: Olivier says she “jumped at the opportunity” when the CMA announced it was introducing a CM program. She too thinks the pace of change within marketing is what makes the CM so important.

“Marketing is subject to such frequent changes that is important to continue learning and discovering new theories to supplement my experience and keep up to date with what’s next,” she says.

She considered an executive MBA, but felt the costs and time commitment were too much. “The Chartered Marketer program implores us as marketing leaders to keep up-to-date in our trade, it ensures that old school methodologies are moved along for new and innovative thinking, it forces the industry and people within it to be on the same playing field that the digital space has opened for small, medium and large companies.”

For more on the new research regarding professional designations in Canada click here. And for more on the CM, click here.

Chris Powell