When I became a member of the Institute of Marketing in 1989, I could never have imagined that I would become the Chair of the association that has helped shape my career over the past 30 plus years. I began my marketing career working as a marketing coordinator for an engineering plastics distributor and often joke that the most exciting product in my range was Perspex because it came in different colours rather than white or grey. I then became product manager for dustmats and cleaning cloths in an industrial laundry services business – again, not a particularly exciting product range, but I learned so much in this role, especially, how to be creative even when the product range was rather mundane. It was this latter skill that provided me with the amazing opportunity to move into fashion marketing, responsible for fashion designers and concessions in Harrods and other high-end department stores. Some years later, I researched and wrote clothing reports for Mintel, a market research business, and it was this role that enabled me to become an expert witness in fashion marketing with experience of giving evidence in court.
My first foray into lecturing was teaching Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) modules to unsuspecting evening class students. I enjoyed the classroom experience so much that I joined Leeds Beckett University as a senior lecturer in marketing in 1999, and taught on CIM awards right through to 2019 when I was Dean of Staffordshire Business School. During this time I achieved Chartered Marketer status in 2002 and became a Fellow in 2010. I also gained an MBA in Strategic Marketing in 1994. Recently, I completed a doctorate in collaborative academic partnerships. I joined the board of the CIM in 2016 and it is an absolute privilege to take on the role of Chair of the board of directors.
I join as chair at an exciting time. My predecessor’s term of office was defined by the Covid-19 pandemic and I and the board are very grateful to her for her wisdom and guidance which ensured that the institute remained viable and continued to support our students and other members during this most challenging of times. As a result, the CIM is in a strong position for growth, and we can now build on strong foundations.
Over the past year, CIM has seen increased engagement across the board as marketers look for support, learning, and development in what continues to be a fast-paced industry. Last year, many more marketers engaged with CIM training and studies for CIM qualifications, and membership levels grew as a result and we intend to grow this further.
CIM’s qualifications and training are continually adapting to meet the needs of marketers. As a society and profession, we are all aware of global trends that impact how we do marketing – big data, data analytics, and AI, how we apply consumer psychology to our marketing, and, perhaps most importantly, the environment, as highlighted by the recent COP26 conference in Glasgow last month.
Marketing has a major role in driving a more sustainable future. CIM is already investing in how we inform, educate, and provide solutions in sustainable transformation, to not only support those already working in the profession but to inspire those who are considering a career in marketing.
CIM has recently developed the first Diploma in Sustainable Marketing which will be open to enrolments early next year. We will also run sustainability throughout our other levels ensuring this important content is then mapped onto the marketing and business degrees of our 125 university partners, educating the next generation of marketers.
As the incoming Chair of the CIM, it is my privilege to lead the institute with a growth agenda, achieved through partnerships, and to ensure relevancy in a changing business landscape. As Chris Daly, CEO of the CIM notes in his foreword for the recent Impact of Market Series paper exhorts, we seek to build back better following the pandemic. The report also identifies that the pandemic has ‘boosted the resilience of the (marketing) sector and those working it’ and raised the profile of ESG and sustainability as important, not just in terms of reputation and branding but for the planet as a whole.
The report on the impact of marketing throughout the pandemic can be found in the CIM content hub here:
Can I encourage you to take a look at the content hub where you’ll find a wealth of resources and information about current issues in marketing such as sustainability, ethics, and CSR?
I’m both excited and nervous about taking on this new responsibility. But I’m not alone. The CIM has a brilliant board and SMT and I’m looking forward to seeing where the next two years take us.