Interview with outgoing Chair of CIM South East – Marketing Fusion’s Diana Tucker
Passionate about a career in marketing?
How and why did you become involved with CIM?
I first joined CIM at university and I’ve been a member ever since. Not only because it’s a great way to meet other marketing professionals, but also to keep learning and growing, to stay at the top of my game. I’ve always been an active member, becoming chair of the Surrey branch back in [insert date] then as chair of the South East, CIM’s largest region, for the past 6 years.
Why is CIM so important to you?
The status of “chartered marketer” we offer is a mark of excellence. It helps us challenge the unfair stereotype of the ‘office girls wearing heels and swinging handbags’ which unbelievably still persists in some quarters! Marketing is a serious profession. I’m passionate about getting that message out there and maintaining the professional standards we’ve built. And beyond that – supporting all our members with opportunities for professional development and lifelong learning.
What’s it like being on the board?
I really love being on the board because I get to meet marketers from all different backgrounds who bring their own perspectives. From sole traders and small agencies, to corporate marketers from multi-national companies, I’ve been able to learn so much from their insights and experiences. As a voluntary position, being a board member is a big responsibility on top of my regular workload, but it’s one I’ve been more than happy to do, as I believe so passionately in our mission to elevate the status of the profession and support the marketers of the future.
What are the benefits of becoming a member of CIM?
We’re here for marketers at every stage of their career, helping them to stay informed in an industry prone to rapid change. We have over 30,000 members from 130 countries, so our contribution to the profession is significant. Our members receive support, training and representation. And we do our best to educate the business community in recognising and valuing the importance of high quality marketing.
We also provide mentorship. As soon as you become a member you are allocated a suitable mentor for your stage of career. I feel a huge sense of responsibility to support others through mentoring, because everyone struggles at times, and mentoring helped me overcome my own career challenges. A mentor can help you see different paths, different avenues, different ways of looking at things. I think it’s a really important part of our work, especially given what’s happened with the pandemic.
What does it mean to be a Chartered Marketer?
The Chartered Marketer award is something that’s very close to my heart because it does so much for our professional status. It’s a mark of quality. Anyone who achieves Chartered Marketer status has to achieve our professional standards, which means employers and clients can have confidence in the abilities of that person. Plus, all chartered marketers have to achieve a certain number of hours of professional development each year to maintain their status. So they don’t just know the basics, they know what’s at the forefront of current thinking and practice in the industry.
Right now, we have over 3000 chartered marketers. And, throughout my involvement with CIM, I’ve wanted to continue to broaden the understanding of what chartered status means, across all industries who have a marketing need. For example, if recruiters can understand what chartered status means, it will help them to pinpoint the candidates with a higher level of professional skill.
How has being a member of CIM helped you personally?
As an agency director myself, it gives me an assurance of quality. I know that if I recruit a fellow chartered marketer they will understand the essential concepts around methodology and process. It’s riskier for me to take on someone who is not CIM qualified – are they going to know what I’m talking about? You know, in the early days there used to be an official, red, triangular CIM badge so you could spot fellow members at meetings and events (I really loved having a badge!). It’s always been a great way to connect with other pros who share the same foundation of knowledge.
CIM has also given me a peer network I can access at any time. I’m a fellow of the institute (we have 563 fellows in the South East), which means I know that I can pick up the phone to at least half a dozen of them at any time and say, I’ve got this issue, what would you do? Or can I just brainstorm something with you? And how would you approach this? It’s enabled me to develop a peer network that I wouldn’t otherwise have access to. To share and discuss with other marketers in a non-competitive way? That’s invaluable.
What changes have you seen during your tenure?
A complete restructure! When I first got involved with the board, we would do around two events a month – one networking, one professional learning. However, that changed as the internet took over, so we started looking at where we could deliver more value. The important thing for us was listening to our members and understanding what they wanted. Which was less of the traditional networking-type event, and a greater focus on learning.
And what we’ve also done in the South East, is look at the next generation of marketers, and think about how we get them to value the profession. To that end, we’re having a big drive on mentorship, running regular evenings for university students where they can ask questions, and get support with any marketing or career-related issues they are unsure about.
And what have been the highlights of your time as chair?
Without doubt, building a team and seeing them be successful. I’m only as good as the board members that I recruit and work with. I’ve got to meet some incredibly talented people who are totally outside of my B2B niche, like the CMOs of a Big Pharma group and a travel company. The board members are so diverse, a real melting pot, and it’s unlikely I would have met them were it not for CIM. It’s essential to have that range of experience, so we can offer the same level of support to all – from company marketers to freelancers alike.
So what’s next for you and CIM?
Well, they’re not getting rid of me yet! I will continue supporting the CIM in any way I can. I’m passionate about helping the marketers of the future – and that’s not going to change any time soon.