CIM and Professional Academy Workshops - The perfect marketing mix - Dave Thackeray's Guest Blog - Part 3
Dave Thackeray is digital lead for a northern charity by day - and CIM Level 6 Diploma in Professional Marketing student during the darker hours. He recently experienced one of Professional Academy's two-day learning workshops - and lived to tell you the tale...
I realised there was a mountain to climb in achieving the coveted status of CIM Level 6 Diploma in Professional Marketing graduate.
It wasn't until about 9.30am last Friday I realised I was missing sturdy boots, Kendal mint cake, windcheater, and a map. In fact, without that workshop I would have been attempting to conquer Everest starkers.
Professional Academy offers two strains of learning mode for its CIM students.
The diet version, distance learning, gives you access to a nifty online dashboard packed with resources and guides to help you pass your next assignment or exam.
But it's the all-singing blended learning system that comes complete with workshops where a tutor delivers the goods and helps all the information you need to know sink in.
And that's why I spent my Friday and Saturday in a hired room of the Thistle Hotel in Manchester for an audience with Carol Laing.
The Workshop Experience
You might remember Carol from a previous article of mine (Questions with Carol). She's the one on the rope swing with all the answers.
As if that photo wasn't magic enough, you should have been there last weekend.
Seen those YouTube videos of people jumping off roofs on mountain bikes, skydiving off the Moon, stuff like that? Carol eclipsed them all with her unique style of coaching alchemy.
My Strategic Marketing module is a bit of a beast. CIM puts out a study guide 'complementing' the course book, which is roughly 12890 pages long. We're talking a lot of material.
And using the kind of technology that puts memory mattresses to shame, Carol somehow squashed all this information into 140 slides.
You're probably doing some elementary maths right now and are baffled how you can digest 70 slides-worth of marketing babble a day.
It's not easy. There were 11 of us in that room and by 5pm each day we emerged like survivors of a week in the world's hottest sauna. Bewilderment, perspiration and fear drove us that heady weekend.
But here's where the miracle happens. A couple of days later, the effects are similarly extreme but in an entirely different - and positive - way. All that knowledge Carol shared has started to sink in.
As we left for the second and final day of workshops, Carol said to expand our marketing repertoire. Read widely, notice how we perceive things around us differently by putting a marketing spin on them - stuff like that. And slowly come to terms with the fact we now know vastly more stuff than we did on Thursday. And by jove, she's right.
On Sunday I created a Facebook Group - Carol's CIM Crusaders. Those people starting the workshop as strangers are now friends. And we're sharing insights and experiences by the bucketload.
They say when you attend conferences the best part is what you learn in the corridors, and the people you meet at breakfast. There's a similar analogy here relating to these Professional Academy workshops: they're the fuel pump for your car, but it's the driving afterwards that puts a real smile on your face.
Professional Academy has created a brilliant way of learning, here. Workshops include one weekend day so you don't need to take two days' holiday from work. And I'd recommend doing it in your own time since a girl on my workshop who was technically there on work time was getting calls from her boss during the group study which must have been incredibly distracting for her.
What happens post workshop?
Where now? To the CIM saloon. During the workshop my new friends talked of Marketing Expert, a dedicated resource on the CIM website for people practicing the dark art of marketing. It's a heaven-sent place to turbocharge your knowledge. And then I found a marketing planning tool that helps you shape your marketing plan - one of two components of the Strategic Marketing module.
I'm nervous as hell about the exam - it's December 2, so you still have plenty of time to console me with study tips @davethackeray on Twitter - but I now feel fortified by the support given by Carol at her workshop and the people I met there. Now it's just a case of applying all the study tips I shared with you in my last blog post and laying down little treats along the way to stay motivated and reach the winning post in style!
Former journalist, editor and company owner Dave is now the web and social media officer at WLCT, a charity operating leisure services for councils. After years making his way through the marketing maze he decided to go back to basics and learn how to do it properly with Professional Academy and CIM. Follow his progress on this blog and feel free to connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter to ask about his experiences.
If you would like to Join Dave on a CIM Marketing Qualification Course you can contact Professional Academy for some advice or Download a copy of the Marketing Prospectus today.