By Peter Sumpton
In every walk of life we often learn from what has gone before us, improving on what was good, avoiding the errors and trying to emulate the elite. This is just one of the reasons why including examples of good and sometimes bad marketing practice in an exam paper is a great way to rack up those all important marks.
If you are going to successfully demonstrate your knowledge as a marketer in any exam based scenario then the statements you make will need to be backed up by solid evidence that what you are stating is accurate. This can be done by utilising well founded marketing models and their various components or relating a statement to a similar real life case study that has been executed successfully. In doing this you are showing the examiner that there is a fundamental principal or successful real life implementation of why you have written your answer, basically you are proving that your answer would and has worked!
Answering CIM / CAM exam papers is very different to answering an academically proposed question, you need to think a little differently and try to answer (in the style of the question being asked) as if the conundrum was placed on your desk at work – how would you deal with what the paper is asking of you? Again, this is why good examples are so important, as they are proof that they have worked for other organisations.
Now there is no point in plucking such examples out of thin air on the day of the exam, nor would it be fruitful to memorise hundreds of case studies off by heart when you are trying to remember so many different marketing models and acronyms such as PESTLE, SOSTAC, SWOT, 4 P’s, 6C’s, 7P’s or even the 12 different C’s of international marketing.
A better way would be to start a portfolio of marketing in action examples that you can build upon throughout your study period, help you to understand how successful companies have taken individual elements of the marketing genre and applied them successfully.
These case studies can be found in various different ways, but it is vital that you start to document these and build a portfolio of examples that can be applied within your exam(s);
Trade publications are an excellent source of recent marketing activity, and these publications don't necessarily need to be marketing specific. Publications catering for various industries often focus on current or topical stories or campaigns that are or have been successful from a marketing perspective.
Marketing text and other educational sources often use case studies as example to back up the theory they are explaining in various chapters (in a similar way to what this article is communicating).
When studying for a particular module it is always worth noting the examples set out in the recommended text books apportioned to that module as the cases presented will generally be specific to a particular theme that is covered in the module syllabus.
Why not glean from your own working knowledge and utilise what has been successful for the companies you have worked for or might still be working for.
And don't forget the online facilities that are available, a world of case studies and examples at the end of your fingertips (just remember to make sure they are valid examples).
There are no hard and fast rules for the application of real life examples in marketing examinations and it will always be down to the student to determine where would be appropriate to reference these examples. The main thing to remember is that if there is an example relevant to your answer and the appropriate marks are available use it!
This blog was created by Peter Sumpton the very knowledgeable Marketing Director for moocreations and a Digital Marketing Tutor for Professional Academy. For more of his insights in to the world of Digital Marketing Communications follow moocreations on Twitter or download a prospectus for a Digital Marketing or Marketing Qualification accredited by the CIM!