Postgraduate Diploma

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CIM Postgraduate Diploma

A strategically focused qualification enabling you to influence and contribute to an organisation’s customer orientation, competitive strategy and manage the organisation’s marketing activities. It is a challenging, two-stage marketing qualification that provides a route to Chartered Marketer status.

Who is it for?

Marketers who have gained significant level of marketing knowledge and experience. Focusing on strategic marketing management it is ideal for marketers aspiring or already working at strategic management level.

Entry requirements

Stage 1 - As a minimum, the following qualifications and experience are recommended as a prerequisite for entry:

  • Professional Diploma in Marketing (either the 2003 or 2009 syllabus) or the Advanced Certificate in Marketing or
  • a business or marketing Bachelors or Masters degree (or an equivalent qualification) where a minimum of half of the credits come from marketing and
  • senior marketing management work experience providing evidence you can meet the CIM Professional Diploma in Marketing learning outcomes and can pass this qualification’s entry test.

Stage 2
Successful completion of Stage 1 or a previous version of the CIM Professional Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing.

If English is not your first language, evidence of at least IELTS level 6.5 or Trinity ISE III/IV will also be required.

What will you learn?

By the end of this qualification you should be able to:

  • make the transition into strategic marketing management
  • work more cross-functionally at a senior management level
  • make a significant contribution towards the organisation’s corporate and business strategy
  • contribute to board decisions
  • demonstrate a high level of leadership and influence.

How long will it take?

There are four hand-in/exam dates a year and you can begin your studies at any time. For Stage 1 the four modules, studied with our two-day workshops and guided home study will typically take around one year to complete although you can choose to study at a faster or slower pace to suit your requirements. For Stage 2 the majority of students will take between 3-6 months to complete the work-based project.  We commit ourselves to support all our students for up to a maximum of two years. Please also visit our important dates page for more information.

On completion of stage 1 and whilst you are a CIM member you will be entitled to use the designatory letters ACIM, you will also be entitled to use the designatory letters DipM even you are not a CIM member.  Completion of stage 2 entitles you continue onto becoming a Chartered Marketer, a title that recognises you as an expert in the field of marketing.

To find out more about the CIM, visit the CIM website today.

What modules will you study?

Click on a module title for more information

Analysis and Decision - Pre-seen case-study based exam

The Analysis and Decision module forms part of the CIM Chartered Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing. This unit consists of three parts: strategic audit, strategic options, and making strategic marketing decisions. The overall purpose of the unit is to prepare students to undertake a strategic audit of an organisation, assess its capability and capacity to deliver the organisation's business and marketing strategy in a challenging, dynamic and diverse global market place, and to recommend a strategic option, or decision, based on a full critical evaluation of the various options available.

After completing the Analysis and Decision module students will be able to:

  1. Undertake a strategic marketing audit, assessing an organisation's competencies, competitive advantage, market performance, customers, competitors, product and service portfolios, positioning, value proposition and market impact.
  2. Assess the impact of external factors on an organisation and its strategic intent and direction.
  3. Utilise the strategic marketing audit to critically evaluate a range of strategic marketing options available to an organisation, including innovation, mergers, acquisitions, partnering, alliances, environmental sustainability and CSR, in order to deliver best value growth and expansion opportunities for the organisation.
  4. Utilise a range of financial and other measurement tools to critically assess the risk of strategic market decisions and their impact upon an organisation, including financial, corporate and reputational risk.
  5. Utilise a range of risk assessment tools to critically assess the risk of strategic market decisions and their impact upon an organisation, including financial, corporate and reputational risk.


The following is a detailed breakdown of the Analysis and Decision module. As mentioned earlier this module consists of three key parts:

Part one - Strategic Audit

The strategic marketing audit: external (weighting 35%)

1.1.1 Utilise a range of techniques, processes and marketing information to assess the external marketing environment.

1.11.2 Utilise market-based information to critically evaluate an organisation's strategic position within the market place, including consideration of specific positioning issues.

1.1.3 Utilise a range of tools to critically evaluate an organisation's ability to understand its current customer base and their buying behaviour, in order to be able to develop customer insight and meet their preferences.

1.1.4 Assess the potential for strategic uncertainty in the external market and the extent to which it involves trends or events, and show how it will impact upon an organisation.

The strategic marketing audit: internal (weighting 35%)

1.2.1 Utilise a range of models and techniques to undertake a strategic audit of the internal environment.

1.2.2 Critically evaluate the resource-based view of an organisation and the value of this approach in developing resource and capability to deliver and organisation's vision and mission.


1.2.3 Critically evaluate the fit between an organisation's culture and its current strategy, and assess its ability to be flexible and agile in a changing marketing environment.

1.2.4 Utilise a range of internal information and assessment tools to evaluate an organisation's strengths and weaknesses in order to assess its readiness for development, including an assessment.

Developing the organisation's strategic intent and direction (weighting 30%)

1.3.1 Critically evaluate an organisation's current strategic intent, based upon its vision, mission, values and stakeholder expectations.

1.3.2 Critically analyse the role of strategic intent in shaping an organisation's strategy development.

Part two - Strategic Options

Assessing strategic marketing decisions (weighting 20%)

2.1.1 Critically evaluate the determinants of strategic options and choices.

2.1.2 Critically evaluate how strategic options can be developed to reflect an organisation's.

Strategic options available to a growing organisation (weighting 80%)

2.2.1 Critically evaluate the nature of innovation and new product development (NPD) in marketing and the related factors impacting upon marketing decisions, including on-going innovation management within an organisation.

2.2.2 Critically evaluate the appropriateness of developing an international marketing strategy for an organisation investing in international markets.

2.2.3 Critically evaluate a range of issues that impact on an organisation when entering new countries and markets and consider how they may be managed to achieve the organisation's objectives.

2.2.4 Assess the relevance to an organisation of mergers, acquisitions and strategic alliances in growing, expanding and maximising business potential.

2.2.5 Critically evaluate a range of growth strategies for an organisation.

2.2.6 Critically evaluate the concept of relationship marketing (CRM) as a means of achieving growth and profitability within an organisation.

2.2.7 Critically evaluate the development of an organisation's brand and its contribution towards increasing the organisation's value and brand equity.

2.2.8 Critically assess the impact of changing an organisation's strategic position within the marketing place.

Part three - Making strategic marketing decisions

Making and justifying strategic marketing decisions (weighting 20%)

3.1.1 Critically assess strategic alternatives against pre-determined criteria for an organisation.

3.1.2 Assess an organisation's readiness for developing a global strategy.

Financial assessment of marketing opportunities (weighting 30%)

3.2.1 Utilising a range of financial tools, assess the financial benefits and risks for an organisation when selecting from its strategic options.

3.2.2 Critically evaluate the source of funds appropriate to the strategic marketing choice and the long-term sustainability and impact of their utilisation.

3.2.3 Assess the impact of the strategic choice upon the shareholder value of organisations in different contexts.

3.2.4 Assess the impact on the economic value of an organisation arising from specific decisions on expenditures/cash flows.

Corporate and reputational risk of marketing decisions (weighting 30%)

3.3.1 Utilising a range of risk analysis tools, assess the strategic risks facing an organisation in the selection of strategic alternatives leading to strategic choice.

3.3.2 Assess the potential for organisational constraints to limit an organisation's success in using any given strategic choice.

3.3.3 Asses the risk to an organisation of hostile or declining markets and recommend mitigation strategies.

3.3.4 Recommend a range of mitigation strategies designed to reduce risks, so as to enhance an organisation's selection of a strategic option.

Impact analysis of strategic marketing decisions (weighting 20%)

3.4.1 Critically analyse the impact of the priority decisions on an organisation.


Emerging Themes - Work-based Assignment

The Emerging Themes module forms part of CIM Chartered Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing and students that have completed this module should be able to critically assess and evaluate the significance of various emerging themes, to demonstrate an ability to recognise the strategic importance of key themes, and to consider how best to take them into account when developing and implementing marketing strategies. Finally, by the end of the unit students will have established strategies and mechanisms for anticipating future trends and emerging themes.

After completing the Emerging Themes module student will be able to:

  1. Critically evaluate a range of key emerging macro-environmental themes and make a critical assessment of their significance for a specific sector or industry.
  2. Propose strategic marketing responses to the key emerging themes judged to have the greatest potential impact on a specificc sector. Responses should reflect contemporary marketing practice (ie marketing's new ground) and demonstrate creativity.

The following is a detailed breakdown of the Emerging Themes module. The unit has two main sections:

Section one - Macro and meso emerging themes (weighting 50%)

1.1 Critically evaluate macro-environmental emerging themes and assess/forecast their potential impact upon one specific sector or industry.

1.2 Critically evaluate meso-environmental themes and assess/forecast their potential impact upon a specific sector or industry.

Section two - Meso and micro emerging themes (weighting 50%)

2.1 Judge the importance of a range of emerging themes to a particular organisation.

2.2 Develop contemoray strategic marketing and business responses to a prioritised emerging theme.

2.3 Propose methods by which marketing professionals can anticipate and adapt to change.

Leading Marketing - Work-based project

Once you have completed all of the Stage One modules you will have successfully achieved the Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing. In order to gain Chartered Marketer status you will need to complete 35 hours of CPD (continuing professional development) per year - please see the CIM website for more details on the CPD programme.

The Leading Marketing module will give you your first year of 35 CPD hours (once you have completed Stage 1 of the Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing (4 modules). The purpose of the leading marketing module is to prepare students to lead the design, implementation and evaluation of a strategic business project within their own organisation or business sector. The project will make a significant contribution to their employer or business sector.

You will explore an emerging marketing theme and evaluate its impact on current marketing practice. You will be expected to provide a project proposal in which you have critically evaluated current published work on the emerging marketing theme and identified the key issues and opportunities facing the organisation or business sector.

In undertaking the literature review, you should also be able to critically evaluate the skills, behaviour and knowledge required to lead a successful project and to critically assess their personal competence in those areas.

Leading Marketing - Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate a critical awareness of current and emerging issues in marketing that is informed by leading edge research and practice in the field.
  2. Propose a strategic response to an emerging marketing theme that considers the impact on marketing and its interaction with other parts of the organisation.
  3. Critically evaluate the skills, behaviours and attitdues required to lead strategic marketing projects.
  4. Critically assess published research to determine methods of designing, implementing, measuring and monitoring the success of a project and marketing performance.
  5. Design and conduct research into marketing and business issues using a range of business data, research sources and appropriate research methods.
  6. Demonstrate the relationship between theory and professional practice through the application of a range of appropriate assessment tools and techniques to measure project success.
  7. Critically evaluate project success and recommend appropriate actions to improve the implementation of future business projects or to revise approaches to practice.
  8. Critically assess personal performance and provide a range of evidence that demonstrates that they can take responsibility for their own personal and professional development.
  9. Develop their ability to operate effectively in a strategic marketing role through continuing professional development.

The following section provides a detailed overview of the Leading Marketing Module.

Part one - Defining the Project (20 Credits)

1.1 The literature review

1.1.1 Demonstrate a critical awareness of emerging marketing themes impacting on business and marketing.

1.1.2 Critically evaluate a key emerging marketing theme and consider its significance to, and impact on, an organisation or business sector.

1.1.3 Critically assess a range of current literature and resources to lead and measure the success of a business project.

1.2 Self Evaluation

1.2.1 Critically assess current competence and ability to lead a successful marketing project.

1.2.2 Determine skills and competences that will be developed through effective project leadership and implementation.

Part two - Project Implementation and Assessment (30 Credits)

The purpose of this part of Stage 2 is for students to design, implement and assess the strategic business project. Students will be expected to apply appropriate research methods to identify and explain the procedures and processes that will be used to design and implement the strategic business project and to assess the success of the project. it is anticipated that the candidate will identify the need for primary research. However, secondary research may be acceptable if the project is suitable for this approach. Students will be expected to define success in order to explore methods to measure success.

Following implementation, students will use the procedures identified within their research methods to assess project success against key performance indicators. You will also be expected to make recommendations to improve the implementation of future business projects.

Learning outcomes for part two

  1. Critically assess published research to determine methods of designing, implementing, measuring and monitoring the success of a project and marketing performance.
  2. Design and conduct research into marketing and business issues using a range of business data, research sources and appropriate research methods.
  3. Demonstrate the relationship between theory and professional practice through the application tools and techniques to measure project success.
  4. Critically evaluate project success and recommend appropriate actions to improve the implementation of future business projects or to revise approaches to practice.

2.1 Research Methods

2.1.1 Design and apply appropriate research methods to identify the procedures to be followed to implement a project and the procedures to be used to assess project success.

2.2 The Business Project

2.2.1 Lead a strategic marketing project to exploit or meet the demands of an emerging marketing theme.

2.3 Project Evaluation

2.3.1 Critically assess implementation of a strategic marketing project using techniques through research.

2.3.2 Analyse data to make valid recommendations to improve the implementation of future strategic change projects.

Part three - Self Review and CPD

The purpose of this part of the Stage two is for students to critically assess their role in leading and implementing the business project using the procedures and processes identified within their research methods.

Candidates are expected to assess the skills, knowledge and competences they used throughout project implementation. You will be expected to identify areas where you have developed during the project, areas where you consider you have some expertise and areas for future development.

You will then produce a plan for Continuing Personal Development.

Learning outcomes for part three

1. Critically assess personal performance and provide a range of evidence that demonstrates that they can take responsibility for their own personal and professional development.

2. Develop their ability to operate effectively in a strategic marketing role through continuing professional development.

3.1 Self Evaluation

3.1.1 Apply a range of appropriate assessment tools and techniques identified through research to assess personal skills, competences and knowledge.

3.1.2 Critically compare pre-project and post-project competence to determine progression within a leadership role.

3.2 Future Plans

3.2.1 Reflect on their learning and self critically manage their future development.

Managing Corporate Reputation - Work-based assignment

The managing corporate reputation module forms part of the CIM Chartered Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing.

The strength and magnitude of an organisation's reputation represents the way in which a complex range of stakeholders perceive an organisation, entity or destination. All too often, a gap develops between the way an organisation intends to be seen and the reality, namely the way stakeholders actually perceive it. This can be due to a range of forces, some slow, foreseeable and manageable, and some sudden, unforeseen and relatively unmanageable. All can result in organisational underperformance, destabilisation, financial difficulties, leadership change, a fall in market valuation, and even difficulty in raising finance or recruiting the right personnel. This unit explores ways in which organisations can minimise the gap and avoid potentially serious issues.

Students that have completed this unit should be able to:

  1. Critically evaluate the way organisations develop their identities and how some organisations use these to form images and assign reputational status.
  2. Critically analyse the elements that contribute to the identity that an organisation projects to its stakeholders, sometimes through a corporate brand.
  3. Critically evaluate linkage between how an organisation wants to be seen and how it is seen, namely corporate communications.

The following is a detailed breakdown of the Managing Corporate Reputation module.

Part one - Understanding the nature and characteristics of reputational management (weighting 25%)

1.1 Developing the rationale for managing corporate reputation.

1.1.1 Critically evaluate the context and concepts relating to corporate reputation.

1.1.2 Justify the importance and significance of managing an organisation's corporate reputation.

1.1.3 Identify the forces that can influence an organisation's reputation, and develop forecasts concerning their level of current and potential influence.

1.2 Determining the scope of corporate reputation.

1.2.1 Critically assess the compatibility of an organisation's corporate strategy, structure, systems and culture with its positioning and reputation.

1.2.2 Develop processes leading to the identification of key external and internal stakeholders, and understand the nature of associated communication programmes.

1.2.3 Process and justify the use of a portfolio of board indicators to evaluate the strength of an organisation's reputation.

Part two - Managing the dimensions of an organisation's reputation (weighting 25%)

2.1 Understanding the current corporate reputation

2.1.1 Critically evaluate the corporate character or personality of an organisation.

2.1.2 Critically assess the strength and potential of the corporate identity and/or brand.

2.2 Developing corporate brands.

2.2.1 Critically evaluate the nature of corporate brands and make recommendations concerning any gap between identity and image.

2.2.2 Propose changes to enhance the systems, structure and processes necessary to support the management of corporate reputation.

Part three - Developing effective corporate communications (weighting 50%)

3.1 Determining the dimensions of corporate communications

3.1.1 Critically appraise the nature and characteristics of corporate communications.

3.1.2 Critically assess the different reasons for using corporate communication.

3.1.3 Propose what is to be communicated to particular stakeholders and how to measure the effectiveness of the communications used.

3.2 Corporate Communication strategies and methods

3.2.1 Critically evaluate the different methods through which corporate communications can be delivered in order to deliver effective messages and enhance reputation.

3.2.2 Formulate approaches to corporate communications that are investor, customer, employee and government focused and contextually determined.

3.2.3 Formulate approaches designed to defend an organisation's reputation.

Marketing Leadership and Planning - Work-based assignment

The Marketing Leadership and Planning module forms part of the CIM Chartered Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing and aims to enable students to develop effective high level strategic marketing strategies relating to an organisation's corporate and business strategic intent in the short, medium and long terms. Students should be able to analyse the corporate strategy, determine a range of high level marketing and relationship strategies, and demonstrate how these strategies will deliver an organisation's desire for growth and expansion, its changing stance on CSR, ethics and key strategic decisions.

Students that have completed the Marketing Leadership and Planning module will be able to:

1. Critically evaluate the links from the corporate strategy to the marketing strategy and ways of delivering an organisation's corporate mission and vision effectively.

2. Develop marketing strategies to establish an organisation's competitive and sustainable marketing and relationship strategies to achieve the organisation's strategic intent and deliver its value proposition.

3. Develop strategic but operational marketing plans at an organisational level (not just functional) using synergistic planning processes, taking account of different planning frameworks (cross-functional and board level contribution) and ensuring they are within the resource capabilities of an organisation.

4. Determine the most appropriate organisational structures for market-oriented organisations and changing organisations, whilst evaluating the resource implications and requirements.

5. Develop sustainable competitive advantage through suitable approaches to leadership and innovation.

6. Assess the link between change programmes, marketing activities and shareholder value, show how these can contribute to an organisation's on-going success, and evaluate the concepts of power, trust and commitment in the context of negotiating change with key stakeholders.

The following is a detailed breakdown of the Marketing Leadership and Planning Module:

Part one - Delivering Marketing Strategies

1.1 Developing and delivering an organisation's vision and mission (weighting 30%)

1.1.1 Critically analyse how to create a clear, simple, reality-based vision for an organisation and its stakeholders.

1.1.2 Critically evaluate the importance of mission statements in communicating an organisation's strategic vision and identity.

1.1.3 Identify distinctive competences of the organisation and how they can be leveraged to achieve and organisation's mission.

1.1.4 Examine the different approaches to the strategic process.

1.2 Developing marketing strategies and value proposition (weighting 70%)

1.2.1 Determine an organisation's value proposition through analysis of an organisation's vision, mission and corporate objectives.

1.2.2 Utilising the strategic audit, develop and present corporate strategies that are creative, customer-focused, innovative and competitive for a variety of contexts, incorporating relevant investment decisions and business cases which meet corporate objectives.

1.2.3 Critically evaluate the marketing strategy process, utilising the three key areas/levels in marketing strategy development.

1.2.4 Determine a series of measures that enable an estimation of desired results for an organisation.

Part two - Strategic Marketing Planning

2.1 Strategic marketing plans (weighting 30%)

2.1.1 Critically evaluate the concept of strategic marketing planning as a tool to deliver an organisation's value proposition.

2.1.2 Analyse the corporate objectives and translate into overarching marketing objectives to support giving direction to a marketing plan.

2.1.3 Assess the variables facing an organisation in order to assess the impact of the future corporate and marketing objectives against its current competencies, resource capacity and financial positioning.

2.1.4 Make clear recommendations that determine either changes in the strategy or further resource requirements to support the delivery of the strategic marketing plan.

2.1.5 Develop marketing plans utilising corporate planning frameworks to deliver an organisation's strategies and meet corporate objectives.

2.1.6 Critically evaluate why marketing plans can fail.

2.2 Assessing and utilising organisational resources and assets (weighting 40%)

2.2.1 Assess an organisation's structure and critically evaluate its appropriateness to align and deliver its strategy and fulfil its vision.

2.2.2 Critically evaluate existing systems and processes and identify future needs in line with an organisation's strategy requirements.

2.2.3 Assess the competency of an organisation's workforce in order to establish future capability and capacity requirements.

2.2.4 Ascertain where the new marketing strategy will impact and how it will fit into the broader organisation.

2.2.5 Establish a clear funding framework in order to deliver the marketing strategy effectively and ensure sufficient and realistic financial resource is available.

2.3 Monitoring and measuring marketing (weighting 30%)

2.3.1 Critically evaluate the concepts of adaptability, efficiency and effectiveness as means of measuring the success or otherwise of marketing strategies for a range of organisational sectors.

2.3.2 Critically evaluate and use quantitative techniques for evaluating business and marketing performance and delivery of the marketing strategy.

2.3.3 Measure financial returns achieved as a result of specific investment decisions and compare them to the original investment appraisal or business case.

2.3.4 Propose and critically evaluate the development of sustainable marketing strategies and ethics, and analyse the value generated by these strategies to the organisation's overall strategy.

2.3.5 Assess the value that the marketing proposition has generated and how it can contribute to shareholder value.

Part three - Market-led strategic change

3.1 Leading and inspiring an organisation (weighting 40%)

3.1.1 Critically evaluate and identify the methods for measuring successful and effective leadership strategies in determining and defining an organisation's strategic focus and intent.

3.1.2 Critically evaluate a range of approaches to successful leadership of the organisation and of the marketing function.

3.1.3 Critically evaluate and analyse the dominant leadership paradigms.

3.1.4 Critically evaluate the concept of power and influence in promoting a coherent philosophy regarding sources of power and how it can be exercised in the organisation.

3.1.5 Critically evaluate the concept of bi-cultural leadership in developing capabilities effectively within new sub-cultures and across boundaries.

3.1.6 Explore ways of developing thought leadership within the organisation to assist in the development of culture of innovation and learning.

3.1.7 utilise the management team, internal resources and networks to develop tools to access key stakeholders.

3.1.8 Assess your own leadership style and recommend how it can be improved and maximised to aid business thinking, working with colleagues, inspiring people and achieve goals.

3.2 Developing a market-oriented culture (weighting 30%)

3.2.1 Critically evaluate the concept of a market-oriented culture and consider the implications for an organisation in achieving it.

3.2.2 Assess the different characteristics of culture in a broad context and evaluate the need for change to achieve true market orientation.

3.2.3 Explore ways in which the organisation can go about creating and shaping a market-oriented culture.

3.2.4 Critically evaluate the concept of shared values and show how they can be effectively communicated in a market-oriented organisation.

3.2.5 Determine measures for success in transforming an organisation's culture to one of true market orientation.

3.3 Developing and delivering organisational strategies for change (weighting 30%)

3.3.1 Assess the key drivers and pressures on organisations to change in today's dynamic marketing environment.

3.3.2 Critically evaluate barriers to organisational change, making recommendations of how best to overcome them.

3.3.3 Critically evaluate why organisations often avoid corporate led change.

3.3.4 Critically evaluate the different methods of change available to organisations.

3.3.5 Design a process of change, to provide insight into the level of involvement and interaction stakeholders will have in the transformation of an organisation and its market orientation, including consideration of constraints and contingencies.

3.3.6 Prepare a change plan for an organisation, taking into account the need for appropriate resources, capabilities, skills and motivations for its execution.