I have been a marketer almost all my career, yet I got my first fully fledged direct marketing qualification from the Institute of Direct Marketing after I hit 50.
I have enjoyed a varied career so far including retail marketing, business to business and charity/higher education fundraising. So why the IDM, and why at this point in my career?
Why wait so long?
I did most of a CIM Diploma in the 90s but didn’t complete due to a life change (babies). It wasn’t so much ‘waiting’ to get the qualification, as doing what I needed, when I needed it. The CIM Diploma course gave me a good all round general marketing background, which suited my early career. When my new job demanded a much higher competency in direct marketing, it made sense for both me and my employer for me to get qualified.
Been there, done that
I was in a class full of younger marketers who, though university qualified and expert in their current jobs mostly did not have the breadth of experience I did (due to the advantage of age). I had to be careful not to give an example for every single case study or scenario – quite simply because I really had ‘been there, done that’; but it didn’t mean I’d been there perfectly, and done it perfectly.
Was it worth it?
Beware the marketer who knows it all. I worked in computing in the 1980s, when the idea of a ‘desktop Cray’ was a revolutionary concept. (You can probably fit the same computing power on a mobile phone these days.) Technology has changed, marketing channels have changed, and even behaviours have changed (multiple touch points, for starters).
By undertaking an up to date relevant marketing qualification, I didn’t just update my knowledge technologically and in today’s market place, but I learned more about the direct marketing techniques that I already use. I got the improved results I was looking for, and my employer expected.
Given the opportunity, I would like to convert my Diploma to a Masters, but I have instead opted to take another Diploma - this time from the Institute of Fundraising. Not only will it enhance my direct marketing skills in the sector, but will broaden my expertise in areas that I have hitherto only touched on. And if I complete it, I'll be a double Dip!
Completing the IDM Diploma most certainly has given me a taste for formal learning that I thought had left me many years ago and I intend to continue my personal professional development right up until I retire. There is no reason whatsoever to stop trying to get better at what I do, and I enjoy it.