The first employability focused CIM Marketing Club webinar was held on Wednesday 5th May. It started with a brief introduction by Jonny Crawley, Learner Partnerships Manager of CIM. Jonny talked about the CIM Graduate Gateway programme and the newsletter that students can sign up for, in order to receive the latest knowledge in the marketing world. You can sign up to receive your copy here.

The first speaker was Vicky Murray who has worked within a variety of marketing roles across different organisations. Murray emphasised the importance of seeking roles that offer varied experiences in order to develop skills across the broader field of marketing, rather than specialising within a specific area early on in your marketing career. Murray then provided an overview of the range of brands she has worked for, including several well-known Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) brands such as Arla, Anchor and Skyr and reflected on how it is imperative that marketers are enthusiastic about their role and seek job opportunities that will enable them to fill the skills gaps they currently have on their CV.

Murray discussed the key aspects that prospective brand managers should aim to demonstrate competence in when applying for roles within brand management. Firstly, she suggested it is essential that brand managers are able to understand numbers and analyse data, insight should also be used to provide an explanation as to why consumers behave in a certain way and the actions needed to better meet their needs. Murray also suggested brand managers need to demonstrate they have excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to put plans into place effectively. Murray highlighted how gaining CIM qualifications have enabled her to network and develop further practical knowledge and that now she runs her own marketing agency ‘Atalante Marketing’ she looks for candidates who have completed CIM qualifications when recruiting for her business.

The second speaker was Helen Hepworth who completed a degree, subsequently completing a master’s degree and CIM qualifications, recently becoming a fellow of the CIM. In 2019, Hepworth set up her own category management agency ‘Collective Stories’, with the agency focusing on supporting businesses to get their products onto retail shelves. Hepworth highlighted how the FMCG industry is a fast paced and exciting environment, with constant changes taking place which requires marketers to actively seek learning opportunities to remain up to date with recent trends and developments. Hepworth explained that category management consists of looking at every brand within a category, illustrating how the perspectives of the client, retailer, and consumer can be aligned through gathering insight and presenting an effective story. Hepworth discussed the process of creating an effective story, including having clarity over what you are trying to achieve, ensuring any information is up to date and by taking customers on a journey.

Overall, the webinar was an engaging and useful learning experience that provided an overview of the current marketing landscape. The event emphasised the importance of gaining varied work experience and to continuously seek learning opportunities, including gaining CIM qualifications to develop further as a professional. Being passionate about your job role and demonstrating enthusiasm were also highlighted as key attributes to succeed. A recording of this webinar will be made available on the CIM YouTube channel.

By Alex Lewis, Swansea University