Last week I have officially become a Professional Certified Marketer™. This marketing certification is offered by the American Marketing Association as a way of “enhancing your skills and highlighting your accomplishments”. According to AMA “PCM program meets strict national professional certification criteria and standards for excellence in marketing”.
While these are all nice words, during my preparation for the test I was looking for real-life feedback from people who have taken the exam and became certified. Honestly I couldn’t find a lot of info, so I decided to write about my personal experience preparing and passing the exam.
Professional Certified Marketer™: First Steps
In order to be accepted for the exam you have to hold a Bachelor’s Degree and have 4 years of work experience or a Master’s Degree and 2 years of work experience. I don’t think the education or work experiece have to be in the Marketing field, however I would confirm with AMA before submitting the documents and paying the registration fee.
You will become Professional Certified Marketer™ by successfully completing an online test at one of the Prometric examination centres in the US and Canada. The test consists of 210 multiple choice questions and must be completed in 5 hours. Unscheduled breaks are allowed during the exam, however the time will be deducted from the 5 hours you have to complete the test.
You can schedule the test by phone or online by visiting Prometric Services. On the Home page choose the NET Certification from the Academic, Professional, Government &Corporate drop down menu and follow the steps.
Preparing for the Exam
The exam is very comprehensive and covers all areas of marketing, as listed on the AMA website:
- Legal, Ethical, and Professional Issues in Marketing
- Use of the Marketing Mix
- Relationship, Information, and Resource Management
- Assessment and Planning of the Strategic Marketing Process
- Marketing Evaluation
There is no mandatory training or reading material required to take the exam. Every marketer is free to schedule the exam whenever he/she feels prepared.
I used a single book to review the marketing concepts and, most importantly, definitions: Philip Kotler’s Marketing Management. I felt prepared for the questions regarding real life marketing decisions as during my everyday job I have good exposure to key areas such as as marketing mix, marketing planning, product development, distribution, brand positioning, and market segmentation. It comes done to a personal assessment of your knowledge and experience to gauge the level or theoretical study needed.
Potential Career Benefits Of Becoming Professional Certified Marketer™
Below are some examples of how this certification might be beneficial for you:
- Building credibility. We are surrounded by so-called “marketing gurus”. This certification might be a way to set yourself appart and demonstrates that you have the expertise to look at a project from different angles.
- Changing your career. I read online that people with an Engineering or Sales background decided to take the certification to increase their chances of working in the Marketing field.
- Advancing in your career. Usually a move up to a better Marketing position involves managing a brand from multiple perspectives, including research, product development, marketing mix and advertising. Passing the exam might be proof that you have the knowledge and experience and are ready for the next step.
- Expanding your Marketing knowledge. During my preparation for the exam I learned new things and remember tools and techniques that I have forgotten since my days in university.
The Exam-Personal Impressions
The exam was exactly as I expected from reading the sample questions provided by the American Marketing Association. The questions were a blend of theoretical knowledge of Marketing concepts, practical experience and common sense. My biggest issue was that although I apply the concepts in my everyday job I didn’t always remember how they’re called in the Marketing book. For this reason reading Phillip Kotler’s Marketing Management book helped me a lot. It took me 2 hours to answer all 210 questions and one hour reviewing everything. The final result are provided instantaneously once you click the “Submit” button.
The Bottom Line
I guess the question most of you have is: will this designation help in your Marketing career? Like most things in life, only time will tell. I will continue to share my experiences with you but it’s up to you to decide if pursuing this designation is worth your effort.
Feel free to contact me with your questions regarding this designation.
For the official PCM booklet click here: