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    The Shortlist

    Becoming a Certified Professional Services Marketer (CPSM)

    SMPS’s Certified Professional Services Marketer (CPSM) program is designed to elevate the status of marketers and help influence the future. Like other professional designations, it signals a level of achievement and knowledge to employers and peers.

    After speaking about the program to a group of my co-workers who are also CPSMs, some themes emerged that illustrate “day-to-day” benefits of achieving certification. For some, it’s a bridge to the technical staff that results in better understanding of each other’s motivations and a mutual respect—it gives our technical peers tangible proof that ours is a very intentional career path. Others use the CPSM to become even more active within SMPS, assisting with development of questions for CPSM study guides and the official test. The group study sessions for the test are beneficial, providing a learning experience and the opportunity to collaborate and trade knowledge. Last, and most certainly not least, certification can represent a passion and drive for A/E/C marketing that leads to increased professional opportunities. Personally, I felt a sense of accomplishment that took me by surprise! School is firmly in the rearview mirror for me and I have to say, surprisingly, I enjoyed the study + study + study + test = reward process.

    As you go through the required domains, either with a study group or on your own, one thing you will frequently see repeated is that the learning and test questions are based on industry-wide, agreed upon “best practices,” which may not be how things are done at your firm. Keep in mind, we all do things slightly differently.  I find it useful to have this information readily at hand and often refer to some of the domains and sometimes tweak my firm’s approach to better align with the industry. The new books break up the domains into more easily digestible chapters, and there are several resources for practice tests. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of testing yourself early and often. There is a rhythm to multiple choice testing and it takes a while to build that muscle up.

    Because the domains cover the spectrum of our practice, becoming a CPSM can also inform your next steps. Let’s say you are more attracted to research and planning—that passion can help as you continue to build your career and you can steer towards roles that will be a more natural fit for you.

    Is becoming a CPSM a lot of work? As someone who has taken the test more than once, I can confirm that it indeed takes more time than you may have initially planned. Is it worth it? Absolutely.

    For more information on the program, visit SMPS, or download a detailed brochure.

    Karen Roberson is Co-Director of the Communications Committee for SMPS SFBAC and a Pursuit Manager, Buildings, at Stantec.

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