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Syllabus and Modules

Professional Certificate in Marketing

Target Market

This qualification is aimed at those who are working in supporting marketing roles, usually within the marketing function, but it could be that they have more senior roles, particularly in SMEs, where marketing is only part of what they do. The qualification provides a practical insight into the principles and application of marketing at a tactical level.

The typical profiles of people who might take this qualification could include:

  • Marketing assistants
  • Marketing co-ordinators
  • Marketing executives
  • Marketing managers in SME’s without formal marketing qualifications
  • Non-marketers with aspirations for marketing
  • Existing marketers wanting to become more specialist

Entry Criteria for the CIM Level 4 Qualifications

As a minimum, 2 ‘A’ levels are required or any general bachelors or masters degree or an equivalent such as:

  • CIM Introductory Certificate (Level 2 or 3 versions will be accepted)
  • NVQ/SVQ Level 3 in Marketing (equivalent to NQF Level 3)
  • NVQ/SVQ Level 4 in any other subject (UK) (equivalent to NQF Level 4 and above)
  • International baccalaureate (equivalent to NQF Level 3 and above)

Business and/or marketing experience in a support role would be advantageous but is not essential.

Aspirations of Level 4 Learners

Consultation with students highlighted the following reasons as to why they took the Professional Certificate in Marketing:

  • Seeking broader remits
  • Progressing to higher levels within their job and the qualifications ladder
  • Looking for knowledge and ‘know-how’
  • Seeking credibility

The revised Professional Certificate has been designed to meet these aspirations.

Job Roles/Focus

The employers we consulted with, felt that the employees who would benefit from a marketing qualification at this level would perform the following tasks within the organization:

  • Tactical day-to-day tasks defined by others, but with some limited autonomy
  • Working cooperatively in teams and networking within the organization
  • Internal and external customer communications
  • Marketing research activities particularly associated with the collection and analysis of secondary data, but with some primary data collection and analysis
  • Small scale project management
  • Website management
  • Database management
  • Monitoring of marketing environments and activities
  • Event organization and support
  • Customer and organization regulations
  • Input into new product development

Students who successfully complete the Professional Certificate in Marketing should be able to fulfill these tasks.


Each of the units has its own form of assessment and will be assessed as follows:

Unit 1 – Marketing Essentials: 3 hour examination comprising:
  • Part A worth 40%: ten short questions of four marks each used to test knowledge and understanding across the syllabus
  • Part B worth 60%: Case study with three questions requiring extended answers and testing knowledge, understanding, application and evaluation
  • All questions are compulsory

Unit 2 – Assessing the Marketing Environment: 3 hour examination comprising:
  • A pre-seen case study
  • Case study available on line (6 weeks before exam for tutors, five weeks for students)
  • Students analyse the case study and produce a SWOT and PESTEL analyses (maximum 4 pages)
  • Students to bring analyses into the exam and append to exam paper. Marks are awarded for how well the students apply the information from the SWOT and PESTEL analyses to the questions. Marks are not awarded for the analyses themselves.
  • All questions on the exam paper are compulsory and relate to the case study
  • Part A worth 40%: five questions of eight marks each testing knowledge and understanding
  • Part B worth 60%: three questions of twenty marks each requiring extended answers and testing knowledge, understanding, application and evaluation

Unit 3 – Marketing Information and Research: research-based project:
  • Three questions in the assignment – all compulsory
  • Question One worth 50%: will always involve the preparation of a Proposal in response to a brief
  • Question Two and Three worth 25% each: the focus will change each time to reflect the full breadth of the brief

Unit 4 – Stakeholder Marketing: work-based project:
  • 4,000 words in total
  • All tasks are compulsory
  • Choice of two options
  • Options will be different for each diet

The success of the assessment associated with each unit will be associated with the award of that unit, but students who wish to be awarded the CIM Professional Certificate, will have to successfully complete all four units.

Outline of Modules

Unit 1 – Marketing Essentials

Unit Characteristics

The aim of this unit is to provide a detailed explanation of the key theories and practice behind marketing as an exchange process and a business function, but also as a means of creating customer value in the short to medium term. This unit introduces individuals to the importance of the marketing planning process and the role of marketing across the organisation.

The unit also aims to provide knowledge of the key marketing tools to support an innovative range of marketing activities. Students will be taught the nature and implications of the use of marketing tools as both independent tools and tools that are often integrated to maximise the impact of the marketing proposition.

On completion, students should be able to explain how to utilise all elements of the marketing mix and how they can be co-ordinated to create a value proposition that reflects the organisation’s objectives.

Overarching Learning Outcomes

By the end of this unit, students should be able to:

  • Explain how marketing has evolved and the importance of market orientation in creating customer value
  • Assess the importance of marketing, its cross-functional role and the contribution it makes to the organisation and society
  • Identify and explain the stages in the marketing planning process
  • Assess the key elements of the internal and external marketing environment that impact upon the organisation, it objectives and its activities
  • Identify and describe the characteristics and applications of each element of the marketing mix (7Ps)

Unit 2 – Assessing the Marketing Environment

Unit Characteristics

The aim of this unit is to provide an understanding of the nature and scope of the internal and external marketing environment with broad consideration of the impact of international and global marketing.

The unit seeks to provide an overview of the significance of the marketing environment within the confines of the PESTEL model, but with consideration of issues including environmental and economic sustainability.

The unit addresses the key characteristics of the marketing environment and assesses the impact of market forces that are uncontrollable and how an organisation responds to them. At the same time, some consideration should be given in terms of how the factors within the micro and internal environment can be manipulated to the benefit of the organisation and its customers.

On completion, students should be able to demonstrate a detailed understanding of the internal, micro and macro environment. This should include consideration of the key controllable and uncontrollable drivers of change, and the challenges posed to market oriented organisations in today’s volatile and dynamic business and marketing environment.

Overarching Learning Outcomes

By the end of this unit, students should be able to:

  • Explain the nature and scope of the internal marketing environment, including the resource perspective
  • Distinguish between the types of organisation within the public, private and voluntary sectors and understand the different influences and challenges they face and how their objectives differ as a result
  • Identify and explain the different characteristics of the micro environment and recognize the sources of information required to gain a good understanding of it together with its drivers and challenges
  • Assess the key elements of the internal and external marketing environment that impact upon the organisation, it objectives and its activities
  • Assess the importance of and potential impact on a market oriented organization of key trends in political, economic, social, technological and legal/ethical/regulatory environment
  • Consider the implications for organizations pursuing both economic and environmental sustainability as part of its agenda for CSR

Unit 3 – Market Information and Research

Unit Characteristics

This unit focuses on the importance of marketing information in gaining a more in-depth understanding of both the market in which the organisation operates and the customers it seeks to serve.

It aims to provide an understanding of how marketing information supports marketing decisions within the organisation and how information contributes to the overall marketing process. The unit explores different research methodologies and encourages consideration of complementary approaches to collecting a range of market and customer information.

The unit also considers the role of databases in information management, the nature and scope of the research industry, and of various research methodologies linked to the collection of primary and secondary data.

By the end of the unit, students should be able to demonstrate a thorough knowledge and understanding in the ways of collecting and manipulating information to support and justify key marketing decisions.

Overarching Learning Outcomes

By the end of this unit, students should be able to:

  • Identify appropriate information and marketing research requirements for marketing decision making
  • Evaluate the importance of customer databases and their contribution to providing detailed market information to support marketing decisions
  • Review the processes involved in establishing an effective database
  • Explain the nature and scope of the research industry and discuss the importance of working in line with the industry’s code of conduct
  • Explain the process for selecting a marketing research supplier, in domestic and international markets, developing the criteria to support that selection
  • Explain the process for collecting marketing and customer information, utilising appropriate primary and secondary sources
  • Appraise the appropriateness of different qualitative and quantitative research methodologies to meet different research situations

Unit 4 –Stakeholder Marketing

Unit Characteristics

The focus of this unit is to recognize the nature and scope of an organization’s diverse range of stakeholders (of which customers are part) and their relative importance to the marketing process and the market oriented organization.

The unit considers how to manage stakeholder relationships effectively, in terms of utilising a marketing mix that influences and satisfies stakeholder needs in line with the organizations business and marketing objectives.

There is a particular emphasis on developing approaches to communicating effectively with stakeholders based upon their relative importance and interest in the organization, coordinated for maximum influence and effect.

On completion, students should be able to demonstrate a thorough understanding of the importance and status of different stakeholder groups and the priorities for managing an effective marketing and communications mix to aid relationship development.

Overarching Learning Outcomes

By the end of this unit, students should be able to:

  • Assess the relative importance of organizational stakeholders on the marketing function, and the impact they have on the organization’s marketing activities
  • Explain the importance of relationship marketing in the context of the organization’s stakeholders in achieving stakeholder interest, involvement, commitment and loyalty
  • Explain how the marketing mix can be effectively co-ordinate to support internal and external stakeholder relationships
  • Explain how to co-ordinate the communications mix to communicate effectively with the organization’s stakeholders in line with budget and time requirements
  • Evaluate key methods for measuring the success of marketing mix and communications activities

Any combination of modules could be offered if a student wishes to offer two modules at a sitting. However synergy recommends to combine me (marketing essentials) with sm (stakeholder marketing) or mir (marketing research and information) as it balances the pressure of work between an exam and assignment module.
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