Alex Lawrence, Copy & Content Executive, IPM
We’re now enrolling for our second intake of the year for
the IPM Foundation Certificate, the qualification specifically designed to give
candidates an immersive introduction to the promotional marketing and brand activation
As you may be considering taking the qualification, or
enrolling a team member on it, I thought I’d share my own experience as a
candidate. I’ve been at the IPM overseeing the social / content side of the
business since January 2018. A few months ago I found that, although I was writing
about promotional marketing on a day-to-day basis, there were still some
important gaps in my knowledge. I’ve definitely learnt a lot on the job but
still felt I needed to add to some key areas. The IPM Foundation Certificate
presented me with the perfect opportunity to do this, ensuring that I had a
more in-depth knowledge to benefit my writing.
To begin with I was slightly put off by the idea – reminded
of university-deadline stress and hours poured over intimidating textbooks. However, Anna Kinast, our Learning Manager, reassured me that the whole aim of the
qualification is to make sure candidates come away with valuable knowledge that
they can apply to their job, rather than to create a pressurised, grade-driven
environment. I was also concerned about the fact I would be approaching the
qualification as an outsider, because unlike the majority of other candidates,
I have never worked for an agency or a brand.
Thankfully, this didn’t hinder my learning experience at all
and I found the whole experience surprisingly enjoyable. I felt like I was
learning at my own rate and how I wanted to. If there was something I felt
unclear on, I had plenty of opportunity to ask the tutor. This is where the
small intake size was extremely beneficial as it meant asking questions wasn’t
intimidating and we could discuss things as a group.
The online learning element really helped me fully
understand the points discussed in the face-to-face sessions. If there were any
concepts I found particularly tricky to grasp, I could simply log on and find
the resources I needed. This allowed me to also be selective in what I studied
and really utilise my time effectively.
The first module, ‘Promotional Marketing and its role in IMC,’
helped me fully grasp where brand activation fits alongside other forms of
marketing, like TV advertising and DM. As well as learning what some of the
essential terms mean, our tutor gave lots of real-world examples to help bring
everything into context. These, alongside case studies, videos and infographics
really helped keep the lecture engaging.
‘Understanding Audiences and Channels,’ the second module,
delved a bit deeper into how brand activations target various people. The
assignment that came with this module was particularly interesting, encouraging
us to really think about how campaigns attempt to appeal to specific groups of
I expected the ‘Legal Code Certification’ module to be the
least enjoyable of the three, but I actually found the lecture and reading both
interesting and useful. I learnt a lot of things I wasn’t aware of, like the exact
difference between a lottery and a promotion, and gained a clearer
understanding of what is and isn’t allowed in promotional activation. The IPM’s
Regulatory Affairs Manager, Helen Hart, made sure the lecture wasn’t overly
complicated and gave us lots of examples to support the theory.
Overall, taking the IPM Foundation Certificate has really
helped with my writing. I feel that I have a much clearer
understanding of the different aspects of promotional marketing and brand
activation. As well as the practical knowledge the qualification has given me,
it has also given me a sense of achievement in my working life.
I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone in their first
couple of years in the industry.
Find out more about how to enrol here.