Certified Professional Services Marketer: What Does it Mean to Me…What Could it Mean to You?

By: Jenni Nix-McGerald, CPSM

When I joined Cardno (known as TBE Group, Inc. back then) I had a bachelors’ degree in public relations and eight years of diverse public relations, advertising and marketing communication experience. I was confident in my understanding of what I could bring to the table as a marketer. However, walking into a company in the architecture/engineering/construction (A/E/C) industry, I had no clue what I was in for. It was suggested I join Society of Marketing Professional Services (SMPS). This was one of the best things I did as an industry novice but that story is for a different time. At the time, my supervisor was going through the process of sitting for the Certified Professional Services Marketer (CPSM) exam. She suggested I look into it, which I did and promptly decided I needed to wait a bit before taking that step. Fast-forward three years. I had a grasp of what marketing meant in the A/E/C industry. Hint: It is a smidge different than the rest of the world. I was ready to tackle the CPSM. 

WHY? Why did I want to add learning what equates to a college semester-long class worth of material to my plate already at capacity? Because I am first and foremost focused on being my absolute best. Why yes, some might say I am an overachiever or perfectionist. I'm not denying it. Now remember, I was very confident in my general marketing communication skills. I understood how to target an audience and determine the best way to speak to them. However, there was a whole different language specific to the A/E/C industry I just didn’t have a grasp of. Hence the desire to take the exam. After going through the material of six domains covering every aspect of business development, marketing and general firm functions, lots of discussion at SMPS Tampa Bay’s study group sessions, and finally just sucking it up and taking the exam, I now have a very firm grasp of what it means to market A/E/C professional services. I speak the language fluently and, I wholeheartedly believe this, make a stronger contribution to my firm because of my CPSM designation.

No matter the industry/sector, if you are in communications (marketing, public relations or advertising), and aren’t learning, you are fast becoming obsolete. Taking the CPSM exam provides a strong foundation for us to keep learning. After all, those required continuing education units aren’t going to earn themselves. SMPS National’s web site has this line on their CPSM page that really resonated with me, “when you apply for the CPSM program, you are taking your first step toward joining a distinguished group of professionals who have made a commitment to professional excellence, career advancement, and an ongoing pursuit of knowledge.” You don’t have to be an overachiever to sit for the CPSM exam, you just have to be committed. You give so much of yourself to others, both professionally and personally, isn’t it time you invested in yourself?

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