Marketing CPD: Your Options for CPD Explored



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16 min


29 May, 2023

Successful and driven marketers never stop learning, so it’s important to explore your options for marketing CPD to ensure you are always on top of trends and improving your skill set.

Engaging with CPD can be done through various learning methods and can be arranged to suit your schedules and other commitments, such as work or studies.

This way you can continue to improve your knowledge, without sacrificing your current marketing career path.

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Whether you prefer practical learning and wish to shadow your manager at work to gain relevant leadership experience, or want to take up a more professional activity such as lecturing or tutoring, all of these learning methods contribute towards your CPD.

In this post, we will explore the range of options available to you as a marketer when it comes to continuing professional development and enhancing the opportunities available to you.

So, let’s get started by defining what marketing CPD is!

What is Marketing CPD?

Marketing continuing professional development, or CPD, enables marketing professionals to broaden their knowledge, improve their skill set, and stay updated with industry trends and developments.

It is essentially the same as continuing professional development in every sector however the content is geared towards marketing and progressing further up the marketing ladder.

For example, a marketer fresh to the industry may wish to embark on a year of marketing MBA studies, to help strengthen their application to become a marketing manager. Or an experienced CMO may wish to work on communication and presentation skills by presenting regularly at conferences or attending networking events.

Continuing professional development in the marketing field is essential to ensure you remain current and effective as a marketing professional as you progress.

But this doesn’t mean you attend a few courses or complete a certification and you’re done…

Instead, CPD is as the name implies, it’s a process that continues to grow and develop throughout your career!

So, with that in mind let’s jump into some popular examples of marketing CPD across 4 key areas.

man presenting to a crowd

Examples of Continuing Professional Development in Marketing

There are several different ways to engage in marketing CPD, so it should be easy to find a method of learning and development that works for you.

Continuing professional development in marketing is similar to CPD in other sectors, as there are 4 key ways you can partake in learning, including:

  • Formal learning
  • Practical learning
  • Self-directed learning
  • Professional activity

Within each of these categories, there is a range of CPD activities and learning methods you can engage with, including anything from on-the-job training, to completing a degree, to presenting at conferences!

So like we said, there should be a range of marketing CPD pathways for anyone looking to expand on their current portfolio of learning.

For this blog post, we have decided to dive deeper into each of the four learning methods, providing you with more detail, as well as some examples of the different types of learning in the marketing sector.

Formal Learning

Formal learning usually consists of studying for a qualification or certification and involves a final assessment.

Both hours of lectures and study, as well as assessment hours, contribute towards your portfolio of continuing professional development.

It is often recommended that formal education or methods of learning make up around 50% of an individual’s CPD activity per year (unless partaking in a higher degree or post-graduate course).

So, with that being said, we have listed some examples of formal learning marketing CPD options below!

people studying in library


Marketing CPD qualifications range anywhere from completing an MBA, to studying a dedicated marketing programme or course through a professional institution.

CPD is an investment in yourself so it’s important to enrol on a qualification that benefits you and that you are interested in studying.

Attending University or long-term training programmes whether it’s your first time or not, is a big commitment as you will need the time to focus on your studies as well as funding.

Although some courses are shorter than others, and therefore take less time, formal learning requires your undivided attention during study hours, otherwise, you risk failing your final assessments.

If you decide embarking on a professional qualification is for you, we have collated a list below of some of the top marketing CPD courses that will enhance your skill set and are recognised by employers.

Writing Articles or Papers

Another way to advance your marketing CPD is to write your own articles or papers on a chosen research topic.

This may sound daunting and can be slightly easier if you have previously studied for a degree as you may have written your own thesis or dissertation. This will provide you with the research and writing skills needed to write a long-form article or paper on a specific topic.

Not only does this form of CPD improve your knowledge of a particular marketing area, but it also helps prove this knowledge to others.

This paper essentially provides evidence of your in-depth knowledge of a topic and your commitment to research in this area over an extended period of time.

woman learning virtually

Distance or Online Learning

If you’re committing to marketing CPD whilst already in a marketing job role, distance or online learning may be the pathway for you.

Or at least one of them!

As a marketing professional, your day-to-day will probably be filled with creating campaigns across platforms, working on timescales and budgets, and collaborating with your team. You will no doubt have a range of responsibilities to take care of, so that doesn’t always leave a lot of time for marketing CPD at work.

However, this makes it difficult to enrol on or take part in formal learning activities as your weekdays are usually pretty busy.

This is where distance and online learning come in handy as it can be completed around your schedule that’s already in place.

For example, you may be looking to study for an MBA but can’t afford it or don’t have the time to take a full year (or more) out of work to study.

Fortunately, if you find yourself in this position you do have the option to study for an MBA online!

The top Universities and Institutions for MBA courses across the globe usually offer a distance or online version of the course that comes at a lower tuition fee, with increased flexibility.

As we have mentioned in a previous post there are a few institutions that offer MBA courses that are more detailed and rank higher than others and they offer great online versions of these courses too.

We’d recommend taking a look at the following courses:

This is just one example of online or distance learning, as you may be looking to take on a smaller course or certification first before embarking on an MBA, but the idea remains the same!

In a post-pandemic world, there are so many virtual learning options, and in some cases, there may be a larger percentage of courses available online compared to in-person.

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Practical Learning

It may be that practical tasks come more naturally to you, or help you to retain information better, therefore engaging in practical learning for CPD will be useful for you!

Practical learning is essentially exactly what it sounds like, and involves tasks and learning activities that require you to get involved.

Rather than studying for a qualification or engaging with self-directed learning, which is usually independent work, this type of learning could involve interactive training sessions, taking on extra projects, or receiving extra coaching.

On-the-Job Training

If you’re already in a marketing profession this doesn’t mean your CPD has to come to a halt.

You can take part in on-the-job training as part of your marketing CPD, and your employer should give you allocated time to do so.

This could be anything from attending a 2-day training course on digital marketing techniques, to taking part in an in-office training session on leadership skills.

The main types of on-the-job training are:

  • Coaching – a senior or more experienced member of staff will run through and explain a task step-by-step with you, providing support and guidance where needed until you can complete the task independently.
  • Shadowing – you will follow and observe another employee on the job to get a feel for how things are done. This will help you gain a better understanding of how they do their job, providing you with the knowledge and skills to do it yourself.
  • Job rotation – this involves various employees receiving on-the-job training together as roles will be swapped and rotated in order to give every member of staff the chance to learn the required skillset.
  • Mentoring – these sessions are usually in a 1-to-1 format and allow both you and your mentor to discuss and work on areas that you don’t feel as confident and wish to improve on. Mentoring sessions should be planned by both you and your mentor to ensure you focus on areas of weakness in your knowledge and skillset.

All of these on-the-job training opportunities count towards your personal marketing CPD, and are often preferred as they can be linked closely to your day-to-day work tasks.

Projects Outside the Scope of Your Role

Another practical way to enhance your CPD is to take on projects and responsibilities outside of your current job role.

Now some of you may be thinking that taking on extra work without being compensated for it isn’t for you, but if you’re going to advance your marketing skillset and work on your CPD this is an option that might be easier than you think.

(After all, by dedicating time to CPD, you are already putting yourself in a better position to receive a promotion or land that job you applied for!)

We say this is an easier form of practical learning as it can be done within the scope of the working day. Taking on that extra client, or getting involved in the latest and greatest team project doesn’t mean you have to work through lunch or stay late, at least not all of the time.

Ask your manager to get you involved in a project you are interested in, even if it’s not a requirement of your role, and express that you are looking for some practical CPD learning.

We guarantee that your boss will find it hard to say no to an employee asking for more work, and will happily encourage you and work to get you to get involved!

Self-directed Learning

Self-directed learning is arguably a simpler form of CPD, as it spans from listening to a podcast or reading research in your field to informal networking.

So there are varying levels of effort required, but more often than not it’s easier to fit self-directed forms of learning into your day-to-day schedule.

But what counts as self-directed CPD?

Ultimately, it is any type of learning that is relevant to your professional development, so like we said this could be staying up to date with industry trends through internet research, or networking with other professionals on social media channels.

Although self-directed learning is an important part of CPD, it should make up a smaller percentage of your overall CPD learning. This is because provider-led learning such as a degree, or training course can be quality assured more accurately.

But don’t push learning that you can do without the support of others aside, as a balance of all learning is important.

woman in grey jumper reading book

General Reading and Updating Knowledge

Let’s start off simple and look at general reading and updating your knowledge, as this is something that can be done easily, and often go unnoticed.

For example, updating your knowledge in the field of marketing could be watching the top trending shows of the month, or reading a new industry article or research piece.

The range of activities in this area is varied and therefore it’s important to think about how they will benefit you.

It may be that your main priority is to update your social media marketing knowledge so you decide to read a thesis on how our generation consumes content on social media.

Not only will this increase how much you know and understand about social media platforms, but it will also help you to understand how you can use social media within your role to engage your audience.

Informal Networking

As well as general networking, informal networking is classed as a form of CPD and is often conducted online.

Whether this is a contribution to conversations on social media platforms, or starting up your own marketing blog, all of these hours spent online and interacting with other industry professionals, count towards your CPD.

For example, you may have a keen interest in advertising campaigns so follow particular pages on social media in order to start a conversation in the comments section about the latest and greatest TV ads.

Or, you may have a talent for copywriting and decide to start your own blog to provide readers with marketing tips and tricks.

Either of these activities are forms of informal networking, however, it’s crucial to keep the content you create and discuss on topic!

If you veer off and start producing blogs on electric cars, although this is technically still content creation, it doesn’t link to your industry or improve your skills and knowledge when it comes to marketing.


Keeping a File of Your Progress

It can be said that keeping track of your progression is what CPD is all about, and should be done regardless of which learning methods you choose.

In fact, taking stock of your current qualifications and skills should be the first step on your CPD journey.

However, creating and keeping a file of progress is considered a reflective and self-directed form of continued professional development.

This is a longer, ongoing process that will continue throughout your marketing career, so it’s important to understand each step before getting started!

We have a dedicated post on The Importance (and benefits) of Continuing Professional Development which details how to get started recording all of your CPD learning and how to get the most out of the process.

Professional Activity

Professional activity or work-based learning takes place within your work environment whilst working in your current role.

This type of development can and should be taking place as you progress through your working career, as your responsibilities, independence, and the scope of your role increase.

These professional activities and development opportunities should be provided or supported by your workplace, and you should be given allocated time to complete particular activities that contribute towards your development.

Job Promotion or Progression

As you work your way up the career ladder, you will no doubt be exposed to new opportunities within your current workplace or other companies in your industry.

In marketing this may come in the form of a promotion from an executive to a manager or team leader, or a job offer from a larger firm with possible future opportunities.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that a promotion or job progression isn’t part of your continuing professional development, as you will have completed activities and work running up until this point.

These activities and tasks all contribute towards your CPD and your promotion or career progression helps to show that you have been working on your skills and knowledge over a certain period of time.

man presenting

Presenting at Conferences

Attending conferences, meetings, and networking events will become a key part of your role in marketing, whether you’re an executive or CMO.

Therefore, it’s important to include presentations and speeches in your professional CPD learning, as this can enhance skills that other forms of CPD can’t.

For example, presenting in front of a crowd big or small can improve your confidence far more than self-directed learning activities such as reading and updating your general industry knowledge.

Even speaking in front of 10 people for 3 minutes, although at first might seem daunting and stressful, can provide you with confidence not only in yourself as a public speaker, but in your ability as a marketer.

Presenting at conferences can also be a great challenge for a lot of people, whether you like sharing your ideas with a crowd or not, as the more complex your presentation the harder it becomes to demonstrate this knowledge to your audience.

Let’s say you are presenting to a group of CMO’s about how leadership in marketing is changing.

Ultimately, if you’re a marketing manager it’s likely your audience will be more experienced than you, so therefore your challenge is to prove to the room full of seasoned marketers that you know your stuff.

Now of course, other forms of CPD will help you in the run up to these moments, and this is where writing research papers, shadowing your manager, and on-the-job training can come in useful.

You can use the knowledge you have built up throughout your marketing CPD process to inform your presentation and ensure that you are not only confident in your manner but confident about the knowledge you are sharing.

Marketing CPD: Your Options for Continuing Professional Development Explored

Marketing CPD is key if you’re going to advance your career and climb the ladder up to a senior marketing management position.

Not only this, but CPD can help to broaden your knowledge and improve your current skillset to support you in the current job you are in, or get your foot in the door for the marketing position you are applying for.

As we have covered in this post, there is a vast range of learning opportunities that come in so many shapes and forms, meaning there will be something out there to suit your schedule.

Whether that’s studying for a full-time qualification, or completing practical on-the-job training, CPD can be completed on your terms.

Although continuing professional development has clear benefits for your working life, it’s important that you are completing studies or activities that interest you.

After all, you will be completing them in your own time!

At Canny, we work with marketing professionals across the globe to create branding that resonates with customers and generates results. We can help to take some of the daily pressure off while you focus on your marketing CPD, to ensure your clients and customers are happy and you can continue to progress!

If you need help and support from our team, get in touch with one of us today!

Hi, I'm Amy, Content Strategist at Canny. In my day-to-day role, I'm responsible for creating content that gets you noticed and makes you stand out from the competition. Naturally, I love writing and creating engaging copy that brings your brand to life.

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