Readers here know that I value association memberships and leadership opportunities. Long term, effective client-focused association participation leads to the highest and most productive AEC business marketing opportunities beyond referrals and word-of-mouth. In fact, I think one reason associations are so effective is because they facilitate the relationships that lead to referral business and your community involvement certainly helps with word-of-mouth.
Note however, the reference here to client-focused associations. I admit I do not belong to publishers’ associations and I’ve met some really successful business owners who work quite comfortably outside of their own trade associations/groups.
Finally, of course, there are dual-application associations; ones which may represent your own business interests and allow you to connect with clients. An example of this will be trade contractors and suppliers joining local home builders’ associations (with their own trade supplier section for internal issues) and, in my case, the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS), which represents marketing leaders/officers at architectural, engineering and construction businesses.
Since we of course both publish and sell to the industry the association has value. However, I must admit that in tracking “business received” from SMPS, the results have been relatively low compared to other associations. The reason, I expect, is that the some of the our core revenue sources — including special feature profiles — have received bad press within the association, in part because of the behavior of some of our ill-behaved competitors. The result: Negative word-of-mouth for our business concept within the association, which I cannot overcome even by behaving and conducting my own business properly.
This leads to the next question: The value of association certification. About five years ago, I obtained the SMPS’s Certified Professional Service Marketer (CPSM) designation. It is due for renewal, and frankly, I haven’t made it an urgent priority in a year of financial controls and restraints. (All discretionary expenses this year must be reviewed/approved by an internal management committee.)
Then, with these observations, do I recommend you join/participate in SMPS and seek out and achieve the CPSM designation? The answer (though it may seem contradictory in light of the above narrative) is a resounding “yes”.
First, in preparing for the designation, you will either learn first-hand or achieve an excellent refresher course in the marketing basics. The work will be quite easy if you have some years of experience and have studied general marketing principles, but will be challenging if you are new to the business. In the latter case, it will be an excellent bootstrap program.
Second, as SMPS observes, there are economic and career development advantages in participating, as related in the infographic you can see here and can download.
Here is the SMPS news release on the topic.
SMPS Releases Infographic for Its Certification Program
Results show that the CPSM designation is a highly considered credential in the A/E/C industry
Alexandria, VA−The Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS), the premier A/E/C marketing and business development association, has released an informative infographic about its certification program, Certified Professional Services Marketer (CPSM).
CPSM is a voluntary certification designed to elevate the professional standards in marketing. Furthermore, the CPSM designation serves as a mark of distinction for professional services marketers and business developers, raising their standing with their employers, peers, and the public. The designation was introduced in 1999.
Data for the infographic titled The Value of Being a CPSM was based on information compiled from two sources: the 2013 SMPS Marketing Compensation and Metrics Survey and the 2015 Value of CPSM Survey. In total, more than 1,300 individuals have entered data. These surveys, open to SMPS members and nonmembers, have been valuable resources for obtaining information about marketing/BD professions, the A/E/C industry, and the value of SMPS programs and services. Kevin Doyle, certification manager at SMPS, states, “The CPSM designation adds credibility to marketers and business developers who are looking for career growth. The survey results show that the program offers great benefits and is considered a highly recognized credential in the A/E/C industry.”
Based on the compiled data, CPSMs make 30% more in salary on average than their non–certified counterparts. In addition, they make 78% more on average in bonuses. Some direct benefits of having the CPSM designation include job access, firm and peer recognition, increase in responsibility, and promotion. In addition, 90% of CPSM respondents stated they intend to recertify. For more facts and figures, please view The Value of Being a CPSM.