Upholding the Marketing Profession

14 May


Hear from Santo Ligotti, a fellow Chartered Marketer, who is determined to strengthen the marketing profession with CM values and best practices. 

Validating the Marketing Profession

The function of marketing as a whole is such an important driver of company success at all levels and across all departments. The Chartered Marketer designation provides a recognized means for Canadian marketers to justify the marketing profession in both credibility and relevancy. More importantly, it emphasizes marketing’s major role in helping organizations succeed both financially and reputationally. That said, it was important for me to earn the CM designation as a way to publicly validate the profession.

It is very easy to use a variety of excuses such as ‘I am too busy at work’ and ‘I do not have time to invest in my own professional growth as a marketer.’ The CM designation is a perfect way to help one be recognized as a Canadian marketing leader but more importantly places accountability. It reminds us that as marketers, learning is a constant and continuous cycle that we need to understand to acquire value and share it.

Defining the CM Motivation

When using the designation in my signature and bio, common reactions include curiosity. There’s questions about what it is, and of course excitement including congratulations from those who recognize what it is. Overall, the response has been positive.

Smiling Santo standing outside looking down towards camera. I recently had the opportunity to lecture a postgraduate class. After the talk, I received inquiries about the designation and why I considered pursuing it. I went on to explain to them that like any profession, sometimes we get too bogged down in the myopic work world we are part of and remain focused on delivering on our projects and initiatives. My advice to the students was to invest in their career beyond just getting a degree: be active, participate, network, stay engaged. And the CM program is one of the best ways to do that.

I think the motivation lies in the fact that marketing is such a fluid profession. It is important to stay on top of current and future trends while being involved in the industry. Getting the designation is one way to show that you are taking your career seriously and that will translate into how you create value for an organization.

Taking Accountability to the Next Step

It is too easy to put active learning aside when we are all working full time at our jobs and trying to maintain a good work/life balance. After I received the CM designation, I thought a lot about how I would make sure I was accountable to myself and the Canadian marketing environment. I realized that I had not spent enough time giving back. And so, I made this a key focus for me.

I joined two volunteer boards. The first being Singing Out-The LGBTQ+ Chorus of Toronto and the second was AMA-Toronto. In both experiences, I have had a chance to give back my knowledge in ways that have helped these organizations grow and flourish. Volunteering also gave me a chance to learn so much from others involved in the organization. At the AMA Toronto, as VP Marketing, I was also given the opportunity to mentor the next generation of marketers, many of whom are international students/workers. It is so rewarding for me to learn from their experiences and knowledge while helping them as they progress through their careers.

In addition to that, I have also decided to start part-time teaching again at George Brown College. This new venture will again further my reach out to connect with the marketers of tomorrow by bringing all that I have learned to the academic environment.

Supporting the Next Generation of Marketers

As current and prospective CM holders, we have a responsibility to maintain the integrity of the designation by upholding the standards on which the program is based upon. Collectively, we have the tools and resources to make marketing in Canada a recognized and respected profession that is guided by marketers who are accountable, dedicated, and professional.

Santo side profile, looking to the left. I have had the opportunity to work with the CMA in various capacities including committee membership and awards judging. These experiences helped again to grow my network but also give back to the community by using my skills/experiences that I gained as a marketer. Also, attending events is vital to stay current but more importantly have the chance to see what other marketing colleagues are up to and the chance to dialogue and learn how we can best share our experiences and knowledge. All this helps one to be a better more well-rounded marketer.

I think I will close by saying that to be successful in your career, you have to be active. By that I mean a few things: staying on top of what’s current in the field, networking, playing a role in mentoring or being mentored, volunteer where you can and taking the time to educate yourself. By doing a few or all those things, you’ll truly find an understanding of where your opportunities are so can continue to grow and learn.

Santo Ligotti
Vice President Marketing and Member Services
Retail Council of Canada

Santo Ligotti, CM, is a creative & performance-driven marketing leader.

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