African marketing professionals need no longer look outside the continent to further their academic studies. The African Marketing Confederation (AMC) has launched its Chartered Professional Marketer (CPMkt(A)) qualification, designed to provide skills that relate specifically to Afrocentric markets and introduce tools and trends to enable marketers to interact in a continental, even global, context.
"The CPMkt(A) could not have been launched at a better time," says Helen McIntee, well-known and respected African marketing personality, with MBA, BA and CMP degrees, a published author, and the President of the AMC. "Consider the African consumer market will be worth some $1-trillion by 2020. Middle class consumers will reach 22 million by 2030. Africa's growth trajectory speaks of an expected 4,8%.
"Investment across all industry sectors is gaining momentum, and across that entire spectrum is a need for Africa-specific marketing strategies. European and American marketing models will not necessarily work on our continent. There are crucial and peculiar issues that need to be considered such as cultural, language and value systems; purchasing behaviours; how Africans communicate, and where they shop.
Who better to communicate those issues to international investors than an African marketer who not only carries an internationally recognised marketing degree, such as an MBA, but one who has further distinguished him/herself as a practitioner dedicated to excellence in practical and/or academic marketing professionalism in Africa," says McIntee.
The CPMkt(A) programme provides candidates with the analytical skills needed to identify, frame and solve complex marketing challenges in Africa. It is an executive programme that enables the successful candidate to maximise the impact of marketing efforts and intensify the confidence to make significant and informed strategic business decisions.
"The ideal candidate is a qualified senior marketing professional with at least 10 years marketing experience," says McIntee. "This includes those who have recently acquired expanded responsibilities, or even a senior functional marketing manager who needs a broader perspective on his/her role in an organisation. The CPMkt(A) also suits those marketers aspiring to become leaders of projects or divisions, especially those working on regional campaigns. "
The content of the curriculum varies dependent on current marketing trends and African relevance, and is therefore adapted and reviewed frequently. Case studies are all African-focused and relate to key learning points and advanced marketing theory.
"This is, as they say, not a course for sissies," says McIntee. "Aside from attending a three-day workshop, candidates are required to write a four-hour online examination and submit a 5 000-word African case study that clearly indicates understanding of the concepts introduced in the training sessions."
The case studies are critical to understanding what does and doesn't work in Africa, and is one of the driving motivators behind the establishment of the AMC in 2011. The six founding countries' marketing associations are based in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa. Most recently Morocco, Cameroon and Tunisia have taken country membership in order to expand and grow a body of professional and like-minded individuals that will be able to set standards for the African marketing industry.
The sharing of information among the AMC member countries provides a single-source container of African marketing knowledge, which is shared among marketing association members through workshops and the distribution of materials. The CPMkt(A) is therefore the premier qualification for all AMC members.
While a candidate may qualify to enter the programme, not everyone will qualify for the examination, and not everyone will pass, which positions a CPMkt(A) as one of the most sought-after endorsements globally.
"The savvy global investor that wants to market brands/services in Africa will be looking to indigenous professional marketing organisations, and individuals, to help them localise their offering," says McIntee. "They will also be turning to research houses and consulting agencies for advice on positioning their businesses and building on those partnerships to form strong and lasting relationships. There is no need for global investors to turn outside of the continent to source such resources.
"Africa already has incredible marketing talent," McIntee comments. "I think external investors are going to be surprised by our capabilities. It must also be taken into account that a marketing degree is one of the most sought-after qualifications in Africa and this indicates that even the youth are aware of the potential flood of new services and products that will require positioning and branding.
"An African marketing qualification talks to ensuring that the job market remains open to Africans rather than importing talent from beyond our borders. The senior executive with a CPMkt(A) qualification is a new generation marketer, they will be the mentors, the doyens of the industry, and there is no doubt, the exceptional," concludes McIntee.