Top Marketers Send Managers Back To School To Re-Learn Advertising, Media

At a time when most media shops have either scrapped or significantly cut back on their own internal training programs, many of their top clients will be going back to school to bone up on a wide range of marketing skills, including media planning and buying. The Association of National Advertisers and the Center for Marketing Excellence today will unveil details of a new post-academic educational program for marketing executives designed to give them a real world grasp of current best practices for key components of marketing, including advertising and media.

The program is the outgrowth of collaboration announced between the ANA and the center in October, and is built around a curriculum of core courses and electives that will certify its graduates as an Accredited Marketing Professional.

"We're trying to raise the bar on marketing excellence, especially training," explains Michael Palmer, senior vice president-member relations at that ANA. "Think of it as a proven, practical MBA."



While many top marketing executives have thorough academic training - both undergraduate and post-graduate, as well as rigorous internal training - Palmer said the new certification program is designed to create industry standards around best practices and to share knowledge among America's leading marketing professionals.

"You learn a lot when you go through your MBA, but when you get to your job, you still have to learn your practical day-to-day," says Palmer, noting that the program is the outgrowth of requests from ANA members who were looking to improve marketing management skills.

The program is built around three core courses, covering branding (with an emphasis on creating customer and shareholder value), consumer insights, and brand planning and integrated marketing.

While the Media Strategy elective is not mandatory, it will immerse marketing executives in two days of current thinking on managing a broad range of media options, assessing their strengths and weaknesses, developing a balanced media mix including interactive media options, and, perhaps most importantly, determining how to evaluate the work of in-house and agency media personnel.

The initial program is designed for mid-level and junior marketing executives, but later iterations of the program will address high-level leadership aspects for senior marketing management right up to the CMO level.

That America's leading marketing organizations would seek to enhance their training, comes in contrast to many top ad agencies, which have either phased out or dramatically cut back on internal training programs, particularly in media.

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