CPSM and Back Again – A Marketer’s Tale

By: Tim Asimos

To help promote the CPSM program, I am honored to share my journey and experience with SMPS Central Florida members. When I first started working in the A/E/C industry in 2006, I was immediately introduced to SMPS. While I was already a member of the American Marketing Association and had a business-to-business, services-oriented background, I was attracted to SMPS because of the extremely niche focus of the organization. And needless to say, right away I found a ton of value in all the resources SMPS offered: the magazine, programs, conferences and content. All of which provided me with a bit of a crash course in the nuances of the industry.

Certifications and accreditations (and the accompanying acronyms that follow your name) abound in the A/E/C industry and they absolutely elevate a professional’s status. As all A/E/C marketers can attest, gaining credibility with principals and technical staff for both your expertise and ideas can be challenging. So naturally, the CPSM program and the recognition that comes with certification greatly intrigued me. After a few years in the industry, many conversations with CPSMs from my local chapter and a discussion with Kevin Doyle of SMPS National, I decided that I wanted to pursue certification. The starting point in my CPSM journey was my annual review goal setting in 2009. I shared the details of the program with my boss (who happened to be a Professional Engineer) and made the case for why this was beneficial to both my firm and my career. He agreed to support my cause and I was challenged to sit for the certification by the end of the year.

Fortunately, my local chapter offered a CPSM study group and I immediately signed up to join several of my peers who were also looking to get certified. Looking back, joining that study group was single-handedly the best decision I made once I decided to pursue certification. The group was facilitated by a CPSM who shared her experience and advice, and each member (there were about 6 of us) was tasked with presenting on one domain for the group. This interaction with peers and the accountability that the process brought was so helpful for me. When it came time to sit for the exam, I felt VERY prepared and had the knowledge and foundation to pass the exam. After a weekend of nervousness over the results, I was informed on the following Monday that I had passed. It was both a tremendous relief, as well as a terrific sense of accomplishment. I was proud to share the news with my boss and update my email signature to include my newly minted designation. An announcement was made to my firm about my accomplishment and, while I won’t suggest that an engineering firm will ever treat CPSM to the same level as PE, it certainly raised my profile and boosted my credibility with technical staff.

Fast-forward to 2013 and I found myself working in the agency world and had let my CPSM lapse, as I initially thought that my credentials wouldn’t have too much value outside of the industry. However, the marketing agency I work for had a growing list of A/E/C clients and an expertise niche in the industry. So in an effort to capitalize on my previous industry experience and elevate my credibility as a speaker for various SMPS chapter programs, conferences and webinars, I decided to recertify. When I revisited with SMPS, I was excited to find out I had nearly all the CEUs required and was able to gather the remaining credits and recertify in a matter of days.

So why, you may ask, would I bother to pursue becoming a CPSM not just once, but twice? Simply put, the CPSM designation sends a message that the person holding it is a seasoned, knowledgeable and savvy industry marketer. When I was with my former firm, being a CPSM spoke volumes that I was no longer a newbie learning the ropes, but a veteran that was able to apply my marketing expertise to the A/E/C industry. And now that I’m a marketing consultant that travels all around the country sharing my marketing knowledge and advice with A/E/C marketers, being a CPSM gives me instant credibility with my niche audience. It very quickly says that I’ve been in the trenches, I understand what makes your job so challenging and I know what being a marketer in the industry involves.

All of this leads me to this point: if you’re a marketer working in or for the A/E/C industry, you should seriously consider becoming a CPSM. The certification process alone was so helpful to me. Add to that the raised profile and the invaluable network of fellow CPSMs I now have at my disposal, pursuing certification was really a no-brainer. So if you’re still on the fence, I HIGHLY recommend jumping in, joining a study group and putting in the study time to make it happen. You’ll never regret becoming a CPSM, but you might regret not doing it. Becoming a CPSM was an important step in my career and it can be for you as well.

Tim speaking at SMPS Central Florida 2015 2014 Spring Ahead Education Event
Tim speaking at SMPS Central Florida 2014 Spring Ahead Education Event

Tim Asimos, CPSM is Vice President and Director of Digital Innovation at circle S studio, a strategic marketing and design agency focused on helping A/E/C firms grow in today’s increasingly chaotic digital landscape. He leads the online marketing team to develop innovative strategies in web development, content marketing and online lead generation. His unique approach is based on more than a decade of experience in B2B and A/E/C marketing. An SMPS Member and Certified Professional Services Marketer (CPSM), his A/E/C industry expertise has been featured in numerous publications, webinars and conferences.


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