Marketing: Routes into the industry

Companies will often ask for a marketing qualification when looking for permanent or freelance marketing resource, but in the main, this is simply a 'comfort factor' or a company policy. The reality is that there are thousands of excellent marketers out there with no formal marketing qualifications whatsoever.

Many of these have moved into marketing from agency positions or have progressed into a marketing role within a company - and the bottom line is that there is no substitute for experience. Anyone considering setting up as a freelance marketer should have enough experience to enable them to cope with a wide range of client situations and projects. A mix of client-side and agency experience is ideal, but not essential, although a pure client-side marketer will need to understand that a 'client service' role is very different from an internal marketing role.

If you are looking to target larger companies, some of these may insist on certain marketing qualifications. If you do not have these then it's a case of deciding whether to gain some or just work with companies who do not mind either way. The one that people seem to be most familiar with is the Chartered Institute of Marketing who offer a range of levels of accreditation. Putting these three letters after your name does certainly seem to 'tick the box' for a lot of prospective clients, but again, is not essential.

Gill Taylor, Contract Marketing - freelance marketing support for all industries, with specialist IT-sector skills.

More on marketing as a freelancer