How do I choose the right learning provider for my Marketing Qualification? What is the difference between IDM and CIM?

The Value of Professional Marketing Qualifications

Adding a professionally recognised marketing qualification provides so much more than a badge of honour on your CV.

Undergoing the process of learning and applying time-served marketing principles elevates your thinking, helps you position marketing better within your organisation and helps you become more valuable to your employer or as a self employed consultant.

So, if you’re considering your career development options, check out this comparison piece on the differences between CIM and IDM marketing qualifications.

About the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM)

The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) is the leading international professional marketing body with some 41,000 members worldwide.

Key points

  • First established in 1911, it has for over a century, defined the marketing professional standards that operate in the UK and is the global champion of best marketing practice.
  • Marketers can earn the prestigious Chartered Marketer designation.
  • The Chartered Institute of Marketing offers various qualifications, ranging from level 3 to level 7 – which is the equivalent of a Master’s degree.
  • CIM qualifications are the most recognised of all schemes, and over a third of CIM graduates secure a promotion or receive a pay rise within 12 months of graduating.
  • For students or recent graduates, CIM has two level 3 Foundation Certificates to choose from – Professional Marketing and Professional Digital Marketing, depending on the career path you’re after.
  • A CIM qualification, completed through an accredited study centre, is most commonly taken after the completion of a marketing or equivalent business related degree.

About the Institute of Data & Marketing (IDM)

The Institute of Data & Marketing – part of the Data & Marketing Association (DMA) – has been advancing the careers of marketers through world-class learning for over 30 years.

Key points

  • The learning syllabus is crafted by handpicked, marketing practitioners and underpinned by DMA best practice guidance and award-winning case study content.
  • The IDM has a full learning portfolio that offers a range of study options for individuals and business corporate packages, with short and long study options that include professional qualifications, certificates and awards.
  • Marketing qualifications are split across Professional Certificates (level 5) covering specific areas in detail, Professional Diplomas (level 6) that take a year to complete and Postgraduate Diplomas (level 7) that can take a year or more to complete.

Different ways to learn

Almost everyone has a different learning style, so you need to find one that works for you. Some people prefer online learning, while others prefer face-to-face classes.

Chartered Institute of Marketing course delivery

CIM offers a variety of ways to learn including:

Online learning – 100% distance learning – access hundreds of high-quality video learning lessons and download quick reading, knowledge PDF documents.

  • Attend live webinars and join group discussion streams
  • Expert tutor support – assignment briefing webinars & submit your draft work for each module for direct feedback.
  • One-to-one support – dedicated team with quick responses supporting you on your learning journey.
  • Accredited study centres back this up with hundreds of hours of additional learning resources and even more tailored 1-2-1 support from trainers and course leaders so students are never left to fend for themselves.

Institute of Data & Marketing (IDM) course delivery

IDM offers a similar mix across its courses including

  • Virtual Classroom: Tutor-led, live, online classroom environments.
  • Online: Self Study, via an always-on, always open portal, providing an engaging multimedia learning experience.
  • In-person: face-to-face, tutor-led classroom training.

What is the cost of the qualifications?

CIM Level 4 Certificates and Level 6 Diplomas are available from £2,200, CIM Level 7 from £1,800 plus CIM fees.

IDM Certificates are available from £895, Professional Diplomas from £1,270 and Postgraduate Diplomas from £2,980

In both cases, prices depend on whether membership is taken and include fees, examination and assessment fees where known.


Both options offer choice and flexibility to Marketers and business people wanting to improve their grasp of marketing principles.

You’re sure to receive excellent material, delivery and be able to translate your studies into practical implementation.

For more on CIM:

For more on IDM: