I am … a Certified Information Professional

Feb 05

Yes, that’s right. My name is Cheryl, I am a marketer and I’m a CIP.

The CIP was launched in late 2011 by AIIM, after working with a group of subject matter experts. Following ISO methodologies, they released a exam intended to test broad knowledge across 6 domain areas in the content and information management space. I had my eye on the requirements and process before I joined AIIM as VP of Marketing. Joining them full-time just fast-tracked my exam booking.

Well, that’s not completely true…

What fast-tracked my exam booking was a conversation after work with my colleague Laurence Hart, CIO of AIIM, well-known for for his Word of Pie blog. I can’t remember how the trash talk started, but it ended with a bet. No studying, no prep, top score on the exam wins a blog post from the loser. Plus next round at happy hour.

The key part of our debate that day? The role of information technology for marketers today. Marketers who do business on the web today must view themselves as information professionals. Understanding of how technology can be used to serve prospects, customers and partners is core to the job. Good marketing, I’ve believed for years, is education. Call it content marketing today if you must, but it has always been this way.

Understanding the relationship between content and container, the formats suitable for particular delivery channels, the use of metadata, taxonomy and tags for findability, getting behind the content with BI and analytics to see content history and activity patterns, understanding the fundamentals of digital rights, asset management, version control and content lifecycle – this is what marketers must do in the digital realm.

Good marketing is about tuning content, polishing it for the right audience and channel, figuring out how to get it in front of the people who can benefit from it.

If that doesn’t describe a use case for the management of information to meet top line revenue goals, I don’t know what is. For organizations where intellectual output – like research, software, artwork, music, recipes and formulas – generates revenue, marketers must step up and commit to ongoing information technology competence. Being heard, found and seen is essential to staying in business.

The exam itself?

I was reasonably confident going in blind. I’ve had the fortune of working with some fantastic content management software companies and consulting organizations over the years, and know that I’ve been exposed to a really broad spectrum of content and information management technologies and deployments.

Where I struggled with a few questions was wording. Had to read through the question a couple of times to ensure comprehension. I have given my feedback on a couple of areas for improvement with the next refresh, but overall a minor concern. I looked at it with hyper-critical non-American eyes, to ensure that the exam can stand solidly across the globe. I was confident that the questions I saw were not US-centric and were universal across countries and vertical industries.

I am throwing out a challenge to other digital marketers. Step up your role in the use, selection and validation of the collaboration, web content management, digital asset management, analytical tools you need to run your online presence. Work as partners not only with business management and sales, but with IT. Find a CIO or IT director who understands how technology is there to drive the business faster and more efficiently. Don’t tolerate the server baby-sitters, find a partner in crime to get your content and products out to the people who will care.

Think about taking the CIP exam yourself. There is a sample exam on the AIIM website to help assess where you stand. And a comprehensive set of prep videos that cover the 6 main knowledge domains. When you’re ready, book the exam. Better yet? Take a friend. Maybe your IT director. Make it even more fun by putting a little wager on the results…