Marketing, say some analysts, is of the utmost importance to any corporation that develops a new business and wants to promote the company in the right way. What is certain is that every corporation needs its own marketing team, whether that team is big or small. A professional marketer needs to deliver all, whether it is product design and development or marketing research, pricing, distribution and promotion. 'This profession is dynamic and always changing. We observe and react to market changes, and all the time we also have to deal with new people and come up with new strategies,' says Li Kam-cheong, chairman of the Hong Kong Institute of Marketing. In Dr Li's opinion, organisations that have fewer than 10 employees should have at least be one person responsible for marketing. For large-sized corporations, 10 per cent of the total staff should be dedicated to marketing. The institute is an independent, professional marketing body. In the early days after it was established in 1982, most of its members were from outwith Hong Kong, marketing managers working for multinational corporations. With the development of Hong Kong-based corporations, 98 per cent of the institute's 3,000 members now are local professionals, while the remaining 2 per cent come from countries such as the United States, Britain, Singapore, Malaysia and Australia. 'Our mission has been consistent all these years: promoting marketing as a philosophy of business, enhancing personal and professional development of members, and advancing Hong Kong as a leading centre of marketing excellence in the region,' Dr Li says. The organisation runs workshops, seminars, dinner talks and company visits. The programmes and activities offer opportunities for members to upgrade their professional expertise, to develop and extend their network, and exchange knowledge and ideas. The institute also organises education programmes. The institute works with local universities to provide education and training, covering studies at degree, diploma and certificate levels. These courses are targeted at either graduates without formal academic marketing training or graduates who wish to enhance their marketing knowledge. The Certified Professional Marketer course was designed and introduced to senior and successful marketers in 2001. Five years' practical work experience in marketing is required to enrol, and members who qualify have pass an examination for formal recognition. The qualification gives employers security in knowing that when they recruit an institute member that person is properly qualified in marketing. Over the past decade, the demand for marketing professionals has gradually increased across a range of sectors, whether from consultancy firms, marketing research companies or advertising agencies. Telecommunications, travel and media-oriented companies in particular have sought out skilled marketing personnel. The institute has experienced a corresponding growth of professionals over the years.