That was Then, This is Now – Social Media Marketing is the way forward for the Project Management Institute

tighed    November 9, 2014

Organization Name: Project Management Institute

Industry: not-for-profit professional membership association

Web Reference:

Contact:  PMI, Bruce Branch Board of Directors

pmi logo 2



The introduction and proliferation of social media has changed the world of marketing and how organizations of every type communicate with and market to consumers. Consumers are no longer passive.  They have voices, they have needs and they have high expectations when it comes to searching for and obtaining information. Traditional methods of marketing (print, TV, radio, etc.), though not completely irrelevant, are no longer enough. The game has changed.   Marketers have had to adapt to the new ways people are communicating, connecting, and consuming information.  What began as a set of tools for friends to stay connected, has evolved into a means for organizations to communicate with their markets.

What is the goal of marketing?  The American Marketing Association now describes marketing not as “the business of promoting and selling products or services” but as the  “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering,pmi collage 2 and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large” (Approved July 2013).

So, “selling” was then, and “exchanging offerings” is now.

Marketing has become much more “conversational” in nature. Today, it is necessary to build relationships to have engaged customers, and it is necessary to have engaged customers, to have sales.  This is why it has become important for marketers to change the way they view and approach their customer bases. Organizations must draw closer to their audiences through open discussion, information sharing, and relationship building.

Listen to Canadian author Shane Gibson on the importance of community (10 minutes)

Social networks can provide opportunities for marketers to reach potentially huge audiences to grow relationships, brand awareness and to become major forces of influence.  Social media tools span traditional boundaries by carrying information across various social networks and increasing the flow and exchange of ideas.

What better time and what better way for a global, information based, learning organization such as the Project Management Institute (PMI) to grow and serve its membership base?

The Project Management Institute is the world’s leading not-for-profit professional membership association for the project, program and portfolio management profession. Founded in 1969, PMI delivers value for more than 2.9 million professionals working in nearly every country in the world through global advocacy, collaboration, education and research. (

The tools, techniques and goals of social media marketing closely align with the vision and mission of PMI.  To achieve its core purpose “To advance the practice, science and profession of project management throughout the world in a conscious and proactive manner”, PMI needs to leverage the tools of modern social media.  To this end, PMI has adopted this strategic principle:

PMI considers the users of technology-based forms of congregation and communication, such as social media, websites and knowledge portals, a strategic market. PMI shall be a leader in utilizing technology as appropriate to reach this rapidly changing segment. (

To make the most of their ROI (return on involvement), PMI has had to be increasingly more creative with the content and information it shares and the manner in which it is shared.  Organizations like PMI have more freedom in the way they reach and engage with their audiences. Can PMI capitalize on this opportunity?

In an interview with Brian Weiss, VP of Practitioner Markets at PMI, Andrew Filev, project manager and entrepreneur, poses this question:

What are your thoughts on the recent rise of the “social” as in “social networks,” “social media,” “enterprise social software” and “social project management”?

Brian Weiss responds:

I think it’s great that our industry is embracing this powerful trend. It’s a tool that enables individuals to be more informed. Our profession has the exact same challenges as any other profession has with regard to social media; “instant expert” is what I call it. If you can have a site, blog or any other ability to communicate with the masses, people tend to put more credibility and relevance into that than they previously did with traditional sources of information. It’s changed our paradigm for where we turn to get insights into information. Yes, there’s a risk with that, but with every risk comes an opportunity: it opens a door for lots more people to collaborate and generate knowledge. All the smart people don’t live in one location.

PMI Ottawa Valley Outaouais Chapter agrees:

Social media is changing the way we work, offering a new model to engage with members, colleagues, and the world at large. PMI OVOC believes this kind of interaction can help the Chapter build a stronger and more successful relationship with our members and followers.

PMI Bruce Branch weighs in:


Final Thoughts

Increasingly, PMI’s communication with its stakeholders takes place online, via social media platforms – blogs, wikis, social and professional networks, and video-sharing sites, to name a few.  As a knowledge-based organization, PMI believes in the importance of open exchange and learning between members, business partners, and the many participants in our communities across the globe. Social media platforms are emerging important avenues for that kind of engagement and learning.  This engagement is an important element of PMI’s core purpose, “advancing the practice, science, and profession of project management in a conscious and proactive manner” and, as PMI OVOC points out, “it’s a way forward for us to take part in global conversations related to project management”.

Oh, and we can all use a few thousand more friends, can’t we?


  • Traditional methods of marketing are no longer enough, customers have high expectations about information.
  • Dialogue is important
  • Marketing isn’t only about promoting and selling (the AMA has even re-defined marketing)
  • There are many social media avenues to exchange information
  • There are risks in social media strategies but they are outweighed by opportunities and potential
  • Where co-location is a challenge social media marketing provides a good fit
  • Implementing social marketing programs may require some standardization/policies among in larger organizations



American Marketing Association

Borcz Dixon Integrated Advertising

International Journal of Business and Social Science Vol. 3 No. 3; February 2012

Project Management 2.0

Project Management Institute

PMI Chicagoland Chapter

PMI Ottawa Valley Outaouais Chapter

PMI Southwestern Ontario Chapter

You Tube


Submitted by:  Denise Tighe, University of Waterloo, Social Media for Business Performance.  To contact the author please email:

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site please send your comments to Peter Carr, Programme Director, Social Media for Business Performance.