The annual American Marketing Association Leadership Summit took place this year from April 26th – 28th in Chicago, and it couldn’t have been more of an enlightening, inspiring, and jam-packed experience. The purpose of the weekend is to educate and inspire chapter leaders from across the country about what the American Marketing Association is doing at the international, national, and local levels to promote its mission of connecting, informing, and advancing marketers from across the globe. It is also an excellent place to meet other chapter leaders from across the country—nearly all of whom double as marketing professionals by day, and AMA volunteers by night—to hear about what others are doing in their respective markets, and how they are helping to both transform the profession and create opportunities and resources available to marketers within their communities.
This year there were approximately 500 people in attendance and the event was held at the Marriott O’Hare Chicago. Over the weekend our incoming President Somer and I heard from such speakers as Ivan Braiker (@ivanbraiker), CEO of Hipcricket on the topic of mobile marketing (who maxed out his session at SXSW this year), and Angela Connor (@communitygirl), Senior Vice President at Capstrat on the topic of online community management, who also wrote the book 18 Rules of Community Engagement. Followed by these informative sessions, we also listened to marketing executives from Coca Cola, Dupont, and BringMeTheNews in an engaging CMO panel, who discussed the marketing issues their organizations are facing and the approaches they are taking to set the standard in marketing. For example, Coca Cola has six social media listening centers set up across the globe so that they can respond in real time to customers interacting with them on social media.
We ended Saturday night with a keynote presentation from Steve Phelps (@stevephelps), the CMO of NASCAR. (Did you know that NASCAR has built a fan base of over 75 million people who spend billions attending events and buying products each year?) And on Sunday afternoon the event closed with an energizing talk from Sima Dahl (@simasays) on the topic of personal branding. This event was a hit with more live tweets produced from this talk than I had ever witnessed before!
In Sima’s personal branding talk, she drove home the point that everyone is the CMO of “brand you” and that we should all think about Facebook like a BBQ, Twitter as a cocktail party, and LinkedIn like a professional networking event. As someone who has completely rebranded herself after 20 years spent in a corporate marketing environment, she reminded the audience that if you can’t name it, you can’t claim it. You have to know what your purpose is and in turn what it is you want out of your career before you can properly formulate and drive your own personal brand strategy.
When not hearing from enlightening and engaging speakers on the latest trends, issues and opportunities in marketing, Somer and I were attending sessions about how to optimize our local chapter, connecting with other marketing professionals, and sitting in on personal and leadership development sessions hosted by some of the brightest and most engaging leaders from within the organization.
At the end of each day our brains hurt, our voices were strained, and our technological devices drained. Pages of notes were taken, countless business cards exchanged, and dozens of tweets from our @renoama Twitter account were sent. In fact, there were literally thousands of tweets sent from the weekend referencing #amasummit – to review some of the best tidbits and tweets sent from the event, simply search the hashtag.
In other exciting news, the www.marketingpower.com web site is currently undergoing a complete re-design after many, many years and will relaunch at the end of 2013 as www.ama.org. Similarly, the AMA’s twitter handle recently updated from @marketing_power to @ama_marketing. In September of this year, the AMA will host its first annual national marketing conference in New Orleans, with the goal of becoming the premier national marketing conference nationally. The AMA also recently opened a chapter in Mexico City, as well as an office in Shanghai, and is continuing to build its international presence. It’s a great organization and energizing community to be a part of.