As the Membership Vice President for the Cleveland AMA for the past year, I am often asked about the benefits of joining the AMA and the costs. As marketing professionals, I know and appreciate that all of you have limited time and dollars to spend and you must choose your professional associations carefully.
I can list the “benefits” we offer – the discounts to events, the knowledgeable speakers, the FREE professional portrait, the myriad of online resources. I could go on! What I really wanted to know and share with you is which of the benefits is most important to you? In marketing, we look at a lot of programs in terms of ROI, so I set out to calculate the ROI of joining the Cleveland AMA. I did what any other marketer would do in this situation. I spoke with the customer. Yes, that’s right, I asked some of you what your AMA membership has been worth to you.
And here is what a few of you told me:
- Member #1 told me that he joined a while back, when he first started out. He went to an event and sat next to someone at his table who happened to be well connected to others. This person eventually became a customer of this member and introduced him to many more people, resulting in $1 million of business that he has sold over time. All it took was meeting one other member who turned into an influential client.
- Member #2, who is part of an agency, recalled attending an AMA lunch event. He honestly wasn’t excited about going to the event since it was a local retailer speaking, and he worked mostly with B2B companies. But he forced himself to go, thinking he should try to get the most from his membership. The presenter talked about a challenge they had and what they did to overcome it. That happened to spark a BIG idea this member thought he could share with one of his B2B clients. He did present the idea, which the client loved. That single idea transformed his client’s business in a very beneficial way. I don’t have a dollar amount on that – but it was invaluable to both the AMA member and his successful client.
- Member #3 has been a member for five years. She has benefitted by being an AMA volunteer. One benefit of being involved, she now has a much better Contact List for vendors. When she needs a new supplier, she now has an arsenal of vendors that are at her fingertips. Even more importantly, she has met a wide range of people at events and via volunteering. They have shared valuable opinions on which vendor partner would be appropriate for a project. She also appreciates the friendships she now has from the Cleveland AMA.
- Member #4 has been a member for three years. He has found several freelance projects through his membership. In addition, he has used a variety of ideas from speakers in his everyday work.
- Member #5 has been a member for almost three years. The most critical skill he has learned is how to best utilize and market himself though social media. It has been valuable information in his job and has led to additional opportunities that he would not have had otherwise.
- Member #6 joined the Cleveland AMA in the last year. He has found immediate value. The Cleveland AMA was actually his “foot in the door” at a local firm. Being a member built his credibility as well as presented some common ground for discussion. He has learned that being part of a professional organization not only shows passion for your line of work, but also shows a strong work ethic. It shows you are willing to sacrifice some of your free time to better yourself in your industry. In a time starved world, those who give to their craft are those you want to hire! It has also been a great resume builder. For a recent grad who was very involved in college activities, he found it hard to find good groups to join outside of school. He has found that a professional and well respected group like the AMA is perfect for young professionals.
The benefits I heard from so many of you went beyond the typical “benefits” we list on the website. Just one business idea per year can easily cover the cost of membership and attending local events. Plus there are so many resources on the AMA www.marketingpower.com website. All you need to do is set aside some time to come and network, as well as get online to explore the information available. I know you’ll find what I have found about an AMA membership, both personally and from others – it’s priceless. Want to know more about Cleveland AMA membership, email the membership committee here.
For a LIMITED TIME, join the Cleveland AMA and we’ll waive the $30 application fee. Join here and enter the code SPRING30 at the checkout.
About the Author: Kimberly Gaebelein is a consumer passionate marketing leader. She currently leads the marketing for Bil-Jac Dog Food and has been involved in a wide variety of both small and large consumer companies including P&G, Heinz, Dial and Goodwill Easter Seals Miami Valley. She has been a member of the AMA for over 8 years.