Minnesota Marketing Group’s Event Focuses On Importance Of Digital Communication

October 26, 2010

American Marketing Association

This is John Reinan’s weekly marketing column for MinnPost.com.

Developing programming for a professional organization can be like serving a meal to a crowd whose members are all on different diets. They’re all hungry– you’ve just got to decide what to feed them.

The Minnesota chapter of the American Marketing Association serves members ranging from small B2B firms to some of the nation’s largest Fortune 500 consumer companies. That makes continuing education a challenge, said Andy Chollar, president of the AMA’s Minnesota chapter.

But one thing is crystal clear today to any marketer: the importance of digital communication. That’s why the AMA is focusing on the digital space in the coming year’s programming, starting tonight with the first of four events focused specifically on digital themes.

The AMA is also making digital the centerpiece of its annual conference on Nov. 8. The theme of the event, “Conquering Chaos,” reflects the conference’s goal of helping marketers make sense of the onslaught of new communication channels and strategies.

Although the AMA’s membership includes many big-box consumer marketers, more than half the members are in the B2B space, Chollar said. It’s important that the conference and other educational events recognize that.

“If we’re doing our job well, we’re going to provide them with the kind of programming that’s not just focused on the big boxes, the sexy Targets and Best Buys,” Chollar said.

“How do you speak to the majority of the marketers in this area, who are sitting in a B2B organization, not a national player? And they’re asking, does any digital media apply to me? And the answer is yes, and here’s how and here’s why,” he said.

“We’re offering programming that will confirm what those folks already know: one or two of these hundred things are applicable to me. And the others I know about and I can forget. And I can educate my boss, and we can focus on what we need to.”

The Nov. 8 conference features a full range of breakout sessions, with each topic having separate B2B and B2C tracks. Speakers include Minneapolis futurist and marketing strategist Cecily Sommers; Dan Hammer, senior marketing VP for Schwan’s; Andrew Eklund, CEO of Ciceron; and many others.

For more information on “Conquering Chaos,” visit the AMA website.

On Nov. 16, the second session of the AMA’s digital series will feature a presentation from Rick Mathieson, best-selling author of “The On-Demand Brand: 10 Rules for Digital Marketing Success in an Anytime, Everywhere World.”

The digital push is part of an ongoing effort to reinvigorate the AMA, which has seen some of its thunder stolen in recent years by the rise of MIMA, the Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association. But Chollar said the AMA won’t lose its focus on other areas of marketing.

“Continually, in our member surveys, there is high interest in strategy, planning, ROI,” he said. “These are the things that make or break the bottom line, and we’re not forgetting them.”