About 40 marketers recently attended Connex, an American Marketing Association Chicago networking event, at the Catalyst Ranch in Chicago to learn about marketing disciplines, including branding – one of the top four topics that AMA Chicago Chapter members previously surveyed said they want to focus on for career development.
Held the second Wednesday of every other month, Connex showcases four marketing experts. At the most recent event, each expert held 20-minute education sessions based on marketing topics while attendees rotated among them.
But the evening also became the launching pad for AMA Chicago’s newest member benefit – the Chicago Marketing Directory. It’s a free business directory for AMA members where they can showcase their companies through individual profiles under 10 distinct marketing categories.
The new benefit was announced at Connex by Bonnie Massa, executive director of the American Marketing Association Chicago Chapter and founder and president of Chicago-based Massa & Co.
Marketing Topics Members Want
What do American Marketing Association Chicago Chapter members want? When the AMA Chicago Chapter surveyed its members about a year ago, it found they wanted the chapter to help them build their networks and sharpen their marketing skills.
Recognizing that networking events can be intimidating, chapter leaders reoriented Connex from a typical networking platform to an organized educational event that provides a more natural way to meet others.
The Connex survey revealed the top four marketing areas of most interest to AMA Chicago members, which are in descending order:
- Marketing Research
- Digital marketing
Since branding is the No. 1, Connex always provides at least one branding expert per event.
The four November Connex presenters were:
- Emotional Branding – Kristian Alomá – Threadline Founder and CEO (VIDEO)
- Marketing Team of One – Thom Duncan – American Board of Medical Specialties Marketing Director (VIDEO)
- Integrated Marketing: One-to-One Marketing at Scale – Billy (B.J.) Strawter, Jr. – Founder of Milo (VIDEO)
- Who Owns Your Brand? – Victoria Webb – Partner at Soul Motor Co.
During the evening, the marketing experts talked to attendees about their best practices. For instance, Alomá, who focused on emotional branding said that trust is an important element in branding. Like people, brands gain trust over time and must be built up through reliability, capability and consistency.
“Brands must center around trust,” Alomá said. “If you consistently serve me and not betray me, I will trust you. That’s how it works.”
The New Chicago Marketing Directory
Connex attendees got a sneak peek at the Chicago Marketing Directory that recently launched. Massa said that the directory idea came to her after repeatedly being asked by other members about where to find Chicago area experts. So now if marketers are looking for graphic designers or SEO experts, they can go to the directory, which is a collection of Chicago marketing professionals. The directory is divided into 10 marketing disciplines:
- Digital Marketing
- Market Research
- Marketing Communication
- Marketing Strategy
- Content Marketing
- Design and Innovation
- Integrated Marketing
- Non-profit Marketing
“If you are a member of AMA Chicago, then you get a listing on that directory at no cost,” Massa said. “It’s part of the benefits of being a member.”
Join AMA Chicago at the next Connex between 5:30-8 p.m. Wednesday, January 8 at McGuffin Creative Group. It’s free to AMA Chicago members and $20 for non-members.