Get Involved – It Pays
MindEcology team members are big believers in networking, volunteering, and association membership. We’re especially involved in the local chapters of the American Marketing Association (in both Austin and Dallas) – in fact, one of our principals is a very active AMA volunteer, having served multiple years as an officer or committee head. Another one of our team members is a longtime Junior League volunteer. And we try to go to as many conferences and professional development events that we can work into our calendars.
Many marketing and advertising professionals approach these opportunities because they believe they have a shot at getting in front of new clients or prospective employers. And that’s understandable – we’ve met some our best clients at an AMA mixer or a similar activity. Networking for new business is a worthwhile activity, no doubt about it. But if you’re fixated on that one objective, you’ll miss out on a host of other benefits enjoyed by marketing pros who get involved:
Your boyfriend or your kids probably don’t have any interest in debating whether or not direct mail is dead or discussing the messaging strategy behind Geico’s latest TV campaign. But if you’re passionate about your work, you probably relish those kinds of discussions. An AMA happy hour or an Ad Club luncheon provides you with plenty of opportunities to talk shop – especially if you work as a contractor or you’re running a one man/woman marketing department for your company, and therefore spend a lot of time working independently.
Let’s face it – people expect marketing types to know everything, from who to use for printing to where to hold the next sales team meeting. Once you get involved in professional development or community organizations, you’ll find that your list of resources will grow steadily. And over time, you’ll also find that your ability to always come up with a resource or referral has a repaying you for your efforts, in the form of reciprocal referrals or a solid professional reputation as “that guy” who always has at least two good ideas every time someone needs one.
Groups like the AMA and community organizations also provide wonderful opportunities for learning and leadership development. Sometimes these growth spurts happen in the form of an evening program or a lunch-and-learn event. But we’ve found that the richest growth happens when you volunteer. The opportunity to serve on a committee or chair an event gives you the chance to work with other like-minded colleagues on a regular basis, which in turn leads to longer-term relationships. Besides the personal satisfaction that comes with serving your community or your industry, you’ll find that these more substantive relationships are the ones that tend to have a better chance of blossoming into new business or professional partnerships.
Want to know more about getting involved in the AMA? Drop us a line.