Many professionals know the importance of being active in a trade organization, and the creative and marketing industry has no shortage of options. Are you active with AMA, IABC, AIGA, MDMA, MIMA, SME, DAL, MNWIFT, MWMC, ADFED or PRSA? If I lost you at AMA (American Marketing Association), then there's a good chance you are not. Because time is so valuable--and there is no shortage of options--what's a marketer to do? Do your best to be proactive.
Here are two common reasons why marketers do NOT join a trade organization:
- I just don't have time. Many creative and marketing professionals are busy with their full-time jobs, and they have a life outside of work. However, involvement with a trade organization is a career-development decision, not a convenience option. Time and time again, professionals find themselves engrossed with their jobs--and they do little to network with others, or research emerging trends or technologies that are impacting their professions. When do they finally find time? When they get laid off, or find themselves without work. Then they freak out, try to have coffee with everyone they can, and finally become involved with a trade organization.
- The individuals that attend are not at my level. Instead of being a naysayer on how things should be structured or which events are lame, and complaining about junior-level attendees, take the opportunity to volunteer, get involved and make it into something worthwhile. If you are senior level, then find a way to give back to the local creative and marketing community by volunteering your time to help others. Be a speaker. Be a panelist. Be a mentor. Never forget that the individuals running these organizations are almost all volunteers, so cut them some slack and be a proponent.
Find the time now, and build your network. If you are a creative or marketing professional, and you are not investing the time to attend meetings and make connections, you may find yourself in panic-mode. There is such a great variety of organizations from which to choose--so find the one that fits your career path best and get involved.
"A man who does not plan long ahead will find trouble at his door."