How many marketing directors do you know? Ironically, as a marketing director I realize I know very few. This became apparent when I was discussing an open marketing position with a local HR director. She was having trouble filling a position and I couldn’t think of anyone to recommend. Why?
Frankly, I didn’t know many of my compatriots. As a marketing director who’s served in various industries, I rarely got the opportunity to meet other marketing folks as I was usually busy meeting experts in the field being served. I networked with movers and shakers in the industry I was representing as well as the PR and communications influencers serving the same industry. I never really got to hobnob much with my own kind from other industries.
Perhaps that’s why I’m now delighted to find an influx of new CMO clubs both in the area and on LinkedIn and enjoy a new Google Hangouts weekly group of marketing affiliates.
The LinkedIn CMO Network is one place where marketing folks are asking questions that have plagued many of us. Getting answers from others can save a lot of time. Let’s face it – there are new services being introduced every day and it’s impossible to stay current with all of them. Meanwhile, marketing budgets continue to get squeezed and finding low-cost or free alternative services can be a real boon. But the downside — getting slews of emails as everyone answers the same question can really bog down an email account.
The Google Hangout meeting serves a higher purpose. The group is small and we set a discussion agenda and brainstorm effectively. The entire meeting takes an hour and I always feel smarter at the end. Meanwhile, the only email I receive are ideas for the agenda, or notes about the meeting. We have a robust core group, but are looking for some additional participants, so if you’re interested, e-mail me.
Another almost national CMO Club that meets the old fashioned way – in person – is also great for brainstorming, but tends to feel more like an association affordable only on a business expense account. I enjoy meeting marketing people face to face and trying out new restaurants, but the initial small talk is a bit stilted until we really get to know each other, and the fees are high enough to be prohibitive.
Meanwhile, there’s the ever-changing American Marketing Association. I’ve only become active this year with my local Philadelphia chapter, but I’m highly impressed. The local meetings are great, the AMA online TV channel is frequently informative, and overall the group has a little bit of everything so everyone can find something. It’s not inexpensive and generally expensed on business accounts, but is not as prohibitive as The CMO Club and has been worth the cost.
Meanwhile, the question remains – once you’re out in the working world, putting in way too many work hours each week, and struggling to keep up with current work loads, how do you recharge your marketing batteries to stay current and learn from others in the industry? As my bookshelf will attest to, I tend to read books upon books by every new and many old gurus, but my new commitment is to find more personal ways to interact with my industry peers. I hope we get to meet soon online or in person!