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The June Amplify luncheon, held June 28 at Windows on the River, featured remarks...

Cleveland chapter of American Marketing Association celebrates 80th anniversary

By Nina Polien Light  |  Photo by Gery Petrof

Eric Barnett’s job as Findaway World’s business development manager requires him to create innovative ways to market the Solon company’s audio books to libraries, schools, healthcare organizations, and other potential customers.

Barnett’s aptitude for marketing technology is a natural extension of his success at marketing himself and teaching others to do the same.

“I heard about this job outside of American Marketing Association Cleveland Chapter,” Barnett, president of the local chapter for marketing professionals, says. “But what helped me to prepare for it were the connections I made through AMA. One AMA member interviewed with (Findaway World) and gave me helpful information.”

That type of formal and informal networking is just one benefit of AMA membership, Barnett says of the organization that also connects marketing professionals with current trends and provides professional training.

“There’s at least a half hour of networking at every event, and people are encouraged to stay after,” he says. “And at least once a half (of a year), there’s an event solely dedicated to networking.”

With 212 members — and another 2,000 or so on the mailing list — the local chapter hosts a variety of programs throughout the year. Non-members are invited to attend most events, although they pay a higher registration fee and do not enjoy the benefits of belonging to the national organization. Among those benefits are webinars, information about exclusive marketing research, a monthly magazine, and a member database.

At the local level, monthly chapter meetings are held over lunch, dinner, or periodic cocktail hour/networking events called Mix at Six. All gatherings include presentations on current marketing issues. The September lunch meeting, for instance, features nationally recognized speaker and author Gini Dietrich discussing content marketing.

Also planned are an Ohio City brewery crawl in December and a Super Bowl ad campaign review contest in February. Open to dues-paying members only are monthly special interest groups on content marketing and digital marketing.

To celebrate AMA’s 80th year, the local group is hosting its inaugural Marketer of the Year Awards on Nov. 6 at Cibreo Italian Kitchen. The banquet-style event is expected to attract 150 people.

“Our goal is to recognize individual marketers who have gone above and beyond to lead campaigns and marketing departments,” Barnett says, explaining two individuals will be honored in each of four categories in addition to one grand marketer.

AMA’s membership consists of folks from marketing firms as well as marketing professionals working in other industries, such as business-to-business, manufacturing, education, or retail. They range in age from early 20s to 60s, with slightly more women than men.

Our strategic advantage is focusing on (marketers) regardless of the industry they work in.

“Marketing groups generally cover PR or advertising or social media, but we’re an all-encompassing organization offering a broad spectrum of what today’s marketing professionals need,” Barnett says. “Our strategic advantage is focusing on (marketers) regardless of the industry they work in.”

In today’s fast-paced and technologically evolving world, all marketers need to stay abreast — and, indeed, one step ahead — of current trends and technology, he says.

“It used to be you would purchase an ad somewhere — in the newspaper or on a billboard, the radio or TV — and you would have no idea how many people your message was going to,” Barnett says. “But now we know (who is listening) because of the way people consume media and with information coming from all different angles. To be effective, you have to be on all fronts and give people something of value or they won’t listen to your message.”

In addition to getting out his message through his roles at AMA and Findaway World, Barnett serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Akron. His class is titled, “The Principles of Social Media.” He also authors the blog 24hoursbetter.com, which he started with friends.

“Every week there’s an inspirational story or helpful hint to encourage people to embrace the idea of being a lifelong student,” he says. “We all have the same 24 hours in a day. It’s how you use those 24 hours that makes a difference.”

For Barnett, the question is: How does he fit everything into 24 hours?

“Time management is a key aspect of it,” he says. “I’m a slave to the calendar application on my phone. I don’t multitask very often. I’m a singular-task type of person. I accomplish a goal and keep going throughout the day.”  

For more information: clevelandama.com

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