Today’s Marketing Associations Aren’t Your Grandfather’s Oldsmobile

Today’s Marketing Associations Aren’t Your Grandfather’s Oldsmobile

Oldsmobile grew to become its own worst enemy as a brand over the years—many perceived it as the ultimate geezer-mobile [1]. Heck, it even had “old” in its name. While we know the financial collapse over at GM had more to do with discontinuing the Oldsmobile line, is it any wonder, given the public perception of the cars that they were one of the first on the chopping block [2]?

Through client calls, meetings, and casual conversation we’ve heard similar “geezer-talk” about marketing associations: They are behind the times. They cost too much. What can I get from an association that I don’t already know? Please don’t get behind the wheel of that Oldsmobile. Nothing could be further from the truth. In recent years, there has been an explosion of information about new directions in marketing communications. Much of it is generated and disseminated through innovative marketing associations. What is turbo-charging marketing, and how do associations help?

Blogging. Content marketing. Social media. eBooks. Big Data. White board videos. These and many other communication venues and concepts are driving a revolution in marketing communications. But many harried marketing professionals might not take the time in their hectic 12-hour days to uncover the new ideas that are out there. Only an hour or two a week with association content might save a company, literally, hundreds of thousands of hours and dollars on the next product launch. Marketers may be doing all of the above in promoting products and services, but are they really using social media effectively, for example, or just going through the motions? Associations have the straight answers.

Join the conversation.

Here at Hoffman we make staying up-to-date a part of our job. It is a necessity, but luckily it’s a task we enjoy. The following is a description of four general marketing associations we visit frequently—and why. We don’t explicitly endorse the following sites, and there are certainly others out there, but we find them useful to visit on a regular basis.

The American Marketing Association (AMA)

It may be the oldest marketing association in the world, but it remains fresh, vibrant, and chock-full of must-have marketing advice. In fact, there is so much useful content at their member site, a marketer can   actually feel overwhelmed. And with hundreds of local AMA chapters worldwide, marketers can network with their peers on a regular basis. Online and in-person training and seminar discussions cover all the latest marketing trends, including Big Data, content marketing—the list goes on. Video news reports on the industry, case studies, podcasts, and no less than a dozen highly-focused, separate digital and print publications round out the enormous trove of info here.

The Content Marketing Institute (CMI)

Always fresh, always upbeat, CMI is the leading edge of the content marketing revolution. Founder Joe Pulizzi has defined content marketing with style and personality. Each day, guest marketing bloggers and writers from virtually every industry and job description share their insights, their expertise, and even analyze their most dismal content marketing failures. If stories, tips, and posts aren’t enough, CMI has online training, consulting, and even a press-the-flesh trade show every year in Cleveland where marketers can brainstorm and commiserate with kindred spirits. (And don’t forget to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.) Actors Kevin Spacey and William Shatner were keynote speakers in recent years. That’s not your grandfather’s marketing association.

The CMO Council

If a corporation is global, and it wants hard data, the CMO Council is a great association to visit on a regular basis. Information from marketing executives around the world is collected, collated, and cross-tabbed on any number of topics—from mobile advertising to content trends in specific global markets. Even if companies don’t or can’t join, the site has a ton of thought-provoking articles, stats, and reports on a per-pay basis for non-members, and numerous free articles and posts.

Marketing Profs

We know, it sounds stodgy—but it’s quite the opposite. Marketing Profs is not so much an association as it is an online boot camp, marketing training center, and news clearing house for the industry. Podcasts, free and paid Webinars, and email newsletters round out the offerings on all the latest marketing topics and trends. The newsletters and daily news updates provide free content, and paid training and seminar series are also offered.

Explore Marketing Associations.

These are just four associations. Blogs, agency sites, and other more specialized marketing associations (including an association for associations!) are also worth ferreting out—often through links from the four sites we feature here.

We’re not making explicit endorsements of these four marketing associations, or implying that these are the absolute top associations for marketers. But they do represent the type of contemporary marketing associations we think are worth tracking.
In fact, if you have your own personal favorite marketing associations, send them our way in the comments section.

Do you have a favorite marketing link to share? At Hoffman, we’re always on the look-out for fresh ideas and insights, and new sites to take for a spin. And please, do yourself a favor and get some fresh air by cruising through some association sites…

Next post we’ll take a look at B2B marketing organizations and online resources.


1. So you think you know automotive history? Oldsmobile, named after its founder Ransom Olds, was actually the first mass-manufactured car in the U.S. in 1901. Henry Ford took to the rutted roads in 1908.

2. But I’m still harboring a grudge against GM for axing Pontiac. Now I’ll never get that GTO muscle car I always coveted as a teen.

For the last 30 years, Hoffman Marketing Communications has created white papers, collateral, and more recently video and multimedia, on complex business issues and technologies.