One of my regular watering holes on the web is Jake McKee's blog, CommunityGuy.com. Recently he's been ranting a little bit about the American Marketing Association, and as an association guy, I've found his comments pretty interesting. Here's his story:
Deciding to make it a personal mission to reform traditional marketers and evangelize them into the kingdom of word of mouth, social media and the like, Jake attends a few AMA events (presumably his local chapter) and then joins the AMA (national). Here's a guy with tremendous expertise about cutting-edge marketing techniques who wants to help. The story takes a turn for the worse here.
Jake complains that within the first two months of his AMA membership, his engagement to marketing ratio is 0:45. Nearly 50 advertising emails and not a single personal email or phone call from the organization in the space of two months. In his April 30 Clue Implementation Unit podcast, he calls it spamming. The FTC probably won't bring up AMA on CAN-SPAM charges, but it's quite obvious that Jake considers the AMA's activities as spamming, and he can't be the only one.
All of this adds up to quite an adroit demonstration in cluelessness from the organization that is supposed to be advancing the marketing profession, says Jake. (Reminds me a little of the Media Bloggers Association's lack of comments on this post) And the worst part is, nobody from AMA's national office has made contact with him yet. Knowing his reputation, I think Jake would have posted an update if they had.
Here's where this blog post gets weird. I have to sympathise a little with the AMA. One of the first lessons I learned in association management was: relentless email marketing pays. It still does, at least in the short term. At my first association job, we used to email members weekly about upcoming annual conventions, because every time we did, we made mad money. Sure we got complaints, but we were willing to deal with them for a quick and easy $50,000. And members seemed to put up with the inconvenience. Jake is living proof that maybe they're not so willing anymore.
Times have changed. This is a perfect example of the way we've always done it. It's time for us to change too. I wonder what Jake's advice to AMA would be. Here are some processes I'm thinking about as a result of reading about and listening to his experience:
- Hand-written notes to new members go out same day they join.
- Accelerate schedule for phone calls to new members.
- Three month moratorium on sending marketing email to new members.
Tagged: American Marketing Association Association Management Associations CAE Certified Association Executive Jake McKee Marketing Spam