AMA Membership: The Best Position for a “Student of the Game”

     A post by Thom Villing, board member (At Large)

    Those of you who know me also know I love baseball.  I grew up in Cincinnati, appropriately the home of America’s first professional baseball team.  As a kid, I caught Cincinnati Reds radio broadcasts religiously.  (I will even admit now that I listened to the 1961 World Series in my grade school classroom on my little red transistor radio with an ear phone running up my sleeve.)  I reveled in the dominance of the “Big Red Machine” in the 1970s.  And I was blessed to coach junior high softball and baseball for many years – and loved every minute of it.


    So what does this have to do with the American Marketing Association (AMA)?


    I have always believed that the best baseball players and coaches are not always those with the most natural ability.  They are the ones known as “students of the game.”  They live, sleep and breath baseball.  They are relentless in learning as much about the game as possible.


    The same is true with marketing.  I’ve been in this business a long time.  But the business today is much different than the slightly post-Mad Men era when I got into the game.  Technology has been a real game changer.  So has the proliferation of marketing and communications channels.  If I had to depend on my natural ability (or lack thereof), I would probably have needed to move on to a different career long ago.  So as challenging as it can be to a non-digital native like me, it has been essential to learn everything I can, wherever I can, to stay current on this rapidly changing business.  In short, it’s a matter of staying relevant.


    To me, continuing professional education is one of the great benefits of membership in the AMA – and possibly one of the most overlooked.  The resources available are amazing.  In addition to the professional presentations at the chapter level, AMA offers an abundance of complimentary webinars and educational publications with membership.  They also host some of the best conferences in the industry.  All of these enable members to be relevant in their chosen field and well prepared to engage in the ever-changing world of marketing.


    There are, of course, many other benefits of AMA membership.  Since becoming a member in 1982, I have been blessed to be surrounded by hundreds of the most dedicated and knowledgeable marketers one could ever hope to meet.   And I have been doubly blessed that many of these individuals are more than professional colleagues.  They are friends.  Friends I will cherish for life.


    So there is no question another great benefit of AMA membership involves the opportunity to network with one’s peers and build important professional and personal relationships.  These relationships are incredibly valuable and can enhance one’s career in a myriad of ways. 


    That said, if you want to be a player in the field of marketing and consider yourself a student of the game, there’s no better position to plan than that of being an AMA member. 

    Visit JoinTheAMA.org to learm more about becoming an AMA member.

    Return to list