On April 11th, 2019 The American Marketing Association (AMA) Chapter of the University of Illinois at Chicago had the opportunity to attend the AMA International Collegiate Conference. This conference of over 1,600 students is held every spring in New Orleans, Louisiana. During our time at the conference our members participated in the Digital Marketing Bootcamp, workshops, panels and guest speaker events. We had the opportunity to network with other collegiate chapters from across the country. We were also able to attend an awards banquet where our chapter won two awards in recognition of the great work that we have put forth during the year and at the conference.
On the first day of the conference, we participated in the Digital Marketing Bootcamp and learned about best practices in the Marketing industry. Some of the topics discussed were Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and understanding how pay-per-click and cost-per-click work, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). After successfully completing an exam, we were granted a certificate of completion for participating in the Digital Marketing Bootcamp.
One of our favorite speakers was Craig Dubitsky, serial entrepreneur and founder of the Hello brand of toothpaste. Craig is an excellent representation of the skills our members hope to demonstrate upon graduation: passionate, creative, analytical, and outspoken. Craig spoke about the power of questioning norms and looking at problems as opportunities rather than obstacles. He talked about how he put his values into practice by examining everyday problems and disrupting the familiar with creative brand building insights.
Additionally, some of our AMA UIC members had the chance to attend a digital marketing presentation given by Rachel Thibodeaux. In this workshop, we were able to discuss user-generated content, brand roles, promotional marketing and how to target consumers from specific segments. Promotional giveaways were awarded to students to aid them in learning how they can attract customers to companies and maintain relationships with their clients.
Two of the inspirational speakers at the opening kickoff and keynote speaker session were Lily Cloake, a marketing director from the Wall-Street Journal, and Natalie Kim, founder of We Are Next. Lily Cloake led members through her insightful marketing testimonial while Natalie Kim conveyed her tokens of useful marketing affirmations. One of many insights that resonated with us was a conclusion shared by Lily Cloake that “You are more resilient than you think.”
On the second day of the conference, our new Executive Board members gained a greater understanding of their future positions by attending leadership seminars. These sessions focused on building skills they will put to use during the 2019-2020 academic year. These seminars included “Creating & Running a Chapter Marketing Agency” where they learned from other AMA chapters who have launched successful marketing agencies within their organization. The experience and advice inspired our members to expand our own AMA UIC Agency (AMAgency) next year.
During the “Leading your chapter to Success: Successful Communication Strategies” seminar, our leadership team gained insights from peers and advisors regarding the best practices other chapters have learned. Through the course of this session members from various chapters provided feedback to each other and gained valuable information. This was especially helpful to improve AMA UIC chapter communication and ensure a smooth transition of leadership.
During the conference, two of our members competed in a strategy competition against 98 other teams from colleges across the country. Shortly before each round of competition they received descriptions of the product being marketed as well as some background on the industry. Based on this information, they were asked to create a 7-minute presentation focusing on the 4 P’s of marketing (Product, Price, Place, and Promotion) to present in front of the judges. They were given only 20 minutes to prepare, putting their marketing knowledge and creative skills to the test.
Our AMA UIC conference journey did not stop there! During the awards banquet held on the final night of the conference, it was announced that our members from the marketing strategy competition placed among the top 6 teams out of 98 chapters, placing 2nd overall! Our organization was also recognized for our exemplary performance in chapter planning and communication by receiving an award. This recognition was based on our chapter plan and annual report submitted to AMA national before the conference.
Our chapter’s trip to the Collegiate Conference was a rewarding learning experience for us and our members. We all had the opportunity to represent the University of Illinois at Chicago as one of the top performing collegiate chapters and take an active role in the growth of our organization. It provided our members with an opportunity to challenge themselves and network with other hardworking marketing students. We look forward to achieving even more at next year’s conference!