AMA Progressive Learning Concept Development Plan
Develop a structured framework that encourages marketers to participate in AMA learning opportunities based on their current knowledge level and ultimate career goals.
METHODOLOGY (led by Carol Shea, Olivetree Research)
Build the Foundation:(July-August 2006)
•Conducted thorough review of past AMA marketing research
•Conducted secondary research of other educational programs (marketing and otherwise; university, association and private based)
•Interviewed key AMA professional development executives(Paul Root, Rohit Deshpande/Harvard Business; and AMA staff)
Qualitative Concept Development Research: (September-October 2006)
•Moderated three telephone focus groupswith AMA members combined with online survey among the participants.
Internal Concept Development: (December 2006-June 2007)
•Led brainstorming session with AMA staff to define all possible marketing topics and develop multiple potential “buckets” in which to organize the topics.
•Led Task Force developed to flesh out the concept and refine the “buckets”
- Patricia Bingaman, VP, GMAC Commercial Finance; Kendall Crolius VPGM Forbes Inc; Robert Goodpaster, VP, Hershey Foods; and Ric Sweeney, Marketing Program Director, University of Cincinnati.
•Supported the AMA’s web development team with the six “buckets” developed by the Task Force to organize subjects on AMA’s site.
Conduct Online Survey among marketers (members and non-members): (September-October 2007)
•Test the overall concept for likeability, purchase intent, believability, uniqueness
•Test the six topics:
- How well they work to categorize AMA courses
- Self assessment of whether the respondent needs further development in each of the areas
•Prioritize class development
- List potential topics within each of the areas and have respondents check those that they are most interested in learning more about - to help prioritize topics AMA should work to develop
•Test acknowledgement/reward plans
The remaining activities are the recommendations of the Task Force for AMA staff:
Build Progressive Learning courses, communication and processes
•Develop a plan to organize all AMA educational information into the subject areas (on the web and in all communications) to familiarize marketers with this organizational structure:
- Marketing Communications
- Consumer & Marketing Insights
- Brand Management
- Sales and Business Development
- Marketing Management and Organization
- Emerging Trends & Technologies
•Develop a prioritized list (based on the survey) of courses that are to be developed
•Build the infrastructure to monitor, recognize and reward marketers for AMA class attendance
- Longer term: Consider tying class participation into AMA’s “Professional Certified Marketer” Program (
Improve the accuracy of all class descriptions
•Make sure we aren’t over-promising and under-delivering in the course description
•Detail what knowledge the attendee is expected to have prior to taking each class
•Carefully define target audiences for each class
- No longer should we say/imply “everyone”
- Consider defining the background needed prior to taking each class
- Terms like “entry-level, middle management, senior management” are very unclear in the world of marketing. E.g. a very experienced senior marketer, though inexperienced in a particular role, is unlikely to consider themselves as “entry-level.”
- The alternative use of categories like “novice, intermediate, expert” might be better, though is still less clear than sharing an accurate class description including “expected knowledge before taking this class.”
Develop instructor qualifications and standards
•Instructors should be expected to be representatives of AMA, not their own organizations.
- Consider developing agreements for instructors to sign agreements to discourage soliciting work from class attendees.
Overlay non-event components to this organizational structure
•Overlay white papers, case studies, etc. from marketingpower.com as additional career development support
•Consider the role of local chapters in the events they offer. For example, a luncheon topic might be considered as a way to glean basic learnings on a particular topic and a chapter seminar a way to gain high level learnings.
Concept Description (July 2007):
As marketers, we understand the value of continuing education to keep us on top of our game and engaged in our work.The American Marketing Association (AMA)has designeda variety of marketing career development opportunities, ranging from one hour tutorials to two-day workshops,to support marketers’ in all stages of their careers
To make it easy to determine which session or workshop fits your development goals orparticularneed, the AMA has organized its professional development opportunities into these major categories:
- Marketing Communications: Includes topics such as advertising, media, PR, interactive marketing, promotion, direct marketing, media relations, events, etc.
- ConsumerMarketing Insights: Learn about and what’s new in marketing research and analytics, data base analysis, profitability, brand ROI, etc.
- Brand Management: Learn more about brand positioning, portfolio management, product management, internal brand management, and more.
- Sales and Business Development: Explores topics such as sales and marketing integration, sales strategies (including pricing and distribution, one-to-one marketing, fundraising and development, etc.)
- Marketing Management and Organization: Covers organizational issues for marketers, agencies and consultants
- Emerging Trends & Technologies: What new tools are in thearsenal?We’ll show you how to use new developments and technologies, such as guerilla marketing, blogs, word of mouth, and social networking.
TheAMA’s most popular and rewarding training sessions will continue to be offered while new sessions, developed by some of today’s top academic and practicing business experts, are being added. Each offering will have a detailed descriptionto make it easier for you to determine those that best fit your level of experience or particular interest.
Participating in AMAmarketing career developmentwill give you the confidence that you can anticipate and respond to marketing trends—keeping you and your organization competitive. It will also keep you ahead of your competition by keeping you informed of new developments in your field and providing you with the knowledge to use them effectively.
The following is a late stage step that will be coordinated with AMA’s PCM program
To encourage and recognize your participation in professional development events, the AMA will award you Career Development Credits (CDC) for each event you attend. These credits will help you earn further discounts toward future events and after earning the required number of credits within a 24 month period, the AMA will issue you a Certificate of Achievement. To ensure that your company’s management is aware of your accomplishments, the AMA will send a letter after each session you complete to whomever you designate.
- Our target audience is composed of marketing practitioners (AMA members and non-members) who work for companies that have training budgets for attendance at national events. These marketers do not typically have internally organized marketing training available to them.
- Most marketing members seek training on an “as needed” basis versus planning long term for a specific career track, though some (such as those newly entering the marketing field) do want more career-planning assistance.
Messaging: Naming, Image, Benefits, Support Statements:
- This research suggested that the name “Progressive Learning Path” does not communicate the concept well.
- The committee recommends NOT formally naming this program for our customers (though OK as an internal program name), and simply integrating the organizational structure, principles, and guidelines into AMA’s communication regarding ‘marketing career development’ learning opportunities.
- Insights (Why do I care?)
- Continuing my education is important for me to keep me up-to-date as well as excited and interested in my job
- But there is not a clear path for continuing professional training in marketing
- Benefits (What’s in it for me?)
- AMA offers training at all levels so that you are confident that you can anticipate and respond to marketing trends keeping you and your organization competitive.
- Receive acknowledgements and rewards for your participation
- Usable criteria to help you decide what you need to follow in your own time
- (Management-only addition: Makes the most of your most important asset…your people)
- Support (Why AMA?)
- Some of today’s top academic and practicing business experts have created the programs we offer
- AMA has pulled together the most popular and important training classes from our portfolio in an easy to access format