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The Modern Marketer’s Toolbox: Marketing Organizations

Marketing organizations are filled with great opportunities to learn, lead, connect, and engage with other industry professionals, but no one has the time to join them all, and choosing the right one can be overwhelming. We’ve narrowed it down (relatively speaking) to 21 International, national, and Minnesota marketing organizations perfect for the Modern Marketer. Many offer innovative conferences, fun awards shows, educational events, and large libraries of informative content. Read through to find one that fits your specialties and personality, best.


American Marketing Association

AMA is possibly the most well-known marketing association, with more than 70 chapters in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. AMA hosts conferences (Annual Conference, Summer Marketing Academic Conference, and Nonprofit Marketing Conference), events—including full-day, local events on topics such as marketing automation, content marketing, integrated marketing communications, and Virtual Xchange® Events, which are free, virtual conferences on marketing topics (e.g., social media)—and training sessions on top marketing topics, such as metrics, strategic planning, integrated marketing communications and health care marketing, for marketers, researchers, and students. They also offer a vast library of marketing materials, articles, webcasts, and information on key marketing topics, including branding, engagement, digital, global, marcom, metrics, research, and strategy. Many of AMA’s resources do not require membership to access, but professional and academic memberships are $250 + local chapter dues, young professional memberships are $110 + local chapter dues, and student memberships are $47 + local chapter dues.

Association of National Advertisers

ANA has provided client-side marketing leadership since 1919. Their membership includes 680 companies with 10,000 brands. ANA keeps members on the cutting edge of marketing through training sessions—upcoming topics include Inspiring Great Creative, The Multicultural Edge, and Marketing Plan in a Day— webinars—topics include lead generation, social media, and legal affairs—local events—including breakfasts, networking events, and young professionals events—an online insights library, advocacy opportunities and information, and more. They host industry conferences, including their 2016 ANA Advertising Financial Management Conference and 2016 ANA Advertising Financial Management Conference in addition to local member-only conferences, on topics including marketing innovation, effective brand marketing, and content marketing. Also under their umbrella is the Brand Activation Association and Business Marketing Association. ANA doesn’t post their membership pricing online, but you can get a price quote by contacting them here.

Brand Activation Association

The Brand Activation Association is a national non-profit trade association and a division of the Association of National Advertisers. BAA focuses on behavior and response motivation and brand building. They host two awards shows, the Brand Brilliance Awards, honoring individual brand marketers, and the REGGIE Awards, honoring brand and agency marketing campaigns. BAA also hosts three national conferences—the Brand Activation Conference, the Marketing Law conference, and Shopper Marketing Conferences. If you’re a member of BAA or ANA you can receive a discount at these national events. In addition to their awards shows and conferences, BAA members can experience local and national events including members-only, single-day conferences (upcoming topics include promotion and experiential marketing) and online webinars spanning a variety of topics, including, legal issues, B2B, brand activation, procurement, and their Wednesday Webinar series covering a mixed bag marketing topics. To sign up for a corporate membership, you can fill out a contact form, here.

Branded Content Marketing Association

This global association promotes and works to grow the branded content industry. They have eight chapters around the globe including the U.K., U.S., Spain, and South America. Most events happen in London, but if you join the USA chapter, they may offer local events. The president of BCMA USA is Mike Wiese, the head of original and branded entertainment at J. Walter Thompson New York. While local chapter information isn’t available online, BCMA does offer a wealth of useful content on their website, including downloadable research studies on social video, branded content, a 62-page slideshow on exceptional content from the Best of Branded Content Marketing, market reports on Russia and Brazil, and articles and interviews. Their BCMA Weekly Digest newsletter is available to non-members and members online, and features videos and articles on marketing, arts, technology, and business.

Business Marketing Association

The Business Marketing Association is an AMA division geared toward B2B marketers. They have 16 chapters throughout the U.S., including one in Minnesota. They host a yearly awards show, the B2 Awards, to honor excellent business marketers, in addition to a national conference—the 2016 theme is Masters of B2B Marketing. BMA also publishes the quarterly B-to-B Marketer magazine, which features informative best practices, case studies, interviews, and more on B2B marketing, in addition to a daily SmartBrief Newsletter, filled with the latest B2B news and information. BMA offers training courses, webinars, and an online content library with more than 800 items. Individual member dues are $300, young professional dues are $75, and corporate memberships are either $3,000 annually for a silver membership or $5,500 annually for a gold membership.

Content Marketing Association

Since 1993, Content Marketing Association has provided an in-depth lens into the U.K. content marketing industry. Through events, training courses, reports, research, and case studies, they help agencies, brands, and media agencies understand the value of content in marketing. If you reside in the U.S., consider their Overseas Membership for access to exclusive research, discounted training events, and networking opportunities.


The Direct Marketing Association’s focus is on advancing and protecting data-driven marketing. Join this global marketing organization for member benefits, including government advocacy, networking opportunities, access to their Direct Marketing Certified Professional certification course, free webinars, and other informative content. DMA offers five marketing conferences in addition to 11 awards honoring achievements in data-driven marketing, and countless additional events every year.

Internet Marketing Association

The Internet Marketing Association was founded on four key values: integrity, communication, professionalism, and education. This Internet marketing group has over 1 million members worldwide and has been on the rise since its inception in 2001. They offer an Internet Certified Marketer professional certification program and an annual Internet marketing conference and awards program, IMPACT. Check out IMA’s website for advocacy information, events, local groups, and membership details.

Mobile Marketing Association

With the growing prevalence of mobile in marketing, it’s no surprise they’re the leading global non-profit trade association, with 800 member companies from nearly fifty countries around the world. MMA’s mission centers on mobile marketing innovation to drive business growth. Become a member for events, networking, and strategic initiatives opportunities. If you choose not to become a member, you can still check out their website for more than 580 mobile marketing case studies, a wealth of research, and educational content.

Word of Mouth Marketing Association

Word of Mouth Marketing Association advocates for ethical word-of-mouth marketing and educates brands on the industry. A WOMMA membership is recommended for marketing professionals in the areas of influencer marketing, ethics, and research. Member benefits include proprietary research insights, live events, resources, and WOMMA news. You can also find free white papers, research, career information, and an informative blog on their website.

Web Marketing Association

Web Marketing Association is a reliable source for online marketing. They put out two free publications, WMA SmartBrief, a daily email newsletter, and Interactive Briefing, a monthly WMA recap. WMA hosts three awards competitions including WebAward Competition, Mobile WebAward Competition, and Internet Advertising Competition. WMA’s online Resource Center offers information on advertising, email marketing, public relations, online services, and more.


Advertising Federation of Minnesota

Ad Fed is Minnesota’s branch of The American Advertising Federation (AAF), the nation’s oldest national advertising trade association. Ad Fed was founded as the Minneapolis Publicity Club in 1906 and has served local agencies and advertisers ever since. They also host Ad2 events for students and professionals under the age of 32. Ad Fed is home to a host of yearly events including awards program The Show, mentorship opportunities, informative talks, and agency tours. The cost for a full membership for agency professionals, advertisers, and suppliers is $195, a business an under 32 membership is $95, a student membership is $50. They also offer memberships for businesses and agencies starting at $150.

BMA Minnesota

BMA Minnesota is Minnesota’s branch of the Business Marketing Association. BMA’s goal is to aid the professional development of B2B marketers. Local events include learning programs designed to shed light on important B2B issues, networking events aimed at connecting B2B peers and thought leaders, and young professionals events to promote networking among early- to mid-career level marketing professionals. Students can join at $25 per year, young professionals under the age of 30 at $75 per year, and individuals at $300 per year. Corporate memberships are also available, starting at $3,500 per year.


This nonprofit organization serves the interactive advertising industry in the Minneapolis St. Paul metro area. They offer monthly events to unite the local digital community, from educational events to happy hours. i612 was created by local industry professionals and is run by digital leaders. Members include digital media planners, corporate digital marketing professionals, and digital advertising publishers. It’s free to become an i612 member, however they charge publishers and recruiters $25-$200 for certain events.

Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association

MIMA’s mission is to Inspire + Connect. They achieve this goal through events for the local interactive marketing industry, including education events—on topics such as modern marketing, social broadcasting, email, productivity—networking events, MIMA Meetups—which are discussions on pertinent marketing topics, including digital advertising and content strategy—happy hours, new member breakfasts, and an annual holiday party. MIMA also hosts a yearly Summit, a one-day event where marketers gather to listen to speakers and discuss ideas related to a new topic each year. This year’s topic is yet to be announced, but last year’s topic was The Disruptors—a call to embrace the unknowns of marketing and try new tactics—and the theme the year before was Rise of the Machines—exploring the line between technology and marketing. Join MIMA for free access to their events and job openings board. Students can join free, individual memberships are $230 annually, and corporate memberships start at $205.

Minnesota PRSA

Minnesota has the ninth-largest chapter in the Public Relations Society of America, the world’s largest organization for PR professionals. Minnesota PRSA offers one event every month, which switches between talks on important PR topics and celebrations. Upcoming events include a Meet & Mingle at a local pub, a volunteer celebration, and discussions on ethics, consulting, legal issues, and election PR. Minnesota PRSA publishes an online Perspectives blog covering chapter news and PR-related insights on APR, career advice, social engagement, finance, and more. PRSA also offers national online webinars, a member directory, code of ethics, student scholarships, a job board, and eight awards programs. They offer membership levels based on experience in the PR industry, from $60-per-year student memberships to $255-per-year memberships for PR professionals with more than two years experience.

Minnesota Women in Marketing and Communications

This organization provides local events and leadership opportunities for women in marketing and communications. MWMC events work to empower women through monthly happy hours, luncheons, and networking events. Their board is made up of industry thought leaders from companies including Target, Spyglass, Minnesota Business Magazine, SDK CPAs. In addition to in-person events, the MWMC website blog features informative marketing insights on SEO, entrepreneurship, content marketing, and career management. The blog also profiles local entrepreneurs, and MWMC event recaps and news. Individual memberships are $99 per year and student memberships are $49 per year.


MN AMA is Minnesota’s chapter of the American Marketing Association. A MN AMA membership connects you to more than 500 local marketing professionals and a national network of more than 3,000 marketers. Local events work to uphold their mission of Connect. Learn. Grow. with a yearly workshops day (last year’s covered digital marketing, branding, strategy, and marketing communications), new member orientations every few months, yearly Super Bowl ad reviews, and informative presentations on topics such as storytelling, video marketing, millennial marketing, agile marketing, and mobile marketing. Their website hosts a blog and national jobs board that anyone can access. They offer a range of memberships, from student memberships starting at $47 to professional memberships starting at $220 to group memberships starting at $235 per member.

Minnesota Search Engine Marketing Association hones in on one key area of digital marketing: online search. MnSearch offers a monthly marquee—they enlist a new speaker each time to cover a relevant topic in addition to offering time to network and enjoy food and beverages. MnSearch also hosts their yearly MnSearch Summit, a one-day marketing conference covering the latest in digital strategy, SEO, social media, and analytics. Members receive a discount at this fun and informative event. On the MnSearch website, anyone can access their blog featuring event recaps and insights on marketing topics including analytics, content marketing, search, social media, search marketing tools, and video, as well as a jobs page where you can peruse local job listings and submit your own available jobs. An individual MnSearch membership is $125, a non-profit membership is $95, and a group membership is $100 per person, with three or more individuals. Not yet ready to join? MN Search opens their events to non-members at $40 per event.

Sales and Marketing Executives of Minnesota

This organization is geared toward Minnesota sales and marketing professionals from small and mid-sized businesses. SME provides learning events to drive business growth. One of these opportunities is their monthly Lunch and Learn Series, which features new speakers and lunch-hour discussions to help marketers succeed with new ideas, strategies, and tactics. Recent topics covered time management, motivation, leadership, and sales. SME also offers two peer group discussions in a small group setting—one focuses on leadership issues and the other covers attendee interests and business challenges. These peer-to-peer discussions are confidential, which facilitates open idea sharing. In addition to attending their events, as an SME member, you’ll have the opportunity to be one of their quarterly profiled members, a networking and visibility boost. An annual SME membership is $135 per year, an annual membership including 11 monthly event lunches is $375.

Social Media Breakfast – Minneapolis/Saint Paul

This local association is the largest of more than 40 U.S. Social Media Breakfast chapters. SMBMSP focuses on sharing and learning about social media. Every month SMBMSP hosts a breakfast with a new social media-related topic and speaker…and bacon. Monthly social media-related topics have including everything from data to video content to social engagement to community management. They also put out a bi-weekly podcast, Social Media Boombox, where they interview a social media thought leader, and host an After Hours series for networking in the p.m. SMBMSP doesn’t offer a membership program, so anyone can register for their events. The Social Media Breakfasts are $10 per event.

Picture of Katie Yohn
Katie Yohn
Forever a student of marketing and the written word, Katie is always on the lookout for new ways to connect with audiences. She enjoys learning about emerging trends and sharing what she's learned. She also has an affinity for alliteration.