I just got back from 3 day long American Marketing Association (AMA) Collegiate National Conference that was held in New Orleans, Louisiana. I can tell you it was an eye opener for me. I thought to myself, “WOW! Why the hell I did not attend AMA conferences when I was doing MS?”. As I mentioned in 8 Reasons why you should join a Student organization, it was truly an experience. I can tell you, I felt I got out all the 8 reasons including fun ! Here are my thoughts on the AMA Collegiate conference and the Fun time I had in New Orleans.
Marketing Professional Speakers at Conference :
Warning: this section has a little Marketing jargon, just bear with me or skip it if you are not a Marketing person. If I was blown away by the professional speakers at the conference. I attended few sessions and the below ones were just eye openers.
- Sports Marketing – Miami Heats and the Heat Group
- Buzz Marketing: Inside normal by GMR
- The New Water Cooler by Google & YouTube
It was incredible to see how Miami Heats sports marketing works. All the charity things the Sports marketing does, all the sweepstakes, interviews are aimed towards getting brand awareness and keep the clients and drive public to come to Basket ball games. It is getting brand awareness and good Public relations. The speaker showed everything was tied to bottom line(net income) and their campaigns had a dollar value tied. If you are an international student not living in US or went to school here, you may not be completely getting what I am talking about…the reality is Sports marketing is Huge in US and in fact the concept is replicated in India for Cricket i.e Indian Premier League.
The Buzz marketing session was cool, it just showed how companies are carried away by thinking about getting buzz rather than having a proper goal and not realistic. Everyone wants brand awareness and Buzz in the market and in fact the word is overused…but the point is not just to get buzz, but to get customers and bring in revenue. It was really cool to see how GMR created some successful marketing campaigns. The trend is, Mobile is the place to be now and it is not sure how companies handle this in future.
The speaker from Google/ YouTube features showed us how advertising works in the YouTube World. It was just mind blowing to know how much money YouTube makes and the capabilities of YouTube. There are tons of creative people who made some real cool stuff using the API released by Google. Also, it was interesting to know about the YouTube Celebrities. Some dude had 70 Million views on his videos and 2 million subscribers. He gets paid a lot by Big companies for doing clips on their company’s products. Honestly, YouTube is the place to be. It would be an oversight if you do not realize the importance of YouTube in your company’s digital strategy.
Case Competition & Career Fair :
Though I did not get a chance to go to Business simulation, Sales completion and Chapter exhibit, I did enjoy the case competition presentation. Absolutely great case and solution for UNICEF TAP project to raise 2 million dollars. The students from University of Pennsylvania (Wharton School of Business) were really smart and did great job. They selected ‘Youthful dreamers’ as their target segment and the marketing campaign of Pass the glass was really good. The Career fair was ok as always. I have never seen anyone getting hired directly at Career fair. You may get few leads but it is not very often you get most out of Career fair other than some free goodies. It was just funny, we just slid off some cool stuff from career fair tables..I was put on the spot to do talking with recruiters and other friends just picked up goodies to avoid the talking to recruiters… I am the usual talker in our group…
Networking, T-Shirts, Teambuilding sessions, Hotel Lobby networking :
I networked with quite a few people. It is amazing to see the talented students asking some great questions in any session, you just network with them after the session. Great way to build a professional network. You never know where the networking can lead to…may be a job or a may be a company… There was a T-Shirt exchange program where you share your T-shirts with others and get theirs. Our AMA board has more girls and they ended up picking ‘pink color’ for our T-shirt. I was very uncomfortable wearing it…the girls just enjoyed picking on the boys(me and my friend) wearing pink…anyways, our T-Shirt was unique color and got quite a bit of attention with few funny quotes on it. The theme of our T-shirt was marketing 101. All the girls would come to us and ask do you have another T-shirt I like it…well, the networking there was not really helping. There were 1300 students and we all kept switching the teams and not a great idea to network. But, just got T-Shirts out of it.
We attended a team building session to help build trust in organization. It was pretty normal and I was not super impressed because I have done many of the leadership workshops before. Honestly, they can’t do much too because of the number of students who were in the room. In fact, the best session I had was in MS where we only had15 students and we could connect and talk. Someone doing it for the first time might like it…but I was not impressed. I ended up making few friends there which is always good…we stayed at Sheraton and it was really big with 40 floors…the elevators sucked….some glitches and the college kids mad it worst. It was software based and the poor programmers did not test the scenario where 1300 kids gets crazy by deadlock the system…anyways, because the elevator sucked, we had time to talk to people at the elevators. I met so many people. Ended up seeing the same people over and over again and made new friends…
French Quarter fest, Food :
The good thing about this weekend in New Orleans was, there was a French quarter fest and it was amazing. Lot of live Jazz music and good food. I like to dance and I enjoyed dancing….Everyone were doing electric slide…It was great weather and we were just walking, It was like a music festival with lot of authentic Cajun food. Talking about food, New Orleans is the place to be for the best Cajun Food. I was a little skeptical about food, but guess what it was fantastic. It was a little expensive in good restaurants, but worth every penny. I had some Cajun spiced food and liked it very much. Had some PoBoy Sandwiches ( came from Poor Boy ), they were really big and good. The food at the conference banquet dinner was very good, we ate so much food that you can’t even think of…
Bourbon street night life and Friends :
I can tell you one thing “ OH MY GOD ! BOURBON Street gets real crazy and we were out of control…”. I was there 5 years ago when I was doing MS. I went there for real Mardigras Fat Tuesday and it was crazy, but because I was knew to the country did not get a real feel of things and did not know much…Now I could see and appreciate a little more…anyways, we went out all four nights and it was so much fun….had a lot of booze and good time…we met some other students from other University and formed a group of 10 people. It was so much fun to go out as a group. Lot of dancing, it was really crazy and I cannot explain how crazy it gets…everyone having a good time…all the clubs had live bands and we all were signing the tunes and dancing….Because we were group, we were fine…it could have been crazy if were a smaller group or just by myself. We had very little sleep because we used to party till 4 in the morning and come to hotel and wake up by 9 or so for conference…had less sleep and in the last day few of us did not sleep for straight 36 hours, just fun fun and fun ! Honestly, if you are not married and have not been to New Orleans , you must visit Bourbon street in New Orleans and that should be with friends who love to have fun…you cannot handle some stuff when you get older and get married…
Check out the Photos of New Orleans on the USA Travel Photos page