As the premier marketing organization in the country, it stands to reason that the American Marketing Association’s annual conference this week in New Orleans will be this year’s premier marketing event, right? I sure hope so. And judging by the sessions, it very well could be.

I’m in the unique position of being a marketer myself as well as selling to other marketers. As such, I’ll be exhibiting at the show, but also want to learn the latest and greatest to help my own professional growth. With that in mind, here are the sessions that stick out to me (in chronological order).

I plan to attend all the keynotes, so let’s start with the first session.

10:30AM, Tuesday

I was immediately drawn to the Citrix talk on “How to Fail Faster.” Our company recently converted to an agile development methodology, and this is one of the core tenants. You want to get to market quickly so you can fail quickly. No, we’re not sadists. It’s just the quicker we can determine what is wrong with an idea, the quicker we can make it better. There is nothing worse than finding out your idea has holes after months of development!

That said, I think I’ll be attending “You Might Be Smart, But…” from Karyl Innis. It looks like a great personal growth session that will help you move from just having great, creative ideas to seeing real results. Who wouldn’t want that?

11:45AM, Tuesday

You may think, as a marketer in the digital space, I would want to see the “How to Build Happiness, Not Apps.” However, I’ve found that the tech sessions at these types of conferences are tailored to the lowest common denominator. That’s why I’ll be checking out “The Idea Insemination” from Joe Talcott. It promises real world ideas to get my creative juices flowing. With the tools from my first session, maybe I can make some of these ideas work.

1:30PM, Tuesday

The post lunch session is always a tough one. Between a big meal and being on my feet much of the day, I’m sure I’ll want to nap. However I don’t want to miss “Growing Your Brand with Non-Product Innovation” by Hershey’s Deborah Arcoleo. As a company that specializes in services, we don’t get the brand benefit from big product launches. I’m really curious to see what this one is all about.

10:30AM, Wednesday

Assuming I’m not out too late on Bourbon Street the night before, I’ll be hitting “The Consumer Consulting Board” after Wednesday’s keynote. We do a good bit of end-user testing on our websites, and the feedback is invaluable. However that’s testing our customer’s customers. I’m hoping to hear some techniques for B2B customer research.

11:45AM, Wednesday

This time block was a tough call. With our recent rebranding, though, I think “Identifying Sustainable Growth Strategies via Holistic Understanding of the Marketplace” may provide some good insights. We’re growing, so much so that we’ve been on the Inc. 5000 list for the last 6 years. Managing growth is always a struggle, and any advice is welcome.

1:30PM, Wednesday

Everyone wants to be a luxury brand of a low price leader. The middle is often overlooked, and therefore underserved. “How Our Society, Markets and Businesses Have Changed by Discrediting Everything Associated with “The Middle” sounds like an interesting session, as it challenges that trend. Why crowd near the bottom or the top when there are plenty of brands outside of the Fortune 1000 that still need incredible Web apps. Good enough for me.

2:45PM, Wednesday

Sticking with the brand strategy and growth approach, I’m going to end the conference with “Managing Change with Effective Brand Architecture.” Or, I might be elbow deep in a tray of oysters by then. We will see.

What things are you looking to learn more about in marketing?


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