Online marketers, especially agency marketers, have their work cut out for them. Their agencies demand they continuously produce through innovation and idea generation, and their clients view them as the go-to expert for all online marketing questions.
Couple these expectations with an oversized workload, and one quickly wonders where agency marketers find free time to proactively further their online marketing education.
To save our agency marketers time and energy, we've compiled a list of our top recommended organizations and B2B marketing events that'll help any marketer stay competitively 'in the know' (and perhaps meet a few potential clients while you're at it.)
Without further adieu, since time is surely of the essence, they are -- in no particular order:
1. Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) -- There's a good chance your agency is already a member of this organization, but you may not be aware of all it has to offer, including access to the research of more than 400 companies that belong to the IAB.
You'll also find the most up-to-date industry standards for online ad specs as well as general online advertising guidelines. Their Glossary of Interactive Advertising Terms is an excellent resource for marketers of all levels.
The IAB also features a host of webinars, events and even seminars like the IAB Interactive Boot Camp for Senior Marketers & Agencies, which can be customized for your agency. Also check out the IAB's Certification in Interactive Advertising Program.
2. Anything Ending in '-IMA'--Whether you're in Boston or Austin, if you live in a larger city (and chances are if you work for an advertising agency that you do,) your area will have a local interactive marketing association.
These interactive associations are great places to network with and learn from other agency marketers. Overall organization structures and offerings will vary, but most associations will have some type of monthly or quarterly meeting in the form of a luncheon, roundtable or networking event where you can socialize and educate simultaneously.
The B2B vs. B2C mix of marketers in local chapters will vary upon location. Don't hesitate to interview the local chapter heads before joining to ensure the association's overall audience and educational focus complement your online marketing education goals.
Check out Lee Odden's List of Regional Search and Interactive Marketing Associations for local associations in your area, and search LinkedIn or Meetup.com to find additional organizations.
3. Business Marketing Association (BMA) -- This organization focuses on all areas of marketing -- both online and offline, so if you're looking for more integrated marketing education, you'll find it here.
Like the local interactive marketing associations, BMA has regional chapters that hold monthly or quarterly meetings, socials and more. To find a local chapter in your area, click here.
BMA offers access to B2B articles, whitepapers, industry research and podcasts. They also offer three customized certification programs for business marketers through the Business Marketing Institute.
4. BtoB Online -- An equal blend of an online marketing with an emphasis in B2B makes this organization (and event host) a must-know resource for B2B online marketers.
Their BtoB NetMarketing Breakfasts are held in major cities like New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Boston and San Francisco, and typically feature a star-studded panel of B2B marketers sharing marketing challenges, successes and overall insight. These breakfasts are free to marketers and will have you back to the office well before noon.
If leaving the office isn't an option, BtoB's webcasts are another great way to stay up-to-date on the latest B2B online marketing trends, all from the comfort of your desk. Also accessible from your desk are articles, research reports and newsletter options for a daily dose of information right to your inbox.
5. MarketingSherpa's B2B Marketing Summit -- Their annual B2B summit offers both a West Coast and an East Coast summit; both are held this year in October.
This two-day event features case studies, training sessions and roundtables focused on the latest trends in B2B marketing (with lots of sessions devoted to online marketing).
If you're fortunate enough to attend one of the summits, you can expect to find an audience of senior-level marketers and decision makers. You'll also find a healthy mix of agency and client-direct marketers.
On the whole, MarketingSherpa is a great resource for any marketer looking to further their industry education or provide a client with the latest online marketing stats. Check out The MarketingSherpa Library - it's broken down by topic and tactics. You may have to pay for some of the resources, so check to see if you're already a member.
6. MarketingProfs Business-to-Business Forum -- If you're looking to immerse yourself in B2B marketing, then this two-day event is for you. Like the MarketingSherpa events, you'll find a senior-level audience with a mix of agency and client-direct marketers.
MarketingProfs is one of the industry leader s for providing B2B marketing education - the company was actually started by marketing academic Allen Weiss as an online location for exchanging marketing ideas and information. Today, it has more than 350,000 subscribers and keeps its educative spirit by offering a marketing training certification program through MarketingProfs University.
Agencies working specifically with B2B technology companies will want to check into their SocialTech event, a first-year event with front-row access to learning how to leverage social media for increased online marketing performance.
7. B2B Search Strategy Summit --For those who are tired of leaving B2B online marketing events wishing there were more search marketing-specific sessions, this is THE B2B search marketing event of 2010.
In its first year, this event is already quickly capturing the attention of the biggest names in B2B search marketing who are looking to share and learn advanced search marketing best practices for B2B, including how to shorten the B2B sales cycle, integrate search with social, and more.
Whether you're looking for a quick information fix right from your desk or a more in-depth learning experience or marketing certification, these resources should allow you to find what you need to stay competitive and continue to add value among your B2B online marketing colleagues and clients.
Know of additional organizations or resources that are a must for agency marketers or online marketers in general? Let us know!