Analysts and executives—along with those working in the marketing trenches—agree: The profound shift in the global economy has triggered a reset to a lower baseline of commercial activity. People borrow less, save more and spend with much greater caution. This is “the new normal.” The big question for marketers is how to respond.
The tough, timely topic drove the “Stepping into the New Normal” theme of the second annual Florida Regional Collegiate American Marketing Association (AMA) Conference held on November 6, 2009, at Florida International University (FIU).
“We co-hosted the event with the University of South Florida,” said Tim Dugan Birrittella, who teaches marketing in the College of Business Administration and serves as the chapter’s advisor. “We had more than 180 attendees, up 180 percent from our first conference held last year in Tampa.”
Student attendees came from not only FIU and the University of South Florida but also from the University of Miami, University of Tampa, Miami Dade College, Penn State and Georgia Southern University.
Hard-hitting agenda speaks directly to future marketers.
The impressive conference line-up included presentations from Alex Gibelade, product marketing manager, Google Spain; Paul Wright, chief marketing officer, Bacardi; Jordan Zimmerman, CEO and founder, Zimmerman Advertising; and Joseph Marcoguiseppe, senior marketing manager, Burger King.
“The speakers shed light on what their companies are doing from a marketing perspective to remain competitive in 2010,” said Yasmin Issa, chapter president and conference co-chairperson.
Generous donations contribute to conference’s success.
Target Corporation sponsored the AMA event with a $2,500 grant. According to Issa, other area businesses donated everything from food and beverages to banners and note pads, saving another $2,000.
“Planning a conference like this takes a lot of effort and dedication,” she said.
Issa notes that what she did as part of the conference planning—from networking, to operations, to scheduling—translates into viable marketing career skills.
“I often get credit for the great work my students do,” Birrittella said. “In all honesty, ‘it takes a village’ to host a conference as successful as this.”