03/26/2014 – Prez Sez

We’re closing in on another annual cycle for Mid-Atlantic NAME and it has certainly been an eventful one.  We’re headed toward what promises to be a terrific conference in Charlotte, April 10-12, put together by Leslie Kahana of the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Leslie and her team have created a conference focused on The Millennials, that generation born on either side of the new millennium, a group that is hard to pinpoint, predict or sometimes even follow along.  Their world looks very different from the world I grew up in and their reactions to it are as interesting as the Baby Boomers were to their parents’ generation.

So, it should be with keen interest that certain traits and preferences get uncovered for those who didn’t grow up as part of the Echo Boom.  What makes them happy, where are their loyalties, how do they consume media, what turns them on as employees, what do they expect for their careers, what’s their work ethic, and how do they respond to certain management styles?  (Recognizing, of course, there are individual differences in each.)  Heck, it might even help me understand my grown kids better. I’m really looking forward to sitting in.

The conference will also feature an Idea Exchange with cash prizes for the best online initiative to grow business; the most usable ad idea; self promotion pieces; and the best idea to grow new business.  Our sponsors will have the opportunity to talk with you about their services in the Business Showcase Welcome Reception and with brief presentations during the day.

We also got by the hurdle of converting our ad content from manual tearsheets to electronic entries.  This was no small feat.  It takes a lot of work to set up that kind of web-based program, and there are many details that have to be in place correctly, or it doesn’t work.  The entrants have to learn a new process, and those efforts come with questions, especially for people who’ve not used it before.  But we all learned a lot in the process, and those who had questions were very patient while waiting for answers.  I think it is a change for the better in the organization and I believe that next year will run smooth as silk.  Thanks to Terry Coomes for her efforts in making that happen.

We have a newly designed and easier-to-use website, which will allow us to post more often and keep it up to date, with changing content.  I think that’s important for the future because it allows our members to engage more.  We can, through the web site, be a resource, a place where people come for information, to seek advice, and share ideas.

The challenge for the organization going forward will be to continue being relevant in the minds of the membership.  That’s always the case with associations or organization, but in an era of ever-tightening budgets, it is truer than ever.  Every uncritical expense is suspect and susceptible to the budget ax, so it is important to focus value in what we do at our conference. I think we’ve done that for the upcoming event in spades.

We need to continue to be introspective, to ask ourselves what we can do better for our members, how we can serve their needs.  Mid-Atlantic N.A.M.E. is about the only organization that focuses on the advertising side of the business.  It’s important that we work together to grow that presence.  Each of us should talk to our friends in the business and encourage them to join us.  That’s the surest way to grow and thrive.

See you Charlotte!

Pat Taylor
President, Mid-Atlantic N.A.M.E.
Advertising Director, The Pilot, Southern Pines, NC
email:  pat@thepilot.com