As a co-chair of the DRMA Membership Com- mittee, I spend a good chunk of time thinking about the benefits of DRMA membership, how to communicate those benefits to the media,
technology, and commerce sectors of the marketing business,
and how to make membership more valuable to companies
and individuals in our industry.
I believe that the central benefit of DRMA membership
is the access our group grants to the thousands of people and
companies that make up our industry. Everything John Yarrington, Thomas Haire, and the DRMA team do is designed
to connect people across the industry and foster the exchange
of ideas and expertise. MTC Expo, the seasonal networking
events, and the steady stream of editorial content — all are
intended to get, and keep, people across the industry talking
about what’s happening, what it means, and how to run their
You could have hundreds of LinkedIn connections and
participate in many of the internet-based groups that have
sprung up around the industry, but odds are you will still get
more out of three days at MTC Expo in San Diego (April
24-26) than you will in a year of posts and phone calls. Being
on the ground in San Diego allows relationships and conversations to flow organically and move in real time to places
and people that make perfect sense, but that you never would
have anticipated. Simply put, the DRMA makes networking
Now you might say it’s one thing to talk about what a
great networking opportunity an event is, but that is a lot
easier than actually making the event generate results. You
would be absolutely right. Networking — especially when
you have identified specific people you want to meet — is
hard work. You have to actually get out and meet people,
learn about them, and tell them what you do.
Nevertheless, the effort is absolutely worth it. A mountain of sociological research shows that
people who put serious effort into building
a professional network are rewarded with
more business and job opportunities, deeper
knowledge, the ability to innovate faster,
greater status in their career field, and overall increased job satisfaction.
While networking is hard work, network-
ing at DRMA events is not as difficult as
you might think. People in our industry love
to talk about themselves, and they love to introduce people.
I will never forget my first event in this business several years
ago. I showed up at the event knowing absolutely no one else
except the lawyers from my firm. By the end of the week, I
must have met a dozen people myself and been introduced
by those people to dozens more. I came home with a stack of
business cards three inches thick. Within a year, it felt like I
knew almost the entire industry.
The reason networking in our industry works so well is
DRMA members do not all do the same thing. We’re not
a bunch of dentists standing around talking about how to
cement a crown. We represent every single facet of the performance-based marketing industry: from marketers to media
outlets to media buyers and from inventors to technology
companies to fulfillment houses.
Although we all work in the same industry, our professional functions demand a high level of specialization. The
technical complexity of this marketplace means that no one
can succeed alone. The dynamics of our industry literally
force us to network to survive. The DRMA team realizes this
and has purposely built MTC Expo’s content, expo hall, and
networking events to foster the interactions we need to drive
That’s where you come in: the DRMA can’t work without
No matter what product you market or what service you
provide to marketers, we all want two things: to grow our
businesses and to maximize the potential of our industry. We
can realize those goals, but only if everyone pulls together.
Our industry is facing stiff headwinds, but it is also growing in unexpected and exciting ways. Technological and gen-erational shifts are reshaping it.
Established players are moving in new directions, and
new players are embracing direct-to-consumer marketing
strategies to disrupt whole industries. The conversations and
networks that enable these changes cannot
happen if we don’t all show up in San Diego
ready to meet new people, share our experi-
ences, and collaborate.
The conversations and opportunities in
San Diego this April will be new, fresh, and
exciting. I’ll be there will an All-Access
Badge, and looking to meet and share ideas
with as many people as possible. I hope you
will be there too.
The DRMA Makes Networking Work
BY CHUCK WILKINS