AMA or MRA Annual Market Research Events: Which to Choose?

Do you prefer American Marketing Association (AMA) events or Marketing Research Association (MRA) events?

This is a questions I get frequently from Research Rockstar students and other people I run into—even just recently at the MRA’s Joint Chapter conference in Miami.

Who has time or money to attend two or more major events a year—if that? Other than companies with booths and selling things at the events, not many.

Both the AMA and MRA offer great annual events, and additional conferences throughout the year.

The comparison I most often get asked about is AMA versus MRA annual conferences. I will share my experiences with these events, and hopefully this will be helpful.

At the annual AMA market research conference, I meet a mix of market research and marketing professionals. Personally, I like that mix—it leads to interesting discussions and prevents us from treating market research as a silo. The marketing people tend to be those who have roles that mix market research and broader marketing responsibilities.  The market research attendees are a good mix of client-side and supplier-side researchers.  The presentations at this conference tend to showcase a lot of case studies, and cover a mix of market research standard methods and emerging solutions.

Bottom line: for great networking with a diverse crowd and broad learning, the AMA conference is an excellent choice.

At the national/annual MRA conference, I meet a variety of market research professionals; client-side researchers, suppliers, and even some educators.  In the past, these events felt a bit too skewed to the supplier side, but that has changed a lot over the past three years.  The event now gets a nice representation of client-side researchers—people who can talk firsthand about the experience of buying, managing and delivering in-house research.  To me, this is important: without a mix of attendee types (clients and suppliers), the networking just gets too dull.  While different than the annual MRA conference, even at last week’s joint chapter conference in Miami, I saw great presentations and met several people from client-side market search departments.

The annual MRA event is also great for a mix of case study presentations (showing actual market research applications) and in-depth learning related to new methods.

Bottom line: for great networking and in-depth learning, the MRA conference is an excellent choice.


[Update: it appears that the AMA may be discontinuing its annual market research conference? I will update as I learn more!]


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