Market Research

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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Kathryn Korostoff

Kathryn Korostoff is founder and lead instructor at Research Rockstar. Over the past 25 years, she has personally directed more than 600 primary market research projects and published over 100 bylined articles in magazines. She is also a professor at Boston University, where she teaches grad students how to analyze and report quantitative data.

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