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Professional Development

How We Lead in Marketing with AMA CEO, Bennie F. Johnson

AMA Baltimore
May 22, 2024 |
4 minute read

When faced with the question, “How do we lead in marketing?,” there is no professional better suited to answer than the American Marketing Association‘s Chief Executive Officer himself, Bennie F. Johnson

Bennie has been a marketer practically his entire life, before he even knew or understood what marketing was. His journey began by selling candy on his school bus on the ride home. His “solopreneur” endeavor taught him the basics – product, price,  place, and promotion – but getting to his position as CEO came with the help, advice, and expertise of many alongside him. 

The AMA community, no matter which chapter you may belong to, is one of practice, in practice, and on purpose. It is an incredibly rich and dynamic community that unites marketing professionals with one common goal – pushing marketing forward in an ongoing and ever-changing conversation. Because, at the end of the day, marketing is for people, by people, with people. Marketing is no longer just talking about the product; it is creating lasting impact in business. 

However, this impact has shifted in recent years. The world has been happening to marketing, rather than marketing happening to the world. As professionals, we have created intriguing content and stayed up-to-date on all the latest trends, but where have we lost the gift of our superpower? Where have we not been able to see the framework and infrastructure that others cannot, and where have we just been going along and trying to keep up? Where have we not taken the reins to lead? 

Going into 2024, Bennie’s colleagues asked him what the “word of the year” should be. This word would determine their course and their focus for the next 365 days. He came back with a double portion – imagination and empowerment

In his words, we are natural disruptors. Marketing was developed out of certain people’s abilities to see what was not there before. Imagining what could be when you take a step back with a deep breath. Simply being a marketing professional means deconstructing reality, which means we are already a leader. Now, we just have to reclaim what is ours. Do not be afraid to do what has not been done before. High risk, high reward – as seen by Elmo recently asking the internet if they’re good

To empower is to give authority to do what must be done. As marketing professionals, it is our responsibility to push the envelope, to bring others alongside us, and create new boundaries with everything we produce. It is our responsibility to either show up in the spaces we know we belong, or create them ourselves. We have the responsibility to push marketing forward and up. Today, more C-suite level executives than ever before have their background in marketing. Why? Because the conversation of marketing is growing. The roles in marketing are expanding. The essentiality of marketing is being recognized, acknowledged, and appreciated. We are now moving beyond fighting for a seat at the table to commanding it. Keep going. 

So, how do we lead in marketing? Here’s the short answer – get in communities that push you to imagine and allow you to empower. Marketing was never meant to be done alone. Imagination thrives when combined. Empowerment comes from shared responsibility and embracing authority. 

If you are here, you are already taking the first step. AMA is a nationwide community of members committed to cutting through the noise and untangling the marketing mess. We exist so you can shine. Leading tomorrow starts with you today. We are so excited to see what you do. 

 

AMA Baltimore extends its gratitude to Bennie F. Johnson for sharing his wisdom and inspiration with our Chapter. If you would like to hear more, be sure to give it a listen to the newly-released “Marketing / And” podcast hosted by Bennie and featuring several key members of the AMA community – including our very own Dr. Sylvia Long-TolbertThank you to everyone who participated in this AMAzing event.

To learn more about new and upcoming AMA Baltimore events, please visit our Events page.

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AMA Baltimore

The American Marketing Association Baltimore Chapter (AMA Baltimore) is Maryland’s leading provider of networking, educational programming, and resources for marketing professionals. AMA Baltimore provides extensive opportunities for marketers to expand their networks, grow professionally and learn about current industry trends.
The American Marketing Association Baltimore Chapter (AMA Baltimore) is Maryland’s leading provider of networking, educational programming, and resources for marketing professionals. AMA Baltimore provides extensive opportunities for marketers to expand their networks, grow professionally and learn about current industry trends.

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