Cornhusker Economics June 10, 2015National Agri-Marketing Association Annual Conference: Professional Growth Opportunities for UNL Students
The National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) annual conference in April of each year is a highlight for Nebraska NAMA students. The students look forward to opportunities to network with professionals and attend sessions and workshops presented by internationally known speakers and experts.
NAMA is comprised of 23 professional chapters in six regions nationwide and has more than 3,500 professional and student members. NAMA members include professionals in agribusinesses, commodity associations, advertising and public relations agencies, as well as faculty, staff, and students from universities across the U.S. and Canada. At the state level, Nebraska's professional Cornhusker Chapter has nearly 70 members. Nebraska NAMA students are invited to attend monthly Cornhusker Chapter meetings at no cost. The meetings provide a venue for students to learn about the latest trends and "rub shoulders" with marketing professionals. This network of professionals—at the state and national levels—provides valuable opportunities for Nebraska NAMA student members.
NAMA students are often interested in careers in marketing, sales, promotion, and advertising. The experiences they have through NAMA help them to be career ready when they graduate. These experiences include developing a product marketing plan for competition at the national level, organizing and sponsoring career development events on campus, helping agribusinesses with set-up at trade shows, doing community service projects, and organizing social events with other organizations.
NAMA's annual conference features outstanding sessions on relevant topics in the agri-marketing arena and gives professional and student members opportunities to draw ideas and motivation from nationally recognized agribusiness leaders and speakers. The NAMA conference also features the Connection Point Trade Show where, as the event name suggests, professionals and students alike have an opportunity to connect. The 2015 annual conference was one of the best. This year's attendance was excellent and the program was outstanding. Dr. Jim Crupi, President and Founder of Strategic Leadership Solutions, spoke about key forces that are shaping the future—demographics, resource scarcity, technology, information proliferation, conflict, and economic integration—and what they mean to organizations. Dr. Jackie Freiberg who has been recognized as one of the "Top 30 Best Minds on Leadership" by Leadership Excellence magazine, challenged NAMA members to re-imagine their leadership brand. Each year, awards for NAMA professionals (Best of NAMA) are celebrated, and in the student track the marketing plan and outstanding chapter competitions are held and scholarship winners are recognized.
Ten Nebraska NAMA students traveled to Kansas City for the 2015 national conference April 15-17. They attended seminars, took in a luncheon with professional mentors, met professionals at the trade show, and interacted with students from the other 29 student chapters who attended.
This year eighteen NAMA students were involved in developing a product marketing plan for BovAlert, a health monitoring system for feedlot cattle, housed in an ear tag. The system monitors temperature, percentage of time an animal's head is down, chewing activity, , and overall movement in order to provide an early alert to feedlot managers when an animal is showing signs of distress. It is often difficult to identify these distress symptoms when using visual monitoring only. The team worked with Vishal Singh, former UNL media specialist and entrepreneur, who came up with the idea for the health monitoring system. Members learned that research is an essential element of creating an effective marketing plan. From choosing a product in the fall semester to deciding on the right balance between electronic and print advertising based on prospective customer habits, students learned how effective decisions are made with respect to marketing a product.The team worked with NAMA Cornhusker Chapter professionals to get feedback on the plan before national conference. While they did not make the final round in the marketing plan competition, the team learned a great deal in the process—that while creating a marketing plan is not a simple process, the need to demonstrate and "tell the story" about what a product does as simply as possible is critical to conveying the intended message.
Nebraska NAMA brought home several awards from the national conference. They placed second in the outstanding chapter competition and received two NAMA chapter performance awards—one in chapter management and the other in membership recruitment.
The UNL Student NAMA Chapter is proud of its accomplishments this year and is looking forward to a successful year in 2015-2016.
NAMA President, 2014-2015
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Rosalee Swartz, 402-472-5234
University of Nebraska-Lincoln