The Marketing Association Celebrates 50 Years of Helping Marketers Be Brilliant

1974. The year ABBA released Waterloo, President Nixon resigned, and Muhammad Ali won the Rumble in the Jungle. In New Zealand, 18-year-olds won the right to vote, the Committee for Women was established, and we were singing along to Cheryl Moana Marie. 
It was also the year a small group of marketing organisations got together to form the Direct Mail Association, a precursor to today’s MA. Its initial objective was to persuade the New Zealand Post Office to create special rates for direct marketing campaigns. Personal computers from Commodore and Wang were starting to appear in progressive companies who realised the value of storing and using personal data for marketing. 

American Express was one of the 14 original signatories, and they are still a member of the MA to this day. 

In 1985 the newly elected President, Keith Norris, changed the focus for the Association and the Direct Marketing Association was born. A new business plan was developed which included creating the first NZ marketing training course covering all aspects of Direct Mail. The NZ Certificate of Direct Marketing was an instant success and over the next two decades over 2,000 marketers became graduates of this 16-week course. Many of those graduates have since gone on to become CEO’s and CMO’s of major organisations and have commented that they learned more about marketing in that 16-week course than they did in 3 years at university!

Marketing and leadership training have since become the beating heart of the MA member benefit. We’ve evolved each year into who we are today. An association that is dedicated to upholding the value of marketing and the marketing industry, helping NZ businesses succeed through the training and upskilling of NZ marketers. We help marketers be brilliant!

We are humbled and proud to have reached 50 years, we love what we do, and we love hosting our training, awards, events and conferences that not only upskills marketers, but facilitates a strong connected community of 8,000+ members. It’s a real pleasure to be at the centre of the continued fast-paced evolution of the marketing profession.

50 years of support from the marketing industry
We want to take a moment to thank the people, both past and present, who have helped to shape the Marketing Association, supported our initiatives over the years, and worked hard across a whole raft of roles to help deliver everything we do for our members. 

First of all, Keith Norris, inaugural President and Founder of the Direct Marketing Association, and his right-hand woman for 30 years, the indominable Sylvia (‘Sliv’), plus, everyone else who has worked at the MA or been part of the MA Board over the five decades. A small but mighty team!

A special thank you to past and present Special Interest Group & Committee members who volunteer their time to foster the MA community. To our many workshop facilitators, speakers, and event hosts. To our Awards judges, mentors, advisory boards, suppliers, and sponsors. And most importantly, to all of our members who make it all possible. By being members you support not just the Association but the entire marketing industry. Thank you!  
What’s next for the MA? 
The MA has a clear and strong purpose and a passionate team of people who want to deliver on that purpose. We work to connect the entire marketing community, facilitate meaningful connections, and upskill marketers so they are at the forefront of the latest trends, best practices and know-how.  

We want to reach and engage with marketers of all levels and locations. Which is why this year, we’re running more online events and workshops, and are offering even more training programmes around New Zealand.  

We have something for everyone, including some of the below:  

  • Our thriving Resource Hub filled with advice from industry experts.
  • Advanced Marketing Leadership programme dedicated to Senior Marketers.
  • An additional 5 workshops introduced this year keeping up with all the latest emerging challenges and tools.
  • Regular monthly networking events FREE for members
  • International expert speakers such as Dr. Peter Wilton coming this May. 

So, how are we celebrating? 
We want to spread the love and celebrations of the MA turning 50 by involving our members. This year, we will be hosting a big 50th party, offer special discounts and promotions in honour of our birthday, and give away MA’s 50th merch! So, keep a sharp eye out in case a 50th coupon finds its way into your inbox. 

 Why marketing is the best job in the world! – A word from John Miles, CEO, MA 
“It’s an honour for me to be leading the Marketing Association in its 50th year. From where the MA started, to what we are today, it’s changed the lives of many marketers. Marketing has evolved so much over the years. Marketing is the best job in the world – who else gets to influence culture, help companies grow and establish brands that become part of everyday lives of New Zealanders.

We are incredibly proud that we have helped marketers be brilliant for 50 years starting with the first ever direct mail courses in the 1970’s, to now having advanced training in areas including AI, Google Analytics and Strategic Thinking. All of these skills help position marketing as the growth engine of New Zealand companies.

I really want to thank our partners, who over the years have helped us to make all the diverse things we do happen. Our current Principal Business Partners of Google, Westpac, TRA, Mediaworks and Spark are an integral part of MA and crucial to helping us share the best nous and know-how to NZ marketers.  

I hope you join us in celebrating the marketing industry this year by joining in the various activities including our 50th birthday party – it will be a ripper!  And, of course, the highlight of the year will be the New Zealand Marketing Awards where we will pack in over 1000 people again into Spark arena. Thanks for your support and we are thrilled to celebrate 50 years of helping Marketers be Brilliant!” 
John Miles, CEO, NZ Marketing Association