I moved to Portland from Phoenix, Arizona awhile back. As a new resident to Portland, one challenge I faced was building my professional network from scratch. All of my professional contacts and career connections were in Arizona, where I graduated from college and worked professionally in marketing for most of my career.
Luckily, Portland has dozens of great networking events for marketing professionals aspiring to learn from industry leaders, and each other. Here’s a collection of organizations putting together regular networking events for marketers in Portland, plus the can’t-miss events that every local marketer should put on their calendar.
Digital marketing is constantly evolving, and the American Marketing Association is dedicated to helping marketers stay on the cutting edge. The local chapter in Portland hosts regular luncheons, happy hours, and programs to connect and educate local marketers. Plus, their AMA PDX Agency connects local marketers with nonprofit organizations in need of marketing services. These projects allow local pros the opportunity to give back, meet their peers in the industry, and hone their skills at the same time.
SEMpdx started out with an SEO/SEM focus, but has been hosting varied marketing events featuring regional experts for several years. If you want to make dozens of new connections quickly, attend their flagship events: the annual Summer Networking Party and the Holiday Networking Party. These networking events also give you the opportunity to connect with organizations like Portland Business Alliance, Portland Advertising Federation and more.
Founded in 1906, the Portland Advertising Federation is now ThinkNW and holds the title of the oldest advertising club in the United States. They focus on inspiring creative, media, and marketing professionals with a variety of social networking opportunities that are educational and fun. Check out one of their panel events or agency-hosted happy hours. And every year they showcase Portland’s top talent with the Rosey Awards to honor the pioneers behind the most imaginative and creative design and marketing campaigns of the year.
More Organizations That Host Marketing Events in Portland
There are also many incredible Portland professional organizations that aren’t primarily focused on marketing, but they host regular marketing events or are in industries adjacent to marketing (such as design, tech, nonprofit, PR, entrepreneurship). Keep tabs on these organizations’ event calendars to meet new people and connect with leaders in the Portland marketing scene.
Top 5 Can’t-Miss Portland Marketing Events
Oregon Marketing Summit
The largest marketing event of the year, the Oregon Marketing Summit brings together over 250 local Portland brands to brainstorm new solutions, spark new ideas, and build lasting partnerships. Get insights from panels of marketing experts and discover new marketing tools. And with 4+ hours of networking opportunities, it’s an incredible opportunity to grow your network of marketing contacts.
The Portland Digital Summit brings together digital marketing leaders with over 50 in-depth sessions and workshops to help marketers stay ahead of the curve. Influential organizations like Google, Netflix, and Intel are among the attendees. Plus, this event allows marketers the opportunity to connect with fellow content creators, data & analytics directors, email marketing specialists, creative directors, social media managers, UX designers, and more professionals from a variety of digital backgrounds.
Start your morning with creative inspiration, professional networking, and industry insights. Creative Mornings are a free, monthly breakfast lecture series for creative professionals. Each session starts with a short talk, followed by a Q&A and breakfast. This series was founded in NYC in 2008 and now has spread to 170 cities globally. The Portland chapter celebrates our city’s amazing talent and gives marketers a great opportunity to connect with creatives on a monthly basis.
Design Week Portland
Design Week celebrates the design community in a week-long, in-depth series that examines the impact design has on a wide range of issues. It notes the effects of design on cultural and social issues such as community development, education, and the local economy. You can learn about sustainable design, community-centered design techniques, and connect with the leaders of Portland’s design community, all in one week.
The Engage Conference is hosted annually by the aforementioned SEMpdx. It covers every niche of search and social media marketing, from the basic fundamentals of keywords to cutting edge tips and tricks for mobile optimization, link building and digital marketing. Each session also includes extensive Q&A with the speakers and an extended period of time for networking. Plus, this conference is typically ⅓ of the cost of other industry conferences so you can attend even if you have a smaller budget for networking conferences.
So, there are obviously a plethora of opportunities for marketers to connect with industry-specific events and networking organizations here in Portland. Don’t be overwhelmed by the options! Networking and making new connections can seem intimidating at first. Start simply, by finding one or two organizations that are most closely aligned with your interests. Attend their next networking event, and be open to meeting new people. Be patient. You’ll soon start to grow a new circle of colleagues and professional contacts that will enrich your marketing career in Portland.