Top 5 Marketing & Advertising Associations for Agency Executives

There are many reasons successful agency executives join industry associations, and they boil down to two key goals:

  1. Operational Excellence: You want to learn more about what your peers are doing to achieve success
  2. New Business Growth: You’re simply looking to expand your network, get “face time” and drive a few sales on the side

Regardless of your intentions, participating in different groups within your industry can provide tremendous benefits for your business– especially when coupled with a proactive sales outreach program.

Associations are a great place to acquire knowledge to run your agency optimally, and depending on the organization, to make connections that lead to new business or potential referrals. 

We at Catapult have been in this business long enough to know the who’s-who of the adworld’s associations. To help agency executives, we’ve organized the top 5 marketing and advertising associations we think are worth investing your time. Check it out!

The Benefits for Agencies Joining a Marketing & Advertising Association 

The benefits of joining a marketing and advertising association range from networking opportunities and professional development to industry insights and advocacy. By leveraging the resources, connections, and expertise provided by these associations, you can enhance competitiveness, expand reach, and drive sustainable growth in the dynamic marketing and advertising landscape. 

Embracing association membership is not only a strategic investment in your agency’s future, but it’s also a testament to your commitment to excellence and innovation in serving clients and advancing the industry as a whole. We’ve listed the multiple significant advantages agencies can gain by becoming members of such associations.

1. Networking opportunities 

Networking lies at the heart of every successful agency’s growth strategy. Marketing and advertising associations provide a fertile ground for your agency to connect with like-minded professionals, potential clients, and industry leaders. By participating in association events, conferences, and online forums, you can expand your professional network, forge valuable partnerships, and uncover new business opportunities. These connections not only enhance your client base but also foster collaborations that can lead to innovative solutions and shared success.

2. Professional development 

Continuous learning and skill development are essential for your agency to remain competitive in the dynamic marketing landscape. Marketing and advertising associations offer a wealth of resources, workshops, seminars, and educational programs designed to enhance the professional development of agency professionals. From industry-specific certifications to specialized training sessions on emerging trends and technologies, these associations empower you and your team to hone your skills, stay updated on best practices, and adapt to evolving client needs.

3. Industry insights and trends 

Staying informed about the latest industry trends, consumer behavior shifts, and technological advancements is paramount for agencies striving to deliver cutting-edge solutions to their clients. Marketing and advertising associations serve as invaluable sources of industry insights and market intelligence. Through access to research reports, whitepapers, webinars, and expert panels, as a member, you gain a deeper understanding of market dynamics, emerging trends, and disruptive innovations. This knowledge equips you and your team to anticipate market changes, tailor your strategies accordingly, and maintain a competitive edge in the industry.

4. Advocacy and influence 

Marketing and advertising associations play a vital role in advocating for the interests of their members and shaping industry regulations and policies. By representing the collective voice of agencies, these associations influence government initiatives, industry standards, and ethical guidelines. As a member, you benefit from the advocacy efforts of these associations, which seek to create a conducive business environment, promote fair competition, and uphold the integrity of the profession. Additionally, active participation in association advocacy initiatives enables agencies to contribute to industry-wide conversations, drive positive change, and elevate their influence within the sector.

5. Visibility and credibility 

Membership in a reputable marketing and advertising association enhances your agency’s visibility and credibility within the industry and among potential clients. Being affiliated with a respected association signals to clients that your agency is committed to professional excellence, ethical conduct, and continuous improvement. Association membership also provides agencies with opportunities for recognition and awards, further bolstering their reputation as industry leaders and trusted partners.

6. Resource sharing and collaboration 

Let’s face it, we live in a work-from-home/hybrid, digital industry. Connecting with like minded people isn’t exactly easy. And this trend isn’t going anywhere. Marketing and advertising associations are a great way to break down digital barriers. They allow for collaboration and knowledge-sharing among agency members and brand marketers alike through online platforms, forums, and collaborative projects. Whether it’s sharing best practices, exchanging ideas, or collaborating on industry initiatives, these associations foster a culture of collaboration that benefits agencies of all sizes. 

Top Advertising Associations for Agency Executives 

Top 5 Marketing & Advertising Associations 



Value for Agency Executives 

Association of National Advertisers (ANA) The ANA, founded in 1910, leads the marketing industry with over 680 companies and 10,000 brands, collectively spending $250 billion, embodying a century-long legacy of excellence.
  • Networking with brand decision makers
  • Prospecting
  • Building referrals  
Mirren Direct  Founded in 2006, Mirren supports agency growth with consulting, training, and a resource center including Daily Leads, On-Demand Learning, and Advanced Webinars, empowering executives to optimize new business strategies.
  • Networking with other agency executives
  • Staying up to date with client demands and industry trends 
4A’s  Established in 1917, the 4A’s is the foremost U.S. trade association for advertising agencies, representing over 80% of total agency advertising volume with a membership of primarily small to mid-sized firms, of which over 60% bill less than $10 million annually.
  • Agency education
  • Networking with other agency executives 
Insights Association Formerly the Marketing Research Association, Insights was founded in 1957 and is the largest U.S. association in the opinion and marketing research sector, setting industry standards.
  • Continued industry education
  • Networking with brand decision makers
  • Prospecting
  • Building referrals   
Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB)  Founded in 1996, the IAB is the digital media’s primary hub, uniting over 650 leading companies, setting standards, conducting research, and educating on digital marketing’s significance.
  • Networking with brand decision makers
  • Prospecting
  • Building referrals  


1. Association of National Advertisers (ANA)

The ANA (Association of National Advertisers) provides leadership that advances marketing excellence and shapes the future of the industry. Founded in 1910, the ANA’s membership includes more than 680 companies with 10,000 brands that collectively spend over $250 billion in marketing and advertising. The ANA also includes the Business Marketing Association (BMA) and the Brand Activation Association (BAA) which operate as divisions of the ANA, and the Advertising Educational Foundation which is an ANA subsidiary. With a rich history spanning over a century, the ANA has evolved into a powerhouse of marketing expertise and collaboration. 

Why Agency Executives Should Join ANA 

ANA is the premiere association for brand marketers, making it one of the most ideal forums to get in front of potential new business opportunities for agency executives. With numerous conferences tailored to advertisers held throughout the year, the chance to collaborate and network with top global brands, predominantly composed of corporate marketing executives, is unparalleled. From staying ahead of emerging trends to getting in front of potential clients, ANA is an ideal membership for any agency leader trying to build relationships with like minded industry pros and potential prospects. 

ANA Membership Fee 

While the ANA does not exclusively list its membership fees on its website, interested parties can easily inquire about pricing by contacting the association here.

ANA Events 

The ANA has an impressive list of industry events– hosting nearly 700 events every year. Several of these events are specifically designed to support agency growth initiatives. For a comprehensive look at the ANA’s event calendar, check out their website here

2. Mirren Direct 

Working closely with agency CEOs and their management teams, Mirren supports agencies with consulting and training regarding best practices in new business development. Through their membership you get access to their resource center which includes their Daily Leads, On-Demand Learning and Advanced Webinars. They provide invaluable insights and tools for agency executives seeking to optimize their new business development strategies.

Why Agency Executives Should Join Mirren 

Although Mirren isn’t technically an ‘association’, we wanted to include them on this list because Mirren is a household name for agencies, specifically those responsible for new business. Across events, on demand training and their new Mirren Talent platform agency professionals leverage Mirren to crank up their growth by staying on top of the cutting-edge best practices. By leveraging Mirren’s expertise and resources, agencies can enhance their competitive edge, drive growth, and expand their industry presence. 

Mirren Membership Fee 

Mirren membership pricing varies by the agency plan. The monthly fee for the Starter membership is $285, while the Premium membership is priced at $465 per month. Opting for the All Access membership entails a monthly fee of $885. Explore the details and membership benefits of each plan here

Mirren Events 

One of the go-to annual events for those responsible in driving agency new business, Mirren Live consistently brings together an impressive group of leading agencies and search consultants each year to learn about hot topics and growth drivers for successful agencies. Besides Mirren Live, Mirren also offers specialized workshops, training sessions, and webinars tailored to agency executives and professionals seeking to optimize their new business strategies and drive agency growth. These events may focus on specific topics such as prospecting techniques, pitch strategy, client retention, agency operations, and leadership development. Find their events here

3. 4A’s 

Founded in 1917, the 4A’s is the national trade association representing the advertising agency business in the United States. As a management-oriented association, the 4A’s offers its members the broadest possible services, expertise and information regarding the advertising agency business. Its membership produces approximately 80 percent of the total advertising volume placed by agencies nationwide. Although virtually all of the large, multinational agencies are members of the 4A’s, more than 60 percent of our membership bills less than $10 million per year.

Why Agency Executives Should Join 4A’s

In our opinion, the 4A’s is the ‘mother organization’ of agencies, and is a great fit for agencies of all types and sizes. They offer valuable training, conferences, and best practices in how to drive agency sales, profits and develop new business. For agencies seeking unparalleled industry insights and networking opportunities, the 4A’s is the go-to resource. Members gain access to exclusive tools and events designed to elevate your agency’s success in the dynamic advertising landscape. With their extensive network and comprehensive services, the 4A’s is committed to empowering agencies to thrive in the ever-evolving world of advertising.

4A’s Membership Fee 

Joining the 4A’s involves a straightforward application process upon meeting eligibility criteria and endorsing the code of conduct. Upon submission, applications undergo thorough review of agency and financial documentation, followed by a voting process that typically takes 2-4 weeks. Membership dues are determined by the annual gross income of the agency for the preceding calendar year, aligned with the 4A’s fiscal year running from April 1 to March 31. Dues are pro-rated according to the commencement date of membership, ensuring fair and transparent financial arrangements for all members.

4A’s Events 

From dynamic conferences to insightful workshops, 4A’s events gather industry leaders, creative minds, and innovative thinkers to explore the latest trends, strategies, and technologies shaping the advertising landscape. These events have unparalleled networking opportunities, expert panels, and inspiring keynotes designed to empower agencies of all sizes to thrive in today’s competitive market. For an overview of 4A’s events, check out the full calendar here.

4. Insights Association 

Previously known as the Marketing Research Association, Insights Association was founded in 1957 and based in Washington. The Insights Association is the leading and largest U.S. association of the opinion and marketing research profession, which delivers insights and strategies to help guide the decisions of companies providing products and services to consumers and businesses. Insights continues to shape the industry landscape, setting standards for excellence and ethical conduct. 

Why Agency Executives Should Join Insights

The Insights Association has a bit more wide-reaching content designed for easy consumption. You’ll find videos and case studies on particular trends, as well as frequent editorials on the latest marketing news. But underneath this sort of aggregation is a solid foundation of research and marketing communities available to those who take the next step. Membership is divided in multiple levels, but again the focus is primarily around the core principles of research and data-driven decision-making as opposed to more social aspects of marketing. 

Insights Membership Fee 

Membership dues are $375 USD annually and will be prorated if joining between April 1 and November 30. If selected, Optional Additional Chapters will be billed at $40/each. Learn more about the application process here

Insights Events 

Discover the latest trends and innovations in marketing research at Insights events. Insights has engaging conferences, interactive workshops, and expert-led sessions designed to deepen your understanding of consumer behavior and market dynamics. Connect with industry leaders and expand your network while gaining valuable insights to drive your business forward. Here is a listing of all of their upcoming events

5. Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB)

IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) serves as digital media’s biggest tent, comprising more than 650 leading media and technology companies that are responsible for selling, delivering, and optimizing digital advertising or marketing campaigns. Working with its member companies, IAB develops technical standards and best practices and fields critical research on interactive advertising, while educating brands, agencies, and the wider business community on the importance of digital marketing.

Why Agency Executives Should Join IAB 

The IAB gives the best of all worlds for agency executives… much like the ANA, many of its members consist of brand marketers– making it an ideal place for prospecting opportunities.  And like the MRA, the IAB is a great place to stay ahead of industry trends. The association provides many tools and classes for free without requiring membership or certification which is always a plus. This includes fee calculators, ad viewability guides, and much more. Certification is divided into several different specialties and levels of expertise, allowing you to customize your training based on your position and goals. 

IAB Membership Fee 

Depending on the type of business you are in there are 3 rate cards that may apply.

The Media Buying agency Rate Card ranges from $10,000 to $200,000 annually. The Creative Agency Rate Card ranges from $5,000 to $15,000. The All Other Rate Card ranges from $10,000 to $294,933+. You can find more information on the IAB membership categories and rate cards here

IAB Events 

Discover unparalleled insights and networking opportunities at IAB events, where industry leaders meet to shape the future of digital advertising and marketing. From dynamic conferences to interactive workshops, IAB events offer a platform for professionals to remain at the forefront of innovation in the digital space. Gain invaluable knowledge from expert-led sessions and panel discussions, covering the latest trends, technologies, and best practices in digital advertising. IAB events provide a unique opportunity to expand your network, elevate your skills, and stay informed on the latest industry developments. You can find all of their upcoming events here

Conclusion: Couple Networking with a Proactive Business Development Program for Optimal New Business Success

Joining leading marketing and advertising associations such as the ANA, Mirren, 4A’s, Insights, and the IAB opens doors to a wealth of opportunities and resources for agency executives. By becoming a member of these esteemed associations, you can stay informed on the latest trends, gain access to valuable resources, expand your network, and elevate you and your team’s skills.

But we’re gonna take it a step further. We won’t deny the value of networking– relationships are key. But, referrals aren’t consistent, no matter how many associations you join. That’s where having a proactive outbound business development program is critical to ensure you aren’t leaving money on the table. 

At Catapult, we not only provide outsourced business development services dedicated to driving new revenue for your firm– but we also have strong, established relationships with these associations. Our mission is to create a sustainable pathway to agency growth by getting you ‘in the conversation’ and ‘in the room’ with brands that can benefit from your solutions. With our expertise across all facets of the marketing communications industry, we help convert relationships into new business wins—all without a competitive RFP. Agencies partner with us when they’ve made the commitment to grow and need a proven, viable, and scalable way to do so, with a resource solely focused on proactive new business prospecting. Join us at Catapult where we have generated qualified leads and created pipelines with over $1 billion in defined new business opportunities to date. 

Check out a few recent wins for our agencies!


Updated March 5, 2024

Mark McMullen

As EVP of Business Development, Mark works alongside agencies to help them grow their new business efforts with outsourced sales solutions like Catapult New Business.