The post below set off a chain of events that happily resulted in the APG making a commitment to reach out to Planners Outside London and tailor their offering for them. I’m thrilled…and seem to have been roped into making it happen. All is explained here, if you’re a Planner Outside London, please get in touch with me gemma (at) gemmateeddotcodotuk and I’ll add you to my list :)
(see below for update and a response from the APG)
My Account Planning Group membership runs out early next year and I’m afraid I won’t be renewing it. As a Planner-outside-London I don’t seem to get very much for my £120 + VAT, just access to APG award papers and the ability to add ‘APG member’ to my bio.
The problem seems to be to be that the APG is run for the benefit of the majority of its members – who seem to be based in London. So most of the membership benefits like the free Noisy Thinking events can only be accessed if you’re actually physically Down South on the night in question. Which is not exactly practical for me. And it still hacks me off that they called their twitter feed (AND their youtube channel) @APGLondon.
The Market Research Society should in theory have a similar problem – but I think I get remarkable value as a Northern member. There’s a monthly glossy magazine that drops through my letterbox, the annual 900+ page Research Buyers Guide with every research supplier you could ever need in it and a membership card that has more than once convinced a skeptical security guard that I really am a legitimate researcher.
But that’s not all, there’s an MRS Code of Conduct telephone advice line for those times when you’re not sure if a certain kind of incentive is OK or have a client in a particularly sensitive industry such as healthcare and want to double-check everything and the MRS even hold special regional events in Leeds and Manchester. Which makes the their Associate Membership fee of £125 a year seem quite reasonable.
So from now on it’s yay to the MRS and nay to the APG. Unless they want to offer me a heavily discounted ‘Overseas’ membership instead? And yes, I know I could watch the Noisy Thinking events on youtube…but I don’t need a £120+VAT APG membership to do that.
I received a response to this post from Sarah Newman, Director of the APG today and I asked if I could share some of her email here – I’m very pleased that they’re reviewing the APGLondon handle and with the lines of communication now open we Northern Planners will hopefully be on their radar:
“We do recognise that people we who live in or near London get better value out of the APG as they can attend our events in person We do take care to film just about everything, from our strategy conference Worlds Collide to Noisy Thinking and our Theoertical Futures events. These events tend to ‘sell out’ very fast as they are extremely popular so we want everyone who would like it, to have access to them. We would like over time to be able to create a more organised network and programme outside London, If you would like to get involved in this I’d be delighted. We’re a tiny organisation at the moment so we rely a lot on enthusiastic volunteers such as those on the committee to help us get things done.
If you are an out-of-town member you do still get member reduced rates to training, the ability to enter our strategy awards and access to the knowledge database.
The APG, unlike the MRS, is not a trade association so the kinds of activities we engage in and the things we offer to our members are different. You don’t need any official accreditation to be an APG member just an interest in all things planning so we don’t offer membership cards or have a directory of suppliers whom we represent.
As to APG London – you are absolutely right, it’s really unfortunate. We’re a victim of the fact that our name has already been used in the forms we would like so we are very limited in how we can describe ourselves on twitter and YouTube. We’re looking into it again to see if there’s a better way.”