March 25, 2019

by: Everywhere Agency

“There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish.” This powerful quote from Michelle Obama encompasses everything we’re feeling when we look at the list of the 2019 AMY awards finalists — featuring all of the women who have come out on top. We sat down with four of these inspiring female AMY award winners to chat about how they gained experience and claimed their spot in this fast-paced, ever-changing industry: Heather Schlesinger (Marketing for Good award winner), Jennifer Dorian (Lifetime Achievement Award winner), Amber Fawlkes (Atlanta Rising Star award winner), and Danica Kombol (Atlanta Marketer of the Year award winner).

Read on for a few words of advice from these women at the top.

In what way has the world of marketing changed the most since you entered the field?

Heather Schlesinger: I entered the field of marketing back in 1994, with my first position at World Wildlife Fund, in Sydney. Thinking back, I had a word processor (not a computer) on my desk and the internet was really in its infancy — there was no social or digital media, no email, and not even a smartphone.

I pitched our PR news and stories to media outlets via our fax machine, and painstakingly waited for the paper receipt to show that the transmission went through, before I followed up with my phone calls (on a push-button desk phone). As my career and technology have progressed, I have seen so many incredible innovations and it has been amazing being able to shape brands through marketing technology.

Watching the innovation in technology and adapting to that immense growth is really what has changed the most for me since I started my career as a marketer.

Jennifer Dorian: No doubt, the marketing communications field is tremendously different. Radical changes have taken place in planning communication, media, and advertising. Messages must now be highly entertaining, and not just informative, in order to gain attention.  

Targeting has gone from general and demographics to niche audiences, consumer behaviors, and specific category intenders — really sophisticated stuff. It’s an exciting time where products and services can find their audience more efficiently, and brands can harness the power of reputation and word of mouth to help them grow.  

Amber Fawlkes: Marketers are using data to drive their strategies and decisions like never before.

Danica Kombol: There have certainly been changes since I joined the field of marketing, but nothing as seismic in scale as Facebook. Historians will certainly look back and call the introduction of social media the greatest disruptor to how we communicate since the invention of the printing press.

During the early stages of social media, many advertising and marketing agencies were flummoxed and slow to adapt. The smart ones stopped thinking like advertisers and instead started acting like conversationalists.

I’m passionate about influencer marketing and I love the notion that we can give the power back to consumers to tell the stories of brands they love.

What makes the Atlanta marketing community unique?

Heather: Atlanta is a warm and welcoming community of people of all ages, races, and cultures. In my opinion, our city also has some of the best agencies (of all shapes and sizes) and marketing talent in the world.

We are a community full of brand headquarters, many located on all of the streets named “Peachtree” which gives marketers an incredible opportunity to experience many different career opportunities and brand narratives.

And, as a native Atlantan, I have always felt that this community has it all — food, people, sports, arts, theater, weather, and most importantly to me, family. It is a place where any marketer can find their niche.

Jennifer: Atlanta’s marketing community represents a diverse group of industries rather than a concentration in one industry, like the automotive industry in Detroit for example. This diversity creates a very supportive and non-competitive environment among marketers.

I find that Atlanta peers are frequently willing to share advice and experiences, and I also witness strong engagement with the universities in town for panels, class projects, and recruiting.

Amber: Just like Atlanta, the marketing community here is a melting pot. I love the diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and knowledge our community has to offer.

Danica: Speaking from personal experience, I can honestly say Atlanta has an amazingly supportive marketing community. There’s a real camaraderie among agency heads. From the moment I opened my doors in 2009, I’ve received support, guidance, and mentorship from a number of agency leaders.

Atlanta is the fourth largest city in the country when it comes to the number of Fortune 500 brands we house. That means there’s plenty of work to go around and so many agencies, like mine, who specialize in specific areas have an abundance .

We’re also committed to hiring and retaining the best talent in our town, so there’s a tremendous amount of collaboration among agencies in recommending great hires.  

Advice time. What advice would you give to young, professional women looking to establish themselves in the marketing community?

Heather: My advice: Don’t just market products, market your purpose and potential through partnerships and storytelling. Every brand has a story. To set yourself (and your brand) apart from your competitors, make sure that you are sharing your story through the lens of what your customer needs to see, in order to bring value.

Look for innovative partnerships! Who has another brand story that can complement yours? Or, together, how can a partnership make your brand stand out?

Jennifer: Don’t be afraid to specialize and make your name in one specific, valuable area! You want to be “famous” within your work group so that people will pick you for their teams and projects. For example, you could be the best email marketer, the best social media producer, the best analytical thinker, etc.  

Demonstrating your value in a specific way helps you become memorable and valuable, versus a more general contributor. And, as time passes and you add projects and experiences, you can broaden your expertise and evolve. I started with new products research and evolved to a series of areas: sports and leisure research, sports and leisure strategy, brand strategy, general strategy, and then, general management.

Amber: You probably know more smart, successful women than you realize. Tap your network and get creative with who you consider a mentor. When I was ready to change jobs, I called Kristen Speagle (my now co-worker who I used to babysit for) simply to go to dinner and pick her brain. My current position at BrightWave wasn’t created yet. When it was created a few weeks later, Kristen thought of me immediately, since we had just been to dinner, and the rest is history!

Danica: Establishing yourself is all about making connections. In every job I’ve ever had, I found an advocate, a mentor, and a pal. Each held very different roles in my journey to success. My advocate was the person who vouched for me even when I wasn’t in the room. My mentor was the individual who took me under their wing, offered advice, and gave me the tough talks I often needed. My pal was the person with whom I bellyached, complained, and laughed.

Mentors and advocates want to support you, but they don’t want to hear your long litany of complaints. That’s where a pal comes in. Many young women insist on seeking out female mentors. Mentors don’t have to look like you. All of my mentors in the early days of my career were men. They were at the top of the food chain, so it made sense to seek their guidance.

To this day, I can hear my first mentor, Gerry Lesser, in my ear. He was the educational guru behind Sesame Street (my first job), and he’s a psychologist. His psychological take on human behavior helped me learn so much about why different people behave in different ways.

Okay, you get to go back in time to when you were just launching your career. What advice would you give to your much younger self?

Heather: The advice I would give my younger self — let your passion drive your career journey. Don’t give up on your dream to use your marketing skills to bring about goodness in the world.

Jennifer: Perfectionism is a trap. Don’t be obsessed with being perfect all the time. It’s impossible to try new things and at the same time be perfect. Instead, strive for excellence and learning.  

Admit when things are new for you or “you don’t know” an answer. The amount of change in our industry requires us to be vulnerable and try new things rather than projecting an air of perfection.

Amber: Trust your gut. You were right the majority of the time. And when you weren’t, you learned some priceless lessons.

Danica: How much time do we have? Let’s start with chill out! Don’t let the notion of being perfect get in the way of being good enough. Don’t look for a job, look for a boss. Take more risks.

There’s a silver lining in every failure that will become evident at a time when you least expect it. Your career will take some bizarre shifts and turns and it’s all good. Leave toxic work environments swiftly. Smile and the world smiles with you.

Any one book or blog you’d like to recommend to younger folks entering the field of marketing?  

Heather: I just recently met Colleen Townsley Brinkman and read her book, Moonshot Leadership. It is a wonderful book that is the culmination of her life experiences, her journey to becoming a marketing leader, and also has a special focus on her nonprofit marketing career.

I would highly recommend her book to anyone entering the field of marketing, or especially if someone is interested in making the transition from for-profit to nonprofit marketing.

Jennifer: I think the field of choice design is really interesting and relevant. As marketers, how are we presenting options for purchase decision and how can we help people make up their minds?

I found the book Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness by Thaler and Sunstein to be informative and thought provoking. It will make you reconsider your “opt in” and “opt out” strategies for everything.

Amber: Although I don’t have a recommendation specific to marketing, I think Shoe Dog is a great read for anyone at the start of their career. It reaffirms that the messy chapters of our lives can be the beginning of something amazing.

Danica: I have two marketing bibles and they never go out of fashion. The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell, should be required reading for every student of marketing. And of course Seth Godin’s Purple Cow. But then again, I think you could read any Seth Godin book and be a heck of a lot smarter about marketing than you were before you read it. Seth also has a daily blog that consists of brief, witty musings, no more than a paragraph or two long.

In fact, I would say, just read. Read the New York Times. Read novels. Reading makes you a better writer. Reading keeps your mind sharp. Atlanta’s great marketer, Jeff Hilimire, decided to read a book a week in 2018. He’s kept his challenge up again this year. He keeps a list of every book he reads. Now Jeff is super successful. I guess you could say that technically, he doesn’t need to keep reading books because he’s made it multiple times over. My hunch is that, like all successful leaders, he’s committed to always learning. There’s no better way to learn than to read.  



Heather Schlesinger, CMO of Atlanta Community Food Bank

Jennifer-Dorian (1)

Jennifer Dorian, General Manager of Turner Classic Movies

Danica Kombol

Danica Kombol, CEO of Everywhere Agency


Amber Fawlkes, Marketing & Events Manager of Brightwave

October 22, 2018

Written By: Hothouse, Inc.

Key takeaways from AMA Atlanta’s Ready for Takeoff panel discussion

Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT)…the acronyms are endless, and we marketers are experiencing tech overload. As sponsors of Atlanta’s American Marketing Association (AMA) Innovation Marketing group, Hothouse curated an event designed to provide local marketers with the insights needed to develop effective campaigns that utilize the Martech solutions that are an increasingly necessary part of our world.

Gathering at the Delta Flight Museum, we brought together a panel of top Martech experts to discuss how they’ve been able to implement these solutions within their own companies, and how marketers can make sure their clients and brands aren’t missing the mark.

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Moderator, Nicole Jones, Global Innovation Leader at Delta Air Lines, kicked off the night by asking the panelists how they think marketing technology is impacting the traditional way of thinking within the industry. Everyone agreed that Martech is forcing us to embrace change and uncover new innovative solutions. The panelist also revealed a common theme that helped set the stage for the rest of the night’s discussion: The needs of our audience should influence the Martech solutions we pursue.

When asked how marketers can get ahead of the ever-changing trends and topics within the Martech space, panelist Joanie Twersky, Senior Product Marketing Manager, 5G Innovation—Mobility & Entertainment at AT&T, believes that the key to staying on top of the changing technologies is to identify experts in the field that are capable of translating their tech talk.

As marketers, it’s our job to ensure that our communications are displayed in a way that allows our audiences to understand and connect back to it. If the technologies are too complex for our audiences to grasp, the power of the solution becomes irrelevant. One of Joanie’s key takeaways was to ensure that it’s the audience that’s at the center of the solution, rather than the technology. By putting ourselves in the shoes of our audience, and experiencing the Martech first hand, we will have a better understanding of what types of Martech solutions our consumers want and need.

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Panelist Jason Brett, Offering Management Director for IBM Watson Marketing’s Personalized Marketing SaaS portfolio, followed up on Joanie’s theme by saying that it’s necessary to find the relevant thread that connects the technology to our consumer, and that it’s our job to understand the impact that the technology is having on them. While solutions like AI are innovative and captivating, we still need the human touch to ensure that it’s having a positive impact on those that are interacting with it. According to Jason, it all comes back to understanding the history of your audience and understanding how they traditionally interact with certain types of technology.

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“If you’re not experimenting, you will be left behind,” Panelist Tod Szewczyk, VP, Director of Emerging Technology and Innovation at Leo Burnett, Chicago. Tod stressed that as, innovative marketers, it’s our jobs to take risks that will help develop the technologies that our consumers want and need. By studying our audiences, and learning more about their actual needs, we’re able to be better informed on what types of Martech solutions will resonate with them. We’ll also learn more about what types of solutions they need and want that don’t yet exist. By reminding us that prototypes become a piece of the final solution, Tod encouraged all marketers in the room to think about Martech as not just a trending buzzword, but an innovative solution that will change the way audiences interact with today’s brands and companies.

Event photography: Amy Bley Photography

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May 29, 2018

unnamedOur last and largest Signature luncheon of the year successfully took place at Maggiano’s Buckhead this past Wednesday.

This time, there was plenty of time to network, and the event couldn’t have been better. Attendees enjoyed a full hour of networking just before the dining room doors opened for lunch. With a full menu of food ranging from Maggiano’s salad to chicken piccata, it certainly did not disappoint!

As members and attendees enjoyed their food, AMA Atlanta President Jana Ferguson addressed the crowd at the last luncheon of her active tenure. Jana thanked all of the wonderful board members, members, and attendees, while introducing Christy Williams as the new President for AMA Atlanta, who begins in July.

Moira Vetter, Founder and CEO of Modo Modo Agency, then proceeded to take over the luncheon as the moderator for the luncheon’s conversation over the white paper that was written by members of the Executive Advisory Board. The white paper conversation, Storytelling 2020: What you need to know about Storytelling in Marketing, took place in 2 parts. The advisory board split into two groups to carry the conversation, then they proceeded to take questions at the end of the session. Here are some key takeaways from the conversation:

 Stories stick with us more than facts!

As a consumer, we tend to remember stories that are told rather than facts or statistics that are given. Why? Stories are relatable. Every person can relate to a story in some way. Marketers are finding that companies who can convey their brand and product through a story tend to attract more customers. It gives the company the opportunity to express who they are and what they stand for, and this method resonates better with consumers.

Three Key Themes

Theme 1: Authentic Connection

The panelists explained how authentic connections are critical to customer retention. Once a customer has chosen your product, it is equally as important that the customer feels some type of connection to your brand. This is why people continue to choose the same product when there are hundreds, if not thousands, of other options. This authentic connection is best nurtured through the art of storytelling.

Theme 2: Emerging Technology

While technology cannot convey the human element of a story, humans have the ability to use the capabilities of technology to better convey their story to their audience. New technologies such as natural linguistic processing, virtual reality, and voice are allowing us to reach consumers in different ways than before. If marketers can understand how to use these new channels, then they should see much more success in their campaigns.

Theme 3: An Evolving Approach to Marketing

Marketing has seen an exponential increase in technological advances over the past few years. As the industry continues to grow, it is important to understand which channels are effective and what are not. This is why data is so important during times like these. Having the ability to better interpret data will give companies the upper-hand when deciding what is effective.

We would like to thank all of those on the Executive Advisory Committee for writing this white paper and holding our panel discussion! For more information on AMA Atlanta and future events please visit our website

February 8, 2018

by Debra Wang and Vladimir Bradic, 26 Jan 2018

In a world of digital giants, it seems impossible that anyone could topple behemoths like Google and Microsoft. But in the words of Jurassic Park, “Life expands to new territories…life (always) finds a way.” Lately, it seems some new players are taking that to heart and jockeying for a seat at the top.

Here are three advertising search engines that are doing just that. While they may not be on your PPC marketing plan, you may want to consider them, because they’re not going extinct anytime soon.

1. Amazon: eCommerce Powerhouse and PPC Goldmine

It’s no secret that Amazon has terrorized the retail and literary world for years with its mere existence. Its ability to tackle and disrupt any industry was back on display last year, as it sent shockwaves through Wall Street and sent grocery stores scrambling when it picked up Whole Foods for a cool $13.7 billion.

At its core, the fuel to Amazon’s success is its Prime membership option. Prime members are not only growing in numbers, but cementing purchase behavior that starts and ends without ever leaving the Amazon ecosystem.

There are 182 million self-reported Active Prime Users in the U.S. who made a confirmed purchase in the past 12 months, with an additional 4 million subscribers signing up just this past holiday season.

92% of users who start their journey on Amazon will end up purchasing on Amazon; studies have also shown Prime members spend more with every subsequent year and are less likely to shop anywhere else vs. non-Prime users.


To state it clearly, ignoring Amazon would be ignoring a large swath of customers and revenue.


Due to Amazon’s unique nature and structure, advertisers that want to link up with it will quickly find several notable differences. The two biggest differences are that, first, Amazon requires all paid media advertisers to be Amazon vendors (with a 2-4 week waitlist to become a vendor). Second, and perhaps most important, Amazon is an ecosystem that lives and dies off of good reviews…a LOT of good reviews. These criteria can be time-consuming to achieve.

Here are some other differences to contend with after you’re in with Amazon versus other search engine marketing platforms:

  • Currently, there are only three different ad units, two for search and one for display, with character limits up to 50.
  • Targeting, campaign management and reporting options are still rudimentary. We expect Amazon to quickly adapt and evolve their offerings, but for now, targeting is limited to keyword, interest, category or product. Once created, campaign settings, like budget management, cannot be changed — a new campaign would need to be created. And reporting is based on Amazon click trackers only.
  • Double-listing: Amazon allows advertisers to submit their listings into auction for each placement within one user search. This means that with the right keyword, product and search bid combination, one could own all three sponsored placements at the top of the page. Given the relatively low number of advertisers, the ability to own the page is high, and will only decrease as more advertisers jump on board.

As Amazon continues to refine its advertising capabilities, advertisers need to follow wherever consumers are shopping, which ultimately could drive a larger hole in Google and Bing’s wallet.


2. Pinterest: Strong Visuals Lead to Big Purchases

Where Amazon is formidable, Pinterest is visually beautiful and impactful. Never before has one channel been the inspiration (and motivation) to move, act and, ultimately, purchase.

Industry critics were skeptical about Pinterest’s ability to monetize their user base, but since its paid search launch in late 2017, it’s proven to have true advertising, and staying, power. An eMarketer study supports Pinterest’s claim that visuals are key, saying 75% of U.S. internet searchers look for visuals before making a purchase.

Pinners are a fanatical and engaged lot, contributing to over 2 billion monthly searchers. 93% of Pinners use it to plan for things they want to buy and start shopping on Pinterest for up to two months before using other platforms.

Pinterest is the perfect ecosystem for advertisers to find consumers that are still open to suggestions and highlight which non-brand keywords have the highest potential to carry over into their other keyword-driven media channels. 87% of Pinners purchase because of Pinterest; 97% of searches are non-brand; and only 69% of brands purchased were a part of the initial consideration set.

These are consumers who are willing to invest the time to research and root out the obscure but perfect solution to their searches, long ahead of the intended purchase date.


Advertising options on Pinterest are more robust than Amazon’s, as they have looked to find seamless ways to integrate paid advertising and sponsorships without disrupting the current user experience; however, both a product SKU minimum and a monthly spend minimum are required to advertise.

Ad formats on Pinterest are more varied, too, with Promoted Pins, Google Shopping feed integrations and even promoted videos targeted through a wide range of audience segmentation, such as Location, Demographics, Device, Keyword, Interests, Look-A-Likes, Customer List and Remarketing.

Performances from these early Pinterest adopters are music to digital marketers’ ears. Studies are not only showing that these sponsored ad placements are driving positive ROAS, but also as much as a 30% lift in incremental sales versus the next best performing channel. They also show users exposed to Pins had a larger shopping cart purchase versus purchases not exposed to Pins and that 70% of incremental sales were generated from new customers.

As Pinners are used to investing the time to find the “Pinterest perfect” item, advertisers should take a hard look and see if Pinterest would be perfect for their PPC media plans, too.


3. YouTube: How Video Ads and Personal Branding Make Meaningful Impressions

According to Alexa, YouTube is the second most visited site not only in the U.S., but worldwide, and is the second largest search engine on the web. With more than 1 billion users, YouTube is available in 70+ countries and 60+ languages. Given its geographical reach and pure volume, it’s surprising that YouTube is sometimes an afterthought in a PPC marketing campaign instead of an active part of every consideration set.

While one of the most obvious barriers to YouTube is the need for video content, YouTube is and has been evolving to offer marketers better capabilities to match the right message to the desired action. These various implementations can be seen in its key features for targeting, video ad formats and measurement options:

  • Targeting – In addition to standard demographic, interest and behavioral targeting, YouTube is also segmenting visitor engagement based on their purchase intent through Custom Affinity Audience tools – this allows you to create your own audience by adding interest groups and URLs that match the relevant group of potential clients. Moreover, brands will have an option for a personalized approach to audience targeting by bringing their own data to be included or excluded from a specific campaign, as well as layer on Similar Audiences to find new, qualified consumers who resemble your current highest value customers. In this sense, audience segmentation rivals that of any display plan, uncommon for most PPC partners.

As Google continues to explore ways to capitalize on all the data and learnings captured across all of their different arms (ie Gmail, Google, Youtube, Maps etc…), we expect even more advanced audience targeting to be released in the near future.

  • Video Ad Formats – YouTube offers three types of formats—:06, :15 and :30+ videos, each designed to target specific audiences based on device. Each format plays to different strengths and weakness and, as anything in media, should require constant and ongoing testing. In one study, Google showed that even with its longest ad format, as long as the viewer watched at least 30 seconds of the video, he/she was 23x more likely to visit or subscribe to the brand channel. In order to enhance users’ engagement with video ads, YouTube offers a variety of interactive features specifically designed with your brand’s goal in mind. From an increase in visits to your website, to making the shopping experience more efficient, YouTube’s Interactive elements help ensure customers are just one click away from making a purchase on your site.
  • Measurement – View counts alone are not enough to measure the full success of any campaign. Backed by Google, YouTube has robust partnerships with various other reporting tools that can drive a deeper understanding of the customer journey, like Brand Lift, Google Analytics and YouTube Analytics. KPIs can be segmented into three different buckets: awareness, consideration and action to align with whatever brand goals are needed.

Similar to Amazon and Pinterest, YouTube has the audience size combined with the ability to target customers in a visually engaging format while also measuring each step of a customer’s journey. As these digital giants continue to try gaining and maintaining their edge over the others, existing partnerships are changing in an attempt to force users to stay within one platform/universe. Amazon recently removed Google products from its e-commerce platform, and Google dropped support for YouTube on Amazon’s online platforms. In a telling sign of the times, Jeff Bezos of Amazon recently toppled Bill Gates as the richest man on the planet, with an estimated net worth of $105 billion, a solid 13% higher than Gates’ $93 billion. Pay-per-click ad plans that only partner with Google and Bing are soon to be a thing of the past, so make sure you’re not overlooking these niche universes of consumers and their purchasing journey.

December 22, 2017

By Jessica Neville, Senior Strategist at Dagger, @Jess_Nev


In today’s ever-expanding digital landscape, it’s easy for brands to create and distribute content, but harder than ever to be heard. With the holiday season in full swing, many brands think the key to breaking through the noise is investing in new technologies like virtual reality or artificial intelligence, but is their audience even using the technology? Does your message solve the customer’s problems? Is your brand adding any value to their life? If marketers aren’t already asking themselves these questions, they should be. Especially, if they’re interested in connecting with Generation Z, more commonly known as Gen Z.

Gen Z makes up 25% of the U.S. population and is estimated to have $44B in purchasing power, a significant figure for retail brands to consider this holiday season and in the new year. However, Gen Z is not like other generations, and treating them as such would be a mistake. Here’s why:

  1. They live and breathe digital but still love the in-store shopping experience.

A whopping 98% of Gen Z are walking into stores to find what they’re looking for, making the in-store experience more important than ever before. They expect brick and mortars to be interactive and personalized, as well as for brands to be technologically savvy. Marketers can drive Gen Z into stores using localized beacon technology when they’re within walking distance of storefronts and use personalized offers to bring them inside — or brands can bring the in-store experience to Gen Z with pop-up stores. For in-store shopping, marketers can integrate technology that helps Gen Z find the right products for their personal needs like digital assistants or connected fitting rooms.

  1. They align with brands that share their values.

This group looks at personal value rather than demographics, with 85% of Gen Z reporting that they aren’t concerned with things like gender orientation. They consider themselves to be more open-minded than other generations and expect brands to get on the same page. As they begin to reject gender and sexual norms more openly, it is important for brands to understand and accept their stance, and prove they are aligned if they wish to gain Gen Z as loyal customers.

  1. They are a group of makers, creators and self-starters.

Gen Z are digital natives who learned how to build websites and create videos before they graduated high school, making them incredibly independent and entrepreneurial. Traditional marketing tactics don’t appeal to them. They prefer to be a part of the creation process so consider ways to let them be involved in your brand, whether through crowd-sourced content or products, or contests that involve problem-solving and creative thinking. Starbucks is a master of this strategy, demonstrated most recently with their holiday cups which are designed to encourage customers to create and share their own.

  1. They are innately distrustful, but value corporate social responsibility.

Gen Z is deeply distrustful of establishment with only 6% of them indicating they trust big corporations to do the right thing, as opposed to 60% of adults. However, 79% said they would engage with a brand that could help them make a difference, so consider how you can demonstrate an authentic desire to give back this holiday season to causes Gen Z cares about to earn their trust.

  1. They cherish the chance for human connection.

 Despite all the time they spend on digital, Gen Z enjoys activities that bring them together with other people. 80% of those surveyed prefer spending time with their friends in person rather than on the phone or online, as face-to-face interactions are harder and harder to come by. As we head into 2018, create ways for your brand to bring people together physically within the in-store experience, and plan events designed to build new relationships and connect people in emotional, innovative ways.

Brands who do not meet the demanding, tailored needs of this generation this holiday season and into 2018 will simply not be considered. Brands who get it right and demonstrate they understand Gen Z’s needs can gain valuable brand champions and create relationships that last far beyond the new year.


December 14, 2017

Our Signature Luncheon series had another successful networking, lunch and presentation at Maggiano’s Buckhead in November.

As always, parking and access to Maggiano’s is easy. We received feedback from the previous luncheon that there wasn’t enough time to network before the lunch and presentation. In order to give everyone ample opportunity to both network and to find a seat, doors remained closed until lunch was ready to be served.

Lunch was delicious with something for everyone’s taste:

Freshly Baked Bread

Mozzarella Marinara

Maggiano’s Salad

Rigatoni in Pomodoro Sauce

Chicken Piccata

Vera’s Lemon Cookies

Once everyone was settled Mark O’Brien began his presentation, The Sport of Business: Everyone Wins When Marketing Teams Up with the C-Suite. Mark, former President and CEO of Mizuno USA, began the presentation by stepping down from the podium to walk around and be closer to the crowd.

This engaging and active presentation style connected him with the audience and was reflective of the insights of connecting with the C-Suite. He provided some big take home ideas:


One cause is we don’t speak the same language, and our jargon makes them distrustful. We don’t talk in terms of business goals.


This creates results. This creates success for everyone.


Understand the organization’s mission & vision. Align your purpose with the organization’s purpose. Listen to, leverage and lead your people. And finally, always be a coach.

Don’t miss the next Signature Luncheon on January 23rd, also at Maggiano’s Buckhead. Speaker Holly Wasson (Senior Vice President of Brand and Marketing Communications at SunTrust Banks) will be discussing SunTrust’s journey to becoming an iconic American brand. You’ll learn how to:

  • Define and guide better brand business decisions
  • Transform your marketing strategy to achieve iconic brand status
  • Take your brand to the next level through widespread loyalty

Register today!

November 15, 2017

by: Marcus Varner, Senior Content Marketing Manager at Workfront

The most successful marketers spend 39 percent of their budget on content marketing and 70 percent of marketers say they are creating more content than they have in recent years.

Content marketing is effective and it’s here to stay, even though what it looks like is constantly shifting.

Review and approval is one of the biggest hurdles many marketers face, because it’s a part of the process they don’t have complete control over. From planning to setting goals and assigning tasks, marketers can, for the most part, drive a project through each step.

But, once it’s time for content to be approved, things can slow down and even come to a standstill, jeopardizing campaigns and inhibiting returns on investments. Miranda Barnard, communications director at Sorenson Media, can testify to the dangers of the review and approval process. “If there’s a roadblock involved with the approvals, it can stall the project to the point it’s no longer relevant,” she says.

If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone.

In 2015, Workfront polled Content Marketing World attendees and found that 92 percent confessed to being victims of the review and approval phase. That’s a huge majority, and things likely haven’t changed since then.

Instead of letting your projects get bogged down, use these seven steps to accelerate your review and approval process to speed things up and keep projects on track.

  1. Make a Template

Create and follow a template to establish the structure necessary to avoid roadblocks during review and approval.

A typical template might outline exactly how many days should be spent on pre-review, review round one, revision round one, review round two, revision round two, and distribution.

Keep in mind your template will be based on your company’s specific needs and will likely evolve over time.

  1. Avoid Reviewer/Approver Bloat

Too many businesses operate under the assumption that including more reviewers will increase quality of content. This can lead to including people who are unqualified, un-invested, or unavailable to review content, holding your project back and even causing damage.

Instead, limit the number of reviewers and approvers to those who are qualified, available, and can provide valuable and helpful feedback.

  1. Reduce Rounds

Having too many rounds of reviews usually signals a problem in the process, not the content. Avoid this slowdown by making sure teams have all the details they need before they start content creation so fewer rounds of revision will be needed.

Jonathan Burgoyne, marketing director at NOMATIC, would agree. About his team’s efforts to improve their content creation processes, he says, “We have tried to get folks to think through the entire process by using a creative/project brief. Though not perfect, this has helped get things moving in the right direction.”

  1. Get Commitments on Deadlines

Sometimes reviewers see themselves as casual observers rather than active participants, so they aren’t invested in the content and struggle to make deadlines.

Change this by sitting down with reviewers before you start a project to discuss what the project will entail, help them understand their input is crucial, illustrate the necessity of deadlines, check their availability, and then get them to commit to meeting specific deadlines.

  1. Educate Reviewers/Approvers on Consequences

If reviewers aren’t aware of the consequences of missed deadlines, they won’t feel the sense of urgency that keeps projects moving. Communicate to reviewers how missed deadlines or requested changes will have an impact on the current project, future deadlines, and other goals.

For example, tell reviewers that if they request a specific change to an ebook, it won’t be ready in time for the company’s big trade show.

  1. Enable More Specific, Informed Feedback

You’ve heard it before: “the layout needs to be changed,” “please rewrite this paragraph,” “edit the video to remove the part where she laughs.”

Vague, non-specific feedback isn’t helpful. It slows things down and definitely doesn’t improve the quality of content.

Burgoyne says, “Having to redo work because of poor communication is de-motivating to the team. And the project typically turns into, ‘Let’s just do what we need to to get so-and-so off our backs,’ instead of, ‘Let’s create something amazing.’”

Help reviewers give better feedback by providing context for content and making sure they have the tools they need, like a work management platform and a digital proofing solution.

  1. Perform a Post-Mortem

Take some time after each project to diagnose what worked, what didn’t, and what actions you can take to improve your next project. Included in this discussion should be an assessment of your review and approval process.

It’s easy to keep moving on to the next project without ever improving the way we work, which quickly becomes a recipe for mediocrity and chronic underperformance. Take the time for a post-mortem, and you’ll be surprised how, over time, many of the problems within your content creation process begin to vanish.

With these seven tips, you will find many of the roadblocks you used to face are no longer issues and your content creation is streamlined, efficient, and capable of supporting an overall marketing strategy.

About Workfront

Workfront is a cloud-based Enterprise Work Management solution that helps marketing, IT and other enterprise teams conquer the chaos of excessive email, redundant status meetings and disconnected tools. Unlike other tools, Workfront Enterprise Work Cloud is a centralized, easy-to-adopt solution for managing and collaborating on all types of work through the entire work lifecycle, which improves team productivity and executive visibility. Workfront is trusted by thousands of global enterprises, like, Cisco Systems, Comcast, iProspect, Schneider Electric and Trek. To learn more, visit or follow us on Twitter @Workfront

October 9, 2017

By Jerelle Gainey on October 6th, 2017

What happened?

Today, the default setting of all Safari browsers is to block third-party cookies that are dropped by domains other than the domain of the URL to which the user browsed. However, when a user clicks on an ad, the cookie dropped is treated as a first-party cookie. This is because a click gets routed through the ad network domain and therefore is treated as a first-party cookie.

iOS 11 will change the concept of a first-party cookie. Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) puts restrictions on whether advertisers can continue to read or update first-party cookies when the user is not directly on the business’s site. In other words, it affects whether a company can access first-party cookies in a third-party context. In the first 24 hours, the cookie acts exactly like it used to – and can be used for retargeting and conversion tracking. So, if you click on ad, you can be retargeted and your conversions tracked for exactly 24 hours. For the next 30 days, the cookie lets you login on-site, but cannot be used for retargeting or conversion tracking. After 30 days, the cookie is purged from the browser.

Why is Apple doing this?

A blog post by Apple WebKit security engineer John Wilander explains that ITP builds on Safari’s existing default blocking of third-party cookies and “reduces cross-site tracking by further limiting cookies and other website data.” ITP is aimed largely at limiting pervasive (according to Apple) retargeting practices rather than disrupting advertisers’ ability to track ad campaign performance.

Apple’s new technology tightens Safari’s restrictions on the management of third-party cookies. It does not block ads online but does prematurely delete third-party cookies for advertising retargeting and measurement, and so it obstructs conversion attribution, as well as the recording of user behavioral histories (i.e., it blocks the formation of cookie-based audiences).

How will this impact digital measurement?

This change impacts mobile Safari (some sources state over 50% market share) and desktop Safari (around 10% market share) in the U.S.

We’re currently monitoring the actual impact of this development very closely, but below are some common expectations by various advertising organizations:

  • This will affect most ad buying platforms
  • Retargeting ability will be limited to 24 hours post first-party interaction with the browser
  • The cost of impressions on Safari will drop, while the cost on other browsers will increase
  • There will be a net loss of conversions so CPAs could increase
  • Walled gardens will not be affected as they are dropping first-party cookies on users frequently
  • Organizations and tools that use cookie-less measurement will not be impacted as much, as they typically derive insights from other attributes and user behaviors
  • Solutions that use first- party cookies in first-party context, such as Google Analytics, will not be impacted
  • Platforms leveraging cross-device graphs will mitigate the impact of this development.
  • Google has implemented a solution to maintain measurement in Google Adwords by connecting Google Analytics to your Adwords account
  • Google will use modeling based on historical conversion activity to record conversions from Safari in AdWords if you do not connect your Google Analytics account to Adwords
  • DoubleClick Search will begin using statistical modeling to estimate website conversions that could not be measured from Safari, and include them in your DoubleClick Search reporting

All BKV media teams are currently monitoring this change very closely and will make the necessary adjustments to campaigns to mitigate the impact of this change. Want to learn more? CONTACT OUR EXPERTS.

August 23, 2017

51.9% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI, according to Adobe. But in order to maximize that ROI, it’s important to keep your video project on budget. With a lot of moving parts, video can sometimes be an intimidating project to manage. However, there are four easy and actionable best practices to keep in mind in order to make sure your video production stays on track and gives you the best results.

Understand The Goal For Your Video

The first key idea to understand in managing your video production budget is that the scope of work is the most important factor in determining the price of your video. Therefore, before you even approach production companies or your internal video manager about your video, you must understand what you want to achieve.

To understand your goals, ask yourself these questions:

  1. What is my key takeaway message/messages?
  2. Where will my video be distributed?
  3. Who is my audience?
  4. What metrics will determine my success?
  5. Are there any ideal visuals or audio that must be included for branding purposes?

Once you are able to answer these questions, you and your video team will be able to work together to determine the ideal length of your video (longer videos are typically more expensive) and the exact strategies that will best suit your messages. With these clear expectations of your scope of work, you will save time and money.

Finding the Right Production Techniques to Match Your Budget

If you are working with an experienced video production team, you will have a lot of choices when it comes to the production techniques that will make your video stand out from your competition. Some of these techniques come at a cost, so with that in mind, you and your production partner will need to invest in the right styles to make the impression on your audience that you’re looking for.

For example, any sort of smooth motion in the video’s frame is made with a piece of equipment like a jib or dolly. In the video below for the Urban Land Institute, sweeping views contrast with fast-paced whip pans to highlight the immense impact Dr. Cheong Koon had on Singapore’s Urban Plan. These techniques work really well to emphasize the goal of ULI’s video, but it was a conscious choice to make an investment in moving frames. Read the full video production case study here.

Purely Motion Graphic videos tend to have less overhead than on-site productions, and can be a cost-effective way to create an entirely new environment to express your message. With a scripted voiceover and visuals that tightly match your message, they are a great option to create a cohesive video that stays completely on target. In motion graphics, you can also swap out a voiceover and make minor adjustments to the animation to create a new but similar video customized to each of your different markets – saving you time and money later. Blackboard did this with the video below; it was made in several languages for each country their campaign spanned across. Read the full video production case study here.


Hammer Out Production Logistics before your Production Day

Be sure to figure out logistical details prior to production day, not during. This will make a big difference in the long run, allowing for a smooth day of shooting to go as planned. Schedule your interviews all on the same day and condense your production schedule wherever possible. It’s best to interview individuals back-to-back instead of taking long breaks between each. This avoids wasting time to break down equipment just to set it back up later.

That being said, don’t overbook your team. You want to get the best bang for your buck by finding that perfect balance of planning for the time budgeted for. If you schedule too many responsibilities in one day, the team is likely to feel rushed to complete everything and hectic actions may produce less than stellar results. Flaws during production can lead to more work and greater expenses later. Learn from past experiences in regards to timing to figure out what works for you—what your team excels at, struggles with, as well as tasks that require more time to accomplish.

Choose and test all filming locations beforehand. By sending an informed location scout prior to the production day to check out your setting, you will limit distractions and issues such as audio problems by planning ahead. Ask important questions like “how will it sound?” and “will there be privacy?” to get the full picture.

Carefully consider and prepare people who will be in the video, especially those being interviewed. It is vital that people react well when the film is rolling to avoid extended production days or labor in post-production to account for hard-to-fix problems. Choose the right individuals who are comfortable with being filmed and give media training beforehand. Without preparation, elements like nervousness or a stutter can hinder progress while filming. This may extend interviews and push others back, creating more work and a longer production day.

Although you want everyone to be prepared, never give your talent the questions beforehand. By encouraging off-the-cuff answers, you create credible authenticity in your video. Interviewees are more likely to struggle to remember answers they have prepared as opposed to just talking openly on the spot. Allow for unique personalities and feelings to shine through and let your talent speak. You can always edit out pieces that don’t fit later in post-production.

Giving Feedback and Involving Decision Makers

Many people may have a stake in your video production. Although it can be great to collaborate with others,this can create a challenge as multiple revisions and phases may be added to the production process in order to accommodate everyone’s point of view.

To avoid this, dedicate one member of your team to confer with your video partner. That way, there is no confusion on who’s direction to follow. That person should be skilled at synthesizing ideas and distilling them down to the essentials, as well as making compromises between the visions of many coworkers.

On the other hand, no one’s ideas should be discounted. In fact, according to the University of Ottowa, 33% of projects fail because senior management was not involved. That’s why this point of contact must share the video with their committee at each phase of production, especially during the post-production rough cut phase. While a rough cut is not a finished video, it is the point where changes can be easily addressed. If your VP of Marketing doesn’t see your video until the fine cut and wants to make major adjustments, it may come at an extra price. This budget increase can be easily avoided by getting approval before the work progresses to a final draft.

In the end, your video production team should feel like your partner. If you and your video crew can keep communication about goals and feedback clear, identify the best techniques, minimize issues on production day, and seek feedback from key decision makers, you won’t have any trouble sticking to your budget. The result? Greater ROI. And what does that mean? A bigger budget for next time!


A leading voice in digital video content, Tod Plotkin is Principal and Founder of Green Buzz Agency, where he oversees video content creation for iconic advertising campaigns, including Ad Council’s #1 Campaign: Love Has No Labels. Additionally, His agency created the most viewed/shared branded video on Facebook in November 2016 for Cricket Wireless + Upworthy. Tod is (2x) Emmy winner for best short format program and a (2x) Webby Honoree.

July 1, 2017

from: Rocket Fuel

Rocket Fuel, Inc., a leading demand-side platform in advertising technology, is a Leader in Forrester’s independent research report, “The Forrester Wave™: Omnichannel Demand-Side Platforms, Q2 2017.”

2017-forrester-dsp-report.pngThe report, subtitled, “People-Based Data, New Paths To Inventory, And Even More Transparency Drive Innovation Amidst Consolidation” assessed top platforms in the space, and further outlined how Rocket Fuel is enabling artificial intelligence (AI) to self-service users at scale: “Rocket Fuel’s future is self-service and bringing AI to marketers.”

Vendors in the report were evaluated based on various, deep criteria across three main categories: Current Offering, Strategy, and Market Presence. Additionally,  Rocket Fuel believes it stands out with its strength in expanding the implications of AI, and driving continuous value for users.  The report notes “Rocket Fuel sees the investment in AI and ML approaches evolving to bring AI-as-a-service to its clients in the future.”

Download to learn more!

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