Category Archives: Marketers

November 15, 2012

I know, I know – It’s not even Thanksgiving yet.  But I can’t help it – I always get caught up in the holiday season.  As a marketer, I love seeing what brands like Coca-Cola and Best Buy will unveil. (Although I wasn’t a big fan of Best Buy’s campaign last year – see tangent here.)  And as a five-year old at heart, I can’t help but get caught up in the magic of the lights, the decorations and, of course, the cookies.

This holiday season, I’m thankful for our 800+ AMA Atlanta members.  I love getting to know you, so if you haven’t been to an event in a while, please come to one of our upcoming events and say hi.  And if you’re not already a member, sign up by tomorrow to take advantage of our Fall Membership Drive.

We have two great events coming up after the Thanksgiving holiday.  The first is our popular white paper panel with speakers from The Coca-Cola Company, Georgia Pacific, Google, IBM and Chick-fil-A.  I’m so thankful that these marketers call Atlanta home and that they’ve chosen to be a part of our executive advisory board.  Then, on Dec. 13, come out to our annual holiday mixer, where we’ll be collecting toys for the Ronald McDonald House.  A huge thanks to our event sponsor 22squared.

As holiday season approaches, we also are closing out peak wedding season.  A big cheers to board members Greg Cohen and Telleen Gegner, who each got married last month.  Catch a glimpse of their big days here.

Renee Spurlin
AMA Atlanta, President-Elect

November 1, 2012

At AMA Atlanta, our mission is to provide value to each individual member by understanding the critical links required to move them through their life as a marketer. And we emphasize “life as a marketer” – from high school marketers in the DECA program to collegiate members, entry level marketers to CMOs, we strive to make sure everyone has a home at AMA Atlanta.

This week, at breakfast with our scholarship team – Ken Bernhardt, the generous founder of our scholarship program, Patrick West, our Collegiate chair and Ashley – I was pleased to see this mission come full circle yet again. As we made plans for this year’s scholarship nomination process, we looked back at some of our previous winners.  Jennifer Beech is now on the board of our chapter, Shauna Bassett is one of our awesome volunteers and Adam LaHaie, a current student at UGA, has introduced a digital marketing education series to his chapter.  These up-and-coming marketers are already on the radar of some of Atlanta’s top marketing executives, and we look forward to watching as their careers progress.

Speaking of Atlanta’s top marketers, next week, we’re meeting with our Executive Advisory Board, where we’ll brainstorm topics and speakers for our upcoming events. We’d love to hear from you too – what would you like to see presented at our future events, and how can we help move you through your career?

Renee Spurlin
AMA Atlanta, President-Elect

October 25, 2012

Our mission here at AMA Atlanta is to support Atlanta marketers through the lifetime of their careers. I believe we truly pay off this mission, working with high school DECA marketers, to our collegiate chapters, to young professional in the early stages of their careers, to professional marketers as they move from entry-level to executive levels. Our newly re-launched mentorship program supports this educational mission, and our multicultural SIG helps to keep us diverse. It’s so rewarding to follow the career paths of so many marketers in the AMA Atlanta world.

Our Path to Success event next week with Mary-Ann Somers of The Coca-Cola Company, hosted by our Young Professionals SIG, will help support this mission even further as Mary-Ann shares her story of advancing in her career and earning one of the coolest jobs in marketing – traveling the world for The Coca-Cola Company in search of what’s new and next in beverages. It’s certainly a can’t-miss event. Click here to learn more & sign up today! Perhaps Mary-Ann will become a #marketinghero of yours after this event!

A big thanks to Marion, his wonderful team and our friends at Coke for all the support in making this a big event!

Did You Know …

“Young professional” is just a state of mind?

Our Young Professionals group is so much fun, but don’t let the title scare you off – it’s just a state of mind and we welcome friends of any age to join in these great events – from networking to education events, this team is top-notch! Connect with Marion Yoder, YP Chair, if you’re interested in learning more or getting involved with this group.

A big thanks to everyone who came out to our AJC Digital Series event today! Did you enjoy it? Let us know what you’d like to see from the chapter in the coming months …

Enjoy your day!

Ashley Schoenith

AMA Atlanta

October 18, 2012

Our fall membership drive is now underway, and this year’s theme focuses on how AMA Atlanta helps you be a marketing hero.  From professional development to networking to leadership opportunities, AMA can help you on your path to become your organization’s marketing hero.

In fact, it’s through AMA that I’ve met many of my marketing heroes: Jo Ann Herold – vice president of communications & PR at Arby’s, Ken Bernhardt – professor of marketing and special assistant to the dean at Georgia State University and Heather Foster– vice president of marketing for ControlScan.

All of our Signature Luncheon attendees received a customizable photo snow globe from Icebox – your corporate holiday gift center. Mine reminds me that the Final Four is coming to Atlanta April 6-8, 2013.

This week, I added another name to that list through AMA – Greg Weitekamp, director of broadcasting for the NCAA.  At Tuesday’s Signature Luncheon, Greg shared with us the evolution of sports marketing throughout the last 75 years of March Madness.  Boy does he have a list of responsibilities!  From managing broadcasting of ALL of the NCAA championships (everything from basketball to fencing), juggling the changing way consumers watch sports – increasingly on mobile while commenting on social media, and marketing the ancillary events that surround the championships, we appreciate Greg taking time out of his busy schedule to share his insights.  He also gave us a sneak peek into the 75th celebration of March Madness – including some details that haven’t been released yet.  If you’re a basketball fan, I sure hope you were there!

Tell me, who are your marketing heroes, and how can AMA Atlanta help you becoming a marketing hero in your own career?

Renee Spurlin
AMA Atlanta, President-Elect

August 23, 2012

There are so many AMA-zing things happening at AMA Atlanta this week, I hardly know where to start!

First, we’re proud to launch our new Multicultural Marketing Special Interest Group (SIG) and its CULTURALISM event series.  The SIG will foster an environment for diverse marketers to learn and share ideas and best practices, while also providing traditionally general market corporations the opportunity to meet multicultural marketers and learn how to incorporate the discipline into their marketing plans.

The first CULTURALISM event, “Reaching the New General Market,” will feature Jeffrey Bowman, Ogilvy NY Cross Cultural Practice Lead on September 13.  Nick Nelson, AMA Atlanta Multicultural SIG chair and principal and CMO of the event’s presenting sponsor, Liquid Soul Media, has done an excellent job of building a foundation for this new SIG that will arm our members with knowledge and skills to address the needs of all customers.  Thanks to Nick and his team at Liquid Soul!

We’re also finalizing the plans for our Fall Fashion Show, sponsored by Bloomingdales.  It’s a fun way to meet your fellow members, try on the latest trends and take advantage of Bloomingdales’ friends & family day for 20% off!  We’re looking a couple of volunteers to model for the show on September 27 – contact Lisa Maclellan if you’re interested. Check out our photos from the spring event, and don’t forget to register – it’s free for members!

CEA entryFinally, I want to give a huge thanks to our Chapter Excellence Awards team, who met earlier this week to put the finishing touches on the entry we’ll be submitting to the national AMA organization.  It’s so inspiring to see everything we’ve accomplished over the past year all in one place (It’s so much it barely fits in a 2-inch binder)!  Amanda Parker, Louise Mulherin and Jo Ann Herold are definitely winners in my book, as is Jo Ann’s daughter Lily, who made these awesome caricatures of the AMA Atlanta board to adorn the entry.  Can you guess who’s who?

Renee Spurlin
AMA Atlanta, President-Elect

June 21, 2012

In a recent Atlanta Business Chronicle article regarding the current challenges in marketing, Ken Bernhardt, professor of marketing at Georgia State University and AMA Atlanta executive advisory board member, cites our new white paper – The Consumer in 2020.  In the article, which discusses the rapid pace of change in the marketing field, Bernhardt outlines the three key themes of the white paper.

1) Consumers are becoming more intensely involved with brands, more judgmental and more vocal about their feelings.

2) There is unparallelled adoption of technology by consumers.

3) The pace of change in the world and market has increased, driven by tech-savvy and tech-enabled consumers.

With these trends, marketers have to redefine how they reach consumers.  Read the full article here.

June 11, 2012

By Rob Calderin

We are at ground zero of a breathtaking explosion of new products, services and business models that feels like a Grucci fireworks display on the Fourth of July.  Productivity apps like Evernote, curated experiences by Living Social, medical patient communities like, mobile payment services like, music stores like Spotify, new social sites like Airtime and innovation engines like, who’s mission is to make it easier to create and launch new products, seem to appear daily.  Now throw in start-ups of five years ago that managed to survive the economic downturn, also pumping out new products and line extensions to reignite growth and you have a skyrocketing burst of brands trying to create critical mass.

The expansion is partially driven by the digital-social-mobile revolution across virtually every B2B and B2C sector.  Another driver is a new wave of investment by cash rich private equity firms that sat out the downturn until the economy began showing signs of health.

One thing these new concepts share is the need to reach and engage customers.  But the economic winter taught us to reign in overhead and manage marketing ROI tighter than ever.  Consequently, the need for effective and affordable marketing services has never been greater.

Enter new models for delivering marketing strategy, advertising, promotion, public relations and social/digital media programs that promise less expensive, customized access and allow marketers to purchase only the services they need.  The new models leverage the army of world-class marketing talent forced out of the traditional agencies and downsized marketing departments, giving growth companies and start-ups access to professional marketing support they could not previously afford.  The examples of these new models shown here illustrate distinct approaches to solving brand needs ranging from executive team level strategic support, to tactical providers with highly specific technical expertise.

Growth and emerging market companies in the $10-$500 million revenue range in need of executive team level marketing muscle can reach for Chief Outsiders, which offers Chief Marketing Officers on a “fractionalized” or part time basis.  This group of elite senior marketers is experienced in leading marketing organizations across a wide range of categories and brands.  Beyond their pedigree and front line experience growing businesses, Chief Outsiders’ value proposition includes the cost effectiveness of a part time marketing chief, “instant on” capability and the collective expertise of the entire team, which meets regularly to review client progress and needs, said founder Art Saxby.  Clients experience higher-order strategic guidance that benefits the enterprise as a whole, not just their marketing function.  They get it in small doses or as a major strategic and marketing plan overhaul, depending on need.

Chief Outsiders go past traditional consulting engagements into the execution phase, helping clients implement the strategies they design.  They take an ROI approach to setting fees so clients pay based on results and have CMOs who have skin in the game.  CMOs stay with clients from six to nine months, or the point at which the company’s growth requires a full time marketing head, who they often help recruit.  Overall, a highly flexible and cost effective option for start-ups and growth companies to step up their strategic marketing efforts.  Hear what their clients have to say on their website,

Freeman+Leonard is a marketing services provider that will customize a team of professionals with the expertise to meet the specific needs of each client.  They can support smaller one-time projects with a single individual (such as a web designer), and bigger projects with a team complete with a project manager drawn from its base of 3,500 professionals.  If the client’s needs are more strategic, Freeman+Leonard also has a team of 75 senior marketers dubbed “Game Changers,” each with over 25 years experience who can develop brand, marketing and business strategy, conduct agency searches and even provide career coaching to clients’ staff members.  A team of senior ideators is also available to create the “big (marketing) idea,” as part of a proprietary, coast-to-coast structured brainstorming process.  Check out their very user friendly website at

One of the newest models is a web-based marketing services provider branded ConsultantzCommunity.  ConsultanzCommunity is a new web-based job and social site by Tesar-Reynes, a national search firm that specializes in branding and integrated marketing communications talent.  ConsultantzCommunity posts projects from over 150 clients onto a site that over 300 consultants and freelancers can apply for based on their expertise.  Consultants apply for jobs independently or combine their capabilities with others for more complex projects.

The ConsultantzCommunity site gives consultants and marketing communications freelancers the opportunity to gain new projects from a growing list of clients and allows them to stay abreast of trends in the industry according to partner Bob Tesar.

Aquent Studios is one of the longest standing providers of freelance marketing staffing, marketing execution services and project management systems.  Since 1986, Aquent has connected talent with desirable roles at global 1000 brands. They provide customized solutions to address client needs by placing creative and marketing professionals in contract and temp-to-perm positions at some of the world’s most revered consumer and B2B brands.

However, their menu of services runs much deeper.  In addition to staffing, Aquent provides web-based project management and project approvals processes.  They can also house digital assets for team members to access as needed and provide project-based content development and consulting services.

This is just a sampling of what’s available, but many more resources are just a click away.  Also in this space is an army of talented independent consultants that have morphed their practices to address the demand from emerging growth companies and even larger brands that seek new solutions to specific challenges they face without turning their agency relationships upside down.

Steve Jobs, arguably the greatest innovator since Thomas Edison, did not invent the MP3 player, he just created one people wanted to use, according to his biographer Walter Isaacson.  Freelancing or “fractional” talent has been available to the marketing industry for decades, but these new firms are aggregating talent, making it easier for companies to get the services they need and creating value through affordable customized solutions.  Their clients, especially start-ups and emerging growth companies, are the real winners.  Companies of this size can now afford access to world-class talent from CMO-level leaders through tactical subject matter experts and services to reach and engage their target customers like never before.

The key to getting real value from these resources is to have a very clear understanding of your expectations.  First step is to put together a well-structured brief that describes your vision, brand positioning, target customer, value proposition, expected outputs, timing and how you intend to measure success of the program.  Going through the discipline required to do this will help determine the level of support you require from strategic to tactical.  The best marketing services providers start with a discovery process that helps them understand your brand, strategy, specific needs and expectations, so both parties can agree up front on what success looks like.

Rob Calderin is a brand builder and activator devoted to creating and re-energizing brands by putting customers at the heart of corporate and brand strategies.  He has led brand transformations as CMO, SVP and VP Marketing for several consumer brands including Arby’s, Popeyes and Burger King, operated in an executive capacity at global agencies D’Arcy MacManus/Benton & Bowles, Foote Cone Belding and Backer Spielvogel Bates, and has consulted with Fortune 500 CPG, restaurant and retail companies.

May 31, 2012

By Glen Tyler

Norwegian Marketing Professor Johan Arndt once said: “Informal conversation is probably the oldest mechanism by which opinions on products and brands are developed, expressed, and spread.” Professor Arndt knew the value of casual conversations and in my words, networking.

Just like many of you, early on in my career I learned the value of networking.  I attended many industry social gatherings which often led to stronger relationships with my peers and clients.  A conversation which started out as a casual one led to engaging and spirited conversations about personal matters, business and brands.  Those conversations led to stronger relationships and opportunities to speak at industry functions and serve on industry committees.  These in turn led to increased awareness of my company and personal brand.

In the last year, the AMA Atlanta chapter has been the best opportunity I have had to develop and build relationships within the Atlanta marketing community.  Keep in mind, I reside in the remote, southwestern Atlanta “suburb” of Houston, Texas.  Why Atlanta AMA when my own city has an AMA chapter?  There are two reasons.  One is because Atlanta is where a good chunk of my target market is and secondly, because of the professional relationships that have been developed, I have personal connection to several of the members.   To expand on the second reason, I have found it easy to stay involved in the chapter because AMA Atlanta has taken a multi-channel approach in promoting its activities and events through their social media efforts via Twitter and Facebook and online via the AMA Atlanta website and their LinkedIn group. Without question though, my favorite part about being a member is through their many opportunities to personally get to know others through the events that they host each month.  Monthly chapter signature lunches provide an opportunity to network prior to the lunch and are always packed with great content from the guest speaker.  Each time I attend, I walk away with a bounce in my step and have a notepad full of new marketing ideas, and a pocket full of business cards.  The signature lunch speakers are always incredible. Where else can you take just a lunch hour out of your day and hear premier speakers such as Hala Moddelmog, President of Arby’s and Kat Cole, President of Cinnabon.  Their marketing knowledge, experience, practical ideas and personal motivations have been a tremendous source of inspiration for me.  The luncheons are only part of the events and activities planned for the chapter.  Please review the AMA Atlanta events page for additional opportunities to connect.

As you read this, I would imagine that you are faced with the same pressures and time constraints that I have.  You may find yourself thinking, that you don’t have time to be involved in extracurricular activities such as this.  If this is the case, I’d really ask you to consider well Professor Arndt’s above quote and dwell for a moment on your own experiences and how you have grown by leaps and bounds by personally connecting to peers and clients.  I personally endorse the AMA Atlanta chapter.  Isn’t it time for you to get involved?

Glen TylerAMA Atlanta member Glen Tyler tracks market trends and cultivates long-term business relationships with retailers, QSR’s, and convenience retailers for Pointsmith, an at-store retail marketing firm based in Houston.

May 16, 2012

Recently, Polaris Marketing Research completed a membership survey on behalf of AMA Atlanta. We sent out a little over 1,800 email survey invitations to members and non-members on the Chapter’s list and got a 10% return with 181 completed surveys.  69% of the respondents are members and 31% are non-members.

Your AMA Atlanta Chapter is doing a great job!  Top Two satisfaction ratings on Signature Luncheon speakers top out at 76%.  And of course the AMY Awards receives high marks for facilities (80% top two satisfaction rating.)

Some other key findings included:

  • Among member respondents, 53% have been an AMA Atlanta member for two years or less. (We checked the AMA Atlanta Chapter roster to make sure our results were representative.  In the roster data, 52% of members have been members for two years or less.)
  • AMA Atlanta has good member participation, with 48% of AMA Atlanta Members and 70% of Non-Members attended one to three Chapter events in 2011. However, fully 28% of Members did not attend any Chapter events in 2011, which makes it important to deliver value through channels other than events and programs.
  • Intent to attend AMA Atlanta events in the future is also strong.  70% of members and 49% of non-members say they definitely or probably will attend future events.
  • ResultsAs you might expect, education, building a network and personal/professional development are the most valuable aspects of membership.  Similarly, marketing trends, social media and innovation are the topics of most interest to respondents
  • And Members are much more loyal to the local AMA Atlanta Chapter than they are to the national AMA organization, with only 6% agreeing strongly with the statement “I wouldn’t be a member of AMA Atlanta if I didn’t have to be.”

We are already planning next year’s Membership Survey, so watch for it and participate.  Our goal is to double our response rate, so we’ll be offering a dynamite incentive!

About Polaris Marketing Research

Founded by Jan Carlson, Polaris Marketing Research is a full-service firm that provides state-of-the-art online interactive marketing research reporting, interviewing and data collection, quantitative and qualitative research expertise and personalized project management.

Atlanta-based Polaris Marketing Research is affiliated with the Council of American Survey Research Organizations, the American Marketing Association and the American Society for Quality.

May 14, 2012
Bloomingdale's Models

Our fabulous models, from left to right: Kevin Ware, Marion Yoder, Jo Ann Herold, Renee Spurlin, Shani Edwards, Ashley Schoenith, Jon Anderson and Brandon Pelissero

We had such a great time at the AMA Career Fashion Show at Bloomingdales.

A big thanks to Mara Maddox at Bloomingdale’s for hosting us, Laurie Hood at Silverpop for sponsoring us, and Lisa Maclellan, Angad Chera, Stacy Shade and the many others for planning such a fun event.

We loved the creativity of the Bloomingdale’s stylist; coupled with the courage of the volunteer models. This is definitely an event we will host again in the fall. Thanks to Leah and Mark, you can click here to see the photos.