Category Archives: Marketers

March 15, 2017

By Ashley Reed, Social Media Director at BKV

In late January, Instagram introduced live videos as part of its Stories feature. This move comes as little surprise, given that parent company Facebook has helped propel the trend toward live video streaming. This move by Instagram meshes the live video trend with the quick-hitting presentation and disappearing act popularized by Snapchat.

The following is a look at the basics of the Instagram live video feature and some ideas on how your brand can leverage this opportunity for enhanced social media marketing.

Basic Live Video Features

The Instagram live video feature is part of a platform of tools the company calls Instagram direct. You can record live videos for up to 60 seconds to connect with users or to deliver targeted messages to followers. After the video ends, it disappears from the app. If your messages offer real value to your followers, this process helps drive interest and scarcity motivation for your messages.

More Details on Instagram Live Video

You can go live at any point by selecting “Start Live Video” on your camera after swiping right from your feed. After you select this option, you have a 3-second countdown before the recording actually begins. If you want to target particular users while leaving some out, you can identify specific people you don’t want to see the video.

As part of video engagement, you have significant control over comments, including whether to keep them on and to “Pin” your favorite messages. You can also preset your comments’ preferences to prevent messages with particular words and phrases from making it into the conversation during your video. This ability helps combat negative or crude messages from distracting from your video.

How to Leverage Instagram Live

Snapchat has done a great job establishing a tool that allows users to interact authentically. This approach has created opportunities for marketers to brand these interactions with influencers and filters. Instagram is attempting to enhance its engagement and connections for the same purpose.

The only limitation for brands is their level of creativity. You could have influencers at industry events or in other particular settings go live to show off their experiences. Promote this planned event on your social channels.

Show off behind-the-scenes happenings at your company or in the field to tease new product launches or exciting activities. Invite users to post live videos documenting their experiences with your products. You could even hold competitions for the best videos.

digital advertising, marketing, social media


With Instagram live video, you can leverage authentic interactions on a popular social media platform to promote your brand. Build a fan following and utilize influencers to help spread the word.

As a top social media agency, BKV can help your company take advantage of Instagram live video and other popular social media tools. Contact us to discuss how!

April 12, 2016

The AMY Awards is usually described as a “Night of Fun” and this year was no different. Amidst the silent auction, digital caricature drawings, delicious food and cocktails, nearly 300 attendees came dressed to the nines to celebrate each other’s accomplishments inside the Fabulous Fox Theatre’s Egyptian Ballroom.

There were 28 award categories that honored Atlanta’s best marketers who have made their mark in our community and beyond.  We broke records with over 104 entries and for the first time ever, we recognized Atlanta’s unique startup culture with the city’s only Best Marketing/Advertising Tech Startup award.

View our honoree videos here:

Marketing for Good –

Best Tech Startup –

Best Overall Entertainment Campaign Winner –

Lifetime Achievement Winner –

Lifetime Achievement – Acceptance Speech –

Corporate Marketer of the Year –

Agency Marketer of the Year –

I cannot thank the fantastic committee of volunteers enough for their selfless contributions. We also had several amazing cash and in-kind sponsors and without them, there would have been no AMY Awards.

View pictures of the event by clicking here. If you were not in attendance, I hope they make you want join us next year and inspire you to #MakeYourMark!


January 27, 2016

PowerPoint and passion aren’t two words typically associated together, but when you add renowned presentation designer Nancy Duarte into the mix, you are inspired to change the world through effective presentations. The AMA Atlanta Chapter recently hosted “An Evening with Nancy Duarte,” and this post will offer a recap of the main takeaways.

A Bit of Background on Nancy Duarte

Duarte is the principal and CEO of Duarte Design, and the author of several books including:

She also worked with Al Gore to develop his keynote presentation “An Inconvenient Truth” which was so compelling that filmmaker Davis Guggenheim directed a documentary based on the presentation, and won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.Duarte is also a frequent TED Talker, and works with the organization to improve other TED Talk presentations.

Duarte’s passion is to help people effectively communicate their ideas and vision for the world.

Communicators are Torch Bearers

Duarte opened with the idea that as marketers and communicators, we are torch bearers. We help people take the next step into a new concept, idea, or pitch. New ideas can be scary, intimidating, and filled with resistance, but as the torchbearer we hold the guiding light that illuminates the way into something different.

The Best Presenters and Presentations are Focused on Storytelling and Empathy

The greatest communicators use the story format.

PowerPoint slides should be a great narrative with assisting visuals and data. Duarte reminds us that slides can be beautifully designed but if they don’t tell a story they will not be effective [side note: Edward Tufte’s theories on visual data design and avoiding chartjunk are a great reference to utilize when designing your slides]. Duarte believes that stories impact our belief system and shape our collective conscious, so we can use stories to shape the perceptions and opinions of others.

To tell a great story, you must have empathy.

Duarte stated that the single most important element to begin a presentation with is empathy. She encourages spending time inside the skin of your audience to develop empathy so you can better communicate your vision. If we want to change our audience’s perception and get them on board with our idea, then we must empathize and tell our story within our audience’s perspective. Duarte calls this resonating with the audience. As presenters, we must “hit their frequency” if we want to effectively communicate our vision.

Tips on Presenting Change

An audience member asked Duarte for tips on presenting change, especially when your audience may be primed to resist. Duarte’s recommendations include considering the two polarities as you design your presentation – who will be motivated by your ideas, and who will resist?

Brainstorm a “bucket of resistance” by writing down all the potential ways your audience could resist, and then empathize with your audience through this resistance to bring them over to your goals and vision. Duarte reminds us that if we have to push people, then we haven’t thought about the situation empathically.

A Brand is a Story

The best brands tell a story. When corporations have a great story to tell, people want to join in on your journey and be a part of your brand. Duarte recommends hiring staff who share the same values of your brand because skills can be taught. To protect your brand’s story and ideals, sometimes you have to make decisions that value reputation over revenue.


Empathy and storytelling are rhetorically effective strategies that enable us to design compelling PowerPoint presentations, and convince the world that our vision and ideas are worth pursuing.

Blog written by Caroline Moore

June 26, 2015

This is a recap of the AMA June Signature Luncheon event, Linking Entrepreneurial Marketing with Innovation and Performance. Really great event with a rock star group of speakers. And, being a startup centered group, the feel was slightly less formal than the typical Signature Luncheon. A lot more laughter, and even some cut-up jeans!

Devon Wijesinghe, CEO Insightpool
Brooke Beach, Marketing Director Kevy
Eric Spett, CEO Terminus

Jeff Hilimire, CEO and Co-Founder Dragon Army

Photo cred: Brandy Jessen

Photo cred: Brandy Jessen

Question 1: How do you focus on sales? What’s the importance of sales and marketing in a startup company?

Brooke: Be in the weeds of sales: demos, calls, and being everywhere you need to be. You have a sales organization, not just a sales department, that’s growth-oriented. Set periodic milestones to hit your long-term goals.

Devon: Conferences. Attack people coming out of the bathroom. Whatever it takes! Sales and marketing are really meshing into one thing, with different subsets of attributes. A successful sales tactic today is to educate with influencers. Insightpool has been killing it this way lately, hosting webinars with the likes of Brian Solis. Devon also reiterated that people typically don’t know they have a problem until you show them.

Brooke: [People are] 45% less likely to buy if first contact is strictly sales. So your messaging and activities must gravitate towards education: eBooks, white papers, influencers, etc. People do their own research these days and will eat up your educational content!

Question 2: Uncomfortable corporations with startups. How do you deal with this?

Eric: Terminus is a data provider — cookies for display ads, etc. Basically, they are putting ads in front of every decision-maker; self-titling it “creepier retargeting,” where the targets don’t even have to hit your page to be served your ad! Corporations see the value, however, and are generally ok with the practice (it is totally legal, after all).

Devon: It’s so fragmented. There’s no one touch point.

Question 3: Word association game. Match the process explained to one word of your choosing… What if you couldn’t change the marketing plan of your company for 12 months?

Brooke: Horror
Devon: Stupid
Eric: Conservative

Jeff explained this is how large corporations generally run. They fall into this budget allocation trap, which in turn creates an organization that is not agile. Jeff then discussed The Innovator’s Dilemma, which really struck a chord with me. Basically, this concept is derived from Clayton Christensen’s book, suggesting that “successful companies can put too much emphasis on customers’ current needs and fail to adopt new technology or business models that will meet their customers’ unstated or future needs.”

Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 12.18.03 PM

Side note: I really liked this style of moderating; super creative.

Question 4: What advice would you give to corporations to breakout from this trap?

Brooke: Big money is spent at decision-time, so it’s great for vendors and service providers!

Devon: Budget allocations don’t really make sense. For example, say you want to win the Super Bowl. How do you get there? It requires agility and the ability to restructure any processes and tactics. Set short-term goals to visualize where you stand in the company, jot down long-term goals in pencil, and work backwards.

Brooke: A big annual budget to spend typically results in doing the same thing year in, year out. There’s no A/B testing, no ROI implementation. It comes down to intentionality. For example, startups measure and analyze a lot more, because they inherently have to. Every dollar counts!

(Brooke wrapped up by recommending the Justin Mares book, Traction, with the takeaway that testing is a necessity.)

Devon: Large corporations typically don’t factor in that things will change. For example, with employee advocacy being all the buzz these days, organizations aren’t prepared to implement these systems that ultimately allow for huge successes like 10X content reach!

Eric: Set up test/experimental budgets that are more open-ended. Have an allocation on the side to use for R&D.

Question 5: Startups (even with upwards of 50 people) can pivot relatively easily. How and why is this?

Eric: Terminus had no idea what to do at the beginning of their journey. They knew the B2B space was underserved, with a huge opportunity, and the market was moving towards automation. They jumped in to the advertising automation space and are confident it will stay at their core, but zig-zags are still to be expected.

Devon: Insightpool began as a lead generation B2B social tool that’s now more enterprise level, chasing the big guns.

(In his words, “It’s nerve-wracking,” but a lot does not matter so long as you have a great product. Devon also said that pivot is a strong word when all you’re really doing is changing. Everyone, in every industry, is doing small changes constantly. Again, the key is to remain agile.)

At this point, Affordable College’s Sean O’Brien offered his story to the audience. Sean’s spearheading efforts that will help create a clear path for students to an affordable, recognized bachelor’s degree; amidst hardships in affording the massive tuition payments and also transferring schools. He told the story of his complete pivot, following the realization that college presidents don’t care about college transfers and the issues with their credits transferring, a cause I can definitely get behind.

Audience Question: “Startups must see opportunities everywhere. How do you focus and know which to chase?” – Joe Koufman

Devon: If you operate quickly and can absorb it, and have “that opportunity gun guy,” go for it. You need an opportunity spotter and a person to implement and plan. These should not be the same person or you’ll likely end up on some extravagant, albeit exciting, divergence.

Brooke: Jeff specifically wanted to ask about the influence of David Cummings, the founder of Atlanta Tech Village, while Brooke’s been at Kevy. She said that he’d had some influence but not an overwhelming amount. He stressed that it’s important to be agile, but not too agile or everything will be left half done. You need that priority and process-oriented person to complement the ideas person. There also needs to be a process to vet opportunities.

Question 6: On transparency…

Eric: Open book policy at Terminus, minus salaries and equity. Eventually compartmentalize a bit more as they grow, but they’re just not there yet.

Devon: Humans are really adaptable when given the information. Otherwise, employees will spend too much time asking “what if” and trying to learn what’s going on. Everyone is more productive when they know where they (and the company) stand.

Brooke: Transparency builds trust, and decisions are easier when the team understands the “why.”

Eric: Hiring process is transparent as well. That could ultimately be the edge over other companies for new talent!

Jeff: Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh, recently implemented a Holacracy alternative management system, letting self-governing teams get their work done through tactical meetings. It encompasses a non-hierarchical organizational structure and has been adopted by various companies around the world, Zappos being the largest. Being a somewhat new manager myself, learning and studying new management styles like Holacracy is very insightful.

Question 7 (more of a prompt): Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) spend more than Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) on technologies and softwares.

Brooke: “MarTech” is the new buzzword these days. In 2012, experts stated that by the end of 2017 CMOs would be spending more than CTOs, but it’s happened already in 2014! This isn’t necessarily a strategy, spending money on technology, but a tool. Technology today is becoming more and more enabling for marketers. Also, we’re seeing more agency partnerships with SaaS startups for educational purposes. There’s so much out there that it’s important to stay plugged in and keep learning.

Devon: Casually coined the term, SWaS. Software WITH a Service. Think, Client Success Managers. Many get addicted to the results, before truly learning and loving the software capabilities.

To wrap it up, Eric addressed SalesLoft’s thought leadership expertise. When you create educational and instructional content, it lives online for the lifetime of your web property, there for people to use and reference. You’re building a library of helpful content that becomes mutually beneficial, as consumers will begin viewing you as a go-to source and subject-matter expert.

Jeff played one last word association game: “If you were the CMO at a large corporation, what would you immediately change?”

Eric: The way we measure.
Devon: Setting priorities.
Brooke: Enabling time to make decisions.

That wraps it up. Really great answers from all the speakers, please comment or let me know if you have any thoughts or questions.

For more of my AMA write-ups, click here.

By: Steffan Pedersen | Director of Digital Marketing at Object 9 | @steffanpedersen

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.