February 12, 2010

Atlanta Marketers:  Come to AMA Atlanta Collegiate’s networking mixer to meet some of the Southeast’s top marketing students and tell them about your career experiences.  Enjoy appetizers, drinks and an exclusive fashion show featuring Banana Republic’s new spring line.

The mixer kicks off  the the 24th Annual AMA Atlanta Collegiate Conference, where students hear from Atlanta’s leading marketers about what it takes to succeed in this field.

Details:
Thursday, February 18, 2010 
6:30 p.m.
Hudson Grille Midtown (942 Peachtree St. – Atlanta, GA 30309)

Register now!

February 10, 2010

AMY Awards: Final Entry Deadline Feb. 12, 2010
Don’t miss out on entering your stand-out work for the 2010 AMY Awards. The AMY Awards, which recognize work and individuals that stood out in the Atlanta marketing scene in 2009, will be presented Thursday, March 11, 2010 at The Fabulous Fox Theatre.  

The AMY Awards honor programs and campaigns with innovative strategies, unforgettable creative and outstanding results in 10 different marketing categories. AMA Atlanta also presents annual AMY Awards to an outstanding agency and an outstanding corporate individual. AMY Awards categories, submission requirements and the new online entry form are available at http://www.amyawardsatl.com/submission.html. Enter today!  

FREE Nominations for Agency & Corporate Marketer of the Year: Deadline Feb. 12, 2010
Enter your boss, your colleague, your client, your hero or yourself for Marketer of the Year. Nomination forms can be submitted for Agency or Corporate Marketer at http://www.amyawardsatl.com/moyForm.php

See you at The AMYs with Arthur Blank
In addition to the awards, AMA Atlanta also will officially recognize renowned marketer and philanthropist Arthur M. Blank, co-founder of Home Depot and owner of the Atlanta Falcons, as the 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.  Blank will candidly discuss the path that lead to his marketing success in a conversation moderated by Robert E. (Bob) Hope, author and accomplished public relations practitioner, live at the 2010 AMY Awards gala.

January 22, 2010

New AMA member Caroline Van Sickle quickly made a mark on the Marketing Technology Special Interest Group as programming liaison. She is a task master – keeping the committee focused on deadlines and action items, and creatively motivating volunteers between meetings.

In her own words: “I have a passion for digital media and the evolution of the dynamic media landscape as it relates to social interaction and the sharing of ideas. Particularly, I have an inherent interest in embracing change and seeking new and challenging opportunities. I have a hard time sitting still, which is proven in my choice of media consumption – I cannot sit quietly in front of a TV, I must be active and interacting with my media!  Therefore, I jumped from broadcast to interactive media sales. I am in awe of the creative genius behind the rapidly changing digital world and I am always looking forward to ‘the next game changers’ within the interactive space.”

Caroline was most recently employed by AOL and is looking for her next opportunity. You can get in touch with her through LinkedIn. Let your skills shine by getting involved on an AMA committee. Contact Jessica Covello at jcovello@c21pr.com.

January 21, 2010

Three companies gave us a peek into their best interactive strategies of 2009 & beyond.

Bert Dumars of NewellRubbermaid shared insights into the Sharpie “Uncap What’s Inside” Social Media campaign. The company shifted its focus from celebrities using its products to real people doing the most creative things with Sharpie. Social Media was integrated with TV and other promotions.

The Result: 10 times the volume of traffic to the sharpie.com site driven by sharpieuncapped.com.

Top 3 Lessons Learned:

  1. Focus on the customer, not on yourself.
  2. Integrate all your marketing. Social Media in a silo is ineffective.
  3. Show you care about your customer.

Shana Keith of Cbeyond shared insight into how the company optimized its PR outreach to outshout online naysayers. Shana lead the effort to understand the trends, following rules from the book Groundswell for listening actively. She enlisted the service of monitoring tool Social Buzz to establish benchmarks and has had the best success with Twitter.

The Result: The campaign has driven hundreds of leads in the first year and helped realign Cbeyond’s sales approach.

Top 3 Lessons Learned:

  1. Put internal guidelines in place to inform staff of appropriate commenting protocol.
  2. Be ready to invest time in the program and in training dedicated staff.
  3. Balance new media with traditional media. Integrate activities.

Ashley Payne of the Georgia Aquarium, like Cbeyond, wanted a social media program to help overcome negative publicity and, like Sharpie, wanted to use the program to generate leads and traffic. The aquarium uses PR as its primary marketing activity, and with Bernie Marcus’s support, launched an outreach campaign to mothers using solely Facebook and Twitter.

The Result: $100,000 in tickets sales in one year for the program.

Top 3 Lessons Learned:

  1. Be transparent. Accept bad comments. Do NOT try to cover them.
  2. Don’t ignore “small outlets” (individuals with a few followers), their followers could be high-quality people with influence.
  3. Track the program to build credibility internally. Prove results: Drive traffic to Web; drive traffic to venue; increase Twitter followers, build revenue, etc.
January 14, 2010

Have a New Year’s Resolution to make a difference? Volunteer with AMA Atlanta! We offer volunteer opportunities with Georgia’s DECA program – a high school marketing organization for which AMA provides industry certification. Volunteers are needed to visit schools and determine whether they’re worthy of certification, and also help students with presentations they make at state, national and international competitions. This opportunity is open to members and non-members alike, and you can read more about the program’s success in our recent blog post. If you’re interested in making a difference in the lives of budding marketers, e-mail volunteer chair Jessica Covello or DECA chairman Patrick Fitzmaurice, leave a comment here, or post to one of our social media sites. The first opportunity is next week, so contact us soon!

January 13, 2010

Are you part of the conversation?  Connect with clients, colleagues, vendors and prospects online through AMA’s social media channels.

Facebook – Become a fan of AMA Atlanta’s Facebook page, where you can join fellow professionals in discussions on the latest marketing trends, learn about upcoming events, check out photos from previous programs and more.

Twitter – Follow @AMAAtlanta on Twitter for as-it-happens marketing news, best-in-class case studies, membership and event updates, and more.  Plus, interact live with fellow AMA members and event attendees using the #AMAATL hash tag at select events.

LinkedIn – Join this exclusive members-only community to interact with Atlanta marketers from a variety of industries.  Search available jobs, start a discussion, share news on an industry event and connect with potential colleagues and business partners.

We look forward to connecting with you!  If there’s additional content you’d like to see on these sites, leave us a comment and let us know.

January 6, 2010

OK, so 2009 was a tough year no matter what business you’re in. But as they say, never let a crisis go to waste.

Some companies measurably grew their businesses by flawlessly executing low-cost, high-impact interactive marketing ideas. And as the economy thaws this year, those ideas have even more relevance to your business.

On January 19th, AMA Atlanta presents a signature lunch featuring three local companies whose innovative strategies grew their businesses in the face of the great recession.

NewellRubbermaid: the global consumer and commercial products company based in Sandy Springs launched a social media strategy called Sharpie Uncapped, developed on a modest budget, to grow its Sharpie brand of pens. We’ll hear from VP of E-business and Interactive Marketing Bert Dumars about the work produced by DraftFCB.

Cbeyond: one of the country’s fastest growing providers of phone and wireless services, Atlanta-based Cbeyond transitioned budget from traditional advertising to social media to increase awareness among its target, small-business decision makers. We’ll hear how to apply their strategy to your business from Director of PR Shana Keith.

Georgia Aquarium: one of the few organizations that can track a return on investment to its interactive marketing, the world’s largest Aquarium immersed its marketing team in social media, focusing on moms, and in the process generated $100,000 in new revenue. Hear the story of how they executed the campaign from the Aquarium’s Director of E-communications and New Media, Ashley Payne.

The panel will be moderated by Richard Warner, CEO of What’s Up Interactive and host of GPB’s “Georgia’s Business.”

December 11, 2009

The 8th annual AMA Atlanta Holiday Party on December 3rd drew more than 100 Atlanta marketing professionals to Churchill’s Bar in Buckhead.  The event benefited The Sullivan Center, an Atlanta non-profit that helps families and individuals in crisis remain self-sufficient.

Guests celebrated the season with food from Taco Mac and Verde, and were treated to gift bags with goodies and discounts from Banana Republic, Atlantic Station, Fab’rik, The Flying Biscuit and more.  Lucky raffle winners received prizes from the Atlanta Ballet, Georgia Aquarium, The Grape, Seasons 52 and TNT Bootcamps & Personal Training. 

Did you attend this year’s mixer? If so, let us know what you thought.

Look for more exciting events starting in January.  Happy holidays!

December 8, 2009

I typically find that marketers are pretty passionate about their chosen profession.  Whether they do marketing strategy, brand work, agency creative, research, PR, etc. … they feel strongly about what they do, and largely enjoy it.

I often ask people: when did you decide that marketing was what you wanted to do?  And I find most people can mention something – a college class, seeing a particular ad or product, etc. – that set them on the marketing path. 

But as far as I can tell, few people in high school target ‘marketing’ as a specific career choice.

This makes the work that AMA Atlanta does with the Georgia Board of Education and the state DECA team (the association of high school marketing students) all the more amazing to me.  Who knew that in the State of Georgia we have nearly 170 public high schools that have a marketing curriculum, with passionate teachers and students who are learning the fundamentals of the profession that we as marketers love?

As part of the AMA Atlanta relationship with the Board of Ed, we serve as the industry certification body for these schools.  We conduct school visits and reviews, see the facilities, discuss the work students are doing, and provide input and coaching as needed to lend an ‘practical industry’ perspective.  (NOTE: Our home state of Georgia is one of the only states in the country to have an industry certified program like this!)

And the work we see is really good.  High school students taking classes in basic marketing elements, as well as exploring fashion, sports and hospitality marketing…Students running school based businesses – and not only the school store, but also promotional products businesses…Students interacting with local businesses (including major ones like The Avenue shopping centers) to do ‘live’ business projects.

It is pretty inspiring to talk with these 14 – 18 year olds, who are getting a great chance to begin exploring our profession, and building great skills for the future.  From the many that I have seen over the past year, I would hire them!

So think about what got you excited about being a Marketer.  The next generation is starting very young, and they are very eager!  It says a lot about our profession, and – at least to me – is a great inspiration.  The teachers, students and administration of these schools deserve a great ‘Thank You’ for their commitment to and passion for developing future marketers!

And if you would like to see for yourself – come get involved in our work!  (E-mail AMA Volunteer Chair Jessica Covello at jcovello@c21pr.com.)  I know the schools would love to have you, your passion and wisdom, and I assure you that you will find a lot of personal value in sharing your time and perspectives with the next generation.

Patrick Fitzmaurice is a Principal at The Caprē Group, a strategic consulting firm specializing in Shopper Marketing, and a former President of AMA Atlanta.

December 1, 2009

Have you ever walked into a business anticipating making a purchase, only to leave empty-handed and a little annoyed because of poor customer service? Maybe you waited forever for someone to help you, or were repeatedly shown products you weren’t interested in. Despite your initial high hopes, it didn’t work out. You probably won’t be back.

It’s the same for email. As online marketers, we provide a customer experience every time we send a message. People who sign up for our email programs have the same high hopes and are granting us precious space in their inboxes. When they stop interacting with our messages or opt out of our list, they’re usually saying, “I’m going to take my business elsewhere because you’re not paying attention to me.”

So how can you keep your email customers engaged so that when they are prepared to make a purchase, they make it from you?

One way is through lifecycle email marketing, a customer-centric approach in which you create messaging unique to each subscriber. It’s based on individual profile and behavioral information, as well as where each person is in the buying cycle. Some examples include welcome messages, renewal notices and transactional emails with cross-sell and upsell offers.

One of our clients, Atlanta-based Fabric.com incorporated a lifecycle marketing program based on purchasing behavior to help keep its customers engaged. Its customer lifecycle emails include:

  • “Happy Anniversary” emails celebrating the anniversary of a customer’s first purchase with the company
  • “Happy Birthday” emails celebrating a customer’s birth date
  • “We Miss You” emails for those customers that purchased previously, but had not done so in the past year
  • “We Want You Back” emails for those customers that purchased previously, but had not done so in the last 12 to 18 months.

As a result, Fabric.com’s automated lifecycle campaigns more than doubled open- and click-through rates and increased conversion by more than 40 percent.

According to MarketingSherpa’s “2010 Email Marketing Benchmark Report,” irrelevant content is the top reason consumers unsubscribe from email (67 percent), followed closely by receiving too many emails (64 percent). But that doesn’t have to be the case in your email marketing program in 2010.

When you remember that each address on your email list represents a real, live person with the potential to make not only a single purchase, but to become a lifetime loyal customer and brand advocate, it suddenly becomes easier to understand why it’s important to treat each subscriber with the same care as you would someone who walks into your place of business. And to remember that service is the subtext of a relevant message.

For more great lifecycle marketing ideas and other must-use email marketing tactics for 2010, I invite you to download Silverpop’s complimentary new white paper: 7 New Email Marketing Tactics You Have to Use in 2010.

Bill Nussey is CEO of Silverpop, an Atlanta-based engagement marketing services provider.