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.

November 19, 2009

Imagine all the I’s that have to be dotted and T’s that have to be crossed if you are a seasonal company that does the majority of its business in 8 days? The marketing and coordination must be excellent. We interviewed Chuck Bengochea, the CEO of HoneyBaked Ham (HoneyBaked) to find out how they do it. HoneyBaked is a beloved brand and has been in business for over 50 years.

According to Bengochea, “Holiday planning at HoneyBaked starts in January. We put together a cross-functional team that is responsible for the 5 P’s of marketing. This includes:

1. Product– We work to determine how we will position the product for the holiday. This is especially in light of the economy and changing family dynamics. Marketing and operations work very closely together to ensure all the planning is in lock-step with the field execution team. Excellence in product quality and promotion must happen. We strive for perfection with the product. We have to! The holiday meals are the most important meal of the year. We understand that.

2. Price- HoneyBaked is a premium product. It is the World’s Best Ham. HoneyBaked can complete the meal. There are great side dishes, desserts to go along with the Ham and Turkey. And it’s also a great value. We offer incentives and tips so that our customers get the most value from our products. These include recipes and ideas for left-overs.

3. Place- HoneyBaked is a multi-channel retailer. There are over 250 stores, a catalog and web-site. This year, we are creating “A Store within Store.” This is a beautifully branded HoneyBaked store located at Premium Grocers. We will have over 30 locations for this holiday. We work hard to provide convenience to our customers. Every touch point is reviewed and considered to ensure the messaging is communicated effectively and the field team is ready to serve our customers.

4. Promotion- HoneyBaked uses all forms of media to communicate the holiday messaging. This includes radio, newspaper, online, public relations, e-mail and direct mail. The marketing team works with various suppliers and partners to coordinate the timing and execution of all the promotion.

5. People- Staffing for a seasonal business is challenging. Fortunately, we have a lot of seasonal employees return every year. Our work forces goes from 1000 full-time employees to 5000 employees. The marketing team works closely with the HR team to assist with employee branding tools and ads.

During the holidays, the marketing team works with the field team on any issues they have during the holiday rush. The holidays are a blast for the team at HoneyBaked Ham. We love serving our customers during the most important time of the year.”

About Chuck Bengochea: Chuck has worked for HoneyBaked for over 14 years, serving as CEO for three years. Prior to HoneyBaked, he worked for Coca-Cola and General Electric. Chuck is an Ironman tri-athlete.

November 12, 2009

Congrats to Patrick West, bridge membership coordinator and collegiate liaison for the Collegiate Committee. Patrick has been an integral part of growing AMA Atlanta’s collegiate membership and helping existing collegiate chapters develop strategic plans and goals for growth.

Patrick works at The Weather Channel as an affiliate sales manager, pursuing his passion for online advertising and cable network distribution. He has grown in his career by surrounding himself with those he can learn from, and jumping at the opportunity to use his own experience to teach and train others.

In his own words: “AMA has not only been a source of learning and career development but also the starting point for many long-term friendships. For me, it is just as much about giving back as it is about the benefits I receive. I’m continually impressed by those I meet inside AMA. They challenge me to push myself harder and higher, to enjoy every moment of it, and to help others to do the same.”

You can get in touch with Patrick through LinkedIn or Twitter. Interested in taking your membership to the next level by volunteering? Contact Jessica Covello at jcovello@c21pr.com.

November 5, 2009

As people, our character is not necessarily tested when times are good, but instead during the tough times.

The same goes for brands. When business is great, it’s easier to overcome hiccups. Now, with business and the economy down, it’s easy to delay programs, cut services, put product improvements on hold, etc.  But, make no mistake, the character of a brand is being tested.  

Take Publix for example, where customer service is considered the key to its success. Business Week included the company in this year’s “Top 25 Companies Delivering Customer Satisfaction”, and noted, “Publix is staying at full staffing levels and lowering prices in hopes of keeping its existing customers happy and attracting new ones.”

Unlike many companies, Publix’s first objective is keeping existing customers happy – making sure their current “Guests” remain Zealots for the brand.

Building your brand through Zealots is not only the most economical means of fundamental marketing, it is the surest path to long-term sales success.

As you are planning for 2010, consider what the Zealots for your brand want, what will keep them coming back for more, and what will encourage them to send more like-minded consumers your way.

Who are your Zealots?

–  Ashley Leckey, AMA Atlanta Membership Chair, Guest Relations Marketing

October 23, 2009

Yesterday’s Marketing/Technology SIG luncheon crowed enjoyed three knowledgable panelists in the email marketing field:

– Steve Dumas of Ballard Designs taught us to be relevant, to personalize our email communications, to test, test, test and to focus on quality not quantity.

– David Elgin of Atlanta Spirit reminded us to ‘Strike while the Iron is Hot’ – meaning to send emails immediately after your customer has an experience with your brand or product, to ‘Keep it Simple’ and to have relevant content.

– Scott Voigt of Silverpop focused on where email is going and that email is still ‘cool’- there are 1.4 billion email accounts versus 50mm Twitter accounts. Email is still the king of the hill, and social and email are merging in very interesting ways that can make your email campaigns viral. 

The crowd was engaged and asked great questions – a lot of beneficial tips on effective email marketing!  Have your own e-mail marketing insights to share, or takeaways from the luncheon? Leave us a comment.