February 26, 2016

Event Overview
AMA Atlanta February Signature Luncheon: Consumer Trends and Truths: How Marketers can Master Engagement and Build Passionate Fans at Villa Christina.

How are streaming media companies able to allow their users to shape their experiences while driving brand loyalty? Join the conversation to learn how Pandora, the world’s most powerful music discovery platform, leverages robust data to create powerful and engaging experiences for its nearly 80 million active listeners. Our innovative guest will discuss macro trends around consumers of today, the importance of knowing who your audience is, where and how they connect with your brand, and how you can leverage the power of music to captivate the attention of future fans.

Speaker
Heidi Browning, SVP of Strategic Solutions, Pandora – @Heidi_Golightly

Event Recap

On a brisk and overcast Atlanta day, the AMA Atlanta community gathered at the wonderful Villa Christina for a memorable Signature Luncheon session, featuring Pandora’s Heidi Browning Pearson. I’d like to start by thanking Heidi for her availability and continued support of our chapter! It’s no surprise that the tables were packed full in a larger-than-average room for this special occasion.

After last minute registrations, some quick power networking, and shuffling to find our seats, Mary Stenmark took the stage to provide some chapter news and introduce the session. A few noteworthy updates from Mary:

  • 34 new AMA Atlanta members since January!
  • 55 group members — most in AMA!
  • Jessica Mash recognized as Volunteer of the Month – congrats Jessica!
  • Finally, don’t forget to check out AMA Atlanta’s Job Board and Mentorship program.

Upcoming events:

Now for the meaty and insightful recap content that you all came here to see!

Heidi opened by explaining her passion behind the work being done at Pandora; creating meaningful connections between bands, brands, and music. When she’s travelling, and it happens to come up in conversation that Heidi works for Pandora, the stories and love for the brand expressed by mere strangers is overwhelming. Everyone has their story and passion behind the brand, often pointing to their favorite station or time spent listening.

Here’s a quick look at Heidi’s customized Atlanta presentation slides — so fun!

Atlanta Loves Music!
1 Million Unique Listeners
561 Million Songs Streamed
37 Million Hours Listened
25 Million Total Thumbs

Atlanta Gets Down!
Top Artists for Women: Kehlani, Tink, Ciara, K. Michelle, Jacquees, Meghan Trainor, Ariana Grande, Beyoncé, Keyshia Cole, Selena Gomez.
Top Artists for Men: Metallica, N.W.A., AC/DC, Young Jeezy, Ariel Camacho & Los Plebes Del Rancho, Eminem, Wiz Khalifa, Los Temerarios, 2 Chainz, Tupac.

Atlanta Keeps it Hot!
Top Genres for Women: Today’s Hits, Today’s R&B And Hip Hop Hits, Pop & Hip Hop Power Workout, Today’s Hip Hop and Pop Hits, R&B Love Songs, 80’s R&B, 90s R&B, Rap Strength Training, Today’s Country, Twerk.
Top Genres for Men: Rap Strength Training, Today’s R&B And Hip Hop Hits, Today’s Hits, 80s R&B, Today’s Hip Hop & Pop Hits, Rap & Hip HOp Pre-game, Trap Rap, Pop & Hip Hop Power Workout, Rap 2015, Today’s Country.

Very interesting insights to the Atlanta consumers and music scene, highlighted by Workout stations, and a few surprise Latin artists. Heidi took this opportunity to mention that the Latin segment is one of their fastest growing markets — also very interesting.

Nationwide, an impressive 80 million people listen to Pandora monthly, which was accomplished with little-to-no paid media, as Heidi explained. They built the passion and engagement organically, but realize that this technique is not sustainable and they must continue to deepen relationships for more engagement.

Heidi then took us through a few trends and truths, followed by some campaigns and results we’ll dive into later on.

Macro Trends

#1 – Fragmented, Shrinking Consumer Attention Spans (in regards to media)

It’s been said that humans now have a smaller attention span than that of a goldfish. Well, Heidi reiterated this development and honed in on how valuable it truly is to get a share of someone’s attention.

#2 – Personalization Everywhere: “Now Playing – You!”

Personalization impacts everything these days. A strength of Pandora’s is seen in their personalization and recommendations algorithm. They’re among the best-in-class, and are looking for ways to increase your thumbing to continue to personalize and build a deeper relationship.

#3 – Data, Data Everywhere

Between the Internet of Things, wearables, connectivity, etc. etc. we’ve become obsessed with our “quantified-self” and self-improvement. With these obsessions come inherent sharing. Lots, and lots of social data sharing. (We’re looking at you, Mrs. 15,000 Fitbit steps per day!)

#4 – Show Me You Know Me!

This derives from the Millennial-based expectations of any given brand. Millennials expect a two-way dialogue, and have (for the most part) learned to tune out mass media. Make Millennials feel invested in with personalization, and your brand will ride the coattail of Millennial love for years to come.

#5 – Sonic Boom.

Heidi described this macro trend as a complete transformation. At CES (the International Consumer Electronics Show, held annually in Las Vegas) we’re seeing a switch from touch screen innovations to sound-based innovation. Think voice activation, voice recognition, and the various other uses of sound in the future. Today, if your strategy includes audio, it will help you dramatically in breaking through the clutter and get in with the “earphone culture.” Fact: You can process multiple visual cues at once, but can only process one sound.

Truth Trends

#1 – Time spent in mobile apps has passed TV for the first time. (via Flurry)

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#2 – 75% of people choose music as their top choice of entertainment. (via Nielsen)

Music is the universal language that connects us. It’s a deeply emotional experience, and transcends culture. Example: shawnthezombie tweeting that he lost 75 pounds thanks to Pandora!

#3 – The music you listen to when you’re between ages 16-22 is the most meaningful in your life in regards to nostalgia, memories, etc. (via Edison Research)
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#4 – Experiences > Things.

67% of millennials would rather spend $150 on an experience, over a physical item. Interestingly enough, this trend was also true in 74% of women. Fact: Millennials are a generation that are NOT hoarding and collecting things.

Heidi then took us through some marketing challenges.

challenges1

Challenge #1: Fragmented Media
Challenge #2: Data, Data Everywhere
Challenge #3: Creative for Mobility
Challenge #4: Measuring ROI

Solutions: Pandora is always looking for ways to win share of attention, and by doing so have placed the consumer at their core. They’re beginning to humanize their data, with insights as to, “What does this really mean?” By putting the consumer at the core, Pandora’s been able to connect on a deeper and more emotional level, thus raising engagement.

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In leveraging the passion point of music, Pandora created their “Thumb Moments” campaign. We watched the clip featuring Nick Jonas surprising fans with one-on-one concerts. The idea behind these campaigns was simple: Increase the amount of thumb actions (critical to Pandora’s long term business), thus increasing the long term retention strategy and enhancing user customization/personalization. Clearly this type of campaign is not scalable or sustainable, so Pandora needed to come up with something else…

Meet Thumbprint Radio, a uniquely personal station comprised solely of your thumbed-up songs! The concept was product of a Pandora Hackathon, and has been wildly popular since launch. To get this station: Create a Station –> “Thumbprint Radio” –> Enjoy! In launching the product, Pandora activated 33 influencers to describe their experiences with Thumbprint Radio. Reaction – That’s my Ish! 

The initial takeaways (after 1-2 months) of Thumbprint Radio seen below, with significant results in the Recaptured Fans, Station Ranking in Listening Hours, and Increase in Thumbs categories.

thumbprint

 

Case Studies

#1 – Huggies + Kimberly Clark

Simply put, Huggies partnered with Pandora to create a Baby Making Station around Valentine’s Day. Yes, you can imagine the playlist includes lots of Barry White. The station lives on for as long as you’re opted in, meaning the brand needs to refresh the playlist every few weeks to ensure listener retention.

This introduces the concept of Sponsored Listening, still somewhat new to world of Pandora. Basically, ad-free music for uninterrupted music “moments” we’ll call it. 🙂

#2 – Taco Bell

Taco Bell had a very different challenge, being a physical fast-food location with specific price points, as they hoped to raise awareness of a new menu innovation – the breakfast menu and a free Biscuit Taco. The campaign was aptly titled, “Breakfast Defector.” In creating this campaign Taco Bell partnered with Pandora to take Sponsored Listening to another level. Basically, an ad would appear for a free Biscuit Taco, and offer for 60 minutes of uninterrupted music if you opted-in. Taco Bell was able to hit 40+ million Millennials through Pandora, and integrated a layered mobile campaign to include audio, display, and video ads to recapture the audience.

The campaign launched successfully through the concept of offereing the audience a sipmle chose and a reward. By opting-in and engaging around a 15 second ad, you received a free Biscuit Taco and 60 minutes of uninterrupted music. Of course, Taco Bell’s brand messaging would be placed throughout the 60 minutes, but without disrupting the music experience.

Awareness Results: +16% lift in “Biscuit Taco” product association, +28% lift in “Breakfast Defector” message association, and +26% greater awareness of the Biscuit Taco than unexposed survey respondents. (via Millward Brown)

Localized Results: 15% more likely to visit a Taco Bell location, and 1 in 7 of the exposed listeners who visited ended up returning within a 10-day period. (via Placed)

Heidi wrapped up with a touching story of how personalization drives 1:1 engagement. Enter the lives of Maggie and Kyle, two lovers united by their love of music (in Maggie’s case, Pandora). Kyle decided to make his engagement personal, memorable, and creative; so he reached out to Pandora and was able to secure a custom ad on a specific station during their car ride that evening. Thankfully, the ad played while they were in the car and Maggie gave Kyle the “I do” (how could she not??). This is just one, small example of what Pandora is capable of, and how spending time on personalizations can mean the world to their biggest fans.

Before opening up to audience questions, Heidi reiterated that it’s time to take industry-wide risks and share success stories, as marketing/advertising are changing as a whole. We’re at a crucial crossroads where we need to move the industry forward as a group, and every collective effort helps. We agree, Heidi, and that’s why we bring powerful and engaging speakers like you to Atlanta!

Audience Questions:

Q1: How do you find and activate influencers?

Heidi: Our agency finds the influencers. Pandora will internally find influencers who participate in sharing the stations/service in general, but most of the efforts are on the agency side.

Q2: Demographics of Pandora listeners?

Heidi: Roughly 50% iOS and 50% Android. 80% mobile, 20% desktop. However, Smart TVs, Sonos, Xbox and Playstation, etc. usage is increasing rapidly. This falls in the social listening category, as an in-home experience, as people are utilizing the service while hosting guests.

Q3: What’s a major challenge that keeps you up at night?

Heidi: Growing the user base. The music industry is complex by nature, and you must stay on top of the latest news/trends related to radio, on demand, and live events. However, this presents an opportunity in data mining as well. Based on data analytics, Pandora is able to activate local, live events (i.e. Atlanta hip hop show for Pandora listeners) as the artists are trending in an area. Pandora does this about 54 times per year, and the shows are complimentary to listeners as sponsors foot the bill.

To supplement the live event activations, Pandora acquired TicketFly in late 2015. TicketFly specializes in selling tickets to smaller/mid-sized venues, where a 40% unsold ticket figure is not uncommon. Pandora is able to target the right people at the right times to sell more tickets.

That wraps up the February Signature Luncheon blog recap! For those of you who attended, thank you, and for those of you who missed out – we hope this provided a thorough takeaway. A previous version of Heidi’s engagement presentation can be found on SlideShare, here.

For more AMA Atlanta information, event updates, and recaps follow AMA Atlanta on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn and Instagram: @AMAAtlanta and #AMAATL

Blog by: Steffan Pedersen | Director of Digital Marketing, Object 9 | @steffanpedersen

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.

Conclusion

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

atlanta-819326_1920
January 27, 2016

2016 is off to a bang at AMA’s Atlanta Chapter! For those of you not able to attend this year-opening event, here are a few noteworthy recaps:

  • AMA Atlanta has 59 new members since the close of 2015.
  • AMA Atlanta is the 3rd largest Chapter nationally, quickly catching up to Houston.
  • AMA Atlanta now boasts 55 Group Members, being companies with four or more members.

Upcoming AMA Atlanta Events 

It’s worth noting that the first BKV Social Series event is coming up on January 21st, and our February Signature Luncheon on consumer trends (featuring Heidi Browning Pearson of Pandora) will be February 23rd. For those of you still in school, the 30th Annual Collegiate Conference Mixer is coming up on February 25th, with the actual Collegiate Conference & Job Fair itself being held on the 26th. Also, the 59th Annual AMY Awards at the fabulous Fox Theater are quickly approaching quickly, so plan accordingly and get your tickets before it’s too late!

Mary also took this opportunity to point out two opportunities for AMA Atlanta members. First, the AMA Atlanta job board, where you can try a 30 day free trial and then post for as little as $145. Second, the AMA Atlanta Mentorship program that we highly recommend checking out if you see value in giving/receiving career advice.

After some networking and finding our seats, the crowd calmed as Kate Atwood was introduced and brought to the stage to begin her presentation.

Choose ATL: Creating a Movement

Kate promptly captured our attention by opening with the brand new ChooseATL video (below), and a depiction of a longtime project of hers that sits very close to her heart, Kate’s Club. For those unfamiliar, Kate’s Club is an organization on a mission to empower children and teens facing life after the death of a parent or sibling.

Kate explained the new promotional video as a love letter to Atlanta, and it was extremely well received among the attendees. Kate explained the thought process behind this video, explaining her perspective that Atlanta is a very unique community. “Our hospitality is Atlanta’s secret sauce for new college grads looking to make something happen.” Here, in Atlanta, young people have the unique opportunity to step in and immediately get their hands dirty, similar to how Kate started her Club.

As you can see, Kate’s Club is as unique an organization as Atlanta is a city, and Kate explained her journey as a young person getting her hands dirty in bringing it to life. From hosting a bar night which raised $1,200, to now residing in a Midtown clubhouse (tour here!) with a full-time staff of five; Kate’s Club has come a long way and the passion + hustle to pull this off was thanks to Atlanta’s hospitable ecosystem. As Kate explained, people surrounded her concept and mission, and we are seeing similar support with her ChooseATL initiatives.

In creating a powerful ChooseATL brand, and driving social impact, it’s important that we are collectively intentional about who we attract and bring to our city, as they hold an integral part in shaping the future of our community. Kate has been working relentlessly over the past few months to promote narratives around the special energy we all feel in Atlanta, and learning to boast,

“Look at us! We are a global star!”

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Kate then highlighted two main strategies around the ChooseATL.com branding:

1- Meet them where they are.

Meaning, meet the candidates, who are weighing various choices and options, in the virtual space where they’re already playing. Show them all the neighborhoods Atlanta has to offer. Describe to them the vibrant scene that is downtown, and the walkability. The website should reflect these key attributes, and candidates should walk away feeling virtually connected and aware of all Atlanta has to offer.

2- Evolve perceptions.

Share with the world what Atlanta has to offer! From movies, to entrepreneurship, to startups and major corporations; Atlanta is rockin’. Kate even joked about starting a hashtag #WhoKnew to exemplify all of Atlanta’s attributes and misinformed perceptions. This is where the Imagine ad campaign concepts were derived.

imagine kate7

An interesting finding within the Metro Atlanta Chamber, that Kate shared, is that other competitive cities of similar size have been successfully marketing themselves all along! Look at Houston, Columbus, and Nashville for example. It’s time we begin sharing with the world what we have to offer, and creating a sense of connection to those who may not have an opportunity to visit prior to making a career decision.

A few new tools, or engagement tactics, Kate is considering introducing include a Neighborhood Quiz to determine where you might fit best in the City, as well as a dedicating a portion of the website to Atlantans sharing their stories and perspectives on why they chose Atlanta. Stay tuned. . .

Kate’s most recently organized event, the Ultimate Job Interview Contest, opened for entries back in October 2015 and the finale event was held this January 5-6 at the Georgia General Assembly in Ponce City Market. The contest was for college students looking to Choose ATL and leave their mark on the city. Kate hopes to grow the size of the competition each year. There’s no doubt that this is a winning recipe, as the opportunity to directly pitch top executives for jobs (as well as a hefty check) will surely capture the attention of college students. Although engagement was not as high as initially expected, ChooseATL was still able to capture valuable evergreen content, and new platforms for marketing the city through each of the contestants’ entries. As always, feedback is invaluable, so feel free to provide your feedback and ideas via the Contact Us form here. Congratulations to all the #UJIC finalists and winners!

Kate wrapped up the presentation by discussing the four key roles required to grow the ChooseATL program. Along with the importance of being intentional, Kate noted the need to be transparent – to highlight the good and the bad about Atlanta – since we’re far from perfect. The roles are listed below:

Honest Evangelists: Realistic and honest. Atlanta is a place where you can make a difference. Just look at Detroit and Baltimore—Millennials flocked there following unsatisfactory newscasts, and decreases in public opinion, because they’re places that at 21 you can get involved quickly and make an immediate difference.

Enthusiastic Hosts: This points back to capturing Atlanta, and the South’s, hospitable nature. We must find a way to convey this message on social media, like LinkedIn, which is growing immensely in the 18-24 year old demographic.

Valued Connectors: Think jobs, social initiatives, and volunteering. The Ultimate Job Interview Contest is a start, but we must continue to provide resources for young people considering our community.

Creative Storytellers: Provide those considering Atlanta with a lens to look through. Otherwise, they might not know what they’re looking at! This is the space where creative marketing and advertising campaigns will be of the utmost importance, as they’ll shape the first impression many receive of the professional landscape Atlanta has to offer.

Lastly, for those of you attending SXSW Interactive this year, the Metro Chamber and Choose ATL will have a house on Congress March 13th and 14th. I’ll be there, various AMA Atlanta members will be there–Kate surely will–and we hope to see Atlanta show up in big numbers for the takeover!

With ChooseATL as the platform, this is just the beginning. Exciting initiatives to come!

For more information on why you should #ChooseATL, check out their sites here:

And be sure to connect with AMA Atlanta and join in on the conversation:

Blog by: Steffan Pedersen | Director of Digital Marketing, Object 9 | @steffanpedersen

November 23, 2015

Originally posted on Interface Blog by Lauren White on November 23rd, 2015

Tell me who you run with and I’ll tell you who you are. This was one of many words of wisdom from a group of highly successful business men and women who spoke on a panel at an American Marketing Association Atlanta Chapter event moderated by Interface’s own CMO Jo Ann Herold.

From left to right: Jo Ann Herold, Kate Atwood, Steve Behm, Ken Bernhardt, Julie Bowerman, William Pate and Shannon Harlow

From left to right: Jo Ann Herold, Kate Atwood, Steve Behm, Ken Bernhardt, Julie Bowerman, William Pate and Shannon Harlow

The topic? “A Tribute to Mentors.” It was fitting that all of the participants were mentors or mentees of Jo Ann. And, wow! What great company she keeps! The panel included Kate Atwood, executive director at the Arby’s Foundation; Steve Behm, president of Edleman South; Ken Bernhardt, professor at Georgia State University; Julie Bowerman, vice-president of ecommerce at Coca-Cola Company; William Pate, president of the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau; and Shannon Harlow, vice-president at 22Squared.

Jo Ann learned early in her career the value of seeking out mentors to help her along her journey. “You’ll be surprised at how honored people will be when asked to be a mentor,“ she told the group. “Don’t be afraid to reach out for guidance.”

How do you find a mentor?
Shannon suggested starting your search with “people you admire,” and Julie added that it’s important to “have a few different types of mentors.” Ken also advised that, when seeking a mentor, “it’s important to have people you trust to tell you the truth, like your own personal board of advisors.” He added, “When faced with difficult decisions, don’t hesitate to ask for advice. Just like professional sports players have a coach, we all need a coach.”

Who can be a mentor?
As it turns out, we all can. Mentors can be those who already hold advanced positions in your career field, people who are in a different career field that you aspire to enter, college professors and other educators or even someone who is just getting started. Steve reflected on a time when he received some great advice from a junior member of his staff and the importance of having a relationship with people at all career levels. Kate said, “Don’t under value how powerful you [as a mentee] can be for a mentor.” The panel explained that mentors should be humble leaders, have integrity and be willing to tell the truth with kindness because, as Steve noted, “Words matter.”

Members of the Atlanta AMA and friends gathered to learn about the importance of mentoring programs.

Members of the Atlanta AMA and friends gathered to learn about the importance of mentoring programs.

Advice from a mentor
Mentors offer real-life examples of challenges and lessons that may help you find the answer in one of your own challenges. One of William’s biggest lessons learned was a time he “almost got fired” over an advertising campaign in the mid-90s for a product that integrated emails, fax and pagers (oh my!). After the initial pitch, the CEO didn’t like the campaign but William believed in it. “He told me ‘I’ll tell you what I’m going to do. I’ll give you the money for it, but if it doesn’t work, then you’re fired.’” The campaign ended up being successful and William learned to “believe in what you’re doing.”

If you don’t have a mentor, seek one out. And be available to mentor others. We can learn a lot from one another.

September 30, 2015

Originally posted by on

You may have heard it said that content is king for digital marketing, but have you ever wondered why? Below is a summary of key points from our CMG Local Solutions partner’s eBook, 7 Reasons Why Content is King.

1.  Content is king, but it must be quality content.

Keyword stuffing can penalize you in Google, but good quality content with relevant keywords scores high points with search engines.

2.  Focus on producing content that helps improve your customers’ business or lifestyle.

60% of consumers are influenced by their friends’ social media posts, according to the IBM Institute for Business Value.

3.  Content-based emails generate more leads. 

Emailing customers with tips and informational content generates 388% more leads than primarily sales-focused emails, according to MarketingSherpa.

 

Click here to download the 7 Reasons Why Content is King eBook for additional advice on how to maximize your content marketing.

 

 

ebook

 

August 4, 2015

by Katherine Jianas, Group Media Director at BKV

It seems like every day we read about new technological advancements in the search marketing space. There is no doubt search is changing rapidly, making it an exciting time to be a search marketer! We have identified the three main reasons for changes in the landscape.

new paid search engine marketing updates

  1. Mobile

    As speculated already this year, mobile search has surpassed desktop. While mobile has naturally grown with the increase in smartphone usage, it has been further fueled in the paid search engine marketing space with the migration to Google Enhanced campaigns in 2013, and more recently with Bing Enhanced and Yahoo Gemini. And in the organic space, most recently “Mobilegeddon”, Google’s mobile SEO algorithm update, has further powered the importance of mobile. Gone are the days when you can target mobile and tablet separately from desktop. Now, search marketers must input mobile bid modifiers on an ad group level to manage mobile exposure. And organically, mobile search engine optimization must be accounted for as a site’s rank could be penalized if the site is not mobile-friendly. The growth of mobile over the last year has been astounding. According to Google, many categories are seeing upwards of 70% of all search queries occurring via mobile. While searches are as high as they’ve ever been and it is becoming easier for searchers to purchase via mobile, many are still finishing the purchase cycle via desktop or continuing their research across other devices. Here lies the challenge of identifying multiple searches as coming from one searcher on multiple devices. Leading us to #2…

  2. People-Based Marketing

    Stella searches on Google for “dog bed” from her mobile device over breakfast, clicks a sponsored ad and finds a few options of interest. During her lunch break at work later in the day, Stella goes back to Google on her work laptop and searches “tempur-pedic dog bed”. She visits the same site and purchases a new tempur-pedic dog bed. Using “last click” conversion data, we would see Stella’s two searches as two different users. However with Facebook’s “people-based marketing”, we are able to see that Stella is the same searcher on both desktop and mobile. Facebook’s 2014 acquisition of Atlas Solutions makes this possible by leveraging Facebook login data to determine searchers across multiple devices. And in recent news, it has been rumored that Google will leverage Gmail, YouTube, Google Maps, search queries and other Google services that require sign-in to better target search ads. Leading us to #3…

  3. Targeting

    New technologies will allow for search marketers to better target ads based on known data. Using login data to determine searchers across multiple devices, Google and Facebook will also soon use collected data to better target search ads. Search marketers currently have several ways to personalize search results, such as using search query and location information and running certain betas that allow for bid modifiers on demographic information (like household income, gender and age). We can also remarket to a searcher when we know he/she has previously visited an advertiser’s site. As Facebook has done with “custom audiences”, Google could soon leverage email data to target users in an advertiser’s database with an applicable message when they are searching. For example, if the user previously purchased a product, it could be used to upsell another product. Google could also leverage “lookalike” audiences across the search platform to enable advertisers to extend an advertiser’s targetable reach.

    Search marketing is changing for both SEM and SEO. Growth of mobile usage, people-based marketing tactics and targeting capabilities are primarily responsible for recent and upcoming changes in paid search. We can speculate that a paid search campaign in the future will look more like a display buy. For instance, we will have to buy on target rather than or in conjunction with the keyword. The search engines know to serve the right ad to the right person at the right time and on the right device whenever the searcher’s query is relevant in some way (i.e. on the advertisers landing page, similar to keywords on the advertiser’s landing page, is a top autofill search, etc.). As marketers, we’ll be able to better target and better optimize our search marketing campaigns by leveraging these initiatives.

    Don’t get left behind as these changes roll out.

June 27, 2015

by Jo Ann Herold, Global Chief Marketing Officer at Interface

When I graduated with a degree in communication and journalism, I learned quickly that the academic environment had not fully prepared me for the real world. My first job was in Field Marketing at Shoney’s and Captain D’s. My role was to advise franchisees on how to grow their business. A big takeaway is that as a 21-year-old recent college graduate, the franchisees I worked with had a lot more to teach me. As a result, I was going to need to be responsible for my continued education.

So, what did I do?

The first thing I did was join AMA. www.AMA-Atlanta.com
I went to hear the AMA’s speakers and continuing education. The programs opened my eyes to how smart marketers think and gave me tools and insights on what is the latest thinking in business and marketing. I also went back to school later and earned an MBA.

Second, I discovered that most successful people have strong mentors. I have been so lucky to have several mentors. I want to give them a shout out and express my gratitude.

Nancy Gibson was my first mentor. She and I worked together for 10 years while at HoneyBaked Ham. Whip-smart, strategic, loyal to her people and irreverent are traits that I love about Nancy. She was formerly the Global Director of Diet Coke in the 90s. While working together @ HoneyBaked, she taught me about brand management and the importance of listening to the consumer. She is back at Coke and continues to be a rock star. She heads up global shopper marketing and serves to inspire others at Coke. www.coca-cola.com

I think about Nancy almost every day. I often write down WWND…code for What Would Nancy Do?! Her fun personality–coupled with her wit and wisdom always are in style.

Ken Bernhardt is another person for whom I would walk through fire for. For those who don’t Ken, you should. He has been involved in AMA for 30 years. He was President 20 years ago. He’s a Professor at Georgia State and has taught and mentored many people. Ken helped me grow as a young chief marketing officer at HoneyBaked. He introduced me to the Georgia State Marketing Roundtable and helped provide further education on what successful marketers do to grow sales and profits. Ken is always willing and able to lend a hand. Moreover, Ken recently won AMA’s Lifetime achievement recognition and helped raise over $100,000 for AMA scholarships. He helps Atlanta and marketers in so many ways.

I had the privilege to work with one of my mentors while I am at Arby’s. I reached out to her over a decade ago when a read an article about her in Nation’s Restaurant News. I cold called her and asked her to go to lunch. I was surprised when she said, “yes.” She didn’t say yes because she had lots of free time. At that time, she was CEO of Church’s Chicken. She said yes because she believed in the value of helping others grow. From there, Hala went on to become CEO of Susan G. Komen. Through the work at Arby’s, and its Foundation, we worked to End Childhood Hunger through Share our Strength’s No Kid Hungry initiative. I was lucky to work with Hala on a daily basis and help drive profitable sales for the iconic and beloved Arby’s brand.

Now, I have the wonderful opportunity to work for Interface. It is a company filled with purpose and truly “walks the walk.” I love the people, the culture and our products. www.interface.com

I feel fortunate to have such tremendous resources and mentors. Curiously, do you have a mentor? If so, who is it?

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!

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

Moderator
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

May 27, 2015

The business of professional sports relies heavily on building and maintaining an actively engaged fan base that will not only root, root, root for the home team, but also become season ticket holders, purchase branded merchandise and be passionate word of mouth marketers. And while their teams’ regular seasons may last between four to six months, a sports marketer’s job is year-round.

AMA Atlanta’s May Signature Luncheon featured an impressive panel of leaders from Atlanta’s major professional sports franchises, who shared their insights into the business of sports marketing: Steve Koonin, Chief Executive Officer – Atlanta Hawks; Derek Schiller, Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing – Atlanta Braves, and Mike Gomes, Senior Vice President of Fan Experience – Atlanta Falcons. Moderator: Scot Safon, former Chief Marketing Officer – The Weather Channel. Below are my three key takeaways. Trust me, there were several more – so don’t hesitate to share yours in the comments.

Photo Credit: @HayleyRSchmidt

Photo Credit: @HayleyRSchmidt

Marketers, Know Thine Audience

Don’t assume you know who comprises your core audience; do the research. Koonin pointed out that the Hawks conducted extensive research into game attendees to determine that their target audiences are African-Americans and Millennials. Season ticket holders average 38 years old and live approximately 10 miles from Philips Arena.

Once you’ve identified your target audience, maintain a laser focus on them in all marketing outreach efforts. Everything from the food and beverages served to the in-game entertainment must be on point to attract and retain them.

The Experience Matters

While selling season ticket packages obviously is important, Atlanta’s professional teams are focused on making the experience valuable for casual fans as well. Millennials are less interested in the “ownership economy” model of holding season tickets, but they place high value on receiving a quality experience when they interact with sports teams (and other brands). Schiller referenced the Braves mobile app, which includes offers from participating sponsors to provide added value to digitally minded game attendees…which brings me to my third and final key takeaway.

Let Your Sponsors Do the Talking

Both the Braves and Falcons rely heavily on their corporate sponsors to create experience-rich, value-added fan promotions and contests, both online and in real life, to extend their brand activation. Whether it’s sweepstakes, merchandise discounts or free items – sponsor activations significantly augment what may be more modest advertising budgets.

For the Falcons, Gomes noted that they are focused on partnering with sponsors to make what happens in-stadium a true and authentic experience that energizes fans and motivates them to return.

With both the Braves and Falcons getting new stadiums in the coming few years, we are certain to see an increase in sponsor activation and fan loyalty.

Video screenshot from Millennials in the Workplace - AMA Atlanta Signature Luncheon - panel
April 30, 2015

Millennials in the Workplace

According to research conducted by the IBM Institute for Business Value, many of the myths plaguing Millennials are, in fact, not true. We’ve pulled three of the five busted myths, some uncomfortable truths and some recommendations directly from the report for you to see.

Read more– recap and full video

Moderator
Scot Safon, Former Chief Marketing Officer, The Weather Channel

Panelists
Carolyn Baird, Global Research Leader, IBM
Bob Van Rossum, President, MarketPro
Emily Binder, Director of Marketing, Budget
Liz Nixon, Director of Emerging and Social Media Marketing, AT&T (unable to attend)

Full Video – Millennials in the Workplace – AMA Atlanta February 2015 Signature Luncheon

See more clips: subscribe to AMA Atlanta on YouTube

February 24, 2015
Atlanta, Georgia