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

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.

October 19, 2009

Congrats to Marion Yoder, vice president of communications for the Young Professionals committee, for his management of online and buzz marketing around events like the August Wine Tasting, AMA Atlanta’s signature kick-off event.

Marion is a Divisional Sr. Marketing Manager with Jackson Hewitt and began his involvement with the collegiate division of AMA as a sophomore at Kent State University.

In his own words: “In my career there are two things that I’m most passionate about:  #1 is developing strategic marketing plans that drive revenue and profitability for a brand.  #2 is bringing together a group of individuals as a team, mentoring them, coaching them and watching them bring success to the organization.  To accomplish these passions I find that I need to surround myself with bright marketing minds, challenge the status quo and never stop learning!”

You can get in touch with Marion through LinkedIn.  Interested in taking your membership to the next level by volunteering?  Contact Jessica Covello at  Also, please leave us a comment to share your volunteer experiences – whether with AMA or another civic organization you enjoy.

October 15, 2009

Could POS (Point of Sale) and O2S (Online to Store) be related? Absolutely!

Remember ‘back in the day’ (prior to 1978) when there was no Point Of Sale data? Retailers would spend millions of dollars on advertising with no link to what was selling at the cash register. There were no scan-able bar codes to help understand inventory levels, which products sold on what day, how many products sold, and what sales or marketing function was responsible for the sale. When bar codes and scanners debuted it changed business as we knew it – creating accountability as it relates to what products were selling, when they were selling, and if advertising had an effect on how many were sold.

Sound familiar? It should, someday you may be talking to someone in marketing and saying, ‘remember back in the day when we didn’t have O2S data? When advertisers weren’t aware of what effect their online marketing programs were having on their in-store sales, but instead were only optimizing and taking credit for sales on their website?’ Online To Store research is transforming retail today based on the ability to test digital marketing during a specified period of time and measure exactly what happens to sales not only online through eCommerce, but possibly more importantly – in-store in test markets.

This is the Holy Grail of advertising and marketing funding if you think about it. So today, my challenge for you, Mr. or Mrs. Retailer is to take the data that O2S case studies or in-house tests are providing and put your marketing money where the results are – using the wisdom of the testing crowds! Just like back in 1978…

– Jay Bowden, AMA Marketing Technology Chair, Google Retail Team

October 12, 2009

Shane Grant of The Coca-Cola Company has joined AMA’s impressive line-up of speakers, and will present on creating the right marketing mix for brands of all sizes during an October 20 Signature Luncheon.  Learn how Shane is helping to lead the world’s most valuable brand – recognized globally for its social responsibility, business performance and more.  Shane will share insights on the fundamental principles that guide the company’s marketing – principles that you can apply to your own business.  Be sure to participate in the conversion on Twitter using #AMAAtl.

Have questions for Shane?  Leave us a comment and we’ll do our best to address it during the luncheon.  Or, join the roundtable session following the luncheon for a more intimate discussion with Shane.

October 6, 2009

The role of marketing has certainly changed in the 20 years I have been a marketer. According the Chief Marketing Journal, the practice of marketing began in the mid-1800’s. Even as late as the early 1900’s “there was no clear concept of the justification of marketing as a productive activity, or as a contribution to economic production.”  We have come a long way baby! Boy, have things changed since that time. Today, marketers are expected to be the change agent and driver of growth for an organization.

My key advice to anyone in marketing is as follows:

  1. Understand what you sell. Is it service, is it a product, or is it an experience?
  2. Understand the business operations. How does it work? Who does what?
  3. Add value throughout the organization. Get to know the Chief Financial Officer. Understand what it is that he/she measures. Know how success is defined.
  4. Be in alignment with your boss and your senior management. Know what is expected of you and your role.
  5. Add value in every interaction. Engage with your functional partners and help make them successful.
  6. Most important, understand the numbers and metrics. View this study that was conducted earlier this year by TopRight,

This study underscores the changing role of marketing and need for marketers to understand the metrics.

There is no better career than marketing. That said, it is imperative that the marketer understand the art and the science of marketing. And lead by exerting influence up, down and across the organization. That is what the business is expecting from marketers today.

Jo Ann Herold, AMA Executive Advisory Board Member and former VP of Marketing and CMO for HoneyBaked Ham.

September 28, 2009

In Atlanta, fall is my favorite season. Cooler evenings, daylight savings time, leaves changing, and of course, AMA Atlanta’s Fall Membership Drive. We understand; the economy is tight. Professionals are either looking for a job, or working hard to keep the job they have, while young professionals are trying to break into the field of marketing.

Get ahead of the curve by investing in your future with AMA Atlanta. I chose to join and get involved in AMA Atlanta and it has been the best career move I have made yet. It’s a personal commitment and investment in your career with so many overarching benefits: retaining your networking circle among marketing colleagues in the largest professional marketing organization in the world, continuing industry education, and ongoing leadership opportunities through volunteer involvement with committees. With members-only benefits, such as break-out workshops, our LinkedIn Group online, members-only events and much more, NOW is the time to join. We look forward to having you as a member of the AMA Atlanta community.

Should you have any questions, please feel free to email us at

Click here to learn more about AMA Atlanta’s Fall Membership Drive.

– Ashley Lecky, AMA Atlanta Membership Chair

September 23, 2009

Survival for media planners and buyers who haven’t made the transition to new media has become brutal. Just look at the resumes on job seeker sites, or the resumes sent in response to nearly any marketing position–you’ll see a fat pile of media people ready to try something new. recently hosted a “State-Of-The-Media” townhall. In addition to “sharing gripes and exchanging advice”, they discussed topics like how to file for unemployment. It’s a shame that so many talented people have not been able to repoint or repackage their expertise fast enough to keep up with the transformation of media. This market demands reinvention.

Some quick advice from the Town Hall?

• You need a career goal and methodology – including a positioning statement of your own.
• Don’t respond to Ads. Position yourself, research companies you are interested in and create your own position.
• Start your search with companies that create “products” or “tangibles” which are the first to respond after a recession.

It’s time to get inspired. As media moves to content placement, interactive cable on demand, gaming, mobile venues, and social network destinations, some of the best opportunities for media professionals exist in figuring out models that can: predictably, consistently and manageably deliver revenue. Anyone who can crack that nut will have job security and be famous.

If you’ve got a model, a formula, a resource or an idea that could help, jump into the conversation. Where should today’s media talent begin reinventing themselves and leveraging their value?