October 9, 2013

AMA_102413Here’s a treat for our entrepreneurial minded members – a glimpse into what makes David Cummings tick. As the founder of Pardot and the Atlanta Tech Village, the Young Professional SIG is thrilled to have David hosting our first speaker event of the year. Mark your calendars for Thursday, October 24, 2013 as we learn more about his initial vision behind Pardot and his later decision to sell it, eventually leading him into a different project—the Atlanta Tech Village.

Learn what it takes to build a successful start-up company, and how marketing is tied to it’s prevail. To make the event complete, we’re even hosting it at Atlanta Tech Village – the breeding ground for start-ups. So gather your friends and bring your questions as we all learn a thing or two about building a one-of-a-kind company.

To register, click here.

Guest post by Jennifer Groese (@JGroese), YP SIG member.

September 20, 2013

allisonMeet our September Volunteer of the month – Allison Mulling

Allison Mulling is Director of Marketing at Mulling Corporation, a 26 year old Human Capital firm that was named the #1 Best Place to Work by the Atlanta Business Chronicle.  As Director of Marketing, Allison is responsible for all areas of marketing to include public relations, internet, social media and corporate communications.  Prior to joining Mulling Corporation, Allison worked with the Ritz Carlton in Barcelona, Spain where she was involved in public and community relations as well as corporate marketing initiatives.  Allison is a native of Atlanta where she attended Pace Academy, graduated from Virginia Episcopal School in Lynchburg, Virginia and received a BBA with a concentration in Marketing from Oglethorpe University. In her free time, Allison enjoys gardening, travelling, spending time with her two basset hounds and she has been busy planning her September wedding.

“AMA Atlanta has been an important part of my professional career for several years now.  With so many fun events to attend, I am always excited expand my network of respected industry leaders, and the topics for the numerous events have provided me with great ideas and information to take back to work with me. The volunteer opportunities are endless and it is a pleasure to volunteer with and learn from the dedicated professionals at AMA!”

September 18, 2013

 UMANOOur mission here at AMA Atlanta is to drive maximum value to each individual member by understanding the critical links required to move them through their life as a marketer.

In the 50+ years of our Chapter’s history, we’ve had the privilege of working with many Atlanta marketers from the beginning stages of their careers – in high school through the DECA program, our College Outreach program, or as Young Professionals engaged in the Chapter.

One such success story is at the heart of a new collaboration we are proud to share with the AMA Atlanta family. Alex Torrey, social entrepreneur and co-founder of umano, began his career as he transformed the AMA Chapter at the University of Georgia as chapter President. Today, he and his brother, Jonathan, are making a d

ifference in the world with their company, umano, whose motto is “Wear Responsibly.”

The brothers founded umano to provide school supplies to children in developing countries, for whom getting an education provides their best shot at prosperity. Their Giving Promise is simple: for every umano t shirt purchased, umano gives a backpack full of school supplies to a kid in need. And buyers of their t shirts get  super-soft, eco-friendly, stylish clothes, each with signature “PocketArt” drawn by kids as well as  a chance to feel good about their investment.

Alex and Jonathan are wrapping up a US road trip by branded RV (#umanoFieldTrip), during which they spent time raising awareness for umano and meeting with well-known social entrepreneur Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS shoes. They are currently headed back to their home base in Athens, GA, where all their clothing is designed and printed locally.


So, are you ready to “Rock a Pocket and Empower a Kid?”

Well, you’re in luck! We’ve teamed up with umano for an exclusive, limited-time AMA Atlanta shirt. The “whalephant” PocketArt was drawn by a special young man named Santiago and there are just 100 shirts available between now and 9/20.

Click here to learn more and to purchase your umano shirt before they’re gone.

Our goal with this collaboration is to support these fellow marketers, their business and the mission of supporting education. For us, this story started with AMA UGA and today is making an impact across the globe – and we’re proud to be a part of it!

Join in and Rock a Pocket!

Continue the conversation online too – use hashtag #AMAumano with@AMAAtlanta and @umanoClothing, or on Facebook at /umanoClothing.

September 11, 2013

IMG_2123What better way to start off the new AMA year than with our annual wine tasting event? Hopefully you were able to make it to Cantina last week as we joined in excitement for the new activities and goals of our upcoming year. Throughout the evening we sipped on a variety of Australian wines ranging from Chardonnay, Riesling, Cabernet and Shiraz.  Hint, hint- that’s why the letters “C, R, C and S” were written on the back of your drink tickets.  That being said, if you drank 4 glasses of the same wine you failed the test.

Aside from cracking the code on the drink tickets, we also had a handful of fresh faces in the crowd during the event—which is always great to see. Not only did they attend to learn more about AMA itself, but they were also very eager to learn how to get the most out of their pending memberships.

A big thanks to our event sponsor, AMLI, who was also generous enough to donate a few bottles of wine and glassware to some of our lucky guests throughout the evening. The Young Professionals have more exciting events in our back pocket, so make sure to mark your calendars as we continue to announce one-of-a-kind opportunities to network and mingle with Atlanta’s finest marketers!

Guest blog by Jennifer M. Groese (@JGroese) – AMA YP SIG member

August 23, 2013

Moira is the founder and CEO of Modo Modo Agency, an award-winning business-to-business marketing firm and author of the new book, AdVenture – An Outsider’s Inside View of Getting an Entrepreneur to Market. Moira was interviewed by Liz Ward, President-Elect of AMA Atlanta and Principal of Thought Partners Consulting.

Moira is a Past President of AMA Atlanta and serves on the AMA Atlanta Executive Advisory Board.


 In a nutshell: 

AdVenture, is a practical guide to getting an entrepreneur to market, living through the launch of the enterprise and loving it. It is a start-up manifesto, a psychology course and a go-to-market handbook that explores the seven core attributes of the entrepreneur and how to transform then into a strategic advantage.

Great quote from the book: “I am looking for a lot of men who have an infinite capacity to not know what can’t be done” – Henry Ford


Q. Congratulations on publishing your first book! What inspired you to write this book?

Moira: This book was sort of trapped inside me, needing to get out. I have been working with entrepreneurs for 25 years, and I have found myself giving out identical advice over and over, because, however different their businesses may be, entrepreneurs all struggle and fumble in the same spots. As I said in the book, entrepreneurs do entirely new things in entirely the same ways. They get mired in all the things they are experiencing and they get stuck in circular conversations. I want to help entrepreneurs by giving them the playbook for some of these tough spots so they can direct their energies toward getting to market faster and more successfully.


Q. Let’s talk about what happens before you even crack open the book. You chose as a cover illustration an image of a person on a motorcycle hanging onto the handlebars soaring over a range of very spiky mountains. Is this a Rorschach test to see if have the true spirit of an entrepreneur?

 Moira: Yes, if you look at this cover and your response is, “That guy could die, but I’d like to help him make it over to the other side,” then maybe you’re better suited to just work for an entrepreneur vs. be one. But if you think, “ Wow, I’ve never thought of doing that! Wonder how that could work…” then maybe you’re meant to be an entrepreneur.

But this book is written not only for entrepreneurs but also for people who work for them and people who invest in them. It’s for people with a big tolerance for risk or who work in risk-embracing environments as well as for people who work in more risk-averse corporate environments. There are numerous charts in the book that show what calculated risk-taking looks like in different environments.

Q. Many of our AMA audience members work in corporate environments. What should they be looking to get out of your book?

Moira: Corporate marketing people are very comfortable with the Rewards, Results and Growth sections of the book, but most need to revisit Vision, Passion and Speed to reinvigorate their organizations. Corporate marketers can benefit by being intrapreneurs  – by both infusing the vision and passion for their areas and in not getting stuck in the “p” box (promotion) of marketing, but rather, thinking like a business strategist. Behaving like an entrepreneur means you seek out new revenue opportunities in accelerating time to market or scaling like an entrepreneur.  It means that you seek out what a Harvard Business School study called “Big I” innovations vs. “little i” innovations.  A “little i” is finding a way to cross sell existing products. A “Big I” is rebranding and repositioning existing products to sell to a new market. Marketers can’t forget their promotion responsibilities but they need to look for opportunities to grow in a big way—and beyond simply promotion.

Q. You say in your book that, “entrepreneurs have a duty, actually a disease that requires them to get their ideas out there and make real the things that only they can see.” When only you can see it, how can you be sure it is a feasible vision and not simply a disease?

Moira: You don’t know. You try over and over. If you fail, you may have stopped one time too early. But often entrepreneurs can’t stop – it’s in their blood to make their vision real.

Sometimes, when you’re failing, it makes sense to pause. You may need help and you have to assess: do you need hands below you or do you need to tap into people who’ve gone before you and might have some wisdom?  There are many entrepreneurs who try and get deflated and lose their passion. They may need to recharge or get a job. It’s OK to stop or downshift if you need to. Talk to enough people who might be your buyers or are in your space, and they can help you come up with solutions.

How often you can afford to fail and try again also depends on your position. If you’re Leonardo Da Vinci and you have a lifetime retainer from the de Medici family, you have a different kind of runway than if you’re a start-up running out of funds or you’re in a corporate marketing department and have to show results this quarter.

Q. You are a very successful entrepreneur and have helped nearly 200 companies to launch or grow. What distinguishes the leaders of the companies that really take off from the leaders of the ones that don’t?


  1. If you can’t express a vision that someone wants to buy, then hang it up right now.  As Thomas Edison once said, “Anything that won’t sell, I don’t want to invent.”
  2. If you don’t have passion, you don’t have lift-off.
  3. Always be in growth mode – thinking about how to leverage the wisdom of the people who came before you, and about how to replace yourself with smarter, better people. 
  4. Always keep your eye on future state. Current state is irrelevant. You have to have people working for you who are delivering on the current state but you must be becoming the future state. If you’re a one-person show, you’re always stuck in current state. That’s why being in growth mode is so critical.
  5. Look for the best practices of the Inc. 450-500, not the Inc. Top 50. You want to get advice from people in the same stage as you.

Q. What will your next book be about?

Moira: My next book will be about adventure, but for younger people – like 8 to 10 years old – the age when you haven’t had your creativity and sense of possibility stripped away.

My bigger goal is to help the world economy, and to do this, you have to start with the roots. Studies find that a lot of what a person will become has ‘set’ by the age of 8. I want to make sure that young kids get exposed to limitless thinking – to possibilities and ideas and not just where they should go to college and what job they should have. They should instead be thinking about a limitless career path or solving world problems. Start with the end in mind and the passion that comes naturally to you and the rest will answer itself. 


August 12, 2013

Recently The Wall Street Journal posted a fear-mongering article about the increasing presence of big data in the field of marketing and advertising. However, as we at AMA- Atlanta know, big data isn’t something to fear! Actually, it is leading to big innovations for marketers.

AMA Atlanta produced a white paper on this very topic back in May. Read it here: Big Data leads to Big Innovations for Marketers.

August 2, 2013

ReneeWe recently found a treasure box of archived AMA Atlanta materials dating back to 1950. It has been so much fun to read through the old meeting agendas, newspaper clips and presentations. Unfortunately, we’re no longer able to charge $1.25 for our luncheons as we did in 1950 or $4 for a full Christmas dinner like we hosted in 1963. On the bright side, though, we now boast almost 1,000 of Atlanta’s best and brightest marketers as members, compared to the 74 members (and 5 prospects!) that we had in 1963.

Despite these changes, most of what we found showed that the marketers of 50 years ago struggled with many of the same challenges we do today – developing future talent, adapting to the ever-changing marketing landscape and reaching increasingly mobile consumers. The documents also showed that AMA Atlanta’s commitment to furthering the field of marketing and providing our members with top-notch speakers and the latest marketing trends hasn’t changed a bit.

Tell me, when did you attend your first AMA meeting? What has changed since then?


Renee Spurlin
AMA Atlanta

July 25, 2013

Connote-Issue-1-CoverNeed to drive organic growth? You won’t want to miss this great article by Rob Calderin! Here’s a few key points to take away…

  • 41 percent of U.S. CEOs see organic growth as their main opportunity in 2013, according to PWC’s 16th Annual Global CEO Survey 2013.
  • Innovation is no longer just the key growth driver for a limited group of categories like automobiles, pharmaceuticals, and technology brands. Today, it is a necessary strategic initiative for virtually every product and service. Solid, organic growth depends on a company’s ability to make innovative changes designed to keep the brand and its value proposition relevant and desirable.
  • Successful growth companies have a deep understanding of their customers. The insights they gain by knowing, tracking, following, and predicting customer needs and behavior set the stage for innovation, customer experience, brand promise, and value.
  • Brand relevance is created by the sum of all consumers’ experiences with the brand, its competitors, and even influencer brands in other categories. Loss of relevance can be both self-inflicted and imposed by competitors’ innovations that set higher customer expectations.

Read the full story on Connote Magazine‘s website here.

July 22, 2013

kenbBy Jo Ann Herold 


One of the AMA all stars has retired from Georgia State University after 40 years. I sat down with him to better get Ken Bernhardt’s perspective on AMA and marketing.

 Question from Jo Ann: Tell us about your background. How did you end up in marketing?

Answer from Ken: I actually had a liberal arts background in my undergraduate program but took a few classes in the business school.  I found accounting to be pretty boring; however, marketing seemed more creative and fun.  My father, who worked as a purchasing manager, said if the sales and marketing people were not doing their job, then he wouldn’t have a job. That really resonated with me and helped me understand the importance of marketing in business. As an undergrad at Washington and Lee University, I was business manager of the school paper. I found it difficult to sell advertising at first, but then I learned how to demonstrate the true value of advertising by creating ads that worked and it became easier and fun. This was yet another experience that peeked my interest in marketing.

From there, I went to get an MBA with a concentration in Marketing from Harvard Business School. It was a really hard program, however, it taught me to think much more strategically. After graduating, I went to Lever Brothers to work in product management.

From there, I went to the University of Michigan to pursue a Ph.D. My original goal was to make a million dollars and then go into teaching. I ended up in the opposite situation – going into teaching before making much money at all! It was valuable experience though, as the Ph.D. filled in a lot of the gaps in my experience, particularly in research.

Question from Jo Ann: How did you involved with AMA?

Answer from Ken: I got involved in AMA as a Ph.D. student at University of Michigan. Nearly all academics are members of AMA, as most of the leading academic journals are published by the AMA, and the organization is typically at the forefront of most new knowledge in marketing.

One of the first things I did when I moved to Atlanta in 1972 was join the AMA in Atlanta. I was new to Atlanta and knew hardly anyone in town, so it proved to be valuable for networking purposes. Soon after, I was asked to be the AMA faculty advisor at Georgia State University. This was helpful in that I gained exposure to several business leaders who I could ask to visit my classes and speak at Georgia State. I also met some people who helped me with data that I used in published articles. Ian McFarlane, Atlanta AMA President at the time, was an early mentor and helped me learn the practice of consulting.

Question from Jo Ann: How did you become a leader with Atlanta AMA?

Answer from Ken: I started on the programming committee, was later VP of Membership, and then President-Elect. I became President in 1980. That really seems like a long-time ago!

Question from Jo Ann: What did you enjoy about being a leader at AMA?

Answer from Ken: I always loved hearing from the speakers, as I would always learn something from them that I could apply in my classes. Second, I love the people and the relationships that I built as a result of being in the chapter. As an academic, it gave me the opportunity to lead and manage. You must develop unique skills to lead volunteers. We won the award for Best Chapter of the Year among the large chapters the year I was president of the chapter.

Question from Jo Ann: What are attributes you need for leading?

Answer from Ken: You must set a clear vision and be able to share that with volunteers so it becomes their vision as well. In AMA, our goal was to always attract speakers that any chapter in the country would want to have – not just in Atlanta. This rule-of-thumb still exists today as part of the speaker recruitment strategy and process.

Question from Jo Ann: Tell us about your volunteerism at the AMA National Level.

Answer from Ken: I got involved after I was president with the national Leadership Summit. After that I chaired the Leadership Summit and then joined the national AMA board as VP of Services Marketing. From there, I chaired the 50th anniversary celebration, became VP of Finance, and then President Elect and Chair of the Board.

I just finished a three-year term as chair of the National Nominating Committee and spent 10 years on the Foundation Board (four years serving as Chair). I also co-chaired the Annual Fall AMA Educators Conference three times. This conference brings together about 1,000 faculty members from around the world.

Question from Jo Ann: Why do you love AMA?

Answer from Ken: AMA has been very important to my career development. I’ve made an incredible number of close friends that I’ve met through AMA.

The AMA helped me through many phases of my career and professional development, impacting me in four key ways: 1) making me a more proficient academic researcher, 2) a better teacher, 3) a more effective consultant, and 4) a successful academic administrator.

Question from Jo Ann: How will you continue to serve on AMA?

Answer from Ken: I will continue to serve on the AMA Executive Advisory Board. I am also very passionate about the AMA scholarship program that AMA offers. The scholarship helps the Atlanta chapter work more closely with the local collegiate chapters. It helps the chapter identify who the best students are. The scholarships get the students involved early with AMA. I knew that being identified as outstanding students and by their chapter would enhance these students’ careers and give them an important jump start. I was so pleased when the chapter named it after me and delighted that we could offer a match. The endowment is now over $110,000 and we have already given away at least 10 scholarships.

Question from Jo Ann: What advice would you give to the members of AMA?

Answer from Ken: AMA is something where there is a strong relationship between input and output – the more you put in, the more you’ll get out of it. So I suggest people get engaged with the chapter and become active.  I am confident everyone will find it rewarding both personally and professionally.

Tell us how you plan to become an AMA All-Star!

July 17, 2013

ReneeAs you are hopefully enjoying your summer, we here at AMA Atlanta are gearing up for a great year ahead. But first, we have to give a huge shout out to Ashley Schoenith and the 2012-2013 board of directors. With the launch of our multicultural special interest group, mentorship program and marketing research executive board, not to mention becoming the 3rd largest AMA chapter in the nation, it was an AMA-zingly successful year.

This year, we’re continuing the momentum with our new mobile event series, as well as a great lineup of speakers and new member resources. Don’t miss our first event of the new year on social commerce, and mark your calendar for our annual wine tasting on August 28.

As we continue planning for the year, I want to hear from you. Contact me at president@ama-atlanta.com or @imapepper and let me know what events, resources and member benefits you’d like to see.

Happy new year!

Renee Spurlin
AMA Atlanta

1 3 4 5 6 7 20