Event Recap

Event Recap: Want to Reach Increasingly Tech-Savvy Customers? Channel Minority Report

post by: Susan Simon, Conversation Starter, Savage Brands

Last month’s AMA Houston Energy SIG addressed the question: As marketers and branding professionals, how do we reach consumers that have come to expect technology to be a part of every aspect of their lives? Presenters from Phillips 66 and Baker Hughes shared ways that their company is engaging internal and external audiences with innovative technology.

Joel Tarver, Senior Manager of Digital Marketing and Global Marketing at Baker Hughes, dazzled the audience with visions of the roughneck of the future — envision wearing a HUD-equipped hardhat that enhances reality with overlays of technical drawings, provides personnel information, points out safety violations, records work activities, and can even monitor the stress levels of the employee wearing it. Joel mentioned that augmented reality is going to be our new reality – like Minority Report. This device is just one way Baker Hughes is helping to utilize technology to change the way the O & G industry operates. Joel asked us to think about how closely we are related to the healthcare industry and the military.

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Event Recap – Marketing: Does it Really Matter in the Oilfield?

Event Recap – Marketing: Does it Really Matter in the Oilfield?

AMA Houston Chapter’s Energy Special Interest Group (ESIG) was thrilled to present our fall program on “Marketing: Does It Really Matter in the Oilfield”. The event took place Friday, November 8, 2013 with over 140 of Houston’s best energy industry marketers in attendance. 

Attendees had the opportunity to hear from seasoned marketers, Jim Squires, Senior Communication Manager at TMK IPSCO, Mike Hopfe, Director of Marketing at Exterran, and Sally Charpiot, PSL Marketing Manager. And the seminar was skillfully moderated by Susan Farrell, President and CEO of Captavi.

Jim Squires shared his insights on how important the name of a product and service is to the successful marketing. He explained how companies typically name products and who names them and presented his methodology on how to name products that evoke emotion and increase awareness.

Mike Hopfe discussed brand awareness challenges prompted by a merger. The company found itself in a position where they realized that didn’t know their position in the market, they had different opinions on what their messaging should be – and didn’t have the resources to address their marketing needs. They hired a marketing agency that helped them define their strategy and program, based on market research. The result was increased online impressions and brand awareness.

Sally Charpiot presented on how her organization sought to shorten the sales cycle of a new technology. Their program consisted of structured internal communications that not only provided technical information, but also provided materials intended to generate questions and curiosity from their customers. Through traditional, digital and social marketing, they were able to have a higher number of sales than in past marketing campaigns.

Our presenters demonstrated that a strategic marketing program followed up with measurable activities delivered sales results that positively impacted by

the bottom line – showing that marketing does make a difference in the oilfield. All the attendees appreciated the time and effort that the presenters gave to the chapter.

The event would not have been possible with generous sponsorship by Fifth Ring, Unleaded Communications and Foster Marketing. Co-chairs Kristy Bell and Shanthi Subramanian were supported by our wonderful ESIG committee: John Bramblett, Ebru Erdini, Lorry Harju, Nicholette Ross, and Betty Wong.

Please mark your calendar to attend our next event on Thursday, May 15, 2014. 

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Event Recap – The Savvy Marketer

Event Recap – The Savvy Marketer

Linda Ruff and Lionel Carter recently planned and executed their first B2B Marketing SIG workshop of the 2013-14 year and they nailed it.  Focusing on the utilization of tech tools in the marketing process, the three speakers presented thought-provoking and relevant content, which tied marketing automation to the various stages of the sales funnel.

Moderated by Michelle LeBlanc, Founder of Blue Sky Marketing, the well-attended event was broken up into three presentations with a Q&A at the end.

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Event Recap – Expanding Your Brand Beyond US Borders

Event Recap – Expanding Your Brand Beyond US Borders

expanding bordersThinking about expanding your brand beyond US borders? If you missed the latest Multicultural SIG event, you missed two and a half hours of solid information from 4 seasoned marketers, all with extensive experience on the ground. The topic was well chosen and the speakers, articulate, extremely knowledgeable, and engaging. I was riveted to my seat throughout the entire presentation, there was so much information and so little time!

Here’s what I learned:

Marketing your brand internationally really isn’t that different from marketing at home, except that it’s done from a different cultural perspective, with all of the complexities of communication, business practices and legal rules and regulations from the other culture rolled in. While the marketing principles remain the same, the adage “when in Rome” applies here. And research is key to understanding, evaluating and strategizing within the new landscape

On the human front, presenting your brand from the cultural perspective of the region where you are doing business is fundamental. In Latin America and Asia, business is founded on personal relationships. You’ll need to take the time required to cultivate a strong foundation by building integrity, credibility and trust. Talk about who you are, what you do and how you do it, framing it from the appropriate cultural perspective. Be aware that each geographic area within the culture has it’s own nuances. It’s good business to partner with experts who are steeped in the business values and practices of the region. A good rule of thumb is to stay true to your own compliance standards when navigating new territories. Build a marketing program that resonates with your customer, simply translating your US materials into another language will most likely not be effective.

“The more you know the better you will do”, Pete Garcia’s mantra, identifies research as the roadmap that informs every step of the process. Know your customer and how to deliver on the promise of your product and service within that culture. Understand the competitive landscape and who owns certain equities in the market before you start. Determine where you differentiate and what your customers like and want from your product. Use what your competitors are doing as a baseline to determine the most economic way to move forward. And, monitor the facts constantly.

Brushing the surface with a few other things to consider before jumping in….

Is my product or service needed, what is the gdp buying power of the individual, where are the markets and opportunities, how do I find the decision makers, what is the ease of doing business in that country, what is the method of payment, how do I do background checks on the people I want to do business with, are there any trade agreements and preference programs in place, how do I protect my intellectual property and brand, and on and on and on. Fortunately, there are resources available to help with your decision making – US based foreign chambers of commerce, government data, consultants with ties to the region your are exploring, all good places to start.

The amount of information to consider may seem daunting, however, James Brown summed it up succinctly “It’s always a learning process, sending your brand into a new market. Trust your gut and verify with data. The real growth is happening outside the US. A lot of locations are hungry for American brands and it’s an opportunity lost if your aren’t there.”

It’s a lot to consider and there’s a world of opportunity out there waiting for you.

AMA_MC_SIGA special thanks goes out to the sponsors who made this amazingly informative seminar possible:

Gold Sponsor TranslateMedia

Silver Sponsor DLG Research

Our in kind sponsors:

National Society of Hispanic MBA’s

Houston Minority Supplier Development

United States- Mexico Chamber of Commerce

Bayside Printing Company

Gelb Consulting an Endeavor Management Company

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September Luncheon Recap

September Luncheon Recap

marketing scientist“Marketing, technology and human behavior all overlap. We need to think less like marketers and more live scientists,” says Tim McMullen from Red Pepper as he kicked off our September Luncheon.

The marketing landscape is dynamic and demands that marketers continue to learn about technology, how people are interacting with it, and how we can effectively adapt our messages to these platforms.

Tim presented four key points to being a successful marketing scientist.

 1.     Intersect with your customers.

Technology for technology’s sake is never the point. The point is to understand the technology and how your customers are using it. And beyond a computer or mobile screen, understand the behaviors of your customer. Then find ways to intersect into the day-to-day action rather than interrupting it. Remember, social media is where people go to play! So don’t use it as a distribution channel.

Here is a great case study Tim shared about Honda-CRV using Pinterest to intersect with their market rather than interrupt it: http://youtu.be/eloAPdsn3IM

2.     Focus on the outcome.

Be a brand with sharp corners. The brands we think of and envy are all brands that have taken a specific stand for something. If you try to be all things to all people, you won’t be anything to anybody.

3.     Build 20% flex into your marketing plan.

Give yourself room in your marketing budget to try and fail or try and succeed. Ingenuity needs space. Also, building flex into your budget allows you to be proactively reactive. Know that opportunities are going to come up that you’ll need to take advantage of…ones that you can’t foresee now. So go ahead and put room in your budget for it.

4.     Create a “lab” culture.

Stop brainstorming and start “brainpooling!” When you need to think of a new solution, have everyone come to the table with an attempt at the solution. Pool your resources and these sessions will be much more productive.

ama luncheonWant to know more about Tim McMullen and Red Pepper? Check out their website.

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August Luncheon Recap

August Luncheon Recap

Founded in 2012, the Sugar Land Skeeters are the first independent league baseball team in the Greater Houston Area in more than 50 years. The team’s inaugural game at Constellation Field was the culmination of many years of planning, and it secured Atlantic League baseball as a fixture in the local Houston sports scene.

The Atlantic League of baseball was the perfect partner for the city of Sugar Land and Opening Day Partners – the official owner of the Sugar Land Skeeters. Since its inception in 1998, over 800 players have moved onto major league teams. Because the players are considered independent contractors, Opening Day Partners knew they couldn’t build a brand around an individual player; they would need something more permanent.

August Luncheon Recap

AMA Houston President, Dominique Shu and Skeeters Event Marketing Manager, Randy Koch at the AMA Houston August Luncheon

Community became that something permanent and they decided to create an excitement that didn’t revolve exclusively around baseball. They knew they needed everyone in Sugar Land to buy into their vision. In order to do that they opted for no TV slots, no radio ads and went face-to-face, door-to-door, person-to-person selling the one thing they could – excitement and the vision of the Skeeters. It was community excitement that drove their success, not a star player.

Opening Day Partners are also the first to do a number of things with regards to creating a community that means more than just baseball. They give free admission to kids who wear their sports jerseys, supply season tickets to all special Olympians and even offer interchangeable tickets among the league ballparks. They were also the first to promote year-round use of the Constellation Field.

In order to maintain and surpass their inaugural success in year two, the Skeeters hired Event Marketing Manager, Randy Koch. Koch joined the ball club in April of 2013 and has continued to lead the Skeeters and the city of Sugar land down the path to their field of dreams. Over the course of his career, Randy has carved out a career in both marketing and sports – two of his favorite things. His background includes 20+ years of experience formulating marketing strategies, presentations, business to business and business to consumer sales, promotions, trade show marketing, and sales force management.

Affordable, fun, family entertainment is what keeps customers coming back to Constellation Field. And Constellation Field is what the Skeeters are selling. Randy’s goal is to create fun reasons for people to be there, whether that means any one of their theme nights – ladies night, strike out cancer night, etc. – or their community involvement programs and charitable donations. To Randy, the most expensive seat in the house is the one that’s sitting empty and the minute the game’s over the dollars are gone.

For more information on Randy Koch, please visit his LinkedIn profile.

Additional Happenings:

• The August board member of the month (Tara Johnson), volunteer of the month (Jennifer Haydon) and partner of the month (Catch the Moment) were announced.

• AMA Houston recognized one of its own: Jose Monterrosa was recently awarded the Emerging E-10 Award at the Houston Minority Supplier Development Council (HMSDC) luncheon on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 for his commitment as a Houston minority business owner.

• Robin Tooms, AMA Houston Immediate Past-President was presented with a gift by AMA Houston current President, Dominique Shu, to honor her for her continued commitment to AMA Houston and successful presidential term last year.

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Event Recap: AMA Multicultural SIG on Mobile Marketing

Event Recap: AMA Multicultural SIG on Mobile Marketing

Submitted by 

AMA_Mobilemarketing_May14_flyerThe American Marketing Association Houston Chapter’s Multicultural group put together a panel of experts on Hispanic and mobile marketing to participate in an open discussion about what is working and what isn’t in reaching Hispanics via mobile — smartphones as well as tablets. We found that many takeaways from the event could also be applied to the general market as well.

The speakers participating were Isabel Rafferty of Adsmovil in Los Angeles, Alvaro Cabal of Ford Motor Company in Dallas and Shervin Kalinia of Hand Held Page in Houston. The discussion was moderated by Cynthia Cisneros, VP of Community Affairs at KTRK ABC-13. Here are a few statistics, trends and tips that the speakers shared with the audience.

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Event Recap: Like Houston, the GHCVB Shines Bright

Our secret is out!  This year, the New York Times named Houston number seven on the list of 46 places to go in 2013, affirming our bid for the cuisine and cultural capital of Texas. Thanks to the unflagging efforts of the team at the Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau, Houston is finally taking its place among the great cities of the world.

And if the GHCVB has their way, Houston’s profile will soar even higher.

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Event Recap: Cadence Bank – 0.00 to 5.6 billion in 23 months

Event Recap: Cadence Bank – 0.00 to 5.6 billion in 23 months

Robin Tooms (President, AMA Houston), Sarah Peterson (CMO, Cadence Bank) and Jo-Anne White (Frank White Photography)

At the January monthly luncheon,  Sarah Peterson, CMO, Cadence Bank, shared her insights on how the team built a brand from the ground up. Below is a summary.


Cadence Bank is the brainchild of veteran banker Paul Murphy, who brought together the best minds in banking to explore the creation of a bank that is out to win the banking revolution. With a “lets go do it” attitude, they raised a billion dollars in start up capital against a backdrop of the 2010 recession when banks were failing one after another. Growing through acquisition, today, the bank is a combination of 3 large regional banks that operate under the Cadence brand, with 5.6 billion dollars, 100 plus branches and over 1500 employees.

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Ford Escape Marketing Manager Reveals a Launch Plan

Ford Escape Marketing Manager Reveals a Launch Plan

Jason Sprawka (Ford Escape) and Michelle LeBlanc (Blue Sky Marketing)One of the best speakers that the AMA Houston has had in our 2012 luncheon series came at the November 14th luncheon. Jason Sprawka, Ford Escape Marketing Manager,  gave an engaging presentation and graciously spent additional time with AMA’s blogger to provide more in-depth on his experiences with Ford Escape which was appreciated. 

Since its introduction, the Ford Escape, positioned as a vehicle that allows you to get out and be adventurous, has been one of America’s best-selling small SUVs. If there was any question the new 2013 Ford Escape would be a success, those doubts have likely been safely laid to rest with the model’s stellar sales results.

As the fourth generation of his family to be a Ford Motor employee, Jason joined Ford after a successful tenure in sports marketing. I knew that I would enjoy chatting with him and hearing his presentation when he revealed his marketing geek status with this sentence, “A couple of coffee and an Excel spreadsheet to analyze is my favorite morning.”

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