"There are great ways to work with partners that benefit both sides," said Christian Brown, director of marketing and public relations at the Houston Ballet. For the March AMA Houston Luncheon, Brown covered how to use data to form valuable partnerships. While not a dancer, he still brings his own finesse to the role.

By starting with a brand evaluation, he was able to determine the value of the Houston Ballet's brand, what type of data they needed, and what they could offer that other people would want. Instead of looking into the data to determine what they could do, he looked and asked, "How can other people use it?"

It's estimated that more than 1 trillion dollars are spent each year on marketing, and that 15 to 30 percent of those dollars are wasted. That’s right,  wasted. Understandably, marketing leaders are under increasing pressure to prove the value of their marketing investments. When two of three marketing executives struggle to do so, how can you demonstrate the value of your marketing efforts through more meaningful marketing metrics?

Within the past decade, omni-channel marketing has grown. The digital era alone has multiplied to include mobile, email, video, organic search, social media, display advertising and digital broadcast. While this has created unparalleled opportunities for businesses to reach targets and strengthen relationships, it has also added layers of complexity.

Today, it is no longer a simple mix of brick and mortar integration, or even “bricks and clicks” integration. Rather, with the advancement of social media, mobile media, always-on communications, the Internet of Things and multi-channel markets, the new catchphrase is “omni-channel.” Yet, some marketers still insist on managing each channel separately. They struggle to keep the messaging and strategy seamless as well as control waste by setting budgets based on individual key performance indicators (KPIs).

Your agency has just been notified that you won the Big Assignment. The team is excited, the client expectations are high (based on your promises) and your account execs and directors are busy scheduling all those kick-off meetings that will solidify the new relationship and get everyone excited about the fantastic work that lies ahead. That first year, your teams—digital, PR, creative, account—are working enthusiastically on doing the best work possible, while the client looks forward to changing minds and increasing market share.

Do you ever find yourself thinking, #iwantaCrystal? First, thinking in hashtags may be a sign you’re killing it on social media (#socialmediasavant) and if you want show the world your skills by winning a Crystal Award then read on. On February 9, AMA Houston hosted a special event to help marketing teams prepare Crystal Awards entries for judging. Our panel of past winners from across the industry gave the packed room at Station Houston some insights into what sets stellar entries apart from the rest. Here are our top four takeaways from our award-winning panel (#sopunny):

AMA Houston is lucky to have exceptional talent around every corner of our organization. These days, to be an efficient marketing professional you need to be able to do a little bit of everything. You need to become a Swiss Army knife marketer.

This subject has been brought up at many of our recent chapter events, and we are pleased that Nicole Elliott, vice president of communications with AMA Houston, has been recognized for her incredible adaptability and ingenuity in The Marketing Swiss Army Knife, a blog by Rinki Mukherjee, director of special events-marketing with AMA Houston and contributor to bizlatte.com. Mukherjee writes, " I see Nicole as a marketing professional who can run an organization’s entire marketing department by herself. Whether it’s project management, working with sales team, scheduling social media posts, writing an email blast or creating a graphic, she can do it all."

Mukherjee connected with Elliott on her success and what other marketers can learn from it. Read the interview below.

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