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 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.

It’s not too late to place your stakes in the 2017 Super Bowl! It’s easy for big brands with big money to make a hit, but in a world with social media there’s little excuse for even small companies not to participate in the race to go viral.

The year’s largest sporting event is on the AMA Houston doorstep, and with great advice from Hal Conick, staff writer for AMA’s magazine and e-newsletters, it’s a great time to get in the game. In his article, 5 Ways to Score on Super Bowl Sunday with Social Media, Conick writes, “With 78% of consumers engaging on social media during the game, Influence Central’s CEO believes creative brands have a shot at going viral.”

For some firms, serving a niche market in the past offered a competitive advantage. But now, this has become a strategic necessity for all businesses to lure new customers and entice existing customers to come back for more. The question becomes, how should businesses know which segment of the market to focus?

On February 10, the AMA Academy will present a two part event that will teach attendees real-world techniques for identifying the right segment for their product or service.

Each spring, AMA Houston hands out Crystal Awards to the Texas’ top marketers in categories ranging from print and radio spots to website design, social media advertising and everything in between. The awards gala is the largest marketing event in Houston and is attended by more than 650 marketing professionals from almost every industry in Houston. Last year’s event saw a 38% increase in attendance and we hope to continue that upward momentum with the 2017 gala.

As a nonprofit organization, AMA Houston relies on the generosity of cash and in-kind sponsors to provide training and networking events throughout the year, and the Crystal Awards is no exception. The sheer size of the event requires more sponsorship dollars than any other event we produce, but the return is much bigger as well.

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