On February 8, AMA Houston will host a special event to help marketing teams prepare for Crystal Awards judging. Our panelist of past winners from across the industry will give a packed room some insights into what sets stellar entries apart from the rest. Here are our top four takeaways from last year’s event:

AMA Houston is called the marketing connection for a reason. Throughout the year, we bring together marketers from across the city, state and country to learn what's next in our profession and exchange ideas. A great way to do that between events is to become an AMA Houston volunteer, where you have the opportunity to meet new people and gain valuable skills across a number of service opportunities. Halie Dittemore, last year's director of volunteer programs and current co-director for registration, discovered in her role as director of volunteer programs that not only is she happy being a volunteer, she also loves to serve them. She felt the role also helped her meet new people and build her network. 

"You seem like a great candidate, but don’t quite have the experience we’re looking for.”

Sound familiar? Have you been a part of the cycle where you don't have experience so you can't get experience? Well, how do you escape?

"We fear change," said Chris Ferris, VP of Marketing at BubbleUp at the AMA Houston June Academy. At Texas Children's Hospital, Ferris successfully proved the importance of social media to senior leadership by addressing their fears about using social media. He convinced them that the feedback received would help them create a better product and deliver a greater service to current and potential customers. After making his case, the organization grew from no social media presence to staffing two full-time marketers.

Starting with her tenure at Houston First Corporation over 14 years ago, CMO Holly Clapham-Rosenow shared with attendees of the AMA Houston June Luncheon how she and her team developed their organization into the nationally acclaimed Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) it is today. She stated their path to success started after the high of hosting the 2014 Super Bowl wore off, when she noticed major challenges her organization had yet to face.

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).

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