Entries have been judged. The finalists have been announced. Now, 336 finalists representing more than 120 Houston companies await the arrival of the 2017 American Marketing Association (AMA) Houston Crystal Awards Gala on May 11. That night, winners will be announced, trophies will be handed out, and a new class will join the ranks of Houston’s elite marketers. The Crystal Awards Gala is Houston’s largest marketing event—attended by the marketing crème de la crème from virtually every industry and career level.

After accepting a record-breaking (and website-crashing!) number of award submissions, the Crystals’ organizing committee assembled many of the brightest marketing minds from across the country to judge the cache of brilliant entries.

Get ready to tackle the question of how to compete in dynamic, global markets with "Everything I Needed to Know about Marketing, I Learned from Justin Timberlake!"

Brands operating in today's fast-paced environment must outshine, outperform and outmaneuver their competitors if they're to succeed. What many brands lack, but where Justin Timberlake excels, is marketing mastery in a high-tempo, hyper-competitive marketplace. Building excitement around your products that emotionally connect with your customers deepest values doesn't happen haphazardly. Rather, it takes a genius branding strategy that not only delivers trust and exceptional performance but also generates excitement and brand loyalty among your raving fans.

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?

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.

At just 25, Kathleen Perley founded Decode Digital, a digital marketing agency dedicated to continual evolution within the industry. Three years later, the 28-year-old Houstonian heads the agency of 15 employees, and it’s already earned 15 Crystal Awards from the American Marketing Association of Houston.

With projected annual revenues of $3 million, it’s safe to say that Perley and Decode Digital are here to stay.

In her free time, Perley promotes the advancement of young women in the corporate world through partnering with a number of organizations including her alma mater, Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart in Houston. She’s also actively participated with the Houston chapter of the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the Mutton Bustin’ Committee of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

The AMA Houston’s 30th Annual Crystal Awards honors the best in the field of marketing. With 100 marketing categories, you have an opportunity to showcase to the world how your work delivers results and join an elite group of top marketers from the past 30 years. Consider a Crystal Award an Oscar in the world of marketing.

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