MN AMA – Marketing In Today’s Economy

tedThough the topic sounded boring – the last MN AMA event was one of the best I attended and the speaker was simply remarkable.

I was quoting the speaker the very next day on one of the meetings in the office. 

A few ideas from the event:

  •  Today’s economy has different implications for different companies; different demographics and geographic regions experience the downturn differently
  •  Target prospects changed… Financial services companies may not be that attractive…
  • Dynamics of your customers are shifting – markets are shifting – do research…
  • Everything is shifting; however the changes are happening faster than ever. We are experiencing a systemic shift – not just a temporary change during a downturn
  • “Successful companies do not abandon their marketing strategies in a downturn; they ADAPT these strategies”
  • Budget increases now are seen in the interactive and particularly social media (measurable results)
  • Risk aversion is higher in economic crisis; show the buyer how it is less risky to buy from you…  How?
    • Crisp vision
    • Simplify transition
    • Minimize initial investment
    • Help with a solid business case


  • Social media will become the new search
  • Everybody is in media business…  what is your online media strategy?
  • It is about measuring: all marketing programs should be measured

Questions to ask yourself:

  • What are you doing differently?
  • What new ideas are you exploring?
  • What are you measuring?

People who have ideas:seth

Sites where ideas can be found:

MIMA – Digital Information Management – Tips, Tricks, and Industry Frustrations

reputationmanagementGreat event on a very important topic! 

Ha!  The event about imact of social media on reputation came with the most magnificent list of Delicious bookmarks, some of them I gratefully bookmarked in my own Delicious account… what was automatically fed into by blog… which can be referenced on Twitter or Facebook in two clicks via AdThis tool… and I can see the free reports of anybody bookmaking my blog in real time… Social media came to life in its best naturally fluid form –  integrated into everything,  inalienable from the interactive landscape, undeniable and omnipresent.  

I know what I am going to do next Sunday afternoon…  another brush-up on social media and reputation management  tools… 🙂

Interesting notes from the event:

  • What is digital reputation management? It could be trust…  or it could be defense… but it is there to exist…
  • Why reputation is so volatile?  We looked at the reputation chart of major corporations – it is very volatile…  Because modern business environment allows everybody to become a journalist and broadcast their opinions.
  • What should be done to combat (or attempt to minimize) the volatility? 
    1. Understanding that companies do not have control anymore
    2. If not engage, at least listen
  • How to listen?  As usually, favorite tools were: Google alerts, Spy (love it!), Twitter search, Technorati, but there are a few more to check on the delicious link 🙂
  • How to respond to negative comments? Hopefully, quickly. Incorrect negative information can spread with surprising speed. 🙂  Delta engages agencies in listening and retains staff who’s job to respond to the comments. 
  • Use of blogs is growing; now 26%  – the power of blogging community rises exponentially. Delta/NothWest merger was communicated simultaneously to media and to leading industry influencers in blogosphere…  “Congressmen read blogs… “
  • You need to influence the conversation earlier… be involved… blogs are great opportunity to spread good rumors when useful for business also.
  • What to do if a mishap happened? BestBuy: apologize quickly; be human. BestBuy accidentally sent a promotion to much more people than it could afford. The mistake was noted on Twitter immediately. CMO admitted a screw-up. Person who managed the promotion was videotaped explaining the situation, what was immediately posted on YouTube. Reaction was good (and immediately visible in social media) – the matter went away quickly
  • Be more proactive to get positive reviews
  • 52 of Fortune 500 are blogging… Blogging issues: too formal is often difficult to organize – failed for BestBuy. However, employees are already blogging, Twittering, etc. BestBuy aggregate the activity and encourages it with a very simple guideline – don’t do anything stupid
  • How to approach social media? First – decide what relationship would you like to have…
  • What if bad publicity happen? Don’t necessarily rush to sue (hm… it is written even in my MBA Business Law textbook 🙂  ). Don’t take bad publicity too personally. Acknowledge the problem (if true) and communicate what you are doing to fix it. MarketingSherpa had an excellent article on the subject 
  • Reputation of the company is defined by its employees
  • Actionable takeaways: listen…  set up your channels/urls…
  • How to convince management in value of at least being aware about online reputation…  Oh, there was no answer to this question pondered by the panel and the audience… only hope “there will be a tipping point…”  This is my hope also… a very sincere hope 🙂

PhizzPop Minneapolis – Microsoft, MIMA, and a free snack

phizzpopAs last year, MIMA’s partnership with Microsoft resulted in a very successful event.

This event represented a competition – a design challenge based on a brief of a fictitious company.  
The brief included business objective and main personas that had to be considered. Ha! It is a good example of a brief…  How many times I saw briefs defining web site buttons but not even hinting about company’s business objectives 🙂

Five local agencies competed for the business of the fictitious company by presenting their recommendations to a panel of judges (company’s executives). The crowd of happy, encouraging, sometimes too loud event attendees (shareholders) cheered up their favorite contestants.

Presentations were very interesting! We saw attempts on application of Microsoft Surface (what I honestly believe is still a solution waiting for a problem 🙂  ), great designs, enchanting videos, and very clever “extensions” of existing applications, such as Facebook.

zjThe winner – Zeus Jones – did something even more remarkable. The company looked deeper at the business problem facing the fictitious company and proposed a solution on the business (rather just a design) level. As one of the judges noted, they took five pages brief and compressed it into one sentence. After that, the agency applied technology to achieve these clarified business objectives. I would define it as finding a “blue ocean” of possibility that has not been immediately obvious. 

The winning presentation is already on SlideShare!

I am hoping to review the video of the program (which is expected to be posted on the site) – the event was very good.

Food arrangement was rather strange – beside fabulous nuts sitting on the tables (what was a great snack), the food had to be “hunted” around the room offered by very friendly servers. But the food was worth the hunt 🙂

MN AMA – Pennies, Pooches, Potatoes and Pitchmen: Bring Your Brand to Life Through Experiential Marketing

Tuesday event by INNOVA Marketing  was a very enlightening presentation that finally clarified in my understanding the essence on experiential marketing. As a person who concentrates on interactive marketing I am usually more energized by case studies from different marketing verticals – these case studies have more “discoveries” and surprising results.

It is important for me to follow new developments in the boundary areas – as we were recommended by a keynote speaker on last AMA conference

Some of case studies presented by INNOVA Marketing:

Promoting OfficeMax new cartridge refill service

The event included 10 models with tattoo-like images of Chicago history painted on their backs. Sales increased 34%

Bringing OfficeMax new brand icon to life – a rubber band ball.

INNOVA found the person who was already working on creation of the largest rubber band ball and helped him to find materials that were needed.  The rubber ball became certified as world’s largest, what caught attention of the media. INNOVA had a few challenges, including how to present the ball as “big;” the ball did not look as impressive even if it was very heavy. The ball was sent “on a tour” to promote the brand.

Mentos – “objective was to drive consumer trial, build grassroots support and position Mentos as an iconic lifestyle brand”

The solution included 111 events in 53 different markets, which involved hired “brand ambassadors” and branded convertibles. INNOVA also created the world’s largest fountain of Mentos and Coke.

Experiential marketing attempts to connect consumers with brands in personally relevant and memorable ways. The alternative term customer-experience marketing emphasises the idea of communicating the essence of a brand through a personalised experience.   Wikipedia  

Why experiential marketing is effective:

  • understanding the best environment to reach the audience (the audience’s everyday events)
  • main ideas – direct interaction with the client
  • efficient to get close to the right customers

INNOVA Marketing noted that revenue impact of their efforts is difficult to measure, because experimental approach is usually working together with other channels. However, INNOVA is very successful to see business growth within the companies that used their services – other departments/products/markets became interested in what their colleagues did with INNOVA.

My note: experiential marketing is understandably partnering with PR. I asked, the company does check the internet for mentions of their activities. However, there is no active efforts to introduce the interactive element from the beginning of the campaign.

Interesting point: would interactive component eventfully come from the PR side, or would it warrant the third partner – purely interactive social marketing firm? Only time will tell, but it is definitely very interesting time in marketing!

Great event!  Great food 🙂