Marketing Awards Blog

Stevie Awards Winner Creates Online Security for eShoppers

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Sat, Mar 22, 2014 @ 10:57 AM

Globe Telecom in Manila, the Philippines won a Gold Stevie® Award for New Product or Service Introduction of the Year in the marketing awards categories of The 2013 International Business Awards, the world’s only international, all-encompassing business awards program. (Entries to The 2014 International Business Awards and the Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards are now being accepted.)

1403GlobeGCASH is a mobile money service of G-Xchange, Inc. a wholly owned subsidiary of Globe Telecom, one of the leading telecommunications companies in the Philippines. It allows subscribers to convert their money to GCASH (stored automatically in the subscriber’s “GCASH wallet”) and use this to purchase airtime load, send money, and pay their bills—all at the speed of a text message.

Operating as an innovative mobile money service in the Philippines, a traditional, third world nation, is very challenging. To illustrate, a good 80% of Filipinos transact in cash and only 20% actually venture into the convenience of credit and debit cards - for safety (less exposure to fraud), and because Filipinos shun the thought of being in debt.

We asked Paolo Baltao, president of G-Xchange, Inc., what he saw as the biggest challenges to online shopping in The Philippines in 2014.

“Only a small percentage of Filipinos own credit cards which can be used for online shopping,” said Baltao, “while those who do are hindered from shopping from foreign websites (i) because of the hassles and fees required when the package reaches Philippine grounds; and (ii) because not all foreign merchants ship internationally.”

Continued Baltao: “We developed GCASH American Express Virtual Pay to respond to the growing customer preference for online shopping and e-commerce, and to ensure that the product will guarantee security, convenience, and the promise of package delivery straight to the Philippine doorstep.”

Meeting the Challenge

“As GCASH goes deeper into the world of payments, it is constantly faced with the challenge of innovating to fit the consumer’s ever-changing lifestyle,” added Balata. “Winning the Stevie® Award in 2013 provided international recognition of GCASH as one of the world’s best when it comes to product and service innovation. It also strengthened the value proposition of GCASH as the leading mobile money service in the Philippines.”

“We are elated with the global recognition that winning the Stevie® Award has given the brand,” concluded Baltao. “Not only does it add value to our innovation: it also serves as an inspiration to continue to innovate.”

Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards

Baltao is exited by the prospect of the upcoming Asia-Pacific Stevie® Awards. “Given the growing number of excellent businesses in the Asia-Pacific region, the Asia-Pacific Stevie® Awards couldn’t have come at a better time,” he said. “These Awards will provide an opportunity for more Asia-Pacific players to gain recognition for superb business practices and innovative services.”

Innovation and Security

GCASH American Express® (GCASH Amex) Virtual Pay gives subscribers a virtual account linked to their GCASH wallets. The first of its kind, GCASH Amex Virtual Pay introduces a secure way of shopping from sites that accept American Express as a mode of payment. All subscribers are automatically assigned an American Express card bin linked to the subscriber’s GCASH wallet, and a security code, which they can change anytime for security. As an additional account safety measure, an SMS is sent for every successful transaction made using the service. This way, subscribers are alerted when someone tries to use their accounts.

End-to-End Shopping Experience

Having assured Filipinos that the service is secure, G-Xchange proceeded with developing an end-to-end shopping experience tailored for the Philippine market. A partnership with a reliable freight forwarding company was formed: My Shopping Box (MSB) issued personalized U.S. addresses to all subscribers, enabling Filipinos to have foreign packages delivered straight to their doorsteps at affordable rates.

The Filipino proclivity towards U.S. goods had been dampened somewhat by the extra steps (and fees) they needed to take in order to receive their foreign purchases. Now, MSB settles local duties and delivers the packages that could otherwise only have been acquired by waiting for big brown boxes packed lovingly by any of the 9.5 million overseas Filipino workers—or by purchasing it locally for three times its value.

Outstanding Performance

To date, GCASH Amex Virtual Pay has performed outstandingly and achieved the following results in the first year of its launch:

-        Grew its subscriber base over 200 times in the span of 6 months from 895 subscribers in October 2012, to 195,560 subscribers in April 2013;

-        Enjoyed a 180% increase in the subscriber’s average daily transaction count;

-        100% positive feedback on social networking sites—a first-ever for Globe Telecom in 2012;

-        Second highest ROI contributor to total Globe Telecom’s publicity efforts in 2012.

While still conducting its operations in a conservative local environment, GCASH Amex Virtual Pay is slowly gaining a bigger reach over its market because of the relevance of the service in addressing local concerns. It is, after all, a service built for Filipinos, by Filipinos. Through this, Globe Telecom is able to bridge another gap and connect its subscribers not only to each other, but also to the rest of the world.

Future Innovation

Concludes Baltao: “Seeing the Philippines adapt more and more to technological advancements, especially in the mobile money industry inspires me to constantly offer newer product and service innovations that will all work towards creating a wonderful world for our consumers.

About Paolo Baltao

Paolo Baltao is the President of G-Xchange, Inc. (GXI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Globe Telecom. GXI pioneered a cardless and cashless mobile commerce service called GCASH. Launched in the Philippines in October 2004, GCASH has over 1 million subscribers today.

Before he became President, Paolo held several positions in GXI, including International Remittance & Banking Business Development Head, Financial and Government Services Segment Head, and OFW & Money Remittance Segment Head. He was responsible for the formulation of the product strategy, management of product portfolio, creation and implementation of business strategies, and acquisition of international and domestic partners.

Prior to working for GXI, Paolo had 13 years of experience in product management and business development in the pharmaceutical, banking and remittance, and telecommunications industries.

About Globe Telecom

Globe Telecom is a leading full service telecommunications company in the Philippines, serving the needs of consumers and businesses across an entire suite of products and services including mobile, fixed, broadband, data connections, internet and managed services.  Its principals are Ayala Corporation and SingTel who are acknowledged industry leaders in the country and in the region. For more information, visit  Follow us on Twitter: and Facebook:

Tags: marketing awards, International business awards, stevie awards, Online security, Paolo Baltao, IBAs, Asia-Pacific, online shopping, GCASH

How Makovsky Repositioned a Traditional Ad Medium for Digital Success

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Wed, Oct 30, 2013 @ 04:25 PM

Makovsky Integrated Communications received the first-ever Grand Stevie Award for Interactive Services Agency of the Year in The 2013 American Business Awards, the top business awards program in the U.S.A.  (Entry to The 2014 American Business Awards is now open. Find out more here.)  Here we look at what winning the Grand Stevie has meant to the company; and at Makovsky’s work for MediScripts, which earned them two Gold Stevies in the Marketing Awards categories of the 2013 ABAs for Online Marketing Campaign of the Year and for Business-to-Business Marketing Campaign of the Year.

When Timothy Kane, Makovsky’s Executive Vice President, Digital Branding, heard that his firm had received the 2013 Grand Stevie for Interactive Services Agency of the Year, he was both delighted and surprised.

Timothy Kane “It was especially gratifying because we’ve made a major effort to build our integrated and interactive capabilities,” said Tim. “In fact, I joined the firm specifically to establish a digital practice. This Grand Stevie is a wonderful acknowledgement that we are accomplishing our goal.”

MediScripts’ Marketing Challenge

Tim was the executive in charge of Makovsky’s multiple Stevie Award-winning MediScripts marketing campaign. “For nearly 20 years, MediScripts had enjoyed an almost effortless increase in sales and profits,” he explained.  “MediScripts’ personalized prescription pads were the perfect way for pharma companies to put their messages right in physicians’ hands at the exact point of prescription.”

But then everything changed.

A Shift to Digital Channels

In recent years, pharma marketers have been shifting an increasing percentage of their marketing dollars away from traditional marketing vehicles and into digital channels. Younger brand managers began to dismiss MediScripts as just another tchotchke.

Makovsky’s challenge was to find a way to move MediScripts out of that tchotchke graveyard and into the world of multichannel marketing.

Introducing a New Medium

The first step was to reposition MediScripts as an actual advertising medium:

MediScripts. The most engaging medium. The agency then redesigned MediScripts’ brand identity, with a modern proprietary font and an icon specifically designed for use in digital applications.

Next, Makovsky suggested a shift in targeting. Over the years, MediScripts had aimed the majority of its marketing efforts toward senior brand marketers at the major pharmaceutical companies. Makovsky suggested broadening their targeting strategy to include younger brand managers, agency media planners, and agency creative directors. Why? Because brand managers control the budget; media planners control the buy; and creative directors control the campaign idea.

The new MediScripts launched in September 2011:

  • A new MediScripts website featured separate user interface pathways for its three targets: Brand Managers, Media Planners, and Creative Directors. (This award winning website won a Silver Stevie in the website awards categories of The 2013 American Business Awards.)
  • A campaign of provocative digital ads confronted the conventional media wisdom. Headlines like "What ad is more effective than any ad on this site?" drove MediScripts’ targets to the new website in record numbers.
  • Erez Lapsker, the young CEO of MediScripts, became the public face of the brand, authoring bylined articles, white papers, and podcasts, and hosting a Marketing Agency Happy Hour with representatives from key organizations.
  • Feature articles in major pharma marketing publications such as Med Ad News, PM360, and PharmaVOICE repositioned the company and legitimized point-of-prescription advertising.

From Antiquated to Innovative

Makovsky’s work for the new MediScripts produced immediate results. In the first 90 days of the campaign:

  • Website traffic shot up by 120%; unique visits increased over 80%;
  • Six feature articles and a corporate announcement produced 65 million media impressions;
  • The podcast was downloaded 765 times by key targets and the white paper 104 times;
  • The advertising produced historic click-through rates—as high as 4,800% above industry norms.

But there was one final—and unexpected—result. MediScripts, once considered an antiquated company with an irrelevant value proposition, was named PM360’s Most Innovative Company of the Year, for its ability to show value within the digital space and convey measurable engagement.

Tim summarized it this way: “The hardest part of any digital campaign is how to measure its success.  Not only was MediScripts able to see an increase in meetings and sales, but also the campaign paid for itself almost immediately.”

About Timothy Kane
Timothy Kane is Executive Vice President, Digital Branding at Makovsky Integrated Communications.  In his thirty-year career as an award-winning writer, designer, and marketing strategist, Tim has developed a unique perspective on the value of branding. "The market always rewards strength," he says. "And strength is revealed through communications." 

About Makovsky Integrated Communications
Kenneth D. Makovsky launched the firm in 1979 with a simple philosophy: “There is no task so difficult that it can’t be accomplished by a team of smart people working in harmony.” That mantra holds true more than 30 years later. Though many of Makovsky’s people have big agency and big brand credentials on their résumés, everyone shares an entrepreneurial mindset, infusing everything the company does with a sense of urgency and total commitment to results. That fosters a culture of collaboration, bound by a shared dedication to exceed clients’ expectations.  For more information visit:

Tags: makovsky, communications awards, business awards, marketing awards, stevie awards, agency of the year

How to Craft Your Marketing Plan for 2014

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Wed, Oct 30, 2013 @ 04:07 PM

Ruwena Healy, CEO of Marketing 24/7, Inc., in Trussville, Alabama, USA chaired the final judging committee for the Communications and Marketing Awards categories in the 2013 Stevie Awards for Women in Business, the world's top honors for women executive, entrepreneurs, and the organizations they run. Her company won the Gold Stevie for Low Budget Communications Campaign of the Year in the 2012 Stevies for women. Here she applies her own award-winning marketing expertise to provide some tips for marketers on planning for 2014.

Like many companies, you are probably in the midst of preparing your strategic plans for 2014. Successful business leaders understand that in order to anticipate a profitable upcoming year, you have to plan.

Ruwena HealyIf you are struggling with the planning process for your marketing and social media, or need a few ideas about how to implement a plan going forward, here are a few important tips to keep in mind:

1. Figure out where you stand.

It may seem obvious, but in order for you to move forward, you have to figure out where you are right now. This means taking a serious look at the inner workings of your marketing and social media plan. Conducting an internal and external audit of where your business really is—and not where you think it is—will give you a true picture of where you stand. Now would also be a good time to examine the strengths and weaknesses of your business. What are you doing right and what have you done that hasn’t worked?

2. What are you trying to accomplish?

Too often, businesses think that if they advertise everywhere and post everything on social media, they will magically receive countless leads, gain more loyal customers, and increase their bottom line. In order to craft the right message to get concerted results, you must identify what outcome you are looking for and then proceed to target the right market with the right message through the right medium.

3. Identify your target market and plan how to reach them.

The best way to identify your target market is by investing the time to create a buyer persona. A buyer persona is an example of a real person you need to influence crafted from information you retrieve from interviews you conduct with customers or potential customers, or from website and social media analytics you collect from your website or social media business page. For example, you can gather the analytics from your Facebook page to find out the exact age group, demographics, and gender of the individuals who visit your page the most. From this information, create a persona of an individual within that median group and make a plan that targets your message toward him/her to gain more engagement and interest in your business. Understanding who your clients are will help you serve their needs and keep them coming back.

4. Have clear objectives and goals and research, research, research.

Be specific about your own objectives and goals. Do they align with your business’ mission and priorities? How will you get there? Which team members will be accountable for implementation? What are your competitors doing? Research is a critical component that too often is left out of the planning process. Research is a continual part of the process that you have to take time to achieve if you want your overall plan to be succinct and, most of all, successful.

5. Evaluate.

You’re not done: You must evaluate! Put benchmarks in place (i.e. quarterly) to review what you’ve done, measure your success, research some more, and evaluate your successes and failures.

Strategic planning is a vital part of any business and if you want to use marketing and social media to help brand your business, you need to take the time to think things through and get the most out of your time and resources. Remember the old saying: “Plan your work and work your plan!”

About Ruwena Healy
Ruwena Healy is the CEO of Marketing 24/7, Inc., a full-service marketing, branding, and public relations firm, which she founded 8 years ago. Marketing 24/7 has a diverse client list and is one of Birmingham, Alabama’s Top 10 PR firms. Marketing 24/7 and Ruwena have garnered numerous international, national, state, and local business awards. In addition to recently being awarded “Honorable Mention” in the international Enterprising Women of the Year Award by Enterprising Women magazine, Ruwena won a Gold Stevie in the 2012 Stevie Awards for Women In Business. Ruwena was recently named 1st runner up in the Birmingham Business Journal’s Social Madness competition that showcased a company’s social media savvy by gaining new followers and encouraging follower engagement. 

Ruwena continues to gain popularity as a LinkedIn expert and trainer (her LinkedIn profile was among the Top 1% of the Most Viewed profiles in 2012). She is a sought-after speaker, trainer, and lecturer, and has also presented numerous programs on branding, social media, public relations, and how to successfully get the word out about your business. Ruwena maintains a marketing blog at and her articles have appeared in PR News’ 2011 Crisis Management Guidebook, Birmingham Business Journal, The Birmingham News, Alabama Business News, and Ruwena is an active member of the Birmingham, Alabama community:  she is a member of The Women’s Network; a member of the Board of Directors of the Public Relations Council of Alabama’s Birmingham Chapter; a former Board member and currently a member of the Public Relations Society of America Alabama Chapter; and a current member of Alabama Women In Business.

Ruwena has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from the University of Florida and a Masters in Business Administration from Florida State University. Today, with twin boys that are seven years old, Ruwena gives her time to fundraisers for their school and as a leader in the Cub Scouts.

About Marketing 24/7
Marketing 24/7, Inc. works with a diverse client list of companies, entrepreneurs, and professionals to offer unique expertise in personal branding and company branding. The firm has proven itself with marketing and business development effectiveness for the purpose of increasing revenue and profits.  For more information go to:

Tags: communications awards, business awards, marketing awards, stevie awards, women awards, women in business awards, Ruwena Healy

How Stevie Awards Winner MAC Presents Used Social Media for AT&T and Samsung

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Wed, Aug 21, 2013 @ 03:39 PM

MAC Presents of New York, New York USA won the Gold Stevie® Award for Small-Budget Marketing Campaign of the Year in the communications and marketing awards categories of the 2012 Stevie Awards for Women in Business, the world's top honors for women entrepreneurs, executives, and the organizations they run.  (Another MAC Presents campaign also won a Gold Stevie for Small-Budget Marketing Campaign of the Year in The 2013 American Business Awards.) The entry deadline for the 2013 Stevie Awards for Women in Business is August 28 - get the entry kit here.)

Here we look at the highly successful AT&T/Samsung sponsorship that MAC Presents put together with the New York fashion label rag & bone.

For the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Note, AT&T and Samsung wanted to target the creative, fashion-forward mobile consumer, who would not only want the latest in advanced technology but would also view the device as a fashion accessory.

A custom promotion solution was needed that would establish a Galaxy Note social community within the fashion world during New York’s Fashion Week. Ideally, this social platform would integrate the phone into the daily life both of a fashion designer partner and of respected fashion bloggers.

The Ideal Collaboration

MAC Presents worked with AT&T and Samsung's marketing teams to select the ideal designers for them to collaborate with, and to create the unique marketing that would effectively reach the Galaxy Note's target audience.

MAC Presents developed a custom program that enabled AT&T/Samsung to partner with rag & bone, one of today's leading fashion brands based in New York City. To help reach the Galaxy Note’s influential target audience, MAC Presents worked with rag & bone to create an exclusive case for the Galaxy Note device.

The Galaxy Note was integrated into rag & bone’s 2012 fashion show during New York Fashion Week with signage and an exclusive, branded VIP area backstage. Additionally, influential fashion bloggers such as Bryan Boy, Leandra Medine, and Susie Bubble were given Galaxy Note devices to use for posting to their blogs and tweets during New York Fashion Week.

Comprehensive Media Plan
MAC Presents developed a comprehensive media plan that included print, outdoor, and online advertising as well as social media and public relations outreach. Bus shelter advertising was utilized to promote the partnership in key locations around New York City.

All creative featured the still photography of New York-based photographer Danny Clinch. Danny also shot a :30 commercial for the Galaxy Note featuring rag & bone's designers Marcus Wainwright and David Neville. The pair also hosted a private Galaxy Note launch party in New York City that included a performance from Band of Horses. With many celebrities in attendance, the event attracted millions of press impressions.

MAC Presents’ combined media outreach efforts garnered over 114,000,000 million consumer impressions.

Online Campaign

An extensive online campaign was implemented to increase awareness of the collaboration between AT&T/Samsung and rag & bone. MAC Presents partnered with fashion publications Front Row Daily and WWD to create rich, online advertising opportunities. Additionally, MAC Presents partnered with to reach the fashion, music oriented consumer.

Facebook Advertising

A daily Facebook advertising plan was put into effect to launch the campaign and build awareness of the Samsung Galaxy Note.

In total, over 4 billion consumer impressions were garnered through online efforts.

Marcie AllenThe Value of Social Media

Marcie Allen, president of MAC Presents, comments: “Social media has opened up brand involvement beyond tour sponsorships.” Allen points to MAC Presents' launching of Nokia Music with AT&T through a sponsorship with Green Day that has garnered more than 165 million social media impressions, as well as a Gold Stevie in the 2013 American Business Awards. “All the programs we put together in 2012 were heavily based in social media,” she says. “There has to be value. You have to be able to measure and track sales. You can do that with social media.”

Inspiring Women

“As a woman in the music industry, recognition in the Stevie Awards has proved an effective tool for me to encourage more women to enter this industry,” continued Allen. “As someone who has been in the music industry for 18 years, I want to inspire women and show them that anything is possible.  All power to the Stevie Awards for Women on its 10th Anniversary!”

About Marcie Allen
Marcie Allen is President of New York City-based sponsorship and fulfillment agency MAC Presents. Allen leverages her eighteen years of music industry experience to negotiate high profile sponsorships between the world’s leading brands and artists. Allen has executed partnerships on behalf of brands including Jeep, Microsoft, Samsung, CITI, AT&T, and Nokia.  She is a seven-time nominee and two-time winner of Billboard Magazine's Concert Marketing and Promotion Award. Allen was named to Billboard’s Women in Music in 2010, 2011, and 2012 and Billboard’s 40 under 40 in 2013.

In April 2013, The White House honored Allen as one of their Hurricane Sandy "Champions of Change." The event highlighted people and organizations directly involved in response and recovery efforts following Hurricane Sandy. Allen directed a documentary short, “Beach 119,” about her efforts in Rockaways, New York, after the storm.

Prior to starting MAC, Allen owned and operated MAD Booking & Events, which booked and produced music festivals across the country including On the Bricks in Atlanta, GA. Allen is on the board of directors for Musicians on Call and the TJ Martell Foundation.

About MAC Presents
MAC Presents is an award-winning sponsorship and fulfillment agency based in New York City that executes partnerships between the world’s leading brands and artists. With expertise in the music industry, MAC creates authentic brand connections that produce unique experiences and ignite consumer passion.

Tags: communications awards, marketing awards, stevie awards, women awards, women in business awards, women executive awards, samsung, mac presents, at&T

Engage Your Customers: Social Media Advice From a Stevie Awards Chair

Posted by Liz Dean on Tue, Apr 02, 2013 @ 01:33 PM

Carmen Yazejian is President of Network9, a Web design firm in New York City, and Chair of the Committee for Final Judging of the marketing awards categories in The 2013 (11th Annual) American Business Awards, the top business awards in the United States. (April 24 is the last day that late entries will be accepted with payment of a late fee per entry. If you haven't already done so, you can request your entry kit here and it will be emailed to you right away.)

Carmen Yazejian, President, Network9As the president of Network9, you regularly post on your own blog.  What advice do you have for businesses on beefing up their own social media?
Be proud of who you are, and know that you have something unique to contribute. Present a point of view only you can express, be entertaining, and have fun!

What item of news recently caught your eye and why?
I only read good news. It helps keep me positive and have continued faith in the good in people.

What is your favorite business app?
I have Zite on my iPad. It gets smarter about what I like to read, and does the legwork for me. I get to read a ton of great articles all in one place. 

If you were to meet young people starting out in Web design, what career advice would you give them?
Learn your craft well: Know the technology and study good examples. Intern or work with a good studio. Always remember you are in service to your client, and place their success above all. Be respectful, read between the lines, communicate clearly and often, and be honest. Always give clients what they ask for, but go a step further and give them what they don’t always know they need.

As someone at the top of your profession, what keeps you inspired or makes you hit the ground running in the morning?
I enjoy working on new and diverse projects with challenging goals, being on the hunt for new technologies, and solving at least one problem each day. Sharing new ideas with brilliant people keeps everything fresh.

About Carmen Yazejian:
“Design is just problem-solving and communication,” says Network9 President Carmen Yazejian. Raised in a close-knit community of multigenerational families—a model echoed in Network9’s Manhattan studio—she studied fashion design and co-founded two companies: Harrow Clothiers, a line of English school blazers that graced Saks Fifth Avenue’s windows; and Pirelli Bags, artist portfolios made of rubber that rocked the art supply market. One marriage and two kids later, she retooled her brain to think digital, fell in love with the Web, and founded Network9 in 2005.  It is now one of the fastest-growing agencies in the country. 

About Network9:
is a New York-based Web design firm at the cutting-edge intersection of traditional marketing and online communication. Founded in 2005 by former fashion designer Carmen Yazejian, its customer-centric approach brings clients of all sizes a highly talented team with individual expertise in brand development, web and graphic design, search engine optimization (SEO), copywriting, print work, and more.

Tags: business awards, marketing awards, American business awards, stevie awards, Carmen Yazejian, Network9, social media tips

Go Viral: How to Get 1 Million Views on YouTube, From a Stevie® Awards Winner

Posted by Liz Dean on Thu, Mar 21, 2013 @ 12:56 PM

Thai Life Insurance Plc., in Bangkok, Thailand, received the Gold Stevie® Award for Consumer Advertising Campaign of the Year in the marketing awards categories of The 2012 International Business Awards, the world's premier business awards competition. (10 April is the early-bird entry deadline for the 2013 IBAs, take advantage of discounted entry fees for those entries submitted by 10 April, request your entry kit here. Interested in similar business award categories? The Stevie Awards now manage the IPRA Golden World Awards, which will be accepting entries through 20 May.) We look at how Thai Life’s ad campaign touched the hearts of millions.

Thai Life Insurance Plc. headquartersPopulation statistics from a 2010 survey found that Thailand's population composition has changed significantly over the last 10 years. Thai society is aging and the 0-14 age group has proportionately decreased compared to seniors aged 60 years and up. This trend is a consequence of the decline in Thailand’s birthrate and the fact that Thais are living longer, higher-quality lives.

Because of this, many life insurance companies in Thailand have shifted their focus in order to communicate with seniors and to create customized insurance products for them.

A Different Approach
While also providing insurance products for seniors, Thai Life chose a different approach to their competitors: they focused on employed adults and their duty to their elderly parents.

Working with Ogilvy & Mather Thailand, Thai Life created an advertising campaign that communicated the message to working adults that purchasing life insurance for their parents would be a way for them to repay the kindness that their elderly parents had showed to them.

This strategy has been a powerful one. Today’s employed adults devote ever larger amounts of their life to work, leaving less time for expressing their love for their families and parents. The reality of modern life in Thailand has meant that long-standing traditions of parental care and family relationships are now crumbling.

This trend has adversely affected Thai Life’s core business. The family unit is the main source of business for the company, with most people purchasing life insurance as a source of security for the family.

Thai Life insurance decided to use the issues of gratitude, and of faithfully repaying a parent’s kindness, as a way of getting through to their target audience.   Thai Life’s advertising campaign helped its customers to appreciate the value of taking care of their parents’ well being.

The Value of Life
Thai Life took an emotional approach. They used the story of a single deaf-mute father desperately trying to bring up a troubled teenage daughter. The climax of the story proved how, in the end, money or material possessions are not means to regain a daughter’s love: it’s the way the father proves his love towards her. The message stimulates the audience into thinking about the value of life (the insurance moment) and to get people to take action by “taking care of those who take care of you.” 

Excellent Results
When the “Silence of Love” campaign was uploaded to YouTube it received over a million views in the first week.  It also received over 730,000 shares on Facebook.  The campaign generated 7,153 phone inquiries during August-September 2011 resulting in over 1,154 new policies, with a premium value of approximately US $303,125, being sold by telesales during that same period. Additionally, over 962 new policies with a premium value of approximately US $2,758,900 were sold during the period July-December 2011 via sales agents. 

The Thai Life “Silence of Love” campaign has received a number of awards, including Best TV Campaign over 90 seconds, Best Director, and Best Copywriting from the 2011 Bangkok Art Directors’ awards show, and a Bronze Award in the Corporate Image category from the 2011 Spikes Asia Awards.  Additionally, “Silence of Love” was named Top Talk-About Advertisement in the 2012 Mthai Top Talk-About Awards, organized by

About Thai Life Insurance Plc:
Thai Life Insurance Plc. is proud to be a leader in providing unique products and services. It's the first Thai-owned insurance to support Thai people by offering products that meet the client needs. This is confirmed by the company’s mission to be "More Than Just Life Insurance."

Tags: business awards, marketing awards, International business awards, stevie awards, Thai Life Insurance Plc

8 Tips to Spice Up Your Email Marketing, From a Multi-Stevie® Awards Winner

Posted by Liz Dean on Thu, Feb 07, 2013 @ 11:54 AM

Janine Popick, CEO and Founder of VerticalResponse in San Francisco, California, USA, has won multiple Stevie® Awards, most recently for Executive of the Year in Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations in the management awards categories of The 2012 American Business Awards, the premier business awards competition in the U.S.A. (The entry deadline for the 2013 ABAs is March 27, request your entry kit here and it will be emailed to you right away.)

Janine Popick, CEO, VerticalResponseNow that the novelty of a new year has come and gone, you may have slipped into some old bad habits with your email marketing. Today, I’m going to share 8 things that will spice up your email marketing in 2013.

  1. Facebook—More Than Status Updates: You have got a Facebook page, right? Well, it’s super easy to set up an email address sign-up form on your Facebook page, and nearly every email marketing service provider has instructions for this. Plus, while you’re driving people to check out your Facebook page, give them a reason—like a sale—for supplying you with their email address.
  1. Email + Social Media = Power Couple: Email and social media need to be thought of as a great team, like Jay-Z and Beyonce. If you utilize one and not the other, you could be missing out on some killer traffic back to your website or blog. Include social media icons linking to your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Pinterest sites in all your emails and newsletters. These give your readers another way to engage and connect with your business. Want even more engagement? Share your emails on your social networks each time you send one.
  1. Start at the Top with Pre-header: We’ve all read a million times that your subject line is one of the most important parts of your email. But, the pre-header (i.e., the first line of text above the body of your email) serves as a wingman, or secondary subject line. It shows up in the mobile version of your email, and provides more content, which can get more people opening your emails. Use a pre-header regularly and see how it impacts your open rate. 
  1. Kick Dull to the Curb: If your subject lines are a snooze-fest, then using a pre-header won’t help. If you’re sending out a monthly newsletter and your subject line is “February 2013 Newsletter,” you can certainly do better. Read the content of your newsletter. What’s the most interesting thing that stands out? What do you think would make someone stop, read, and click-through to your website? Craft your subject line using that info. No more dull subject lines. Ever.
  1. ALT Text Has Got It Going On: Follow my advice from Kick Dull to the Curb and add some zing. ALT text is the copy you place “behind” an image (instead of the default tag) that displays if your recipient’s email browser turns images off by default. For example, instead of leaving your image’s super-exciting default tag of “dogfood3.JPG,” you could write: “Get 25% off all dog food until 3/31/13!” This will give your readers more context if their images are turned off, and prompt them to enable images to get the scoop.
  1. Target Practice: It’s time to do more with less. Take portions of your audience based on what they’re doing (or not doing) and send them a message that means something to them. Here’s an example: Got a winery? I bet you know who bought Pinot Noir in the last 6 months. Send an exclusive offer to your Pinot fans and see if you get better results than just sending it to everyone on your list. Give ‘em a killer deal to try a new varietal at a steep discount.
  1. How Often Do You Do It? Have you been sending monthly or weekly emails, at the same time, every time? Time to shake it up! Try to mail more often, or maybe less. It’s simple and easy to test: Just take a portion of your list (say 20% for trial purposes) and send two newsletters a month instead of one. See if you get a lift in opens and clicks, or a decrease in unsubscribes.
  1. Content Rules the Roost: You know your business inside and out, and everything that makes it interesting and unique, so share this in your emails, on your blog, everywhere. And use your content to your advantage. You can take blog posts you’ve created with a common theme and turn them into a helpful guide, or take a few guides you’ve written and turn them into an eBook. At VerticalResponse we do a number of webinars with a common theme, like Facebook, then send out a bundle of them to our prospects. By providing useful information, we help potential customers; and when it's time to look for an email and social media provider, we hope they’ll remember us.

By getting back to the basics with these 8 Email Marketing tips you can succeed with your subscribers, prospects, and customers in 2013 and beyond.

Did you enjoy this post? If so, sign up for the free VR Buzz weekly newsletter and check out the VerticalResponse Marketing Blog.

About Janine Popick:
Janine Popick is the CEO and founder of VerticalResponse, a leading provider of self-service email, social media, event marketing, online surveys, and direct mail solutions for businesses and non-profits. She has won the Stevie Award for Best Entrepreneur in the Stevie Awards for Women in Business every year since 2008. Janine recently won the U.S. Small Business Administration award for Small Business Person of the Year and was named a 2012 Small Biz Influencer Champion by Small Biz Trends. Janine brings over 20 years of experience leading direct and Internet marketing programs for some of the biggest brands in technology and entertainment. Follow her on Twitter at @janinepopick.

About VerticalResponse:
VerticalResponse Inc. provides a full suite of self-service marketing solutions for small businesses, including email marketing, social media marketing, event marketing, online surveys, and direct-mail marketing. Its mission is to empower small businesses and non-profit organizations to easily and affordably create, manage, and analyze their own marketing campaigns. Users can benefit from a wide variety of features via a single dashboard, including more than 700 free email-marketing templates; social media management tools to create, schedule, and publish content, and engage with followers; and robust reporting so that they can understand overall marketing success. VerticalResponse is headquartered in San Francisco, California. For more information visit

Tags: Email Marketing, Janine Popick, business awards, American business awards, stevie awards, management awards, VerticalResponse

3 Tips on Marketing Abroad, From a Stevie Awards International Judge

Posted by Liz Dean on Thu, Oct 18, 2012 @ 10:30 AM

Jin Mu Cho, Vice President of the Korea Business Communicators Association and Chair of the new product awards and product management awards categories of the final judging committee for The 2012 International Business Awards shares insights on conducting business abroad. (Sign up here to receive information on how to enter The 2013 International Business Awards, the world's premier business awards competition, opening in January.)

Jin Mu ChoAs someone at the top of the communications profession, what advice do you have for people marketing abroad?

  1. Surround yourself with motivated individuals. In PR and marketing it is important to be surrounded by creative individuals with original ideas.
  2. Meet with top professionals in the marketing industry, to observe how they work, and to learn their perspectives. 
  3. Find a mentor who is willing to share his or her experiences in the marketing industry.

What are your top tips for companies seeking to promote their products or services?
To promote anything successfully, a marketing campaign should have originality and also simplicity in order to make an impact.

What was the best advice you ever received at the beginning of your career?
Keep things simple; think ahead; and always strive to improve.

What item of news recently caught your eye and why?
The lawsuit between Apple and Samsung over cellular phone patents was fascinating. Because the lawsuit attracted an enormous amount of media coverage it caught the public’s attention, and both companies were able to promote their technologies and brands.  As a result, it increased brand awareness throughout the world.

About Jin Mu Cho:
Jin Mu Cho has been Vice President of the Korea Business Communicators Association (KBCA) since 2006. From 1988 to 2011, Jin Mu worked at the advertising company Daehong Communications Inc., a division of the LOTTE Group, in Seoul, where he was Director of the Public Relations, Events, Marketing, and Administration Division.

Jin Mu is a regular consultant and lecturer on topics including marketing, PR, crisis management, and events for the education institutions of The Korea Economic Daily and The HankyoReh daily newspapers, and at Yonsei University and Korea University. He is also a public relations advisor to the Korean Government since becoming a member of the Presidential Committee on Social Cohesion in 2010, and he was a public relations member on the Korean Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission from 2010 to 2011.

Tags: marketing awards, International business awards, stevie awards, new product awards, product management awards, Korea Business Communicators Association, Jin Mu Cho

4 Ways to Make the Most Out of Your Social Media, From an America Means Business Presenter

Posted by Liz Dean on Mon, Aug 27, 2012 @ 02:52 PM

Janine Popick, CEO and Founder of VerticalResponse in San Francisco, California, USA, has won multiple Stevie® Awards, most recently for Best Entrepreneur in the 2011 Stevie Awards for Women in Business, and the Gold Stevie for Executive of the Year/Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations in The 2012 American Business Awards. (The entry deadline for the 2012 Stevie Awards for Women in Business, the world's premier awards for women executives, entrepreneurs, and the organizations they run, is August 29. If you can't make the deadline, late entries will be accepted through September 28 with payment of a late fee. Request your entry kit today.) Janine recently spoke at America Means Business, a three day event for entrepreneurs, sponsored by the Stevie Awards. The following is an extract from that presentation: Janine Popick

As a business owner, the last thing you’re probably thinking about as you go through your day is posting to Facebook or tweeting on Twitter. I get it. I’ve been there. But getting started with social media is not that hard or intimidating—really! And if you are already using some form of email marketing, it’s even easier. Here are four tips on how to make the most of your already limited time and to make social media work to grow your business.

1. What to Publish
You’ve probably heard the phrase: Content is king. With social media, content is more important than ever. But who has all this content, and who has the time to create it?  Not me, you’re thinking.

Here’s a secret: You already have a ton of content that you can share with your fans and customers. Here are some fresh examples:

- Employee stories

- Photos and videos

- Guides, whitepapers, or notes

- Outside content (content you don’t own but can share)

- Questions and polls

- Great offers

- Events

- Press and awards

If you have a blog, this is where all your content should reside because a) you can post your content there and easily link to it in your social media posts, and b) a blog is ever-changing while your website is not. (If you don’t already have a blog yet, this is a key reason to start one.) A blog also gives you search engine optimization (SEO) benefits because search engines like Google love content. The more new content you have about a particular topic or category such as your industry, the more likely it is to appear on the results pages when someone is searching for those words.

The next step is to create a social media content calendar. It can be as simple as a monthly calendar that shows what you plan to post every day throughout the month. You'll want to leave room for spur-of-the-moment posts, of course, but having a plan will keep you organized and focused on the big picture. Don’t forget to designate who will be in charge of writing and/or posting them.

2. How to Increase Reach
The ultimate goal of being on social media is to increase your reach—i.e. the number of people who have the opportunity to be exposed to your company and message—and to increase engagement. There are multiple ways people can engage with you on social media, from someone answering a question, sharing your post or your tweet, or commenting on a post, to liking your Facebook post or Facebook page.

How do you encourage engagement? You can:

- Ask questions

- Share blog posts, events, company news, industry news, videos, and photos

- Thank your customers on their Facebook profiles or send them a tweet for mentioning your company or sharing your content (people love to be acknowledged!)

- Include calls to action with your content

- Use contests and giveaways to incentivize your followers

- Send solo email campaigns encouraging a follow or like (be sure to offer a bonus offer or flash discount)

Just remember: Your posts don’t have to be all about business, and they definitely shouldn’t just be about you. Tap in to your audience’s interests. You can share content about topics that are currently in the news, or a worthy cause, or just something fun. The goal is to catch your readers’ attention and get them to take an action.

3. Get it all to Work Together
Recent research by my marketing technology company VerticalResponse found that businesses that use both email and social media get a 28% higher open rate on their emails than those that don’t use both channels. Here are some easy ways to integrate email, blog content, and social media that will get more people to pay attention:


- Add an email opt-in form to your blog.

- Repurpose blog posts as content for your email newsletters.

- Use email to help build a strong following for your blog.

Get that email address!

- Ask Facebook followers for their email address.

- Have a welcome tab on your Facebook page with a form asking for their email address.

- Tweet “sign up to receive email-only” offers, then link to an opt-in form.

Email and Social Media:

- Post your email to your Facebook page and Twitter feed.

- Include “like us on Facebook” and “follow us on Twitter” buttons in your emails. Most email service providers offer the option to include these.

- Send a solo email asking recipients to follow you on your social networks.

4. Keeping Track
Like any business plan or strategy, when it comes to social media it’s important to see what’s working, what isn’t, and to learn from what you’re doing. Fortunately there are a lot of free or low-cost tools out there. Google Analytics is a great, free tool that tells you how many people visit your website and what they like to click on. Facebook Insights is another free, easy-to-use tool that lets you see which posts are popular, how many people they reach, and other metrics. For Twitter, check out Twitter Counter or TweetDeck.

Social media should not take you away from running your business. Instead, put these timesaving ideas in to action and watch your business grow!

For the full American Means Business Days presentation, download it for free here.

Did you enjoy this post? If so, sign up for the free VR Buzz weekly newsletter and check out the VerticalResponse Marketing Blog.

About Janine Popick:
Janine Popick is the CEO and founder of VerticalResponse, a leading provider of self-service email, social media, event marketing, online surveys, and direct mail solutions for businesses and non-profits. She has won the Stevie Award for Best Entrepreneur in the Stevie Awards for Women in Business every year since 2008. Janine recently won the U.S. Small Business Administration award for Small Business Person of the Year and was named a 2012 Small Biz Influencer Champion by Small Biz Trends. Janine brings over 20 years of experience leading direct and Internet marketing programs for some of the biggest brands in technology and entertainment. Follow her on Twitter at @janinepopick.

About VerticalResponse:
VerticalResponse Inc. provides a full suite of self-service marketing solutions for small businesses including email marketing, social media marketing, event marketing, online surveys, and direct mail marketing. Its mission is to empower small businesses and non-profit organizations to easily and affordably create, manage, and analyze their own marketing campaigns. Users can benefit from a wide variety of features via a single dashboard, including more than 700 free email-marketing templates; social media management tools to create, schedule, and publish content, and engage with followers; and robust reporting so that they can understand overall marketing success. VerticalResponse is headquartered in San Francisco, California. For more information visit

Tags: Social Media, Email Marketing, Janine Popick, VeritcalResponse, America Means Business, American business awards, stevie awards for women in business, stevie awards

7 Tips on Building a Global Brand, From a Stevie Awards Judge

Posted by Liz Dean on Thu, Jun 28, 2012 @ 11:49 AM

Allyson Stewart-Allen is the Founder & Director of International Marketing Partners in London, United Kingdom, and a member of the committee for final judging of the management awards categories in The 2012 International Business Awards, the world's premier business awards competition. (The final entry deadline for the 2012 IBAs has been extended to July 18. Get your entry kit today.) Here Allyson shares advice on ensuring brand success in the international arena.

Allyson Stewart-Allen Internationalization in a recession can be done—it just takes thorough planning and confidence. Instead of listening to the constant stream of headlines about brands that have failed overseas, let’s replace those with some success stories about the companies that have done it right, that have been methodical, that have adapted and made great profits.

Plan for Success
Research the structure of your target international markets and your competitors.  It is critically important that you know the potential challenges ahead.  Through your research, identify key editorial and press opportunities that can help you become known in your growth markets. 

Consider a tradeshow and arrange meetings in advance with potential buyers. 

Identify cities for growth that will attract your target clients/customers and focus on saturating those.  Focus is the name of the game.

Measure the Market:
If the USA is your target market for expansion, even if the “English” used seems to be the same language as that used in the U.K., it’s important to understand cultural differences.  Try our quiz: Are you ready to work with Americans?

Your expansion will be more likely to succeed if you’ve recognized which aspects of your brand travels well—we call it BrandTravel™—and can adapt to local markets when necessary.  You might want to consider hiring local marketing experts with on-the-ground knowledge.

Here are my top 7 tips to help ensure your brand will succeed in the international arena:

1. Manage “local” and “global”: Managing this dilemma well separates the winners from the mediocre. It is possible to obtain economies of scale while delivering local services or products, as global food and drink brands have learned so well. Zara is one of the few companies in the fashion world to have created ranges specifically for their southern hemisphere markets rather than just selling them past season’s wares from its northern stores.

2. Transfer knowledge: To ensure innovation and profit when opening stores in a new market it is important to transfer what’s been learned from the culture, consumer behaviors, and preferences in each market. Tesco’s Fresh & Easy small-store format in the United States had some costly merchandising hiccups at the start because of the company’s failure to apply the localization lessons gathered from similar expansions into Asian markets.

3. Be resilient: The ability to change processes and manage costs in turbulent economic climates is an essential skill for operations teams and retail business leaders. Some setbacks are to be expected as part of the process of aligning a business to local cultures and tastes.

4. Assume difference: Making assumptions about a target culture is a mistake, as Best Buy, Starbucks, Disneyland Paris, and many others have learned at great cost. Starbucks recently attempted to market its Trenta size (30 oz) drink in the UK—larger than a full bottle of wine­—and this was seen as an overly indulgent American “super-sized” product not fit for European tastes. Coach, however, brought only the US leather goods ranges it knew would appeal to customers at its recently opened Bond Street, London store, while leaving behind the “wristlet” (a small zip wallet with a carrying strap for the wrist) that is so successful in the U.S. market.

5. Innovate through insight: Involve consumers and supply-chain partners in identifying which new technologies, materials, designs, and services can change the business model. Crowdsourcing not only lowers the R&D costs, but also engages your target markets with the knock-on benefit that they will use social media to promote your foresight and engagement.

6. Build the brand: Most consumers are unfamiliar with soon-to-land-here trans-Atlantic brands. Seize this opportunity to (re) position the retailer in a new geography, as Abercrombie & Fitch has so successfully done in the UK. A blank canvas gives a retailer permission to seize a space it might not have been able to in its domestic market. Victoria’s Secret, the mass-market lingerie brand, will soon be launching in the UK and will have a great opportunity to position itself with new customer segments.

7. Assume success: Approach new markets intentionally, not just by licensing or franchising, but also by incorporating this approach as part of the long-term corporate strategy. Too often, expanding businesses treat international growth as a project rather than as a core part of their long-term evolution, choking the initiative of critically important capital and leadership resources. Confidence in an international foray—based, of course, on the thorough research and evidence that supports it—means it will be properly funded and given the management attention it deserves.

About Allyson Stewart-Allen:
Allyson Stewart-Allen, founder of International Marketing Partners, is an internationally recognized marketing advisor, author, speaker, and broadcaster who helps companies grow internationally by guiding them on localizing their brands, behavior, and businesses. An accomplished speaker, broadcaster, and author, Allyson is a frequent guest expert on CNN, CNBC, BBC, and Bloomberg, and Sky News hosted her four-year slot as “The Muse of Marketing.”  Allyson is a regular keynote speaker at business conferences and is a judge for The Stevie® Awards in the U.S. and the U.K.’s Women in Marketing Awards. Originally from Los Angeles, where she earned her MBA under the direct tutelage of Dr. Peter Drucker, Allyson has been based in Europe for more than 25 years and is the co-author of bestselling book Working With Americans.  She remains involved in the academic world via her work as an Associate Fellow at Said Business School, University of Oxford.

About International Marketing Partners:
Founded in 1991 by Allyson Stewart-Allen, International Marketing Partners Ltd. was born on the back of clients asking not only for general advice on how to grow the quality and number of customers in their home and international markets, but also specifically how to localize their products and services so they would be relevant and viable in those markets. Finding clients who were most interested in the know-how of its consulting team members meant the company could, in its early days, draw on the experience of recognized experts in Allyson’s network. International Marketing Partners today still uses this successful model: hand-selecting the right mix of consulting experience to match the goals, strategies, and culture of its clients’ businesses. For more information, visit

Tags: business awards, International business awards, stevie awards, management awards, Allyson Stewart-Allen, International Marketing Partners