Liz Dean

Recent Posts

How a Stevie® Awards Winner Uses Guerrilla Marketing to Create Brand Recognition

Posted by Liz Dean on Wed, May 22, 2013 @ 11:44 AM

Julia Shih, Director of Strategic Alliances at AMAX, in Fremont, California, USA, received  the Gold Stevie® Award for Female Executive of the Year – Business Services in the 2012 Stevie Awards for Women in Business, the world's premier awards for women executives, entrepreneurs, and the organizations they run. (July 24 is the early-bird deadline for the 2013 awards. If you haven't already done so, you can request an entry kit here and it will be emailed to you right away.) Here we look at how Julia is changing tech branding.

Julia Shih, Director of Strategic Alliances, AMAXJulia Shih has been described as part drill sergeant, part cruise director, and all heart.  As Director of Strategic Alliances at AMAX, her passion for the company’s growth and well-being is contagious. She is a strong believer in a healthy work/play balance, a management that truly cares, and a system that focuses on each person’s potential instead of fixed roles.  This encourages AMAX team members to feel that they are truly a part of something. Julia is a visionary leader who brings out her team’s highest potential and who allows them to showcase their unique personalities. She makes it easy for people to get behind her for a common goal.

On winning the Stevie Award for Female Executive of the Year in 2012, Julia responded with her now-infamous PHAT-Data™ rap, celebrating the PHAT-Data™ Hadoop Cluster line (winner of a Gold Stevie for Product of the Year in The 2012 International Business Awards), which you can listen to at:

Best-kept Secret
The core business of AMAX has always been OEM Server Manufacturing, so its brand has always been hidden behind that of customers such as McAfee, Riverbed, Cisco—some of the best-recognized names in the industry. As a result, most people had never heard of AMAX, despite it being an award-winning x86 hardware manufacturer with 30 years in the industry.

When Julia Shih joined AMAX in 2010 she was given the challenging task of being the key handler of the AMAX brand.  Her objective was not only to develop and market the new AMAX-branded product lines of servers, storage, and big data solutions to industries, but also to have AMAX’s name stand out amongst household Tier 1 competitors such as Dell, HP, and IBM.

The key was to create memorable marketing initiatives that served a very focused purpose: to get AMAX’s name out there and to generate revenue through viral campaigns that would create brand recognition, core-competency/product recognition, and ultimately brand appreciation for one of the industry’s best-kept secrets.

“Genius” Initiatives
Some of Julia’s most creative initiatives were guerrilla campaigns, including Project Captive Audience at the 2012 RSA conference and trade show.  Free chair massages were offered to attendees, who were also offered iPads loaded with a (relaxing) AMAX product presentation streamed for customers wearing noise-canceling earphones. Feedback from attendees was that this was “genius,” and many attendees commented that they consequently “knew more about AMAX than any other company at the show.” 

Other initiatives included passing out pints of beer—with the catchphrase: "That's a SWEET Rack!"—in exchange for seeing product demos to promote AMAX's rack server solutions; and a Big Data Haiku contest which raised Facebook likes by over 1100% in a matter of weeks. The press release alone received 900 views within the first 12 hours, went viral on social media, and was picked up by bloggers the next day.

Perhaps one of Julia’s most successful initiatives was the creation of Ballapalooza, an industry basketball tournament benefiting Autism Speaks. The tournament brought key members of the tech industry together in a one-of-a-kind networking event. Working on the theory that those who play together are more likely to do business together, the tournament’s format placed players on teams according to both skill level and professional fit.  The event not only generated a surprising amount for the charity: it also increased business, deepened relationships, and allowed employees within the same companies to bond and to improve work relationships.

Doing More with Less
Julia does more with a small marketing budget than most companies that spend millions. Her marketing philosophy is based on common sense. When asked about her core approach to marketing strategy, Julia says: “You don't need to spend millions if you truly understand your brand, your audience, and how to connect the two in a compelling story.”

Outstanding Results
Julia’s strategic campaigns for product launches—including the PHAT Data Hadoop Cluster—increased total sales inquiries by over 640% and led to an increased company revenue of $26 million in 2011, most of which was from AMAX-branded solutions. 

About Julia Shih:
Julia Shih has always thought outside of the box. She started her career in the film industry, and so brings a refreshing, dynamic, and creative perspective to the work she is now doing in the tech industry.  As AMAX’s Director of Strategic Alliance, Julia is the key handler of AMAX’s brand as it touches sales, marketing, and client/vendor partnerships. She utilizes a Hollywood deal-making mentality to build symbiotic relationships with leading technology partners to build AMAX’s brand as a global technology leader. By targeting breakout technologies and products in the datacenter, Big Data, and high performance arenas, Julia is bringing cutting-edge solutions to market.

About AMAX:
Founded in 1979, AMAX specializes in engineering and manufacturing advanced Cluster, Server, and Storage Solutions. Headquartered in Fremont, California, AMAX globally operates ISO:9001/14001/ TL9000 certified and UL approved facilities throughout North America and China to service the US, Canadian, LTAM, APAC, and EMEA regions. AMAX's expertise drives two key divisions that deliver customized computing solutions to a wide range of industries: AMAX's Appliance Manufacturing Division provides efficient and top-of-the-line manufacturing solutions and global logistics to OEM customers, while its Enterprise & High Performance Computing Division provides innovative and scalable cluster, server, and storage products developed for HPC, Cloud, Virtualization, and Big Data applications.

Topics: marketing awards, stevie awards for women in business, Julia Shih, AMAX, branding, female executive of the year

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.

Topics: 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."

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

How a Stevie Awards Winner's Integrated Marketing Campaign Increased Global Sales

Posted by Liz Dean on Mon, Mar 04, 2013 @ 05:17 PM

Slack and Company, an integrated marketing communications agency in Chicago, Illinois, USA, was named Marketing Agency of the Year in the 2012 Best of the ABA Awards as part of The American Business Awards, the premier business awards competition in the USA. Introduced in 2012, the Best of the ABA Awards are five best-of-competition prizes that are awarded to the organizations that submit the best body of work to the competition, in their own name or in the names of one or more clients. Here is Slack and Company's award-winning submission for Business-to-Business Advertising Campaign of the Year, submitted in the marketing awards categories of The 2012 American Business Awards. (The entry deadline for the 2013 ABAs is March 27, request your entry kit here and it will be emailed to you right away.)

Marketing Challenge
To keep its lead in the paper shredder market, Fellowes needed to:

  • Achieve more brand visibility;
  • Drive home the differences between its shredders and the competition; and
  • Generate more traffic for channel-partner stores and websites.

Communications Strategy
Ron Klingensmith, Chief Creative Officer, Slack and CompanyAn integrated program was created featuring the iconic bulldog mascot, who sets up messages that emphasize the core performance advantages of Fellowes’ lineup of tough and reliable shredders.

The “Bred to Shred” campaign was developed to build awareness and drive action using a mix of media including television and radio, targeted print, airport dioramas, and mobile/online ads supported by strategic search engine optimization and search engine marketing (SEO/SEM).

Although primarily a North American campaign, the television, print, and digital advertising was transcreated and went on to run throughout Europe.

Outstanding Results
The program has strengthened Fellowes’ best-in-breed reputation for reliable, jam-free shredding—and sparked demonstrable buyer interest. In its first seven weeks, the campaign was responsible for a significant traffic uptick at retail-partner websites and boosted visits to the Fellowes site by more than 13%. Total click-through rates from online media averaged 1.06%, sending hundreds of thousands of new shredder shoppers to retail-partner websites.

“With creative magic and strategic, integrated thinking from Slack, we've been better able grow our brand visibility, delight our channel partners, and protect our market leadership,” said Maureen Moore, Vice President of Marketing and Communications at Fellowes.

"The Slack and Company team is grateful for this recognition from our peers in the business world,” said Ron Klingensmith, Chief Creative Officer at Slack and Company.  “It shows just how powerful a tool integrated marketing can be in regional, national, and international markets."

About Ron Klingensmith:
Ron Klingensmith is Chief Creative Officer of Slack and Company, and has worked with the company for 20 years. Ron's strategically driven creative work has earned awards (Tower, Pro-Comm, CEBA) for countless clients. Not only that, he has mentored scores of seasoned creatives, who can be found working throughout Chicago’s ad community.

Before joining Slack and Company, Ron spent nearly a decade at consumer agencies, including a five-year stint at J. Walter Thompson. This consumer sensibility, combined with Ron's love for strategy, is a major reason why Slack and Company’s creative product is so people-friendly, while still driving measurable results.

About Slack and Company:
Slack and Company is an integrated marketing communications agency that works exclusively with business marketers to build strong brands and create profitable demand. Founded in 1988 and based in Chicago, Slack and Company now has additional offices in Singapore and Sweden. In addition to being honored in the ABAs, Slack and Company was also named Marketing Agency of the Year in the 2012 Best of the IBA Awards as part of The International Business Awards, the world's premier business awards competition.  

About Fellowes:
Fellowes’ mission is to provide innovative workspace solutions to help people work more securely, comfortably, and productively.  Founded in 1917 by Harry Fellowes and headquartered in Itasca, Illinois, Fellowes, Inc. employs more than 1,200 people throughout the world and has operations in sixteen countries. Fellowes products are now readily available in over 100 countries across the globe.

Fellowes, Inc. is the global leader in paper shredder design and engineering, providing the highest quality personal and general office business shredders on the market. Known as the “World’s Toughest Shredders™”, the company is notable for inventing the personal shredder and as being the only one to offer 100 percent Jam Proof technology.

Topics: marketing awards, International business awards, American business awards, Best of the ABAs, Slack and Company, Ron Klingensmith, Fellowes, Best of the IBAs, marketing campaign

4 Ways Stevie Awards Winner Used Mobile Marketing to Increase Sales

Posted by Liz Dean on Fri, Feb 22, 2013 @ 11:44 AM

New York-based MediaCom won the Gold Stevie® Award for Mobile Marketing Campaign of the Year in the marketing 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.) Now that the dust of Super Bowl XLVII has settled, we look behind the scenes at how the innovative technology achieved maximum ROI for a Super Bowl XLVI ad. Ryan Mocan, MediaCom

In 2011, Volkswagen’s “Mini Vader” TV spot was the must-see commercial of the Super Bowl. It was strong enough that MediaCom seeded it online way ahead of game day. Momentum was built up through mobile, search, and social media; and MediaCom was able to capture data that was vital for the targeted remarketing that turned the buzz surrounding the spot into sales floor action. This momentum turned the spot about an adorable kid in a Darth Vader costume into real call-to-action messages.

In 2012, imitation proved to be the sincerest form of flattery for MediaCom when the majority of Super Bowl advertisers copied their strategy—but MediaCom was able to do even better.

The Challenge
The challenge for MediaCom was to provide mobile and tablet support for the VW Super Bowl campaign, “Dog Strikes Back,” that would run before, during, and after game day. MediaCom developed an aggressive mobile search campaign around VW’s Super Bowl spot to not only match the blockbuster results from 2011, but also exceed them. 

The campaign included:

  • Mobile search
  • Contextual search, and
  • Voice search

Here’s a snapshot of how MediaCom’s campaign worked: 

1.  Teaser Video
The campaign started well ahead of the Super Bowl, lending support around a teaser video.  Rather than directing people to YouTube, all these efforts drove them directly to VW’s mobile-optimized website, providing an enhanced viewing experience on a mobile device or tablet. 

2.  Increased Search Traffic Through Paid Channels
Next, MediaCom continued to spread interest and increase traffic via major paid channels, including Google, Bing, Marchex Voice, and Kontera. MediaCom secured terms that were both specific to VW and more general to the Super Bowl. The MediaCom team also worked with ad networks like Kontera to secure in-text terms like “Super Bowl,” “vehicle,” and “new car”, effectively blocking the competition from these terms.

While MediaCom aggressively beat out competitors’ search terms, the real challenge came in defending VW’s own. Not only did other automobile brands bid on VW terms, but so did brands like Sketchers, Old Spice, and Doritos. MediaCom constantly monitored in real-time and adapted relevant keywords and ad copy to defend against competition at all stages of the campaign. 

3.  Voice Search
MediaCom knew that during the game people would be especially active on their phones and mobile devices – texting, Tweeting, and searching – so the team ramped up its efforts on Super Bowl Sunday. MediaCom was one of the first Super Bowl advertisers to use voice search. Consumers searching for related terms were greeted with an audio version of the VW Super Bowl ad and the opportunity to learn more about VW.

4.  Free Skype Calls for Pizza
It’s a well-known fact that many people order food during the Super Bowl—especially pizza.  MediaCom secured “pizza”-related terms, with VW sponsoring free Skype calls from consumers to pizzerias.

Phenomenal Results
By providing consumers with an easy mobile search experience, MediaCom drove phenomenal results:

  • 31.9% of YouTube commercial viewings came from mobile traffic
  • Clicks increased 14% from 2011 to 2012
  • Impressions increased 80% from 2011 to 2012
  • A 1,745% lift in clicks on game day versus pre-launch
  • Over 700,000 callers heard the VW voice ad on Super Bowl day

Most importantly, VW saw its sales soar 42% year-over-year in February, the carmaker’s best February for sales since 1973.

"The mobile media work we've done for VW shows how businesses can harness the power of new media to push sales to new heights,” commented Ryan Mocan, Digital Media Director at MediaCom. “Being acknowledged as Best Mobile Marketing Campaign in The American Business Awards shows that the business community is equally aware of this."

About Ryan Mocan:
Ryan Mocan is the Digital Media Director at MediaCom. He crafts strategies to lead and strengthen his clients business while developing POVs, providing thought leadership, and driving innovation. He also ensures that companies target the right audience to drive qualified traffic to their website, and increase their online ROI with digital strategies including SEM, SEO, social media, local search optimization, mobile, display, and web analytics.

Mocan’s work has been widely recognized throughout the industry and has received numerous accolades, including an OMMA Award; two IAB MIXX Awards; a Direct Marketing Association ECHO Award; an Adrian Award; a ClickZ Connected Marketing Award; and seven American Business Awards. Mocan has twelve years of online marketing experience and holds a double MBA in online marketing and management information systems. 

About MediaCom:
Part of the WPP Group, MediaCom is one of the largest media planning and buying agencies in the world. Billing nearly $25 billion USD a year globally, MediaCom boasts over 4,500 employees across 89 countries and in 111 offices. MediaCom provides clients with business-building media communications strategies for some of the world’s biggest and best-known global brand names.

Topics: marketing awards, American business awards, innovative technology, Ryan Mocan, Tablet Marketing, MediaCom, Mobile Marketing

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

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

3 Ways to Win Marketing Awards in 2013 Sales & Customer Service Awards

Posted by Liz Dean on Thu, Dec 27, 2012 @ 02:30 PM

As the final entry deadline for the 2013 Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service, the world's top business awards for contact center, customer service, business development, and sales professionals, approaches on January 15, 2013, we wanted to highlight three marketing awards that should be of interest. (If you haven't yet done so, you can begin your submission process by requesting an entry kit here. The entry kit contains all of the instructions you need about how to prepare and submit your entries.) 

The Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer ServiceThe Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service feature more than 125 sales awards, customer service awards, and call center awards categories honoring sales excellence and best customer service practices for individuals, teams, and departments, plus categories this year for products and service and solution providers. The 2013 awards will recognize achievements since July 1, 2011.

Three categories in particular that should be of interest to marketing professionals include:

  1. Outbound Marketing Program of the Year
    Recognizing marketing programs that use advertising, promotions, public relations and sales.
  2. Inbound Marketing Program of the Year
    Recognizing marketing programs that rely on content generation, lead development, and prospect cultivation.
  3. Demand Generation Program of the Year
    Recognizing sales organizations (and their colleagues in marketing) for their demand generation programs.

Entries in these categories require an essay of up to 525 words describing the nominee’s achievements since July 1, 2011; links to any online materials that support the nomination; and a brief (125 word) biography of the nominee.

2012 Gold Stevie Award winners include Nationwide Financial (Demand Generation Program of the Year), CenturyLink (Outbound Marketing Program of the Year), and Monitronics International (Inbound Marketing Program of the Year), among others. A complete list of 2012 honorees is available at

Winners of the 2013 edition will be announced at an awards banquet at Paris Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, on February 25, 2013.

Don't hesitate to contact us with any questions regarding the 2013 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service.  Email us at or call us at + 1 703-547-8389 and we'll get back to you right away.

Topics: sales excellence, best customer service, customer service awards, marketing awards, call center awards, sales achievement, best marketing, marketing award

Two Techniques for Securing Target Accounts, From a Stevie Awards Winner

Posted by Liz Dean on Wed, Dec 05, 2012 @ 12:49 PM

Babcock & Jenkins of Portland, Oregon, USA, won the Stevie® Award for Outbound Marketing Program of the Year in the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, the world's top business awards for contact center, customer service, business development, and sales professionals. (The final entry deadline for the 2013 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service is January 15. If you haven't already done so, you can request your entry kit here and it will be emailed to you right away.) Here we look at how they helped their client, CenturyLink, break through the clutter with a targeted mailer.

Denise Barnes, President of Babcock & JenkinsCenturyLink, the third largest telecommunications company in the United States, needed to expand its market share by connecting with senior technology executives at top-tier companies. CenuryLink faced many challenges including:

  • Many of the targeted companies were in markets where CenturyLink had little or no brand recognition.
  • The audience was a difficult one to connect with: Skeptical, no-nonsense, discerning, and busy. About the last thing they had time for was a marketing message.
  • The executive-level decision-makers that CenturyLink needed to reach were not going to give them the time of day unless CenturyLink could somehow break through to them with something that would not only grab their attention, but also deliver relevant, valuable information.

Collaborating closely with the sales and marketing teams at CenturyLink, marketing awards winner, Babcock & Jenkins developed a pilot campaign with the following objectives:

  1. To drive engagement with targeted prospects, and
  2. To deliver qualified leads that result in sales meetings.

Breaking Through the Clutter

CenturyLink Targeted Account Program (TAP) mailer achieved its objectives through two main techniques:

  1. The strategy was to make every interaction personal and truly relevant. Each prospect received a high-end architectural tube in the mail with a customized network map showing what CenturyLink could do to connect their specific locations and improve network efficiency.

    The mailer broke through the clutter with impressive, blueprint-sized, customized-network diagrams that the CenturyLink sales engineers were developing to help close contracts. These diagrams not only showed specifically how CenturyLink could address a prospect’s unique network challenges, but also how committed the telecommunications company was to providing great, personalized service.

  2. A hand-written sticky note on the network diagram pointed to a personalized micro site, accessed via a personalized URL, where the recipient of the mailer could drill down into a 40-page recommendation specific to his or her company. The site featured a welcome video from CenturyLink’s CTO. The site also enabled prospects to see who their Account Manager would be and how to contact them.

    Tracking on the site enabled passive profiling, giving sales insight into the prospect’s interaction with the web pages. A sales alert notified reps when their target responded to the site. For non-responders, a series of coordinated direct mail, email, and phone touches reminded them to go online and view their proposal.

Whopping ROI

The campaign achieved the following results:

  1. Engagement
    63% of the targeted accounts (19 of 53) started a dialogue with
  2. Pipeline
    26% of targets (11 of 53) were converted, meaning they were funneling revenue into the pipeline.
  3. ROI
    The company's ROI became a whopping 8: 1.
  4. Sales and Marketing Happiness
    A CenturyLink sales rep told us: “This is the best marketing program I’ve seen in my 15 years in this business.” (Yes, it’s a nice quote, but more importantly it shows that the CenturyLink sales team had bought into the marketing strategy 100%. That is critical to making a targeted accounts campaign successful.)

Babcock & Jenkins went on to roll out the CenturyLink TAP mailer to targeted accounts in other regions and with select partners. The B2B marketer is also planning to scale the program to a larger number of accounts, and to extend it to customers for cross-sell and up-sell opportunities. Finally, there are plans to test and fine-tune the campaign with new tactics and touches.

Denise Barnes, President of Babcock & Jenkins, feels that this is the most exciting time for the marketing industry in the last 50 years.  On winning the Stevie Award, Denise commented: "The aim of our agency is to make heroes of our clients, and winning the Stevie Award for Outbound Marketing Program of the Year was the best accolade possible for CenturyLink's highly successful TAP mailer.  This recognition is made even more rewarding by the knowledge that the Stevie Awards are judged by sales and customer service professionals in a wide range of industries."

About Denise Barnes
As President of Babcock & Jenkins (BNJ), Denise oversees all aspects of the agency, including strategic planning and day-to-day operations. She joined BNJ in 1998 and is responsible for the groundwork that has enabled the company’s success. With more than 25 years marketing experience, her previous successes include launching more than 20 commercial web sites, including Billboard®, LIFE® Magazine, Sports Illustrated®, and She also helped the emerging start-up E-Machines to grow from ground to $50 million within five years. 

About Babcock & Jenkins:
Babcock & Jenkins delivers authentic, unique, relevant stories on behalf of its clients in order to build brand, drive demand, and accelerate pipeline. Babcock & Jenkins engages audiences in meaningful conversations to form and preserve lasting, profitable relationships. For more information go to:

About Century Link
Century Link is the third largest telecommunications company in the United States and is recognized as a leader in the network services market by technology industry analyst firms. The company is a global leader in cloud infrastructure and hosted IT solutions for enterprise customers. Century Link provides data, voice and managed services in local, national and select international markets through its high-quality advanced fiber optic network and multiple data centers for businesses and consumers. The company also offers advanced entertainment services under the CenturyLinkTM PrismTM TV and DIRECTV brands. Headquartered in Monroe, La., CenturyLink is an S&P 500 company and is included among the Fortune 500 list of America's largest corporations. For more information, visit

Topics: business awards, marketing awards, Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, Babcock & Jenkins, Outbound Marketing Program of the Year, CenturyLink, Denise Barnes

50 Ways to Win Marketing Awards in The 2013 American Business Awards

Posted by Liz Dean on Mon, Nov 26, 2012 @ 03:29 PM

There are 50 marketing awards categories in The 2013 American Business Awards, the premier business awards competition in the U.S.A., to help you highlight your marketing successes. (Wednesday, December 12, is the second early-bird entry deadline for the 2013 ABAs, request your entry kit here  and you'll receive it right away.)

Our Marketing Campaign of the Year Categories for Industries include:

  • AccountingThe American Business Awards
  • Advertising, Marketing, & Public Relations
  • Aerospace & Defense
  • Automotive & Transport Equipment
  • Banking
  • Business Services
  • Chemicals
  • Computer Hardware
  • Computer Software
  • Computer Services
  • Conglomerates
  • Consumer Products - Durables
  • Consumer Products - Non-Durables
  • Diversified Services
  • Electronics
  • Energy
  • Financial Services
  • Food & Beverage
  • Health Products & Services
  • Hospitality & Leisure
  • Internet/New Media
  • Insurance
  • Legal
  • Manufacturing
  • Materials & Construction
  • Media & Entertainment
  • Metals & Mining
  • Non-Profit Organizations
  • Real Estate
  • Retail
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Telecommunications
  • Transportation
  • Utilities

Our Marketing Campaign of the Year - Specialty Categories include:

  • Brand Experience of the Year (New category for 2013)
  •  Business-to-Business Advertising Campaign of the Year
  • Business-to-Business Marketing Campaign of the Year
  • Consumer Advertising Campaign of the Year
  • Consumer Marketing Campaign of the Year
  • Mobile Marketing Campaign of the Year
  • Online Marketing Campaign of the Year
  • New Product or Service Introduction of the Year (New category for 2013)
  • Retail/Merchandising Marketing Campaign of the Year
  • Small-Budget Marketing Campaign of the Year (<$3 million)
  • Viral Marketing Campaign of the Year

Our Marketing Professional Categories include:

  • Marketing or Advertising Agency of the Year
  • Marketing Department of the Year
  • Marketing Team of the Year
  • Marketing Executive of the Year
  • Marketer of the Year (for non-executive marketing professionals)

If you can't make the December 12, 2012 deadline, March 27, 2013 is the entry deadline and April 24, 2013 is the last day that late entries will be accepted with payment of a late fee. Finalists will be announced on May 8, 2013. Entry details are available at

Looking for more ways to showcase your organization? There are a number of other ABA categories that should be of interest to communications professionals, including many of the corporate literature awards, annual report awards, website awards, video awards, and live event awards categories.

Topics: communications awards, business awards, website awards, corporate literature awards, marketing awards, annual report awards, marketing campaign of the year, marketing award

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.

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