Michael Gallagher

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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 MasterMarketing247.com and her articles have appeared in PR News’ 2011 Crisis Management Guidebook, Birmingham Business Journal, The Birmingham News, Alabama Business News, and al.com. 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: www.marketing247.net

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

Top 3 Market Research Tips: Q&A with John Kearon of BrainJuicer Group

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Thu, Nov 03, 2011 @ 11:16 AM

BrainJuicer Group PLC was named Company of the Year in Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations in The 2011 International Business Awards. (The IBAs are the world's top business awards program, open to all organizations and individuals worldwide. The 2012 IBAs open for entries in January - get the entry kit.)

We asked BrainJuicer founder John Kearon for some insight on what's new in marketing research.

John KearonWhat are your top 3 tips for new marketing research methods?

OK, here’s a thought experiment for you: If you had shares in every market research approach and were prepared to create a portfolio to hold for the next decade, which market research methods would you be buying and selling?

I’d start by shedding my entire portfolio of classic research approaches that rely on people’s post-rationalized beliefs about why they do things and what they say they like, asked in environments unrelated to the behavior in question. I’m not saying they won’t continue to be important in MR, but I am saying I believe they will be declining rather than growing.  So my top 3 “sells” would be:

1. All current pre-testing and concept testing approaches.  They have a notoriously bad record for predicting failure for some of the best-known and commercially successful adverts and new product launches. Adverts such as the Cadbury Gorilla and Stella Artois’ Jean de Florette—both reassuringly expensive campaigns—were punished in classic pre-testing; and new product launches including Bailey’s Irish Cream, cash point machines, and the Sony Walkman also fared badly in classic-concept testing research.

2. Perhaps controversially, I would also be selling Focus Groups. Yes, they can reveal powerful insights in the hands of a great researcher, but all too often they are just the lazy default of unquestioning research buyers and produce little or no insight on the subject at hand.

3. My final sell would be Brand and Advertising Tracking. As far as I can see, this is dead from the neck up, offering little or no insight, direction, or positive contribution beyond the comfort blanket of a monthly number. If this sort of research were banned, businesses would suffer withdrawal symptoms for a couple of months, after which they’d never go back.   Instead, they’d spend the money on the sort of research techniques outlined below that can actually help companies grow.

Now to what to buy. I’m interested in those research approaches most closely tied to Behavioural Economics. BE is finally explaining how people really make decisions and showing it to be quite different from what current market research believes. My top 3 “buys” would therefore be:

Any “We Research” techniques, such as prediction markets.  These techniques are increasing the accuracy of concept testing by tapping our ability as social animals to predict the behavior of other people, yet doing it better than we can predict our own.

I would also be buying shares in Ethnography and Netnography, as anything based on observation of what people really do is massively more accurate than what people say they do—or the reasons they give for saying it.

My final pick would be Game-Based Research. This can help put people into the context, mood, or hot state they would actually be in when choosing a response, so it elicits far more accurate research results than the vast majority of current, non-contextual research.

What item of news recently caught your eye and why?

In the UK, the quality newspapers’ reaction to Steve Job’s passing was sadly revealing of our liberal intelligentsia’s dismissal of the significance of anything they see as commercial. Some of the commentaries bordered on the Pythonesque in their “What have the Romans ever done for us?” tone.  Sure, Jobs invented the computer interfaces we take for granted; sure, he shaped the devices we use to play our music and changed the way we buy music and media; it’s true he redefined what a mobile phone is for and generated a global lust for beautiful and functional technology … but what did he ever do for us? The journalists urged us to get a little perspective. Jobs was hardly Nelson Mandela or Desmond Tutu, he was really just a good marketer and surely not deserving of the eulogies erupting around the world. I am saddened by the anti-commercial attitude that still survives in Britain towards the entrepreneurs and inventors who through creativity, boldness, and perseverance bring great products to a grateful public. I sincerely hope attitudes change and that we start to finally appreciate people like our own Jonathan Ive (selected by Jobs as his design guru, now SVP of Industrial Design at Apple Inc. and the conceptual mind behind everything from the iMac to the iPhone and iPad) and the engineer James Dyson, who has reinvented the way we clean our homes.

Do you have a favorite business app?

I love technology … but the wonderfully friendly, long suffering, Wayne Nightingale—who meets me off transatlantic flights with a cup of tea and drives me home to the kids—has to be my best business app. Thanks, Wayne!

If you could choose another profession, what would it be?

I’d be busy blowing up current approaches to education and setting up highly alternative schools whose motto might have to be: “You’d be mad to send your child here.”  Education must be the only field of life where a Victorian child transported in time to the present day would essentially recognize the experience. Now, that means either that our education system was perfected long ago, or—more likely—that there hasn’t been nearly enough progress since. You just have to compare it to the advances in medicine over the same time period to wonder how our education system could have looked. I hope I’ll get a chance to make a contribution to the system before I pop my clogs.

What quality or qualities do you most value in your business associates?

The passion and perseverance to be really good at the thing they do best; the integrity to be true to themselves; the tolerance to know what it takes to work well with others; and the playfulness to enjoy their work.

What do you think is the worst bad habit to have at work?

To think work is just the dull chore we’re forced to do before we retire. Don’t be boring, don’t be too serious, make sure you enjoy what you do, take some risks, have some fun … and see what you can achieve!

As someone at the top of your profession, what keeps you inspired or makes you hit the ground running in the morning?

Caffeine and alcohol help … as well as a contrarian spirit that enjoys change for change’s sake.  I like to question market research dogma and to invent exciting new ways to better understand and predict human behavior. 

About John Kearon
John Kearon, dubbed "the Steve Jobs of Market Research", is Chief Juicer and Founder of BrainJuicer Group PLC. John has been recognized by Ernst & Young twice for his entrepreneurship: Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year in 2005 and the London region’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 2009. BrainJuicer has been a two-time winner of the ESOMAR Award for Best Methodology (in 2005 and 2007), and John was awarded the Advertising Research Foundation’s Gold Award for Great Mind/Research Innovator in 2008.

John’s recipe for success is: creativity, resilience, determination, perseverance, stamina, drive, imagination, resourcefulness, courage, commitment, ability to go without sleep, and a touch of madness.

About Brainjuicer
BrainJuicer Group PLC, a thriving international marketing consultancy founded in 1999, provides fresh, validated, consumer-driven insight to 11 of the world’s top 20 consumer companies, their creative agencies, and many others. BrainJuicer specializes in helping clients with innovation, focusing on ideas, insights, concepts, communications, and the measurement of customer and employee satisfaction.  Learn more at BrainJuicer.com.  


Topics: business awards, marketing awards, stevie awards, best company, company of the year

Marketing Awards Judges in The 2011 International Business Awards

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Wed, Aug 03, 2011 @ 03:20 PM

This week we're recognizing the contributions of the more than 200 professionals worldwide who participated in the judging process of The 2011 (8th annual) International Business Awards.  We're already recognized the preliminary judges and the PR awards category judges.  And today we honor the contribution of the final judging committee for the marketing awards categories.

Members of the marketing awards judging committee this year included:

Sanga Bunchongprasert, Director, Nielsen Thailand, Bangkok, Thailand
Chaiyod Chirabowornkul, Senior VP - Head of Distribution Division, Total Access Communication, PLC, Bangkok, Thailand
Dr. Rojanasak Chomvilailuk, University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, Bangkok, Thailand
Waraporn Kulsawatpakdee, Managing Director, Integrated Communication Co., Ltd., Bangkok, Thailand
Montira Limpanarom, Executive Director, Sony Music Entertainment Operating (Thailand) Co., Ltd., Klongton, Thailand
Somporn Mauthorn, General Manager, Spicy H Co., Ltd., Bangkok, Thailand
Teeraphan Totachawattana, Senior Managing Director, Dentsu (Thailand) Ltd., Bangkok, Thailand

Praphan PhornthanavarsitThe committee was chaired and formed by Praphan Phornthanavarsit, Chief Operating Officer, Thai Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd., Samutprakarn, Thailand

The average scores of Praphan and his committee determined this year's Stevie Award winners in the following categories:

  • Marketing Department of the Year
  • Marketing Team of the Year
  • Marketing Executive of the Year
  • Marketing Campaign of the Year for a Product
  • Marketing Campaign of the Year for a Service

Among the marketing award winners in this year's IBAs are Accenture, Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction, Emirates NBD, Finansbank A.S., and Jeju Free International City Development Center.  See the full list here.

What do you think of this year's IBA marketing awards judging panel and their choices?

Topics: marketing awards, International business awards, stevie awards, IBAs, marketing award

3 Marketing Innovations: Are You Ready for the Next Big Thing in Consumer Engagement?

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Thu, Apr 07, 2011 @ 12:21 PM


Isobar’s work on adidas miCoach won a Stevie Award for Best Consumer Products-Durables Web Site in the web awards categories of The 2010 American Business Awards.  Bryant Shea, Isobar’s VP of Innovation, looks ahead at what’s on the horizon in consumer marketing.

Bryant SheaThe rate of change in the world of marketing is constantly increasing.  Just when you felt comfortable with the Web, along came Second Life, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, smartphones, tablets, and a slew of other communication channels all claiming to be the future of consumer engagement. Some have crashed, some have prospered, and the jury is still out on many—but what's next? Let's take a look at three technology innovations that will once again change the way brands engage consumers.

Interactive Billboards
Two emerging trends will change the world of outdoor advertising forever: Smartphones, and 4G.  In the near future, expect to see more and more digital billboards that leverage wireless technologies to create two-way interactions between displays and consumers. Imagine a scenario where a consumer can customize a shoe on a billboard using their mobile phone; share the shoe on their social networks; and have a link to purchase the shoe sent directly on their phone. Or imagine a virtual scratch ticket that can personalize rewards based on past purchase behaviors, time of day, or proximity to a particular store.  With wireless-enabled interactive billboards, consumers no longer have to remember what they see—the transaction happens right there.  Moreover, marketers can leverage the technology to better track the results of their outdoor advertising efforts.

Touch-screen phones and tablets seem to be all the rage, but what about taking the concept of a personal device and integrating it into the in-store experience? For example, imagine a table that combines what is great about being in a store—actually interacting with the merchandise—with the power of interactive technology. What if you could take a piece of clothing off the shelf, place it on a table, and interact with it to see product information, as well as related items and where they are located in the store? With touchtable technology, customers will soon be able to build virtual product collections and instantly send selected items to their mobile devices for sharing, saving, or purchase.

Connected TV
From Apple TV, Google TV, and Yahoo TV to Boxee, Roku, Samsung, and Sony, just about everyone is trying to get into the Connected TV space—and with good reason.  The next few years will bring a complete transformation in how people use their televisions. More and more people are watching TV while using their mobile phones or tablets. They’re already creating an interactive TV experience, but it's not directly linked. Expect to see much stronger interaction between your TV and your mobile device in the very near future.

These are just three of the many innovations that will reshape consumer engagement in the near future, but no matter what the technology, one thing is certain: Consumers expect engagement.  The technology is here, and the time is now to create consumer experiences like never before … are you ready?

About Bryant Shea
As Vice President of Innovation for Isobar, Bryant Shea is responsible for devising and applying cutting-edge technologies that not only facilitate the fulfillment of consumers’ needs, but also introduce them to fresh, new ways of interacting more meaningfully with brands. Among the global brands he has counseled are Nikon, Adidas, and Staples.
Previously, Shea was vice president of content and mobile for Molecular, now part of Isobar, where he established the company’s content management practice as a nationally recognized leader in the space through innovation and world class delivery, and managed projects for Fortune 500 companies.  
Shea is a seasoned speaker on the topics of digital technologies and has presented at many conference nationwide, including the Internet Retailer, ECM West, Gilbane and the AIIM Conference & Expo.

About Isobar
Isobar is a modern communications agency that brings people and brands together in new ways. Isobar fuses creative thinking with technology know-how to uncover the best ideas and execute them across any platform or channel anywhere in the world.  Isobar’s unique combination of creatives and creators ensures the best ideas never end up on the cutting room floor, enabling the company to consistently deliver innovative and intensely relevant brand experiences for the world’s largest brands. With locations in Boston, New York and San Francisco, Isobar US is an Aegis Media Group Company and part of the global Isobar network of over 50 offices in 30 markets.  For more information, please visit http://na.isobar.com.

The final entry deadline for The 2011 American Business Awards is April 27.  Learn more at www.stevieawards.com/aba.

Want to win website awards as Isobar did for adidas? Read our tipsheet, 10 Tips for Winning Web Awards in the Stevies.

Topics: website awards, marketing awards, web awards, best websites, adidas, marketing award, isobar

How Efes Beer in Turkey Used Social Media to Overcome Marketing Obstacles

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Tue, Apr 05, 2011 @ 05:01 PM


With the early-bird deadline for The 2011 International Business Awards coming up on April 12, we thought we'd look back at Efes Beer Group of Istanbul, Turkey, which won a Stevie Award for Marketing Campaign of the Year for a Product in the marketing awards categories of The 2010 International Business Awards.  Here we look at how Efes successfully launched their new beer brand, Gusta, without the use of advertising.

Efes BeerAy Ay Ay, Me Gusta!
That’s what they’re saying in Turkey about Efes Beer Group’s Gusta brand after
an innovative marketing campaign spurred a major boost in awareness and sales.

Obstacles: Market and Societal Forces
Turkey’s beer sector is relatively young, and is dominated by Efes Beer Group, a subsidiary of the Turkish conglomerate, Andolu Group.

Efes had a major challenge to grow sales of its Gusta brand in 2009.  There is a ban on advertising alcoholic beverages in Turkey, and the increasing influence of the country’s religious right added social pressures.  At the same time, with the global economic downturn, unemployment in Turkey was increasing and consumers were tightening their belts.

Two-step Marketing Strategy
The Gusta brand managers at Efes responded by devising an innovative marketing campaign targeting young urban consumers and aimed at getting them involved with the product. The highlights of the campaign were:
• Gusta Map: a web-based involvement program
• Gusta Expert: an on-site sampling program

The overall aim of the Gusta marketing strategy was to increase sales by winning customers in a social way through brand experience and product sampling. Further objectives were to increase brand awareness, to strengthen the brand image, and to reach new consumers for the Gusta and Gusta Dark beers.

There was some risk to this marketing strategy in a society that discourages young people from mingling in bars. To overcome this, the two-step marketing program first involved people via their computers, and then in person, facilitated by wholesome, young—but not too young—women who were the hosts of the program, delivering the brand promise: Gusta!

Gusta Map
First, Efes created Gusta Map, an online social networking platform designed
to appeal to web-savvy young people. As its name implies, Gusta Map was a site to share experiences, music, recommendations—and to find real-time locations where Gusta was served and rated by other Gusta Map users.

Gusta Expert
To make the experience real, the Gusta Expert program recruited and trained Gusta girls who were placed in selected restaurant and bar outlets. They worked as servers and invited customers to try Gusta. They also recommended menu items that were compatible with Gusta. To reinforce the fun of Gusta, consumers were offered branded gifts, including beer mugs (33cl), coasters, trays, ice buckets, and bottle openers.

Even Efes exclaimed “Gusta!” when the brand’s daily sales average increased by 38%.
In the first three months, Gusta Map attracted a whopping 61,000 page views, plus 300 Facebook fans and followers. The popularity of the site motivated more restaurants and bars to apply for inclusion. The launch of the Gusta Expert marketing program was so successful that it was expanded to include the Gusta Dark brand. For Gusta Expert, the initial three locations quickly mushroomed to one dozen. The program has been so popular that there are now five permanent Gusta Expert locations.

Gusta is the talk of the town in big cities across Turkey where “Ay ay ay, me
Gusta!” can be heard in the wee hours of the morning…

About Meric Aksoy
Meric Aksoy has risen through the ranks at Efes Beer Group to become Product Manager for Gusta.  He started out working on the popular Efes Pilsen brand in 1999. At that time, he served as a sales representative, advancing to sales supervisor until his promotion to his current position in 2004. He earned his B.A. in business administration from Dogu Akdeniz University in Turkey.

About Efes Beer Group
Efes Beer Group was founded in Turkey in 1969, and today consists of sixteen breweries in Turkey, Russia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Georgia, and Serbia, with headquarters in Istanbul. As the 8th most popular European brand by sales volume and the 5th largest European brewer on combined production basis, the group is ranked 12th in the world beer market.

About Anadolu Efes
Anadolu Efes Biracilik ve Malt Sanayii A.S. undertakes the beverage operations of Anadolu Endüstri Holding A.S., one of Turkey's leading conglomerates. Celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2009, Anadolu Efes, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a system of companies that produces and markets beer, malt, and soft drinks across a wide geographic area including Turkey, Russia, the CIS countries, South Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.

Want to win marketing awards like Efes did? Read our tipsheet, 10 Tips for Winning Marketing Awards in the Stevies.

Topics: business awards, marketing awards, stevie awards, marketing award, efes, gusta

How Marketing Award Winner CCS Solidified Samsung's #1 Brand Position

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Mon, Mar 28, 2011 @ 01:33 PM


With The American Business Awards entry deadline coming up on March 31, we look at Creative Channel Services in Los Angeles, California, which won Stevie Awards for Marketing Team of the Year, in the marketing awards categories, and Best Training Web Site, in the web awards categories, in The 2010 American Business Awards

Since 1995, Creative Channel Services (CCS) has provided retail-marketing support to some of the biggest names in consumer electronics (CE). CCS created and manages the CyberScholar Retail Network, which provides online training to CE and home-appliance retailers across the United States and develops high-impact field marketing teams.

Andy Restivo“Retail is a people-driven business, and it’s great to be acknowledged for an incredibly talented, best-in-class group of brand ambassadors,” said Andy Restivo, CEO and president of CCS. “The entire CCS team works hard to help each of our clients win at the critical ‘moment of purchase,’ and we are extremely proud that the team has received recognition for the innovation, creativity, and tremendous results they have produced.”

The agency’s focus on field activities is evident in that fewer than 100 of its 500-plus employees work from the company’s Los Angeles headquarters. The majority of employees work exclusively in the field.

In-store Eyes and Ears
CCS’s Samsung brand ambassador teams represent the manufacturer’s consumer electronics, home appliances, mobile electronics, and information technology products in the U.S. retail market. Performance is measured by how the category-specific field teams increase market share, brand awareness, and product sales for Samsung, the No. 1 CE brand in the world. Team members visit national and regional retailers, engaging shoppers directly, delivering assisted-selling support, providing product-knowledge training, collecting market intelligence, and serving as the in-store eyes and ears for manufacturers.

According to Vida Roozen, vice president and general manager of CCS’s Field Business Unit and leader of the Samsung field team for 11 years: “CCS is successful on behalf of our field clients by building close working relationships with retail salespeople, ensuring that frontline people understand our clients’ products, and reporting store-level trends that help to drive marketing plans and product development."

CCS-Samsung team members leverage relationships and individual creativity to secure millions of dollars of shelf space and to optimize in-store displays. The team also promotes Samsung at industry events such as the International Consumer Electronics Show.

The CCS-Samsung team has provided Samsung for several years with the timely intelligence it needed to move its business forward. It continues to capture thousands of points of market-research data every day at the store level to keep Samsung informed of what is happening at the point of sale. 

Award-Winning Achievements
The eye-popping 2009 achievements of the CCS-Samsung Team included:

  • Record home-appliance sales at national and regional retailers
  • Digital-imaging sales up by more than double at specific retailers
  • 30-percent-higher sales at stores covered by the CCS-Samsung Team versus uncovered stores
  • No. 1 market share for LCD and PDP displays, 50-inches or larger
  • No. 1 market share for Blu-ray and Home Theater products
  • TV sales increased by 16 percent
  • Digital A/V products grew by 78 percent
  • Online training participation increased by 189 percent

Samsung was ranked No. 1 in a J.D. Power customer satisfaction survey for:

  • Refrigeration (five years consecutively)
  • Dryers (two years)
  • Washers
  • Overall laundry pairs (two years)

Training by the Numbers
CCS won the Stevie Award for Best Training Site for the second consecutive year for its retail-training site, CyberScholar.com, which is the flagship site of CCS’s CyberScholar Retail Network. CyberScholar consolidates complex product knowledge into easy-to-understand, always-accessible content that empowers retail employees to assist consumers competently and confidently.   The numbers continue to be impressive:  More than 10.6 million trainings were completed on the network in 2010.

The CyberScholar Retail Network now reaches approximately 250,000 retail salespeople, is a key training element at 13,300 stores, and delivers product information from 50-plus manufacturers.

Want to win Stevie Awards for marketing as Creative Channel Services did?  Check out our free tipsheet, 10 Tips for Winning Marketing Awards in the 2011 Stevies.

About Andy Restivo
Andy Restivo is one of the original founders and architects of CCS. Through his leadership and entrepreneurial vision he has fueled CCS’s transformation from small start-up to a leading marketing-services agency with a talented and passionate group of professionals functioning in a culture dedicated to success, a powerful list of world-class Fortune 500 clients, and a member of the world’s largest and most successful marketing communications services conglomerate.

About Creative Channel Services, LLC
Creative Channel Services (CCS) is a leading retail-marketing agency that improves sales and profitability for its manufacturer and retailer clients. Through the company’s proprietary CyberScholar Retail Network® and exclusive retail partnerships, CCS’s unique approach to in-store marketing solutions accelerates client sales performance by connecting brands with 13,300 stores and 250,000 retail professionals who recommend and sell products to up to 3,000,000 customers each day. Established in 1995 and headquartered in Los Angeles, CCS is a part of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE: OMC), a leading global advertising, marketing, and corporate communications company. Omnicom's branded networks and numerous specialty firms provide advertising, strategic media planning and buying, digital and interactive, direct and promotional marketing, public relations and other specialty communications services to over 5,000 clients in more than 100 countries. Contact CCS at sales@creativechannel.com or 310-665-9900 to learn more about its field marketing and online training support.

Topics: business awards, marketing awards, samsung, creative channel services, awards marketing, marketing award

How a Marketing Award Winner Used the Economic Downturn as a Springboard for Growth

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Tue, Mar 22, 2011 @ 12:13 PM


The early-bird deadline for The 2011 (8th annual) International Business Awards is April 12 - entry to the IBAs is open to all organizations worldwide - so we thought we'd take a look back at Thai Yamaha Motor Company in Thailand, which won the Stevie® Award for Marketing Department of the Year in the marketing awards categories of The 2010 IBAs. Here we look at how they turned lemons into lemonade in 2009.

Thai Yamaha Motor imageThai Yamaha Motor has been a success story since it was established 47 years ago, but the strength of the company was tested during the economic crisis of 2009 when the Thai economy declined by 3%, and industrial sales declined by 9.8%. Despite this, Thai Yamaha Motor achieved record sales and expanded its market share, while at the same time increasing customer satisfaction and improving its operations. Today, Thai Yamaha Motor has achieved a premium brand position in the Thai market by offering innovative products and utilizing lifestyle marketing.

Marketing Achievements
At the time of the economic crisis in 2009, the company recognized that it needed to maximize revenue and reduce costs. The measures that it took resulted in an increased market share from 23% to 28% over the period 2007-2009; a profit level that is among the highest in the industry; and employee satisfaction that has reached a record level of 80%.

So how did Thai Yamaha Motor achieve this?

Launched New Models
During 2009, the Thai Yamaha Motor marketing department launched several new models designed to meet the needs of the economic climate, and their efforts resulted in a 53% market share of the automatic motorcycle segment as well as a rating of 92% in customer satisfaction.

Enhanced Brand Image
The company’s motorcycle retail shops were modernized and improved nationwide to enhance the brand image.

The company ran an advertising campaign using popular Korean and Thai celebrities; it sponsored a series of popular sell-out concerts; and the company even set the Guinness World Record for the largest parade of automatic motorcycles when 2,474 Yamaha Finos gathered at an event organized by Thai Yamaha Motor at Khun Dan Prakarnchon Dam, Nakorn Nayok Province, Thailand, in August 2009.  

The result: Thai Yamaha Motor Company received the most publicity in press publications and online news stories for the industry segment that year.

Operation Efficiencies
In addition to their marketing efforts, Thai Yamaha Motor introduced a number of operating efficiencies: Factory operations were significantly improved, achieving the highest level of "complete assembly without rework" in Yamaha’s worldwide operations; recalls were reduced to one of the lowest in the worldwide Yamaha group; and supply chain management was improved, reducing inventory turnover to 14 days.

Corporate Social Responsibility
Thai Yamaha Motor opened a new Yamaha motorcycle safety riding school, acclaimed as one of the best in Asia. The company also received a government award for its safety record in factory operations at the national level.

As a result of improving its employee satisfaction, Thai Yamaha Motor achieved employee turnover rate as low as 3% at a time when the industry rate was at 11%.

Thai Yamaha Motor has received a number of awards over the past few years, and in 2009 the Royal Thai Government recognized its top management for the company’s education and vocational-training support.
Continued Growth
Thai Yamaha Motor continues to grow. The company is among the top contributor to Yamaha profits worldwide. It has continued to expand production capacity and to improve ways to better serve its customers.

In February 2011, Thai Yamaha Motor's chief operating officer Praphan Phornthanavarsit said that Thailand's motorcycle market grew by an impressive 20 per cent last year to around 1.85 million units, due to continued economic recovery and increased consumer confidence.

"The Yamaha brand also enjoyed a year of success in 2010, recording the highest sales in 10 years. Total wholesales were 505,000 units, with total retail sales of 486,000 units, total motorcycle registrations of 479,000 units, and total parts sales of Bt1.4 billion," Praphan said.   "These achievements have led Yamaha to enjoy a market share of 26 per cent, which reflects strong confidence in Yamaha's products and outstanding image."

Based on Thai Yamaha Motor's analysis of economic trends and related factors, it expects that the motorcycle market will record sales growth of 4 per cent this year, to around 1.92 million units, he said. Yamaha's sales target for 2011 has been set at 520,000 units. If this is achieved, it will be equivalent to 9% year-on-year growth, achieving a market share of 27%.

About Praphan Phornthanavarsit
Praphan Phornthanavarsit, Chief Operating Officer of Thai Yamaha Motor, is an inspirational leader who has utilized strategic thinking and creativity along with strong management skills to make Thai Yamaha Motors the success it is today. He has had a successful track record in various fields, including the automotive industry, information technology, and business consultancy. Praphan is one of the most respected persons in Thailand’s motorcycle industry and has contributed significantly to the industry’s development.

About Thai Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd
Thai Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. is the manufacturer and marketer of Yamaha motorcycles in Thailand. The company employs about 3,200 staff, and in 2009 had an annual sales turnover in excess of 700 million USD with production capacity of 600,000 motorcycles. The company's manufacturing facility is one of Yamaha Motor’s largest and most efficient motorcycle plants in the world.

Want to be recognized for your marketing achievements as Thai Yamaha Motor was?  Get our free tipsheet, 10 Tips for Winning Marketing Awards in the 2011 Stevies.

The early-bird entry deadline for The 2011 International Business Awards is April 12. You'll find the entry kit here.

Topics: business awards, marketing awards, communication awards, marketing award

4 Ways CAWOOD's Marketing Award-winning Work Keeps Kids Fit

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Mon, Mar 07, 2011 @ 04:10 PM

Full-service agency CAWOOD in Eugene, Oregon USA won for Best Writing/Content in the website awards categories of The 2010 American Business Awards.

Full-service marketing agency CAWOOD launched their award-winning web site for Eugene Pediatric Associates in December 2009.  The goal in creating http://www.EugenePeds.com was to provide easy access to comprehensive pediatric advice and information 24 hours a day.
Jeneca JonesThe site allows parents to read about a variety of topics, watch videos, access vaccine records, plan their child’s office visit, and send messages to their pediatrician or nurse through a secure system, day or night. By providing this online service, the doctor’s office receives fewer phone calls and is able to better serve patients and their families.

Written almost entirely by Dr. Pilar Bradshaw, content and videos are delivered in the same sincere, knowledgeable, heartfelt voice parents know and trust. Jeneca Jones of CAWOOD was a collaborative editor.

The web site is only one part of the media mix for Eugene Pediatrics. The CAWOOD philosophy is that the media mix should create a synergy that compliments each medium and targets the key audience.  Following are four elements used in marketing the practice:

- Web Site as Teaching Tool
The Eugene Pediatrics’ website serves as both an introduction to the practice and a teaching tool for physicians to use when they talk with parents:

- Traditional Media
In Eugene Pediatrics’ case, good, old-fashioned newspaper advertising is being used to help introduce new physicians and generates prospective patient calls;

- Local Television
Eugene Pediatrics physicians offer parents regular health tips on a local television station;

- Arena Advertising
The practice is promoted on an animated electronic sign in Matthew Knight Arena, where the University of Oregon plays basketball and where big-ticket entertainers such as Elton John perform.

“Customizing media to appeal to the demographics and psychographics of the desired audience is essential to any marketing program,” explained CAWOOD’s Jeneca Jones.

Want to be recognized for your marketing achievements as CAWOOD was?  Get our free tipsheet, 10 Tips for Winning Marketing Awards in the 2011 Stevies.

About Jeneca Jones
CAWOOD Account Executive Jeneca ones is an expert communicator with a passion for words, Jones creates original and creative copy for print advertisements, press releases, web sites, and more. A salesperson for ten years and newspaper editor for five, Jeneca knows how to listen and is always looking for ways to make emotional connections through her writing.  Her experience working with a broad spectrum of people from various social, cultural, and economic backgrounds helps CAWOOD’s clients span any divides. She provides real-world answers and big-picture perspectives tailored to meet individual needs.

About Dr. Pilar Bradshaw
Dr. Pilar Bradshaw is a board certified pediatrician and Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She began her medical practice in Eugene in 1999.
Bradshaw practices the full spectrum of pediatric medicine and sees patients from birth to young adulthood. Her special interests include the treatment of asthma, medically fragile children, and adolescent eating disorders.

Founded 30 years ago by President Liz Cawood, CAWOOD is a full-service marketing agency, which evolved from a public relations firm to a one-stop shop providing the marketing services its clients needed.  The award-winning firm specializes in branding, research, planning, Web, video, marketing, advertising, public relations and consulting.

Topics: business awards, marketing awards, stevie awards, eugene peds, cawood

How Marketing Awards Winner Is Transforming Social Media Measurement

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Wed, Feb 09, 2011 @ 03:07 PM

Nichole GoodyearBrickfish is a performance-based Cost Per Engagement® (CPE®) social-media solution that has generated over 300 million consumer engagements and conversations for advertising agencies and Fortune 1000 marketing leaders like Microsoft, Estee Lauder, QVC, Dell, and Neiman Marcus. As Cofounder and CEO, Nichole Goodyear is driving unprecedented growth (up 368% since 2006).

Nichole’s achievements over the past year were recognized at the 2010 Stevie Awards for Women in Business. Brickfish took top honors in two categories: Nichole was named Best Entrepreneur (Services Business-Advertising, Marketing, and Public Relations); and Brickfish was named Technology Innovator of the Year.  Brickfish was also a Finalist for Most Innovative Company of the year (Advertising, Marketing, and Public Relations).

“It’s an honor to win these innovation awards and women in business awards,” said Nichole. “These awards validate our industry thought leadership. It’s a great nod to technology innovation for the Brickfish team. We’ve built our reputation delivering measurable social-media results for the top brands and agencies in the world.”

Under Nichole’s leadership, Brickfish has also been awarded the Red Herring Global 100 Award and an OMMA Award for Best Viral Campaign. The San Diego-based company is VC-backed (of note, since less than 5% of all women-owned businesses receive venture capital) and completed Series B fundraising in 2009.

A seven-time serial entrepreneur and tech-industry thought-leader, Nichole serves on the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Social Media Committee and chaired the creation of the IAB Social Media Buyer’s Guide, the industry’s first-ever guide to buying social-media advertising. She was recently elected to the Board of the Social Media Advertising Consortium (SMAC). Her personal mission: transform the way that advertisers and publishers measure social media from CPM (cost per thousand) to CPE® (cost per engagement).

“We all need a Nichole in our lives,” commented Karen Robinovitz, the self-designated creatrix of Purple Lab, a Brickfish client (Brickfish has powered two social-media programs for this new beauty brand).

New Mobile Capabilities
Brickfish® has just announced multiple-platform enhancements to its programs, including mobile capabilities, to meet the needs of the ever-evolving social-media space. The Brickfish platform now supports mobile submissions, mobile sharing, and QR code support for its social-media programs. In addition, the platform has tighter integration with Facebook and Twitter, offering clients additional social touch points for their Brickfish-powered programs.

These Brickfish mobile capabilities will allow consumers participating in Brickfish programs to participate via their mobile phones. In addition to being able to upload their photos, consumers will be able to engage with other programs and branded content as well as share content across the social Web. All mobile engagements will be tracked and reported through the Brickfish platform.

"At Brickfish, we continue to be at the forefront of technology and innovation in the social-media space," added Nichole. “Our recent enhancements to the platform reflect our dedication to the social-media space. We will continue to improve our platform to meet the growing needs of our clients and to provide them with measurable social-media results.”

Founded in 2005, Brickfish delivers results-driven programs for many leading consumer brands. A global enterprise, Brickfish recently released Spanish and Portuguese foreign-language support to address client needs in the U.S. and Latin America.

About Nichole Goodyear
Nichole Goodyear is CEO, Cofounder, and President of Brickfish, an award-winning technology platform that powers social-media programs for Fortune 1000 marketing leaders and advertising agencies. A seven-time serial entrepreneur, Nichole’s previous early-stage startups (many of which were acquired) included: ParCom Technologies, Jostens Learning Corp, RNB Technologies, Lightspan, and Pacific Fusion Technologies. Prior to cofounding Brickfish, Nichole cofounded Pacific Fusion Technologies, Inc., a technology leader that created Web-based portals that interfaced with payroll companies and banking systems for such renowned companies as Disney, Hughes, and several multi-billion-dollar financial institutions. As the systems architect and project leader for one of the top educational software companies in the nation, Nichole oversaw the implementation of countless innovative and groundbreaking Internet, video, and cable-modem digital media solutions. Nichole led the initial development team for Lightspan Local Connect, an ASP Internet-based communications product that successfully linked teachers, students, and their families.

About Brickfish®
Brickfish® is the performance-based Cost Per Engagement® (CPE®) social- media solution that has generated 300 million consumer engagements and conversations for advertising agencies and Fortune 1000 marketing leaders like Microsoft and Nike. Its patent-pending Viral Map® and Geo View technologies track reach, frequency, and viral activity in real time across the global Web. Brickfish is a Red Herring Global 100 winner and an OMMA Award winner for Best Viral Campaign.  For more information go to brickfish.com.

Cost Per Engagement and CPE are registered trademarks of Brickfish.

Topics: marketing awards, stevie awards, women in business awards, brickfish, nichole goodyear, social media marketing

How VitalSmarts Won a Marketing Award from the ABAs

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Wed, Dec 15, 2010 @ 11:16 AM

VitalSmarts of Provo, Utah received the Stevie Award for Marketing Department of the Year in the marketing awards categories of The 2010 American Business Awards. Here we look at what they did to achieve this.

VitalSmarts Marketing DepartmentIn 2009 the VitalSmarts marketing team increased sales leads by 13%, which contributed to an increase in the company’s annual growth of 7% over 2008. While 73% of VitalSmarts’ competitors experienced declining activity in 2009 (according to the Association of Learning Providers VitalSmarts had achieved its largest-ever annual revenue.

This marketing success was recognized when VitalSmarts received the Stevie Award for Marketing Department of the Year at The 2010 American Business Awards. 

“We were honored to receive this recognition from The American Business Awards,” said Mary McChesney, senior director of marketing at VitalSmarts. “Our hard working team works closely with the rest of the organization to contribute to the company’s continuing success.”

Strengthening the Marketing/Sales Relationship
VitalSmarts’ record-breaking performance was achieved not just by outstanding teamwork, but also by the simple strategy of strengthening the marketing/sales relationship.

The sales team is marketing’s most important internal customer. To build the strongest, most efficient sales/marketing relationship at VitalSmarts, marketing set out to improve the lead-scoring process, instigated candid and consistent communication between the departments, and sought ways to meet client needs.

Lead Scoring
The sales team had often been frustrated with the quality of leads coming from marketing, so marketing revisited the lead-scoring process. The team closely monitored the efficiency with which they collected leads, refined tools that captured lead information, and worked with data entry to get leads entered
correctly and quickly. They also built a concierge lead process to ensure valued prospects received rapid response and five-star support.  Ten of the top-tier clients purchased $200,000+ worth of product as a direct result.

To increase the number of leads, marketing built a lead data-capture campaign that capitalized on untapped information in the database. Through simple e-mail campaigns, marketing scored and moved 1,600 leads into the sales process that had previously been unusable due to insufficient information.

Improved Communication
To increase communication between the sales and marketing departments, marketing regularly attended sales meetings, trained sales reps in the use of marketing tools, introduced marketing campaigns, and prioritized projects to meet sales needs. Marketing also reported on lead follow-up time and respectfully held reps accountable for the amount of time it took them to connect with prospects. As a result, sales follow-up time decreased significantly.

In turn, sales shared insights on client needs and industry trends, which ensured marketing better-tailored campaigns and products to meet client needs.

Public Relations
At the same time as it was building its cooperation with sales, the marketing team continued to execute its public relations program, including an extensive media-relations campaign that generated 79.5 million impressions in media outlets around the world. They also secured a recurring column on BusinessWeek.com for author and company cofounder Joseph Grenny that generated leads and provided sales with content to share with prospects.  The marketing team accomplished this without an outside agency, using just one full-time PR staff member.

Marketing grew the VitalSmarts’ external newsletter to 117,000 opt-in subscribers, a 50% increase. This weekly e-newsletter positions the company’s spokespeople as thought-leaders. As a result, sales was able to increase paid speaking fees of company spokespeople by 27% in 2009.

Channel Marketing
To support its client advocates, marketing sustained a passionate community of trainers certified to train VitalSmarts’ programs within their own companies. Marketing developed an online social network, an exclusive website to improve training delivery, professional development web seminars, and live chat sessions. As a result, the training community grew 22% and now includes 4,857 trainers, who are the company’s most active customers.

Marketing Events
Marketing supported 19 trade shows and sponsored speeches targeted at various vertical markets. They also held breakfast events where VitalSmarts’ bestselling authors introduced products to client decision-makers. The team also developed and hosted REACH, a 2-day conference for its client trainers. At REACH, trainers learned best practices, networked with peers, and heard from the VitalSmarts’ authors. 188 trainers attended REACH, a 49% increase over 2008.

Online Marketing
Marketing hosted web seminars with industry thought-leaders. They also built websites that offered valuable research and tips for readers in exchange for client information and custom product demos that generated more than 1,000 further sales leads.

Foundation for Success
“I am very proud of our marketing department,” said Andy Shimberg, CEO of VitalSmarts. “The team members are experts in their field who have worked tirelessly to create enormous impact and awareness in the marketplace. This is the foundation on which our sales, operations, and delivery teams can build and succeed.”

About Mary Dondiego
Mary Dondiego is the senior director of marketing at VitalSmarts. Since joining the company in 2004,Mary has led Vitalsmarts’ largest integrated marketing and publicity campaigns as well as seen the company’s revenue more than triple from $7.9 million to $25 million. As senior director of marketing, she was instrumental in launching and sustaining the company’s three New York Times bestselling business books and two major product lines. She also oversees three main marketing functions: corporate communications led by Corporate Communications Manager, Brittney Maxfield; demand generation led by Marketing Director, Paul Yoachum; and channel marketing led by Channel Marketing Manager, Chris Evans.

About VitalSmarts
VitalSmarts provides corporate training and organizational performance motivation programs that combine speakers, presenters, best-practices research, and related training products. The company also has three New York Times bestselling books: Crucial Conversations, Crucial Confrontations, and Influencer. Their fourth book, Change Anything, is scheduled for release April 2011. VitalSmarts has been listed twice on the Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing companies and has taught more than 2 million people worldwide.  For more information go to http://www.vitalsmarts.com

Topics: marketing awards, mary dondiego, vitalsmarts, marketing award