Mental Health Marketing Conference Sparks the Conversation

By Ryan Stout, Guest Blogger | 5.24.16

The inaugural Mental Health Marketing Conference was held recently at Lipscomb University, and the two-day event was packed with local and national marketing professionals who are leading the charge on mental health marketing. Below is a brief recap of the event.

The Man Behind the Curtain

It’s impossible to start this recap without first mentioning the work of Austin Harrison.

If you don’t know Austin (is that possible?), he is the Relationship Director at Identity Visuals, one of the leading video and motion graphic companies in the Southeast.

Austin was the only reason this event happened. He convinced the speakers to speak, he secured the venue, he signed on the sponsors, he made sure we had snacks and coffee.

He was the conference.

The first day started with a beautiful and moving keynote by Austin. The passion he has for this event is palpable and contagious.

The truth is, putting on a conference is hard work. Especially the first one. You need passion to pull it off, and Austin clearly has it.

I think I can speak for all in attendance when I say Austin did a marvelous job as a first time conference organizer. Way to go!


“Your web presence has to be as good as your clinical product” – Lee Pepper, Foundation Recovery Network

One of the main themes over the course of the conference was creating digital experiences (websites, videos, campaigns, etc.) for healthcare initiatives that are as sophisticated as what all leading brands have, regardless of industry.

Healthcare is leading the way in several areas, but design, UX/UI, marketing and digital are not typically where.

A bad experience online can lead to missed opportunities.

This was a leading topic in many of the talks and discussions over the two days, and Lee Pepper of Foundations Recovery Network hit the nail on the head with his quote above.


Users expect a seamless experience from all brands, healthcare or otherwise. If we fail to deliver on this we could miss the chance to help someone.

To surprise and delight is not just for enterprise companies with big budgets. It’s for all companies.

“The whole purpose of marketing now is to start and build a dialogue” – Jerry Youngblutt, Boyden + Youngblutt

As a Partner at Astute Communications, a marketing agency that also serves several healthcare clients, I found Jerry’s comments to be especially insightful.

Content in healthcare marketing is an especially tricky subject to navigate. Not only must we build authority and trust, but there are also regulations (HIPAA/PHI) that cannot be ignored.

Often, creating content for healthcare companies can be especially taxing. The stakes are higher than in most other industries.

Jerry’s recommendation to start a dialogue, to make it a conversation, is a great reminder to speak to healthcare consumers as people, not just patients. Jerry was a wealth of insight and sage advice, drawing on years of healthcare marketing experience to help paint of picture of what successful healthcare marketing looks like.

“Marketing and PR need to be integrated” – Kriste Goad, Revive Health


The last Keynote of the MHM Conference was from Kriste Goad of Revive Health. Her presentation about combining Marketing and PR – a holistic approach to healthcare marketing – was a great way to cap the event.

With Revive being a leader in that space, she was able to really paint a clear picture of what this approach looks like, and what success looks like as well. By marrying PR and Marketing, Healthcare Marketing can reach and serve more people. Integration of these two departments is vital.

Until Next Year…

In its first year, the conference was able to bring together the Nashville Mental Health Marketing community in a new and exciting fashion. Marketing agencies, healthcare companies, non-profits and many more were able to add their unique perspective to this important topic, to educate and motivate. Until next year…

NAMA Member Spotlight: Emma Everett

emma headshot2

Emma Everett
Director of Business Development, Digital Marketing Consultant
Snapshot Interactive
Volunteer, Non-Profit SIG Co-Chair

What prompted you to join NAMA?
I joined NAMA when I entered the Nashville marketing industry to immerse myself, learn the industry as quickly as I could, network, help grow my business, and enjoy ongoing learning.

You currently serve on the Non-Profit SIG Committee. Why did you decide to volunteer?
I decided to volunteer because I wanted to contribute my skills to NAMA, as well as learn from others on the board and from being on the board.

How has NAMA impacted you professionally?
Being in marketing, NAMA has been the best return on my investment to learn, network, and be a resource to the local marketing community. I’ve enjoyed forming some great relationships, learning monthly, and meeting new potential clients as well as existing clients in a different environment.For these reasons, I renewed my NAMA membership after the first year and continue to gain benefit.

What differentiates NAMA from other groups?
Compared to other similar groups in Nashville, I feel NAMA is the most active in terms of providing interesting relevant content, communicating with members, trying to add value to members, and grow membership the right way.  It’s also the largest group I’ve found, which is nice for diversity and perspective.

Can you share a memorable experience from your career thus far?
My favorite career moment is when I’ve developed a relationship with a client in such a way where they trust me, know all the ways I can help them, and am able to use me to my full capacity to meet their needs. This is the most rewarding type of professional relationship I can think of outside of mentoring and being mentored. 

Power Lunch Recap: Listen, Don’t Monitor

By Melinda Hudgins Noblitt | 5.12.16

“We as brands, we as marketers are only scratching the surface,” Jason Falls said during his presentation at NAMA’s final Power Lunch of the programming year.

He was there to discuss Social Listening, which he explained, is very different from Social Monitoring.

Given that Falls is a leading digital strategist, author, speaker and thinker in the digital and social media marketing industry, we’re inclined to believe him.


“With Social Monitoring, you’re reacting to what people say. Social Listening is proactive; ask a question and then listen to answers that will help (your) brand,” he continued.

“We assume we know. We don’t. Why be a good guesser if you don’t have to? If you can use data, then you have that data to back up your decisions.”

Rarely do companies have dollars set aside for market research. Sure, there might be budget allocations every five years or so, but marketers need current data to understand their audience.

“Decisions need to be fueled by insights,” Falls says.

Hello, Facebook and Twitter.

“Social media changes the game,” he said. “We now have millions of conversations happening online. And a million more happening right now. And right now.”

Now, let’s use those conversations to make our products better.

Falls gave the example of Hanz Toys, an educational toy company that utilized Social Listening to determine what was missing from the modern day toy industry. (It may very well be attention span that is missing. With the evolution of technology, more children are focused on digital rather than hands-on entertainment.)

So the company “listened in” on social conversations about children’s toys taking place in mommy groups and similar social media pages. Ultimately, the company learned that educational toys were missing from the marketplace. Then it got to work filling that gap.

decisions need to be fueled by insights.

By utilizing Social Listening to conduct research, Hanz Toys saved not only on research expenses, but also on design costs.

Other examples included Vespa, Café Press, and Kettle Brand Potato Chips – all of which used a form of Social Listening to better understand their consumers, thus improving their brands.

What’s in your toolbox?

In order to sift through the mounds of social media dialogue, Falls recommended a variety of tools (and full disclosure, some are his clients): NetBase, Infegy, SproutSocial, Klear.

The list goes on, so do your homework to determine which is best for your company, then get to work.

“Once the tool is in place, you need time to look into it,” Falls said.

“Delve into it without any questions in mind, then find out why. Do it with an open mind and a real curiosity. Dive into these conversations proactively and seek answers to questions.”

He also advises marketers to ask, “Why?” five times. Work backward to solve a problem.


Falls offers more insight in his post, “Social Listening Can Inform Your Marketing Creative.”

While Power Lunches are on hold until late-summer, there are still plenty of events on the calendar!

3 Reasons You Should Absolutely, Positively Attend Our Upcoming Power Lunch

By Melinda Hudgins Noblitt, NAMA Blog Editor | 4.21.16

Kick off your Cinco de Mayo celebration with a NAMA Power Lunch!

No, seriously. Our May 5 Power Lunch is going to be stellar for several reasons, and not because your night is sure to end with El Jimador Añejo and Dos Equis.

NAMA May 5 Power Luncheon Graphic

  1. Jason Falls
    Need we say more?This guy’s resume is impressive.Not only is he a leading digital strategist, author, speaker (obviously), and thinker in the digital and social media marketing industries, but he’s worked with fabulous brands like General Motors, Maker’s Mark, AT&T, Fireball Whisky, and CafePress. #careergoals, anyone?

    You may know Jason as the founder of (Cue the “Ohhhs”)

    Then there are his two books: No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No Hype Guide to Social Media Marketing and The Rebel’s Guide to Email Marketing.

    You’re guaranteed one helluva presentation with book titles like these!

  1. Social Listening vs. Social Monitoring
    How often have you listened – and I mean really listened – to what your social media followers are saying?“Social Monitoring is, to me, a reactive activity,” Jason says.“Social Listening is different. When you listen, you listen with the intent of learning, changing behavior, changing responses. It’s proactive, where you intentionally go and listen to discover insight.”

    It’s a deeper level of understanding your consumer.

    “Social Listening is really market research using social conversations,” he continues.

    Jason says there are three primary ways that folks utilize market research: Product Development, Information about User Experience, and Content and Marketing Messaging.

    “I’ll talk about those three and use examples of how companies are using social listening to accomplish those things for far less money.”

    NAMA May 5 Power Lunch Quote Graphic

  1. NAMA’s Final Power Lunch (sort of)
    This is the last Power Lunch of the NAMA year, which runs July-June, so the next opportunity to hear an awesome speaker will be late-summer (because, let’s face it, NAMA speakers are nothing short of fantastic).Go ahead, move your cursor here and register!And if you’re feeling super ambitious, go ahead and register for all of our May events.

Member Spotlight: Norm Blanchard

Q&A with Norm Blanchard | 4.19.16


Norm Blanchard
CEO and Founder
3Feathers Mobile Marketing, LLC
Volunteer, Membership

What prompted you to join NAMA?
I joined NAMA because I see the value of connecting and networking with others.

As Henry Ford stated, “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” Joining NAMA provides a vehicle for like-minded people to collaborate and learn from one another which then in turns can lead to success for everyone.

What did you hope to accomplish by joining NAMA?
My goal in joining NAMA was to meet and network with others in the marketing community in Nashville and the surrounding area. NAMA provides that opportunity with their Power Lunches and SIGs series every month.

You currently serve on the Membership Committee. Why did you decide to volunteer?
I have only been a member for a short time with NAMA, however, I see the value in being a member. I would like to give back and help encourage others to join and see that same benefit.

How has NAMA impacted you professionally?
Many times in business, you get boxed into a certain group. NAMA helps in meeting others in marketing that are not within your typical networking group. It has expanded my network circle. In addition, it has provided many educational opportunities.

What differentiates NAMA from other groups?
NAMA pulls people from all different areas of marketing. It brings together like-minded people for a common purpose of helping their members connect, developing skills, and increasing professionalism.

Can you share a memorable experience from your career thus far?
As an entrepreneur, I have had many memorable experiences. The most rewarding experience is when you have a vision for a project and you are able to see that vision become a reality – transforming an idea to reality.

6 Tweaks to Your LinkedIn Profile Content That Can Further Your Career

By Kurt Kirton, MBA, Guest Blogger | 2.19.16

Last year, I was talking with a former pastor who now owns a senior caregiving company. The subject of public speaking came up.

Without a lot of time to get deeply into it, I told him I might ask him later for his advice on being an effective compelling speaker.

He smiled and remarked how sermons are now “content,” and pastors are now content creators. How true! I’d never thought of it that way. (Some more than others, I thought, my own pastor being a blogger and author as well.)

Ah, the march of technology.

I think it’s safe to say that the strongest content created, especially in the marketing realm, involves storytelling.

And when it comes to your career, and advancing it, it’s important to market yourself as effectively as possible—be it via your attire, elevator speech, résumé, or LinkedIn profile. The latter will be my focus in this post.

Let’s look at several tweaks you can make to help your profile get more of the attention you want.

  1. Your Photo
    Years ago when I first started using LinkedIn, I resisted the notion of having a photo. I thought it might cause connections or prospective employers to be shallow or judgmental based on a photo, and if that omitting a picture would put more focus on my content than my face.But, as a former supervisor of mine at a record company used to say about album covers, “People like to see people.” Since then, my attitude has changed, and I have to say I agree with that supervisor.Having a photo allows someone to get an extra sense of you as a person and a professional, beyond the written content that follows. They can start connecting by being able to “look you in the eye.”

    Resist the tendency to go for an “I look good in this one” photo that’s too casual, too dark, or has overlapping bits of others in the crop.”

    Use a clear, professional-looking, conservative photo on your profile. I’d recommend that your attire in it be at least business casual, if not formal interview attire.

    If need be, dress like you would for an interview or at least business casual; get outside in good light; and (using at least a 5 megapixel setting) have a friend take 10 or 20 shots of you. Use an area with a plain background and indirect sunlight so you’re not overly lit or squinting.

    Be sure to smile.

    Afterwards, with your friend’s input, choose the best one—something that showcases you as qualified and well put together. Crop it to a portrait orientation, upper chest to above your head, and upload your stellar new pic to your profile.

  2. Keywords
    Just like with résumés, recruiters will search LinkedIn profiles based on keywords. So your profile should contain keywords that have to do with the jobs you’re hoping to land.You can look at job descriptions at sites like Careerbuilder to get ideas for the top keywords used to describe the positions you’re seeking.Then, using your updated résumé, populate that content into your LinkedIn profile.
  3. The Summary
    LinkedIn provides limited space in the Summary section (which is at the top of your profile page), so utilize this space the best you can.

    The Summary can help show others the “you” you want them to know, regardless of your work history. It can also be a great spot to reiterate keywords.Since the Summary is the first section a potential employer will see, I recommend including the information below:

    • Contact information
    • The summary paragraph from your résumé
    • Four or so strengths
    • Five or so selected accomplishments (your most important)
    • Software proficiencies (if relevant for the job you’re seeking.
    • Seeking – This will be 2 bullet points detailing where you’d like to work and what you’d like to do. (You can remove this section after you get your new position.)Here’s an example:
      Dallas Area Target Position: FT accounting, ____, or ____ position in a solid, ideally medium to large-sized company.
      Sample Job Titles: ____, ____, ____, ____.
  1. Volunteer Work
    Including volunteer work on your LinkedIn profile is always a plus. (You’ll need to enter your volunteer positions like they were a job, not under Organizations so that recommendations can be written.)Make sure to be detailed on what you did in each position. Not only can people can see how you’ve been able to apply certain skill sets in those positions, but supervisors or fellow volunteers will need a job entry to connect any recommendations they write for you.
  1. Avoiding Age Discrimination
    In your education section, choose the “-” for the From-To dates for each of your degrees, and don’t enter the years.Ideally, include no more than your last 10 years of job history in order to avoid any potential age discrimination. But it’s a good idea to list as many of your past positions as you feel you need to show.Don’t forget to customize your public profile URL (see for a how-to.) This will make it shorter, better looking, and easier for you and others to remember.
  2. Keep It Current
    Make sure to update your profile information (via the Contact Information link under your total number of your connections) a few times a year as you have more achievements at your current position and especially when you change jobs. Keep your backlinks current (a LinkedIn pet peeve of mine.) Backlinks are links to things like your website, portfolio, or blog that appear on your Contact Info tab.They are visible to LinkedIn members, but the fields shown depend on your connection to the viewer. Anytime you change one of these URLs, be sure to update the link to it on your LinkedIn profile. Google will index backlinks, helping your profile turn up in searches on your name.People who want to know more about you will be frustrated if they get “Page Not Found” when clicking a backlink.


Looking for a new job? Want to get what you want faster? Check out my new book, Here Today, Hired Tomorrow.

Kurt Kirton
In his recent book
Here Today, Hired Tomorrow, Kurt Kirton, a successful veteran job hunter, provides actionable advice and teaches his proven systematic approach to getting hired. He draws upon his years of recruiting for Brantley Services, his marketing consulting experience, personal job searches, and invaluable guidance from career professionals. When Kirton is not sharing his job search experience and advice on, he is a speaker, blogger, marketing consultant, graphic designer, and Secretary for the Nashville chapter of the American Marketing Association.

Telling Your Brand Story

By Melinda Hudgins Noblitt | 2.9.16

From the second David Hutchens spoke his first words at NAMA’s February Power Lunch, he immediately captivated the entire room.

He is, after all, a storyteller.

Hutchens was there to share insight into organizational narrative, or “Telling Your Brand Story,” but it became so much more.

It evolved into a growing experience for everyone involved, and I’d be hard-pressed to find someone who didn’t leave the luncheon inspired.


Storytelling has been around for some 30,000 years, but more recently, companies are learning to utilize that art as a means of branding.

In fact, that’s where Hutchens excels – as an author, business writer, and learning designer who “creates communication solutions for The Coca-Cola Company, Wal-Mart, IBM, GE, Nike, L’Oreal, Dannon.” The list goes on.

“Knowledge is not data,” he said. “Wisdom is hard stuff that can’t go into an Excel sheet.”

We, as marketers, are curators of our organization’s brand identity, Hutchens explained.

“What’s your story?” he asked. “If someone asked you that, what would your answer be?”

You could almost see the wheels turning in everyone’s heads. The sheer volume of brain activity taking place during the hour long lunch could’ve powered the entire Hilton Garden Inn for a full month.

“Strategic storytelling is not about public speaking, it’s about telling certain stories at the right time for the purpose of building a brand,” Hutchens explained.

With that, he launched us into an activity, an assignment of sorts, which involved an index card, a (brief) moment of contemplation, and a buzz of excitement:

  1. What are you an advocate for? What’s your purpose?
  2. Think of a moment or experience that placed you on this path.

Hutchens then told the story of Ernest Hemingway’s six-word novel:

For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.

You can guess assignment No. 3: Write a six-word story.

Once written, we were to hold it in front of our chests, facing outward, and walk around the room introducing ourselves to one another.

“Stories don’t exist in a vacuum, in isolation,” Hutchens urged. “Network. It draws people together and brings it to life.”

Some folks created a six-word novel that described their professional lives, while others opted for a more personal approach.

2-9-16 NAMA Blog Photo 1
“Healthy environment. Eliminate negative people.” – Priscila Faester

2-9-16 NAMA Blog Photo 2
“People crave connection. I give that.” – Chris Raines

It was both incredibly vulnerable and exhilarating, and Hutchens explained why.

“If you were to take a brain scan while telling a story, it would light up like a Christmas tree,” he said. “If you were to scan the listener’s brain, it would be almost identical.”

He went on to tell about Paul Zak, who has explored the neuroscience of empathy.

So which stories should you be telling?

Hutchens says there are 4 Core Stories:

  • Identity
  • Vision
  • Values
  • Change & Learning

No two stories should look alike. As the curator of our individual brands, our ultimate destination is the future.

“What does innovation look like at your company?” he inquired. “Establish principles for what action looks like in this organization.”

Invite clients and employees to share their stories to create a narrative dialogue.

“What is the journey you’re inviting people into?” asked Hutchens.

If you’re interested in learning more, check out Hutchens’ new book Circle of the 9 Muses.

5 Tips for Branding the Cowboy Way

By Gregg Boling, Guest Blogger | 2.2.16

Branding has become a pervasive (and often misused) word in the marketing communications vernacular.

These days, it’s a phrase that’s often used in connection with everything from people and Instagram accounts to types of dogs. And while I love dogs, I am getting a bit sick of hearing the word used so much. I guess I’m just too old school.

Personally, I’d prefer that we all ease off the branding babble a bit and focus on making branding great.

So what does all this have to do with cowboys you ask? I thought it might be fun to examine one of the original contexts of branding to see what old school truths can be extracted for use today.


The Great American West was a wild, wild place. For the cowboy, life on the frontier meant days on end without seeing your family, long days of dirty, sweaty work; and people shooting at you from every angle (sounds a lot like advertising already).

Back then (or in the good ole days as us old timers like to say), branding was an effective way to help ranchers and cattlemen recognize and distinguish their brand among different cattle. The ability to recognize these other brands went a long way to make cattle more recognizable and the ranch more memorable.

So what did Cowboys know about branding then that still applies today? Let’s take a look:

  1. Make sure to stand out from the crowd – With so many brands headed to market, a rancher knew that it was important that his brand stand out.
  2. Be succinct in your messaging – Branding was hard work. So while being memorable was important, it was also imperative that the message be short and simple.
  3. Plan well and strike (wait for it) while the iron is hot – Just like today, timing was everything. Back then, branding required careful planning and coordination. It meant studying and understanding your target’s habits and acting at the right time.
  4. Be sure to make a strong connection – Much like today’s branding world, much of the challenge back then was knowing when and where to strike. Miss your mark by even just a little and it could spell disaster for all involved.
  5. It’s permanent when done right – In the Old West a great brand was a message that became timeless. It was something that everyone easily recognized and never forgot.

So there you have it: Branding done the cowboy way. Five easy things you can  remember that will help keep your branding on track: Stand out, be succinct, plan well, connect well and be timeless.

As I said, I’m growing a bit tired of all the brand babble. I killed my first six or so drafts because they were full of disgusting words like metrics, synergy, omnichannel and analytics. Odds are you’re probably getting tired of the brandspeak too.

Author’s note: I love dogs and cows. Do not assume I condone cattle branding because I don’t.  I thought this might be a fun way to remind you of these points in a way that wasn’t full of adspeak—something that would at least get you engaged with (Oops, roped into) the headline. Sorry. Couldn’t help myself.


Gregg Boling_GSF
Gregg Boling is Executive Vice President, Managing Director, Executive Creative Director at GS&F, a Fully-Integrated Nashville Advertising Agency that prides itself in exposing the truth, creating an experience around it, and making consumers want to act.