Automated Marketing: What’s next?

Melinda Hudgins Noblitt | 1.26.16

NAMA has spent the past month examining marketing automation. In fact, if you attended the January Power Luncheon (or read about it on the blog), you heard from local experts themselves.

The question now begs: What’s next?

If we had a crystal ball, we’d be millionaires – like those lucky folks who split the $1.5 billion lottery jackpot.

Unfortunately, we don’t.

What we do have is a list of resources that can help explain where marketing automation is headed and how to determine which course of action is best for your individual needs.
AWS_Simple_Icons_On-Demand_Workforce_Amazon_Mechanical_Turk.svgMarketing automation has evolved throughout the years, from its beginnings of basic email marketing to a more complex process of tracking online behavior. Irv Shapiro does a fantastic job of explaining that evolution in The Future of Marketing Automation, calling it a three-generational process that will become a much more integrated “cycle.”

It’s no secret that companies are utilizing marketing automation more and more.

According to Jordie van Rijn’s The Ultimate Marketing Automation statistics overview, an average of 49 percent of companies are using some form of marketing automation, with more than half of B2B companies (55 percent) adopting the technology.

In fact, he breaks down usage, cost, and benefits into digestible data. Check it out; the numbers speak for themselves.

Retailers are at the forefront of the marketing automation train with omnichannel brands tracking shoppers’ every move in-stores, online, and everywhere in between.

Foursquare released a report showing shoppers spent an average 4.9 hours at storefronts on Black Friday. Brick-and-mortar sales were down, but Internet sales skyrocketed yet again last year, surpassing the $4.5 billion mark, according to Ingrid Lunden‘s TechCrunch article. What’s more, 34 percent of all online sales were made on mobile devices.

An estimated $4 trillion worth of merchandise abandoned in online shopping carts last year alone. That means retailers’ main focus is now converting those “browsers” to “spenders,” which is possible with automated marketing, says Ashley McGregor Dey in her article Win Back Revenue with Automation.

There’s no doubting the obvious need for marketers to stay up-to-date with trends. But with thousands of automated marketing options, from apps to CRM systems, how exactly can marketers stay ahead of the curve?


UK-based Brandpipe answers this very question in The future of Marketing: 11 Technology trends for 2016.

While you probably can’t afford to do them all, focus on what’s right for your company, and make it work within your budget.

Do your research. Ask your colleagues what they’re using and what they like (and dislike) about that particular program.

G2 Crowd offers a software comparison program on its website that easily defines marketing automation so you can decide which suits your company’s strategy best.

Ten Things You Should Know about NAMA

By Jamie Dunham, NAMA President-Elect | 12.29.15

top 10

I am a sucker for Top Ten lists, and 2015 has been a good year at the Nashville AMA chapter, so I thought it would be helpful to reflect on the Top Ten Things You Should Know About NAMA:

  1. Informed Marketing Insights
    Our members say that learning the latest marketing trends is one of the top member benefits. To ensure that learning continues, our NAMA Programming team spends hours juggling calendars, contacts, hot topics and research to bring us programming from informed leaders in their fields.Some of the topics from 2015 Power Lunches have included Experiential Marketing, Video Innovation, Non-Profit Marketing, Marketing to Women, Social Media experts and Sports Marketing leaders. Each speaker provided current information and insights not found by just reading blogs or reading books, and they were very generous in sharing their current experience in their fields.After the 2015 Super Bowl, we heard from Nissan on its approach to the Super Bowl campaign from enlisting top bloggers early-on to actual advertising and social media, and we were able to hear first-hand results.
  1. Shared Expertise
    At NAMA, we have hosted member-only events that provide shared expertise in a variety of subjects from how to hone your presentations to how to deal with clients. Karl Sakas, an agency consultant and business coach, met with us this month to provide his insights on creating great client relationships and how to deal with difficult client situations.
  1. Category Knowledge
    We have several special interest groups within NAMA that provide excellent programs targeted at specific categories – Business to Business, Healthcare Marketing, Non-Profit Marketing, Technology Marketing and our newest group Research. Our Healthcare group regularly brings in market leaders like Rebecca Climer, SVP of Marketing and Communications at Saint Thomas Health to discuss their marketing strategy. Research hosted a round table as their initial event this year.  And our B2B group brought in Gannett to talk about marketing strategy.
  1. Relationships
    NAMA is an extremely welcoming group. With the growth in the Nashville marketing community, NAMA provides a home for marketers where they can make peer relationships not available elsewhere. Getting involved, attending meetings and working on committees provide opportunities for marketing relationships that live beyond your current job.I have several close friendships with persons I have met through NAMA. These relationships have made my life richer and my professional life more relevant. I count on these friends for important advice, special insights and referrals to specialists I might not know.
  1. Inside Scoop
    I have a friend who always says, “What’s the scoop?’ Well, when you are involved at NAMA, you have inside information on business changes, corporate changes and new jobs. This information makes your cocktail conversation richer, and friends will look at you as the “person in the know.”
  1. National Perspective
    NAMA is part of the American Marketing Association, a national organization that provides an array of resources (also a top member benefit). Its website provides excellent resources, events, webinars, publications, and content helpful to marketers. Take a minute to read The AMA’s Top 10 Marketing Stories of 2015.
  1. Local Leaders
    Where else are you going to meet some of Nashville’s top marketing leaders? We host top leaders across all disciplines and brands. In our friendly and inclusive environment, we encourage NAMA participants to learn from these leaders. And, many times, these leaders are looking for talent. Win-win!
  1. Experience and Career Growth
    We encourage all volunteers and board members to add their NAMA experience to their resume and LinkedIn profile. NAMA is a great way to gain leadership experience and to build competency in a different marketing discipline. Prospective employers are always interested in your passion for your industry and participating in NAMA is a great way to exhibit that passion.
  1. Valuable Partnerships
    NAMA has been asked to participate in several other marketing events throughout 2015. We provided volunteers to Emma’s Marketing United Conference and the Fuel Lines New Business Conference.In exchange, discounts were available to our members. These conferences were highlights of the marketing year in Nashville and were enjoyed by our members.
  1. Networking
    I left networking for the end of the list. Most people say networking is an important benefit to participation in NAMA; however, I think participation is the key to networking.Just showing up at a meeting, collecting business cards, and pestering people for coffees and lunches is not effective networking.Networking comes from really engaging with fellow members, getting to know about them on a personal level and working/learning together provides the foundation for real and sustained networking. I’m confident that many of my fellow members will join me in this insight.Getting to know folks at NAMA is easy. We provide many venues – monthly coffees, monthly mixers, breakfasts, lunches and parties. So jump in!

If you are not currently a member of NAMA, 2016 might be a good time to join so you can enjoy more NAMA benefits. By the way, 95 percent of our members say they are satisfied with the NAMA membership.

B2B SIG: Does Content Marketing Work for B2B?

Find out how top Nashville marketers made the decision to start marketing by attracting, rather than interrupting, and the tactics they use. By providing information that has value, is relevant, authoritative, free, and never a sales pitch, they offer help and advice. Sounds great in a warm fuzzy way for B2C – but does it improve the bottom line in a B2B environment?

In this panel discussion, you will hear case studies from four marketing experts in various stages of using content marketing to promote their business or their clients’ B2B businesses. Then have a chance to stay for round table discussion where panelists and guests will discuss specific marketing challenges and opportunities they are having. The event begins with time to network, followed by a delicious breakfast form Maggiano’s.

We are all working to figure out the best way to reach customers/clients in a rapidly changing digital environment. This is a chance to collaborate, learn what’s working, and what’s not. As we continue to build Nashville as a Marketing Technology Leader, this is a golden opportunity to chat about best practices and challenge one another to create the next big ideas.

The panelists for this discussion are: David Green – David Green Communications – Content Marketing Pioneer, Lori Whitbey – Schneider Electric – Global Fortune 500 Company, Rex Hammock – Hammock, Inc. – Content Marketing Agency, Holly Krozel – Martin & Co. Advertising – Auto Accessories Marketing Agency

7:30 – 8:15 Maggiano’s Breakfast & Networking

8:15 – 9:15 Panel discussion

9:15 – 10:00 Round table discussions


David Green – David Green Communications – Content Marketing Pioneer
David Green is an award-winning communicator with a deep background in developing strategies to increase visibility for businesses whose selling point is their expertise. David has assisted top companies in healthcare, accounting, architecture, technology, home building, occupational safety and other fields develop strategic public relations and marketing campaigns that have helped build brands and driven sales. By developing blogs, newsletters, articles, white papers, case studies, webinars and a variety of other tools that demonstrate expertise, and by obtaining media exposure, David has helped clients dramatically boost traffic to their websites and generate leads. As managing editor of The Tennessean, Nashville’s daily newspaper, he oversaw the planning and execution of content for all sections of the web site and newspaper and led a staff of 190 professional journalists. At the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader, David led investigative reporting teams, one of which won a Pulitzer Prize.

Lori Whitbey – Schneider Electric – Global Fortune 500 Company
Lori Whitbey enjoys developing content for the challenging and complex B2B market. As a senior marketing specialist in the strategic/global marketing division of Schneider Electric, Lori is responsible for creating and developing integrated marketing campaigns to launch products to the B2B target audience. With over 25 years’ experience in both corporate and ad/marketing agencies, she uses a mix of advertising, direct marketing, sales collateral, POP, interactive, and digital to increase engagement and drive sales.

Rex Hammock – Hammock, Inc. – Content Marketing Agency
Rex Hammock is CEO of the customer media and content marketing services company, Hammock Inc., a company he started in 1991. For 23 years, Hammock Inc. has focused exclusively on direct-to-customer media and content, the types of print, digital and video marketing services that is today call “content marketing.” Hammock Inc. works with some of the largest companies in the healthcare services field, as well as large associations and companies that serve the marketplace of small business decision makers. In addition to providing content services to clients, Hammock Inc. owns and operates various media services related to the brand, Rex is noted for his early integration of new media and technology into direct-to-customer content marketing efforts. He is noted also for his early adoption of web based social media as blogging ( and Twitter (@R). His blog is currently listed among “top 10 CEO blogs” by Chief Executive Magazine and “to 25 CEO blogs” by In 2007, he was recipient of the Nashville Technology Council’s first Social Media/Blogger of the Year award.

Holly Krozel – Martin & Co.Advertising – Auto Accessories Marketing Agency
Holly is the VP and General Manager of Martin & Co Advertising, and joined the team in 2013.  She is a respected business leader, bringing over 15 years of marketing and analytics experience to the team. Throughout her career, Holly has created and implemented sustainable business processes.  She has also worked on award winning cross-functional teams to launch new products, build brand awareness and increase sales both at retail and direct to consumer.  Since her arrival at Martin & Company, Holly has driven the restructuring of the business to improve productivity, and position the team to best help clients compete in the increasingly digital world of marketing. This year, Holly lead the team in development of a seminar to share Content Marketing strategy with the Automotive Aftermarket Industry, being presented at the industry’s SEMA trade show in Las Vegas. She has also lead Martin & Company’s development of their own Content Marketing strategy to grow business, as well as a restructing of the agency to put more focus on this new way of marketing in their client’s industry.


Maggiano’s Little Italy
3106 West End Avenue
Nashville, TN 37203

Tuesday, December 2, 2014 from 7:30 AM to 10:00 AM (CST)

NAMA Members: $25
Non-members: $35

7:30 – 8:15 Maggiano’s Breakfast & Networking
8:15 – 9:15 Panel discussion
9:15 – 10:00 Round table discussions


Please support NAMA sponsors:

nbjlogo dnicorptag-1
cronincreativesponsortag emmasponsortag
marshallbrucelogo GS&F

Does Your City Sing? Lessons in Destination Branding

Steve Chandler

I have one of the best marketing jobs I know. For much of my business, I get to work with cities and communities for the purpose of helping them identify the best branding direction that can grow tourism and economic development. As a result, I have clients in different areas of the country. I learn about each one from the people that make the community what it is. I visit the best eateries they have to offer and experience the best spots of local interest. Culturally, it’s really amazing.

Many people ask me, “What does it take for a city to brand itself successfully?”

I don’t have an easy answer for that one, mainly because I believe a city has a more difficult challenge branding itself than any public or private company. This is because unlike Apple, Disney or McDonald’s, a city does not own its name. It must share it with other businesses that use it, as well as every single resident (imagine how many businesses include the name Nashville). As a result, anyone’s efforts could positively or negatively affect your brand image. And unlike other brands, since no single entity owns the name, a city cannot take legal action against someone for misusing its name. Yikes!

So what’s the key to city branding success? It’s not a new ad campaign, it’s not a logo, it’s not even a cool line such as “What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas.” The key is in a city’s ability to deliver authentic experiences and in how well its residents and visitors are engaged in evangelizing the city to others. In other words, pride well spoken. Try crafting a marketing plan to make that happen. It’s not that easy. It takes buy-in and long-term commitment from local city organizations and private investors. This requires a deliberate process of collaboration with room for organic spontaneity. In other words, when everyone sings the same note, music happens.

Nashville does the above beautifully. Of course, it’s easy for the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau to market Music City. Honky tonks, the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame are just starters for delivering this experience. But the reason Nashville “sings” is because doses of Music City are sprinkled everywhere. Here is a small starter list:

  • The Nashville Technology Council gives out guitars as awards at their annual Technology Awards. By the way, they use the theme line, “Feel the Beat of Technology.”
  • Bicycle racks shaped like giant microphones and musical notes are a public art project.
  • The city serves as headquarters for Country Music Association, International Bluegrass Music Association, Gospel Music Association, the Americana Music Association and even the Barbershop Harmony Society.
  • Vanderbilt Medical Center frequently uses imagery of guitars in its advertising.
  • One downtown parking garage names its floors after iconic country music stars (yes there is a Johnny Cash floor).
  • In a brilliant collaboration between tourism and the City Public Works, “live music venue” signs map out the countless number of locations that deliver a live music experience.
  • And of course there are festivals, marathons, national TV shows (go “Nashville!”) and more.

So, what does it take for a city to “sing?” It takes a village. The more people that are united and proud of the place where they live, work and play, the louder one strong note can be heard. I encourage you to sing for your community. It will make your city’s voice stronger and louder, which creates more business for everyone.

Steve Chandler is Owner and Brand Strategist at Chandler Thinks. He also serves as NAMA’s Programming Co-Chair.

Is Your Brand Culturally Relevant?

by Jamie Dunham
Founder of Brand Wise

What makes one brand wired and another tired? I believe it is all in the culture.

Brands are no longer locked in worlds of advertising or corporate ideas of what we want to tell the consumer. We marketing folks get so caught up in brand speak – brand essence, brand differentiators, brand propositions, brand babble – that we often forget the most important thing about a brand: How relevant is the brand to our culture?

Here’s my favorite definition of a brand:

A brand is a cluster of ideas built on a strategic premise…. and deemed relevant by our culture.

This is a different notion that views a brand more like a living molecule than an inert substance.

The Top Culturally Relevant Brands

There’s a new poll out that tracks the most culturally relevant brands. Apple, Google and Amazon are the top three culturally vibrant and relevant global brands according to Added Value, the Cultural Traction survey by WPP.

Each of us could cite reasons for the relevance of every one of these brands. It’s not just one thing. It’s a combination of bold ideas that are visionary and exciting. Apple’s ideas of simplicity, design and strategic fit among its products are legendary.  Google started with easy access to the information of the world and now provides a platform for communication with the world. Amazon began by selling books online and now downloads and ships the world to us.

Relevant brands are dynamic forces in culture

The brand must speak to the culture, the mindset and the identity of the consumer.  Brand ideas are always a means to an end. They start with a problem to solve and continue as a dynamic force in the culture. Brands are not limited by the brand owners, but receive contributions from consumers and other brands.

The iPod is a prime example. Many of us bought and discarded MP3 players in the era before iPods. They were not easy to operate or download music. Along came Apple with the iPod with its iconic design, trendy white earbuds, its own iTunes music delivery system, celebrity U2 editions and hip advertising based on current music. The iPod answered multiple needs and was cool. We went from iPod to iPhone in just 6 years as Apple continued to provide for a need. Today, one out of eight mobile users has an iPhone, again answering a need for 24/7 mobile access.

Turning marketing into cultural logic

Brilliant marketing has the ability to translate the brand’s value into a sort of cultural logic.

• Are you telling a story that solves the consumer’s problem and grants their wish?

• Are you telling the story in a visual and verbal language that your consumers understand?

• Is the story inspiring and energizing?

• Are you telling your story in such a way that consumers desire to be part of the story?

• Are you telling a story that invites your consumers to co-create?

If you are doing these things, then that’s cultural relevance.

Jamie Dunham is a brand strategist. Her firm’s focus is building cultural relevancy for brands that leads to stronger and more profitable consumer relationships. She has spent much of her career focused on Marketing to Women and blogs on the subject at

Rebranding Our Firm

I founded my company three years ago, but I struggled for a long time with the name. Part of the reason I struggled was that in the beginning, I had the same angst that many freelancers do — I was convinced I would have a hard time finding clients [particularly in the economy in late 2008], so I didn’t want to rule out any kind of work that I might be capable of doing. I felt it was best to keep my options open.

Since I couldn’t narrow my focus, the name was particularly difficult for me. I didn’t have anything in particular that I wanted to say…so it wasn’t easy to come up with a name that said nothing yet sounded amazing.

In fact, I actually named the firm one day while I was over at Centresource, one of Nashville’s great web design and development shops. Now-CEO Evan Owens was introducing me to someone and he said, “What’s the name of your company again?” And thus, of desperation, Creekmore Consulting was born!

Well, whether I knew it or not, we did have a great specialization, and we quickly built a nice portfolio of content strategy and information architecture work. I hired some employees, and we’d talk from time to time about the name of the company. “Creekmore Consulting” could be an accounting firm…or almost anything else. We did consult, but all our consultations focused on content strategy specifically. So it seemed silly to keep such a generic name.

Then the crazy-making began. We came up with name…after name…after name…after name. We really liked several, but every time we came up with one we liked, we discovered the URL was not available.

A couple of words on URLs:

Even though we’re in 2012, we still believe that you need to own the URL that is your company name. Yes, it’s hard to find a URL that is available, but it really makes a difference. The more stuff you have to append to your name, the harder it is for people to remember.

And all of you out there sitting on URLs and not using them? A pox on you! We had several great names and the URLs were taken, but not in use. Just maddening. Of course, you can always try to buy an unused URL, but you don’t have any way to know in advance if the person who owns it is crazy or not. While we came up with some good names, we never hit on one that we felt we’d just die without, so we kept searching.

In the end, our new name [Creek Content] happened by accident. Last year at South by Southwest, I decided we really should start tweeting. [An effort at which we’re still only sporadically good.] So I created an account while eating lunch one day, and I named it CreekContent. I meant to name it CreekConsult, but I didn’t realize my mistake until I’d finished creating the account. And I thought, Hey! I’m on to something there! I discovered the URL was available and I bought it right there at the bar at P.F. Chang’s in Austin, on my phone.

We didn’t officially decide to rename the company until the summer, however. We spent a day with fabulous business consultant, David Baker, and one of the first things he said to us was, “Rename this company!” It pushed us over the edge.

We got the website rebranded, a new logo, new business cards, and off we went. Of course, the administrativia continued for months — renaming the bank account, filing the name change with the city, the state, our insurance company, the IRS….getting our ongoing clients to update our billing information. But it was absolutely worth it.

While no name can completely explain what a company does, our new name plants us in the right universe before we even start talking to a prospective client. It is easy to remember and spell, and — I still think this matters — it’s shorter than our old URL.