AMA’s Marketing Training Boot Camp Comes To Nashville!

The ability to effectively develop the elements of a marketing plan is a critical success factor for marketing professionals, business managers and entrepreneurs. NAMA is proud to host AMA’s updated Marketing Planning Boot Camp™ in Nashville on April 17-18. You don’t want to miss this professional development opportunity that will give you the foundation to create a dynamic marketing plan of your own. During the program you will work with peers in a small group setting under close supervision of an expert in marketing plan development. Each group will create a marketing plan for the case study company specified at the beginning of the session.

The Marketing Planning Boot Camp™ instructor will operate in a consultative mode with each small group to coach them on creating a unique high quality marketing plan for the case study company. On the second day, each team will present highlights of their plan to the full class and will receive constructive suggestions, critique, and feedback from the instructor. Upon completion of the Marketing Planning Boot Camp you will have the tools and the confidence to begin doing marketing planning in your own organization.

What You Will Learn:

  • Why a marketing plan must effectively fit in with the overall business planning process and how to ensure it does so.
  • What constitutes an effective marketing plan.
  • How to effectively create and apply:
    • A situation and competitor analysis
    • Marketing objectives, action plans
    • Market segmentation, target marketing, positioning and marketing mix strategy approaches
    • Appropriate metrics to monitor plan success
  • How to articulate an executive report of the marketing plan orally and in writing

At the close of the Marketing Planning Boot Camp™ you will have a complete example of a marketing plan, along with resources that you can use as a process guide when you develop a marketing plan in your own work setting!

Who Should Attend

  • Persons who enjoy learning by doing
  • Individuals who are proficient in marketing or have already completed the AMA Marketing 101 Boot Camp
  • Marketing professionals, business managers, entrepreneurs with a solid working understanding of marketing and who need to develop a marketing plan
  • Recent college graduates in marketing

“I was amazed at how much the Planning Boot Camp opened my mind and changed my way of thinking about marketing strategies.”– Marketing Planning Boot Camp™ Attendee

Click here to for more details, pricing information, and to register for AMA’s Marketing Bootcamps in Nashville!

Cancellation Policy

Cancellations received prior to 4 weeks before the event will receive a refund minus a $75 cancellation fee. Within 4 weeks of event refunds will be granted minus a $150 cancellation fee. There will be no refunds issued on or after the day of the event.

AMA’s Marketing Planning Boot Camp™
April 17-18
Hilton Garden Inn Nashville/Vanderbilt
1715 Broadway, Nashville, TN 37203
4/17/2013 8:00 AM – 4/18/2013 5:00 PM
Register by 3/17/2013 11:00 PM for early registration fee

As always, a great big thanks to our media sponsor, The Nashville Business Journal, and our printing sponsor, Marshall & Bruce.



The Nashville AMA Collegiate Relations Committee – Investing In Next-Generation Marketers

by Natalie Stegall
The Nashville AMA Collegiate Relations Committee is quickly becoming the go-to marketing career resource for full-time students and young professionals in the greater Nashville area. In our continuing effort to support NAMA’s goal of deepening its brand in the marketplace, we work with students and professors from local universities to inform them of available internships, connect NAMA members with professors for speaking opportunities in their classrooms, and mentor students as they transition from collegiate to professional membership after graduation. We even hosted a special student networking and learning event this past spring entitled “Marketing the Marketer” to discuss job search insights with a panel of successful marketers in the area. Given the amount of interest in that event, we plan to host a similar session in spring 2013.

Dr. Jax Conrad, faculty advisor for Belmont University’s AMA chapter, is proud of what the chapter has achieved thus far, and enthusiastic about some great opportunities on the horizon.

“This semester marks the beginning of the fourth year of the AMA chapter at Belmont University,” Dr. Conrad says. “One of our first projects was creating a marketing plan for the Nashville Dismas House. The chapter has also been instrumental in increasing membership in Belmont’s student sports fan organization (MOB). In addition, the Children’s Kindness Network recently awarded Belmont’s AMA chapter the contract to do marketing for a children’s book and an original orchestral recording that promotes kindness principles with the hope of stopping bullying before it starts. The orchestral recording includes 17 celebrity voices, including Larry Gatlin, Ben Vereen, and Wynonna Judd. This is an important opportunity for Belmont students to get real-world marketing experience, while also making an ethical, socially responsible contribution to our country by helping to stop bullying before it starts.”

In addition to strengthening ties between local students and professors and our professional chapter, the NAMA Collegiate Relations Committee supports the development of local AMA collegiate chapters.  Just as the professional chapter relies on its volunteers, collegiate chapters evolve with the help of volunteer students and advisors who are passionate about marketing and dedicated to informing and connecting students with the local marketing community. In addition to Belmont, the NAMA Collegiate Relations group is currently in the process of establishing an AMA Chapter at Tennessee State University. As the NAMA presence grows within the academic community, we will continue to help students gain access to everyday resources that will facilitate growth in the classroom and beyond.

If you would like to learn more or get involved, please reach out to Collegiate Relations Chair Natalie Stegall or Co-Chair Brian Keegan.

Creativity Blog — Healthcare Community Action Campaign

By Kriste Goad, NAMA member

What does a hospital system do when it knows it’s headed toward potentially difficult negotiations with its insurer partners? It gets creative and enlists its community.

Hartford HealthCare (HHC), a four-hospital system based in Hartford, Connecticut, needed a strategy to educate employers, business leaders, health insurance brokers, community influencers, and elected officials about its payor contracting strategy.  HHC was preparing for contract negotiations with five different health plans, the largest being Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of Connecticut, which held 55% of the state’s market share.

Those five different health plans represented nearly 100% of the organization’s revenue from commercial health insurance, and to renegotiate these contracts in a brief period, HHC needed to build community support to strengthen its position.  At the time, HHC was also in the process of buying another community hospital and in negotiations with the State for a public-private partnership to establish Hartford Hospital, its flagship institution, as the primary teaching hospital for the University of Connecticut.  HHC needed a thoughtful, organized approach to avoid the heavy public criticism and the market disruption of going out of network with any one of the health plans, especially Anthem.

HHC enlisted the aid of Nashville’s ReviveHealth to develop and execute a communications campaign that:

  • Educated the community on key health care finance and quality issues, including HHC’s need for fair payment from health plans.
  • Achieved better rates and contract terms with health plans that showed resolve in the community and avoided an out-of-network crisis situation.


Through targeted and carefully nuanced communications, ReviveHealth positioned HHC to directly engage patients, employers, and business leaders to participate in the campaign for a new contract with Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of Connecticut, a contract essential to the system’s financial health.  This collective call to action prompted thousands of supporters to send emails and letters to Anthem’s President, who walked into a negotiations meeting with his customers’ concerns in hand.  The strategy united the health system with its constituents and motivated the health plan to sign a contract, prior to the previous contract’s expiration, that met HHC’s and the community’s needs.


ReviveHealth engaged in a comprehensive, integrated campaign that focused on HHC hospital CEOs and members of the Board, internal audiences (employed physicians, referring physicians, administrators and employees), community stakeholders (employers, brokers, and thought leaders), patients, and local media.  After the initial outreach to patients, ReviveHealth was able to identify a group of nearly 2,500 core supporters through response vehicles such as reply cards, email, website, and phone calls.  This group of patient supporters became the target audience for the remainder of the campaign.  Care was taken to begin communicating with all audiences prior to the heat of the Anthem negotiations, nuancing the messages contained in our outreach to meet the specific interests of each audience, and to set the agenda of debate early in the process.  As the intensity of negotiations with Anthem picked up, so did the frequency of the communication with all audiences, which ensured that they remained informed, engaged, and could trust us to provide them with the latest information.

ReviveHealth started with qualitative research among employers, brokers, and community leaders in each of the HHC markets to determine key issues, pressure points, and what these groups wanted from their local hospitals.  The research findings provided the foundation for the “Solid Foundation” campaign.

Over the course of 18 months, ReviveHealth worked with HHC to educate internal and external audiences (employers, brokers, community leaders, and the media) about key issues facing HHC’s hospitals, including HHC’s need for fair payment from private payors after years of underpayment and the importance of “Solid Foundation” messages.  This long-term education campaign set the stage for the Anthem negotiations, which we knew would be difficult given their size and power in the market.  It was particularly critical to leverage support from the business community.  If employers pressured Anthem on behalf of Hartford HealthCare to stay in-network by moving business, and brokers communicated that the market was in turmoil, Anthem would see the importance of having HHC hospitals in-network.

The greatest strategic problem was the possibility of several public fights with payors given the size of the rate increases that were required to recalibrate the contracts according to industry benchmarks.  When Anthem is 55% of any hospital’s commercial revenue – and that contract was the last in a string of five to be negotiated in a short time frame – any rate increase is going to invite trouble.  HHC had to plan for the worst-case scenario and then execute its plan in a disciplined way.

Each hospital in the HHC system serves different communities and patient populations, so we ensured that our campaign had clearly-defined audience segments with distinct messages that conveyed the negotiations’ impact at the individual level.  It was important that we stayed in front of the issue.  By predicting Anthem’s movements and reactions, we were able to develop and distribute messages that inoculated against Anthem attacks and kept them on their heels through the course of negotiations.  We knew the public battle would be ugly given the sheer size and power of an Anthem plan.


To prepare them to act as ambassadors, hospital board members, executives and physicians were guided on negotiations every step along the way. Physicians also received weekly faxes, emails, and FAQs to communicate with patients and direct them to information sources developed specifically for them: a hotline, office handouts, sample letters, and response cards to directly receive negotiation updates.

Letters, call campaigns, and meetings with employers and brokers regarding negotiations were conducted and included presentations, fact books, and testimonials on the “Solid Foundation” initiative. A website provided information on the initiative and negotiation updates, and enabled visitors to sign up in support of HHC as well as contact Anthem.

Anthem patients were contacted through letters and calls to explain the genesis of negotiations.  With response cards and follow-up calls, this audience could ask questions and receive information, including negotiations fact sheets, potential patient impact, and direction on access to care if a contract termination occurred).

We prepared a standby statement in case Anthem attacked through media, along with a Q&A, Op-Eds from physicians, Letters to the Editor, social media content and print advertisements, all aimed at reassuring the community and allaying fears.


Two days before out-of-network status would have become a reality for tens of thousands of Anthem members accessing HHC hospitals (and 13% of Hartford’s total revenue risk), the president of Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of Connecticut walked into a negotiations meeting carrying thousands of printed emails and letters from patients and employers that he had recently received.  The efforts with HHC had proven fruitful: concerned patients and employers had been mobilized to action.  The meeting ended with a signed contract from Anthem that met HHC’s financial needs.

The following spring, we conducted a public opinion survey to measure perception and reputation of HHC hospitals once the dust settled from the Anthem negotiations.  We tested everything from the cost of care at our hospitals to specialists provided, quality of care, and what people remembered from the Anthem negotiations.  The results were very favorable toward HHC hospitals.  It was clear that the negotiations were no longer a primary concern and that we successfully thwarted the negative attacks by Anthem.

Lastly, the Solid Foundation campaign has become an important part of HHC’s ongoing strategy, serving as both a demonstration of Hartford’s commitment to transparency and frequent communication as well as the vehicle to provide regular progress updates to the community. HHC described it this way: “The Solid Foundation strategy is a major endeavor by Hartford Healthcare to further its commitment to quality healthcare through strengthening its solid financial foundation, including: further reducing costs through process improvement; creating new economies of scale; continuing its cost savings initiatives without sacrificing quality or diminishing programs; and negotiating new contracts with all major managed care companies.”
In a press release the following year, HHC announced that because of its Solid Foundation strategy, “For the first time in nearly a decade, Hartford Hospital operated in the black. The system overall is working toward an operating margin of 1% to 2% to allow for reinvestment in new technologies, the modernization of facilities, and improved access to critical care for the community. All of these important investments require a Solid Foundation that is supported by more efficient operations, carefully targeted process improvement, and fair payment from managed care companies.”

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