Time to invest in a CRM system? Here’s how to make it happen!

By Knight Stivender, Guest Blogger | 12.6.16

Are you a marketer struggling to keep up with your customers and would-be customers Are you finding it a challenge to send them the right emails in a timely fashion? Or make sure they see your digital campaigns?


Do you know when they’ve visited your website, and do you communicate with them accordingly? Do you know which of your customers are no longer buying from you, and why not? Have you thought about creating a loyalty program to reward your brand cheerleaders?

These are the sorts of dilemmas that can get you thinking about whether it’s finally time to invest a real CRM – customer relationship management – tool. Or – if your organization already has a CRM – to make sure you have access to it and are using it to the fullest extent.

How can you convince your higher-ups to pony-up for CRM?

This blog post breaks it down in six easy(ish) steps.
Knight Stivender
Knight Stivender is Director of Marketing & Development for Alcott Marketing Science and serves as NAMA’s Tech SIG Chair. Follow her on Twitter

How Starbucks nails (Holiday) marketing – and how to implement it in your brand

By Chelsea Kallman, NAMA Blogger | 12.4.16

Picture this: it’s Halloween weekend, and I’m kind of craving a sweet treat. I’m just having a relaxing evening, scrolling on Instagram, when up pops an advertised post from Starbucks talking up their Frappula Frappuccino.

It’s a white chocolate mocha Frappuccino with strawberry sauce added to make it look like Dracula himself has bitten into the whipped cream.

Now, to preface, this isn’t my typical drink, and Starbucks isn’t even my go-to coffee shop. I indulge in a frappe maybe four times a year. But, darn it, if this drink doesn’t look down right spooktacular.


The next day of my Halloween weekend, I suddenly find myself driving 15 minutes out of my way just for a “treat yo’self.” 

How did I go from not really caring about a drink (or its associated brand) to being called to action and spending my time and money in a place I don’t typically visit?

Two words: Incredible marketing.

Although a global corporation, Starbucks has a lot of marketing tips that even the smallest shop on Main Street America can employ.

Starbucks makes you feel like you’re a part of the story.

Hubspot wrote a blog about some great holiday marketing campaigns. No surprise, Starbucks is included.

The post talks about how the brand evokes emotions and promotes sharing by making everything personal. Starbucks gets at the core of what its company is all about: you, the consumer. Its marketing always goes beyond the product and speaks to the lifestyle associated with the brand.


Starbucks for Life is one campaign that does exactly this. It’s a sweepstakes that you enter to try and win one beverage and one food item every day for the next 30 years of your life. That is a pretty incredible giveaway — equating to roughly $75,000 per winner.

Of course, everyone wants to win, so everyone signs up. All of a sudden Starbucks has multitudes of customers’ (and soon-to-be customers’) email addresses and information to further find out how they can market to their target demographic better.

Oh, and everyone loves Starbucks more than before because how kind and generous of a company are they?!

Starbucks markets its brand as a verb.

Yet another call-to-action Starbucks marketing tactic is the #redcupcontest. During this contest, coffee-aholics have a certain number of days to post the best red cup photo using the hashtag with one lucky person taking home a prize. Last year’s winner received a $500 Starbucks card. 


The giveaway was so popular that for the first two days a #redcupcontest photo was shared to Instagram every 14 seconds. It engaged customers and got them participating in the brand. Starbucks made its customers feel special, while giving us (read: marketers) a perfect example of user-generated content.


Pumpkin Spice Lattes have become a staple of any fall weekend. Pumpkin-flavored everything is so popular now, but what Starbucks has done is use nostalgia and that “warm and cozy lifestyle” to make this drink the cultural phenomenon that it is.

Not only does pumpkin spice latte have its own widely-accepted abbreviation, it also has its own hashtag AND its own social media presence AND PSL actually interacts with its fans. Since launching PSL in 2003, Starbucks has sold more than 200 million (and counting) of just that drink alone.

Outside of @TheRealPSL, all of Starbuck’s social media focuses on doing something. It’s not just a picture of their drinks. It’s people hiking with their drink, cheersing, or going swimming. Starbucks makes it clear that it want the brand to be about doing something.


Mottis talks about how spot-on Starbucks is with knowing its target audience (which, if you were wondering, is men and women age 25-40).

Starbucks launches campaigns that demonstrate how its company embraces life — by living in “the now.” These folks are witty with their marketing. They have fun. Their content is personalized. It is active.

What about you? How can you make your brand about more than just a product?

Volunteer Spotlight: Emily Fay


Emily Fay
Marketing Manager, Remar, Inc.
Secretary (2015)
Board Member at Large (2012-2013)
Collegiate Relation Chair (2010-2012)

What prompted you to join NAMA?
I moved to Nashville in 2007 on a whim, I had no job, just my best friend from 3rd grade. As a member of the University of Nebraska – Lincoln AMA chapter I knew, if I wanted to meet the top marketers in town I needed to attend NAMA’s events.

You served on NAMA’s Board for several years. Why did you decide to volunteer?
I wasn’t really looking for more activities to get involved in when I was asked to help with the Collegiate Relations committee. However, I am a strong believer in the more you put into an organization the more you get out of it.

I also felt that having been a member of a collegiate chapter in the past, gave me some insight into what students would need and want from our chapter.

What was your proudest moment in your role as Collegiate Relations Chair?
That is easy! Dreaming up and executing the Marketing the Marketer event.

This event gave students the opportunity to connect with Marketers and HR professionals. They got to ask questions about everything from what it is like to work in Marketing to what to expect in an interview.

The first year we did this, I was expecting that maybe 15-20 students would be there, but we sold out of tickets and 40 students showed up!

How has NAMA impacted you professionally?
I don’t know where my career would be without NAMA. I have found both of my marketing positions in Nashville through this organization. The first role was an Account Manager at Allegiant Direct, Inc., and that job found me through the NAMA job board. The second role, my current position at Remar, was found through a NAMA Mixer.

What differentiates NAMA from other groups?
NAMA has a good mix of marketing folks, that are excited to learn from each other.

This is organization is fantastic for networking. The best part is that if your networking skill level doesn’t matter. If you are new to it, someone will guide you along. If networking is your expertise, there is always someone new and interesting to meet at NAMA.

Can you share a memorable experience from your career thus far?
It is hard for me to pin point just one experience. There are highlights from every marketing role I have had. The one that is sticking out to me right now hasn’t happened yet. But, in a couple weeks the non-profit organization I started, Nashville Huskers, will host its 100th football watch party.

Why would you encourage others to join and volunteer with NAMA?
I said this before, but the more you put into NAMA the more you get out of it, and in order to volunteer with NAMA, you need to be a member.

When you volunteer with NAMA you make connections with incredible marketers, and they can actually see the quality of your work. For me, when it came to finding a job, the recommendation from someone who I had volunteered with was a factor in getting the job I have today.

NAMA Member Brings Husker Fans Together for a Kick-off with a Cause

By Katie Soltas, NAMA Blogger | 10.30.16

Remar, Inc.’s marketing manager and longtime NAMA member, Emily Fay, simply wanted to bond with a few Nebraska Cornhusker fans during football season without leaving her new home of Nashville.

What she started became more than a small group of game day buddies, but a movement that has generated thousands of dollars in college scholarships for Nashvillians and has pumped nearly $240,000 into Music City’s economy through food and beverage sales.


Fay moved to Nashville in 2007 from Nebraska. In 2009, she performed digital research and recruiting on Facebook and LinkedIn, inviting Husker alumni to watch the football season opener at what was formerly Closing Bell on Demonbreun Hill. Twenty people confirmed their attendance, but 80 fans showed up to the first game – greatly exceeding Fay’s expectations.

Since then, the “Nashville Huskers” migrated to several locations in the city until they landed a permanent home, the Tin Roof 2 in Cool Springs, where they have met the past four seasons.


More than 150 fans gather each weekend, and Fay has kept detailed records showing the group’s annual financial impact for the establishments where they congregate. Although it can be challenging for restaurants to meet the needs of the large group, the herd brings in up to $40,000 in revenue each football season.

But for Fay, watching the games wasn’t enough.

Through merchandise sales and other means, she led the group in raising $18,000 over the past five years for the University of Nebraska Legends scholarship that goes to three deserving Middle Tennessee college applicants every year.

College football brings the Nashville Huskers together, but the professional networking and relationship-building opportunities is what keeps the group alive and thriving.


During our interview, Fay rattles off several long-lost relatives and friends that found each other through the group, including her mother and a childhood friend who rekindled their friendship. Two Husker alumni fell in love (let’s assume over beer and wings) during a season and are now married. One Nashville Husker’s friends from Purdue came every year when their team played Nebraska. Last year, he tragically passed away from cancer and his friends still came to Nashville during the Purdue game to honor him.

“Everyone in the group knows each other now, and we are all connected somehow,” said Fay, who is looking forward to their 100th watch party on Nov. 19. “I never imagined it would turn into a true community.”

[PODCAST] Finding your personal value with Jennifer Way

By Chuck Bryant, Relationary Marketing | 10.27.16

Jennifer Way wants to help make marketers their own biggest advocates by revealing their personal value.

“Your resume should be the Cliff Notes of your values, not a job description,” Way said.

Way is a consultant and president of Way Solutions. Her company has worked with Disney, Amazon, and Honda to help get the most out of their employees. She’ll be helping guests unlock the power of their personal value at NAMA’s Power Lunch on Thursday, Nov. 3.

“Unleashing the power of your personal value is about learning how to identify the key factors that will get you the recognition and rewards you need,” Way said. “What employer doesn’t want more value from an employee?”

Way said that finding personal value is not about expanding any more effort, but instead is about understanding dynamics in your work system.

People in the workplace don’t learn how to be personal advocates on their own. Instead they learn slowly from other’s mistakes, when really they need to look at themselves objectively and put themselves in the opposite role, according to Way. This is where marketers have a unique advantage.  

“They understand exactly how to look at themselves objectively in a business-to-business situation, but feel awkward turning that marketing eye on themselves.”

Connect with Way on LinkedIn.

On Nov. 3, Jennifer Way presents Unlock the Power of Your Value at the NAMA Power Lunch at City Winery. Register now.  

Editor’s Note: The NAMA Power Lunch podcast is a production of Relationary Marketing in partnership with the Nashville American Marketing Association. This episode was produced by Chuck Bryant and host Clark Buckner, edited and mixed by Jess Grommet, with music by Zachary D. Noblitt.

Chuck Bryant is co-founder and CEO of Relationary Marketing, a podcast production agency that creates broadcast-quality interviews for rich content marketing, event promotion, relationship nurturing and thought leadership.

Three Easy Tips for Communicating to Your Employees

By Annalise Bandel, NAMA Blogger | 10.19.16

Communication is key in any organization, but one size does not fit all when it comes to actually communicating to your employees.

Whether through a social application on a mobile phone, routine email messages, or one-on-one interaction,  it’s important to figure out what works best for your leadership to disseminate information and to cater to the audience of your company.

That said, email messages continually rank at the top for best methods of communication.


Here are three easy ways to disseminate information to your employees – no matter the size. You may already do this, but if not, it’s an easy place to start.

Weekly Digest
A weekly touchpoint can disseminate timely and relevant information to all employees. Consistency is key, and it’s good to send these at the same time each week so that employees know when they will receive new information.

Company Newsletter
An internal newsletter is a great opportunity to include fun and lighthearted content. This is a perfect outlet for employee spotlights and recognition, as well as a current state of the union or company updates from your leadership team.

One-off Emails
These direct emails contain the most important information that employees need to know and should be sent sparingly. New appointments in leadership, organizational structure updates, and press mentions are good topics for these emails. This allows you to share information with employees firsthand, before the word “gets out.”

These three methods are easy ways to communicate to your employees – and a great way for them to receive any type of information you want or need to communicate. Keep in mind that it’s important for a company to streamline its communication, so as to not inundate employees with emails.

What’s so important about emails? The data.

Stay tuned for more info on trends on email open rates and read rates and what to look for when looking at the data. In the meantime, check out this great post by Emma on Why Email Will Never Die.

Using Yelp to Your Advantage – How Being Nice Really Does Make a Difference

By Chelsea Kallman, NAMA Blogger | 10.10.16

Working in hospitality you can experience a lot of negative Yelping.

The platform has become a place where anyone can be a critic and an expert on food, drink, and experience. Ask anyone who works in the service industry their thoughts on Yelp, and it’s usually described as a toxic environment.

Watch Real Chefs Read Bad Yelp Reviews.

This video makes light of harsh feedback. But it also shines a light on just how toxic these reviews can be.

Even though there are downsides to Yelp there’s still a way you can use it to your advantage.


The Believer, an American literary magazine started in the early 2000s by Dave Eggers, best known for A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and writing the screenplay for Where the Wild Things Are, doesn’t allow writers to talk about things they don’t like.

The idea behind The Believer is to focus on the inherent good.

“Modest though the magazines are in scale and appearance, there is nonetheless something stirringly immodest – something ‘authentic and delirious,’ as e.e. cummings once wrote – about what they are trying to do, which is to organize a generational struggle against laziness and cynicism, to raise once again the banners of creative enthusiasm and intellectual engagement,” A.O. Scott wrote in a 2005 New York Times article.

Read the entire article here.

This is the heart needed behind Yelp. It needs to be a platform where users talk about what excites them, instead of nitpicking every experience.


Changing this mindset starts with you; you can’t control what others do or think, but you can control how you respond.

But, how?

Jay Baer, author of Hug Your Haters, a book teaching how to embrace complaints and keep customers, also wrote a blog post for Buffer App on the same topic. He came up with an acrostic called FEARS.

10-9-16-nama-yelp-blog-post-photoPhoto source:  Buffer App

Embracing this philosophy means being active on Yelp. Let’s break down Baer’s approach to social media complaints.


Complainers want a fight. Do not give it to them. Arguing with an angry person never results in them yelling “You make a very reasonable point!”

When customers get angry in person I play the “I’m with you” card. I see it from their perspective. Instead of arguing why I’m right, I decide to be their friend. It diffuses the situation.

Do this on Yelp. This is not your chance to tell your customers why they’re wrong.


Baer says customers don’t always have to be right, but they always need to be heard. Start with apologizing and then come up with a solution to fix the problem.

Don’t get into a back and forth comment battle. Only respond twice.

If they’re still angry and unwilling to accept your solution and won’t move the conversation to a private channel then you need to let it go.


Then that’s great! Some people are trying to help you out and they need to be rewarded.

This is why you should answer all complaints publicly. It looks good when a business is humble, grateful and transparent.

Remember, there’s no room for canned responses. People will see right through it and hate it. This is where you need to be authentic and engaged.

Read our blog about engaging your customers on Instagram.

LuLu Lemon and Zappos are known to have incredible customer service. Nike and Starbucks  also have service to be inspired by. Use these businesses as examples to grow yours.


Get your regulars involved by asking them to add their opinion to sites like Yelp.

Technically yelp discourages you from doing this. They say it looks fake and creates bias. But, experts disagree and say do it anyways.

Read this Forbes article about simple ways to get customer reviews. Or this Convince and Convert post.

Create a rapport with your customers. They’re the people you want talking up your business – someone that knows and loves it for exactly what it is, that has a favorite product and will come back 100 percent of the time.

If you know your customers well then just ask if they’ll take a moment to review you. They’ll more than likely be happy to help.

You can’t require a customer to post a review in exchange for a discount, but Yelp does have check in offers. People love it when they get free or discounted items – it’s an easy way to start the conversation of asking a customer to leave a review.

The facts show it’s important to engage your customer’s review. Don’t let this aspect of customer service slip through the cracks.

For more reading check out The Huffington Post’s take on engaging customer reviews.


Being Authentic on Instagram Can Help Grow Your Business

By Chelsea Kallman, NAMA Blogger | 9.7.16

#LiveAuthentic — the potentially overused hashtag encouraging people to live an adventurous life, filled with risk and emotional honesty.

It seems harmless, but because of this hashtag’s common usage it has gotten a bad rap. Photos tagged with #liveauthentic are typically communicating curated moments far from everyday life.

The New Statesman blog post talks about the “cult of authenticity” shaping a supermodel’s worldview, provoking her to rebrand all her sponsored and perfect photos with actual honest captions.

This Gription blog talks about #liveauthentic representing a generations-deeper cry for a unique life with a meaningful story.

If you manage social media for a small business, then you’ve experienced how #liveauthentic makes it that much harder to post actually authentic material. You have to toe the line of being real and relatable, but not so real or authentic that it’s fake.

So, how do we move past the contrived and use Instagram as a powerful social tool?



Social media is meant to be social. Posting pretty pictures won’t give your customers the personal connection a conversation can.

Marketing for a small business is the long game. You need repeat customers and loyalty.

The Nashville Sounds, our minor league baseball team, is actually winning at this concept.

Early in the 2016 season, I brought my bulldog to an event called Bark in the Park. While there I snapped a photo of him, tagging The Sounds.

The Nashville Sounds commented, saying how much they loved it and how the photo was an official selection for The Sounds Choice Awards.


As a fan, this made me feel so special. They offered me a pair of free tickets to the Sounds Choice Awards and a chance at winning a gold bobblehead of Booster, the team’s mascot. I ended up winning and got to go on field to accept my award.

The Sounds paid for the time to find my photo and the cost of my tickets. But, they got a lot more in return.

I came to the game and happily spent money on food, drink, and merch – totaling far more than the worth of my tickets. I boasted on Instagram about winning, tagging The Sounds in all my photos. All my friends saw and were excited for me. They also saw how much The Sounds engage with their fans.

This is an easy and affordable way to make your followers feel special. It can be as simple as commenting on and reposting a photo your business is tagged in.

This has happened to me with several brands and I always feel like a rockstar when it does.


Coffee shops can only post a picture of a beautiful latte so many times before it gets old. It’s the same with any business selling a product and not an idea.

In June 2016, John Frieda hair products launched a campaign making their brand about more than what kind of shampoo you use. It was called Shades of Me.

The program connected to your Instagram account so an algorithm could find out what colors are most present in your photos. It took into account your hair color, then told you what shades you are, and what that says about you. It also suggested different hair care products to use.


The entire campaign communicated that John Frieda cares about who you are on the inside (and that your hair looks good, too). Read this Convince and Convert blog about John Frieda embracing personalized content. The blog post quotes John Frieda’s marketing manager, Alex Bradbury, explaining the power behind content marketing.

“Everybody wants something that nobody has; that’s the crux of it,” she said. “They want something that’s tailored to them, something that gets a layer deeper.”

This sentiment gets at the same idea behind #liveauthentic. Everyone wants to be unique and feel like they’re doing something important.

Use your Instagram to show and live the authenticity of your brand instead of just telling them.

Red Letter Day Shares What Women Want, What They Really, Really Want

By Melinda Hudgins Noblitt, Blog Editor | 8.28.16

If you weren’t one of the 150 people who attended Red Letter Day earlier this month, you missed quite an event!

NAMA President and owner and founder of Brand Wise, Jamie Dunham, along with her impressive lineup of speakers, provided research and anecdotes that proved both informative and eye-opening.

2016 Red Letter Day

Did you know 100 million women control 85 percent of all consumer purchases? It’s called the Lipstick Economy. And while some companies have figured that out — like Dove and Organic Valley — others are missing the mark big time. *Cough, BIC, Cough*

Don’t take my word for it; have a look at what industry leaders had to say about the event:

Claire Crowell penned a piece in The Tennessean for 12th & Broad, sharing her 5 things I learned at Red Letter Day.

Fellow NAMA Board Member, Knight Stivender, shared her thoughts in her blog post, Red Letter Day: A Marketing Conference Peggy and Joan Would Have Appreciated.

Emily Tucker, director of marketing for Gigi’s Cupcakes who spoke at Red Letter Day, also wrote a guest blog for Nashville Business Journal, titled The state of marketing to women and why it’s important.

Be sure to check out photos from the event published by Nashville Business Journal and this pre-event interview with Jamie Dunham by Nashville Post. 

Oh, and let’s not forget Twitter.

And if you’re still not convinced that it’s time to start paying attention to what women want, there are always cold, hard facts: 2016 Red Letter Day Research – Brand Wise.

[PODCAST] Ike Pigott Presents the Case for Brand Journalism at NAMA September Power Lunch

By Kirk Bado, Guest Blogger | 8.27.16

A website for a power company does not immediately conjure images of outstanding marketing content.  

But Ike Pigott is working to alter that perception.   

Pigott is a communications strategists at Alabama Power, and he is changing the way corporations handle their news. Since 2008, he has pivoted the utility company away from simply using its website as a spot to host press releases, to now becoming a leader in the burgeoning field of brand journalism.

“Content marketing, is one of the more direct and valuable ways to reach people with a message in today’s climate… Brand journalism is a subset in content marketing,” he said.

Pigott uses the Alabama Power platform to build an audience not just focused on updates from the company, but  a mix of news and content curation for the State of Alabama. He runs the website like a traditional news outlet, telling stories that fit the brand of Alabama, instead of focusing exclusively on reiterating internal company news      

“You can’t do enough talking about yourself and develop an audience to it,” Pigott said.

Since May last year, he has focused efforts on generating content that might not directly relate to Alabama Power, but instead building an audience based on the content of their more community driven news stories.

Ike Pigott

“You’re not graded on intent, you’re graded on effectiveness,” he explained.

And the content has been very effective. After the shift, the site is getting more than 100,000 visits a month, which might not rival traditional news sites, but dwarfs other corporate news publications. By taking a more traditional news publication approach to content advertising, Alabama Power is drawing the attention of local newspapers and even Google News aggregates. Traditional media outlets are now lifting stories from his site to run them in their publications.

Pigott says he is ecstatic with the content being pushed by other outlets; to him, it is not about getting the most page views or traffic. Because Alabama Power is a public utility, his ultimate employer is the State of Alabama. The goal is marketing the larger message of Alabama to young people looking for jobs.

“They don’t have to go to Austin or Boston or Silicon Valley to have a great career, you can do it here,” he explained. “If we can tell the type of stories that reinforce that, then that’s a win for us.”

Pigott garnered this new audience by breaking down the internal silos of Alabama Power’s marketing, advertising, and design components. He’s streamlined all departments to generate content for their brand journalism. Now the company can quickly respond to the trends of its growing audience, and meet them where they are.   

“If you’re able to make a shift in a timely fashion, you are in a great position to meet them where they are going to be,” he said. “That’s the process that is going to take you – and your organization – to where you need to be.”  

Connect with Pigott on Twitter.

NAMA Sept Power Lunch

On September 8, Ike Pigott presents The Case for Brand Journalism at the NAMA Power Lunch at City Winery. Register now.  

Editor’s Note: The NAMA Power Lunch podcast is a production of Relationary Marketing in partnership with the Nashville American Marketing Association. This episode was produced by Chuck Bryant and host Clark Buckner, with editing support from Jess Grommet and music by Zachary D. Noblitt.


Kirk Bado is a student and freelance writer at Belmont University and storyteller for Relationary Marketing, a podcast agency that produces broadcast-quality interviews to create engaging strategic content and nurture high-value relationships.