Atata might just be your Huckleberry

By Emma Everett, Guest Blogger | 7.25.17

Tombstone

I’m Your Huckleberry

Remember that line from the movie, “Tombstone?”  Doc Holiday catches up with nefarious Ringo and delivers one of the most quoted lines in Western movie history. And, just in case you didn’t see the movie or understand what Doc is talking about, Doc is basically saying, “When I shoot– I don’t miss.”

In Nashville’s wild west of product and software development companies, there’s a new gunslinger in town. (Did I go too far with the western analogy?)

Atata is now on the scene and they just might be your Huckleberry. How will you know? You might start by asking yourself a few questions:

  • Do I need a rapid prototype or MVP developed?
  • Do I need wireframes for a new app I’m creating?
  • Do I need a software product fully developed from UX to product road-mapping?
  • Do I need a software expert(s) to come in and help me accelerate my build or help me get through a pinch?

If the answer to any of the above questions is yes, then there’s a good chance Atata is your huckleberry.

Don’t worry, though.  We’re not going to oversell you or take on a project unless we’re confident we will hit a bullseye. If you’re looking for a general how-to guide on how to go about hiring a software development company, there are some great resources out there. And, rather than reinvent the wheel, we’ll simply share our favorite one with you.

So, how is Atata the same/different from the other “gunslingers” in town?

  • 100% Nashville talent
  • Senior level team
  • Transparency
  • Flexibility to pivot and meet a unique need

Atata’s core services include:

  • Project-based application development
  • Product development
  • UX/UI
  • Data science (i.e. machine learning, predictive modeling, natural language processing, statistical analysis)
  • Staff Augmentation

Since Atata is a young company, we’re interested in hearing from you about your needs when it comes to application builds and software development.  Drop us a line either through our website or by emailing emma.everett@atata.co.  More information can be found at atata.co.

Volunteer Spotlight: Austin Harrison

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Austin Harrison
Relationship Director, Identity Visuals
NAMA Board Member, Sponsorship Chair

What prompted you to join NAMA?
I started coming to NAMA events shortly after moving to Nashville. My boss recommended it as a great place to learn about the Nashville marketing community.

You currently serve (or have served) on NAMA’s Board. Why did you decide to volunteer?
About four years ago – when I first started at my role for Identity Visuals – I literally had no idea what I was doing and knew no one. So many people helped me that first year, taking me to coffee, giving me advice, connecting me with people, and inviting me to events like NAMA. Joining the board and endeavoring to do the same things for other new Nashvillians is one of the ways I’ve tried to pay it forward.

What has been (or was) your proudest moment in this role?
Helping to start the NAMA Podcast and negotiating that sponsorship was definitely one of the highlights. Clark and Chuck at Relationary have been amazing to work with, and it was a blast helping to kick that off.

How has NAMA impacted you professionally?
I’ve learned from the brightest Nashville (and sometimes other cities) has to offer, I’ve made lifetime friends, I’ve been able to help new people to town, and I’ve made great relationships that have resulted in working together. NAMA also was a huge part of making my first conference, the Mental Health Marketing Conference, successful last May.

What differentiates NAMA from other groups?
The quality of events, the welcoming nature, and the people.

Can you share a memorable experience from your career thus far?
Seeing our small studio grow over the last four years to work with clients like CBS, Reddit, and Amazon. That and the time I got to tour the NASA Goddard Space station with the NASA animation team and see the James Webb Space Telescope in person – that was pretty cool.

Why would you encourage others to join and volunteer with NAMA?
You will not find a better opportunity in the marketing community to learn, build relationships, and give back than NAMA.

Old Church Gets New Life, Thanks to SnapShot Interactive

By Jenny Ciali, Guest Blogger | 2.2.17

When you approach the brick two-story building in East Nashville, formerly known as Riverside Drive Church of Christ, it looks from the outside how it has since 1950.

But inside, it’s a whole new world.

The walls are buzzing with activity. Construction crews are busy hanging sheet rock, pouring concrete, and wiring electricity.

It’s the sound of progress, which is great, because it’s a word that also describes SnapShot Interactive. (Full disclosure: SnapShot is a NAMA Sponsor.)

“SnapShot’s culture lends itself to something beyond your typical corporate environment,” says co-founder and Chief Creative Officer, Ben Rigsby. “In conducting our hunt for a new home due to our growth, nothing really felt ‘right’ until the church presented itself as an opportunity. There is life within those four walls, stories that go back decades, and a warmth and history that our team can build off of as we continue to grow.”

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The church’s history began in 1937, when the bottom floor (now the basement) was constructed. It was the first Church of Christ in the neighborhood and quickly became very popular. Plans were made to expand the building to accommodate its growing membership, but were stalled with the onset of World War II.

When the war ended in 1945, the church’s expansion moved forward with a few tweaks to the designs that were representative of post-war life in America. Red trusses were built into the ceiling, running in one continuous piece down the length of the building, which allowed it to be supported without columns.

(Fun Fact: the trusses were actually designed for use in an airport hanger during the war!)

A balcony was installed to increase occupancy for the church’s 400 members and the windows were fitted with stained glass (a new trend at the time).

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Riverside remained prevalent through the ’50s and ’60s, but rapidly declined in the past few decades as more families moved out of the city and into suburbs farther away.  Its doors closed for good in 2013.

That is, until SnapShot came along.

“I’m most excited that we were able to restore it and make it our own at every turn in the process,” says SnapShot co-founder and CEO, Mark Scrivner. “ It will be our own in every aspect of the word. We designed it, built it, and will grow in it for many years to come. Plus, it won’t hurt that it will be one of, if not the most, inspiring creative spaces in Nashville.”

Nearly everything salvageable from the building is being incorporated into SnapShot’s renovations.

“We have decided to utilize what we can out of the original church structure to help maintain the church’s historical significance,” explained Alyce Scrivner, who is managing the building’s renovation.

One of the first tasks was to pull up the original wood flooring, which is being used in a number of unique and exciting ways throughout the building.

“The reclaimed flooring wood will be seen as you enter the building at the receptionist stand, wrapping the walls of the ‘center stage’ lounge and in the employee break room as a finish for a phone recharging bar,” she continued.

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The wood will also being used on top of a 32-foot long custom table that is being made from steel beams originally used to hold up the church’s main floor.  The table will serve as the centerpiece for SnapShot’s open workspace.

“Lastly,” she added, “the stained glass from the building has all been removed pane by pane to allow a local glass artist the opportunity to create a 5-foot-by-7-foot triptych depicting what we are translating into an image of our new growth, new horizons, and full potential – likely a piece that will garner a second look!”

The project is on track to be completed at the end of February.

The roof has been completed and brand new windows have been installed. Concrete has been poured and additions have been made to the back of the building including the shaft for an elevator that will be installed soon. And the main level features a lovely reception area that will welcome guests arriving through the double church doors.

Farther into the main room (formally the church auditorium), you’ll find the company’s open work space. Along the back wall (where the alter was) will be a stylish lounge area featuring local artwork. Behind that are a number of editing suites, a curved wall studio and office space. Additionally, the elevator will take you down to the company break room and green space where creative minds can go to collaborate and get inspired.

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“For years we have had our creative teams split between two office spaces. The new building will allow us to restructure our team interactions and how communication ebbs and flows between all of us,” Rigsby said. “In the end, this will make us faster and more creative for our clients and allow more eyes on any given project at any given time. Plus, it will be fantastic for making a tight group even tighter.”

For the time being, there are two spaces within the building that SnapShot will lease to other companies in need of creative space: above the main room (what used to be the church’s balcony); and a 3,200-square-foot space on the building’s ground floor. Both are being renovated along with the building, and will be furnished for the benefit of its future tenants. To learn more about the space for lease, see the flyer here.

“The new location is substantially larger than what we are in today,” Rigsby added. “However, as we look out three years, we need to be in a position where we can proactively grow and not be constrained with how we are going to fit new talent in. This allows us to plan and think unhinged of current restrictions so we can create the best products for our clients.”

In another clever move by the SnapShot founders, the company took advantage of two unique incentive programs being offered through Mayor Barry’s office. The first is an infrastructure investment incentive for choosing to revitalize an existing property instead of building new. The second is an employment incentive that requires the company to add 10 or more jobs within one year that pay more than Nashville’s average wage.

Read more about the incentive programs by visiting the Mayor’s website.

SnapShot Interactive, and its sister company Ecos, are looking forward to a grand opening in March.

 

 

Mayor Megan Barry’s Marketing Plan for 2017

By Chelsea Kallman, NAMA Blogger | 1.23.17

With a fresh year in front of us we decided it was time to get a unique marketing perspective – from the public sector.

I spoke with Sean Braisted, Press Secretary for Mayor Megan Barry, to find out how our mayor plans to market Nashville in 2017.

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A common tagline for our great city is “Nashville – A great place to live, work, and play.” Mayor Megan Barry plans to continue marketing our city as such, which is great because there has been plenty of news that confirms its truth.

Travel and Leisure named Nashville one of the friendliest cities in America. Braisted says this is due to local residents and workers who ensure all visitors leave with a great impression.

Another accolade: Forbes named Nashville the fourth best city for tech jobs.

“We have been very successful in bringing tech companies from the Bay Area to Nashville, while also growing our homegrown tech community through organizations like the Entrepreneur Center and Nashville Technology Council,” Braisted said.

The Mayor plans to play up what is already great about Nashville. This means embracing Nashville as Music City, including the television show ‘Nashville.’ He says the show highlights our culture and many entertainment venues in our city.

It is one of the best investments we can make from a marketing standpoint in helping to ensure the show will remain on the air in this coming year and have the number of episodes necessary to be syndicated,” Braisted explained.

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Because Nashville is comprised of many different types of people, it would be difficult to look past all the artists in our population.

“Nashville’s creative community enriches the quality of life for all of our residents and sets our city apart from others,” he continued.

A tangible investment in this branding has been The Ryman Lofts, an MDHA project providing affordable housing options for artists.

“Additionally, we are looking at ways to expand the availability of maker space in Nashville so that creative and talented people have a physical place to turn their ideas and dreams into reality,” Braisted said.

Mayor Megan Barry also wants to embrace diversity, inclusion, and equity. She doesn’t want to shy away from shining light on difficult, yet important topics.

“As the Mayor often says, it doesn’t matter where you come from, how you got here, or whom you love – Nashville should remain a warm and welcoming place to call home,” Braisted said.

He also reminds us of last summer when, following the nationwide officer-involved shootings, Mayor Barry held a Race, Equity, and Leadership summit bringing nearly 1,000 community members and Metro officials together to discuss areas where they could improve the community.

The Mayor also hosted a youth violence summit, bringing together more than 400 students from Nashville’s public high schools to discuss key issues and ways to proactively address them.

Stemming from this summit came Opportunity NOW, an initiative aimed at connecting youths age 14-24 with meaningful paid internships or jobs over the summer break. This is a private-public partnership, and the goal is to employ 10,000 youth in 2017. Businesses and nonprofits around the city are being asked to step up to be a part of Opportunity NOW. One of the first companies to sign on was HCA, which donated $250,000 to fund 100 internships.

Another driving force in Mayor Megan Barry’s plan to continue Nashville’s growth is nMotion, a $6 billion, 25-year strategic plan for mass transit. She is developing nMotion so Nashville can join other major cities that have a “robust transit system.” This project is currently working to establish long term funding streams.

At a time when Nashville is quickly growing in both popularity and population, we are all fortunate to have such a goal-oriented leadership team in our local government.

What are your growth plans for yourself, your company, and Nashville in 2017?

Volunteer Spotlight: Karen Stone

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Karen Stone
Director of Marketing, Amplion
Programming volunteer (2003-2004)
Programming Chair (2004-2005)
President Elect (2005-2006)
President (2006-2007)
Past President – CEA Award (2007-2008)
AMA Professional Chapters Council (2008-2014)
AMA Professional Chapters Council President (2011-2014)
AMA National Audit and Finance Committee (2014-2016)

What prompted you to join NAMA?
I joined NAMA to quickly increase my marketing knowledge. When I joined the organization in 2003, I was transitioning from my career in broadcast news and needed a way to rapidly ramp up my understanding of marketing principles and best practices. NAMA became my go to resource and still is today. The programming is consistently outstanding and my professional network is my lifeline.

You have served on NAMA’s Board in the past. Why did you decide to volunteer?
At my very first meeting, I made a programming suggestion to the current president. I don’t recall exactly what it was, but it must have been somewhat intriguing, because he asked to continue the conversation over coffee. Before I knew it, I was tapped to become programming chair and was hooked.

I learned that being a volunteer provided a valuable test environment for my budding marketing career. Every volunteer experience was a chance to learn something new and collaborate with incredible marketing minds from a variety of industries. Many of the people I met through those experiences became mentors who helped shape my career and are now some of my most cherished friends.

Having volunteered with NAMA and with the AMA at the national level for more than 13 years, I can tell you that I have received far more than I have given.

What has been the proudest moment as a volunteer?
My proudest moment by far was in 2008 when NAMA entered the national AMA Chapter of Excellence Awards for the first time ever and won first runner up.

It was my year as president of NAMA and the culmination of several years of work alongside a dynamic group of volunteers. Accepting that coveted award on behalf of the many hardworking volunteers who believed in the vision and mission and poured their heart and soul into the chapter to receive that validation and recognition was thrilling.

Since then, NAMA has grown to be such a respected force locally and nationally. I am very proud of the legacy of leadership in this organization and the committed volunteers that kick it up a notch year after year.

How has NAMA impacted you professionally?
NAMA is most definitely one of the best decisions of my professional career. I can honestly say I wouldn’t be where I am today without having joined this organization and invested my time as a volunteer.

The knowledge I gained and the friendships that formed laid a strong foundation for me to grow personally and professionally. From landing jobs and informing my marketing strategy to growing my leadership skills, there is no doubt NAMA has played a pivotal role in my career and continues to do so even today.

What differentiates NAMA from other groups?
The people and strong programming are two of the biggest differences in my mind. I visited several other organizations in town before deciding to join NAMA. There were none where I felt the warmth and immediate sense of belonging I felt here.

When I attend events or even just attend a mixer, I always take home some new piece of info I can use. I would say that’s a pretty strong ROI!

Can you share a memorable experience from your career thus far?
I’ve had so many wonderful experiences in my career, it’s difficult to choose just one, but if I have to narrow it down, I would say my current role has probably been the most fulfilling. Being a healthcare marketer, I get to go to work every day in a mission-driven technology company focused on improving the consistency and quality of patient care in hospitals.

The work we are doing at Amplion is transformational and disruptive. Developing the inbound marketing strategy and a thought leadership platform that is attracting attention from many of the top hospitals and hospital systems in the country gets me very excited.

Why would you encourage others to join and volunteer with NAMA?
I’ve already mentioned this a number of times, but I would say as a marketer, there is no greater way to build your knowledge and network than being a part of NAMA.

Volunteering, in particular, can enrich your membership experience and your career in valuable ways that cannot be replicated any other way. Of course, like anything, it’s only as good as the quality of your investment. I’ve found the more you give, the more you gain. After 13 years of AMA membership and volunteer experience, I think I’m a pretty good case study for the benefits of volunteer service.

The changing attitudes of consumerism in healthcare with Mark Lee Taylor

By Chuck Bryant, Relationary Marketing | 1.4.17

Healthcare in Nashville is a billion-dollar industry, but not all of what drives consumers’ medical decisions is based on what happens on the operating table or in the physician’s office.

With more than 20 years under his belt, Mark Lee Taylor knows a thing or two about how to inform and advertise to those looking for care for themselves or their loved ones.

Taylor is the Director of Communications for the Clinical Services Group at HCA, where he develops new and innovating ways to connect with consumers in the healthcare sector. He will be moderating a panel on how to navigate the shift toward consumerism in healthcare marketing at NAMA’s Power Lunch on Thursday, Jan. 12, at City Winery.

According to Taylor, many people see healthcare as a consumerist service or product until they or a loved one need healthcare, at which point it becomes a vital need. This urgency sets healthcare apart from most other industries in which major decisions can be postponed or researched over time.

That’s where healthcare marketing comes in – providing information as immediately and seamlessly as possible, while also minimizing negative experiences and impact, Taylor explained.

“People have to look at a lot of information fast and have to find a lot of answers fast. The marketer that can provide the easiest pathway to give them information and solve their problem really has the upper hand,” Taylor said.

Having worked as a healthcare marketing pioneer in the ‘90s with St. Thomas Heart Institute, Taylor has noticed a significant shift in both the focus of the industry and its consumers in just a couple of decades.

“A lot of the advertising campaigns for hospitals were centered around caring and how much the hospitals provided care, what great care they provided. It focused on advertising and community outreach more than any other marketing technique. Things have certainly changed since then,” Taylor said.

Today, he said, there is an inherent expectation that there is caring in the service industry, so people are more interested in good outcomes and cost transparency. Taylor believes that easy access to healthcare information – both true and false – has contributed to this shift.

“There’s so much more information available than there was previously. Before that, you had to rely on a physician or someone else or word of mouth to find out what you wanted. Back when we were doing advertising for healthcare systems, we were just trying to get people to indicate that they wanted to make a choice about where they went,” Taylor said.

Today’s healthcare consumers not only have more of a choice in where they seek care, but they are also “savvier” consumers with a higher service expectation, Taylor continued. Whereas patients might previously have been willing to wait two hours at a physician’s office, consumers today place emphasis on access and convenience in each step of their healthcare process

“There’s a lot of internal resistance in healthcare to refer to patients as consumers, and I think that point has finally hit the tipping point where people understand ‘Oh, they’re patients and consumers. Consumers have choices and are not going to blindly go where they’re sent.’”

Looking toward the future of healthcare marketing, Taylor said that big focuses will be on implementation of service standards in the physician’s offices and quick, convenient means of response between health care services and consumers.

“There’s two ways of looking at anything, and life’s all about how you look at it. In this case, it’s a really exciting time to be in healthcare. We’re going to need creative, innovative ideas more than ever. And who is it that comes up with those things in America? It’s marketers,” he said.

Connect with Taylor on LinkedIn.

On Jan. 12, Taylor will moderate How Consumerism is Affecting Healthcare Marketing alongside SmileDirectClub’s Hal Hassall, Nicole Provonchee of MissionPoint Health, and Celina Burns, consultant to Healthcare Blue Book 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.


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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.

Creating On-Brand Promotions in Your Small Business

By Chelsea Kallman, NAMA Blogger

‘Tis the season for finding a good deal. With the holidays over, most shoppers are finished buying gifts for others, which means now they’re shopping for themselves, and everyone wants to pay the best possible price.

But what if your brand is considered luxury, craft, or indie? How can you actually afford to give deep discounts like Walmart or Amazon?

In short, you can’t.

Here’s what you can do: create promotions that tie your customers back to your brand and create loyalty for the future.

Look at Small Business Saturday and Record Store Day. Both are rooted in making small businesses thrive, and according to this article published by Nashville Business Journal, this one-day-a-year brings in $16.2 billion dollars. That is not a small number.

The lesser known (yet still recognizable) Record Store Day gets the fan base of record collectors excited. There are special releases just for RSD, plus fans learn of new music and celebrate the bands and artists they already know and love.

Bringing this idea to a smaller, more personal level is Steadfast, a Nashville-based coffee roaster and cafe, which recently ran a Free Coffee Day promo.

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Steadfast is unique. It’s beautiful. Not only is the coffee and food delicious, but the service is impeccable. It is a curated experience.

Even still, this coffee shop decided to give away free black coffee all day long, and one lucky winner now receives a free bag of coffee every month for a year.  

Why?

To build their customer base.

I spoke with Dani Stewart, content specialist with ConvertKit, the brains behind the promotion. (Full disclosure: she’s also conveniently my good friend and the wife of Sean Stewart, one of Steadfast’s co-founders and operating partners.)

ConvertKit came up with this promotion with Steadfast’s mission in mind: to give back to the community.

When coming up with this promotion, we knew it needed to be something that put the customer first,” said Stewart. “Yes, the goal was to grow the Steadfast email list, but it had to be done in a way that served and celebrated the community.”

While keeping true to Steadfast’s core values, the group assessed the best way to captivate Steadfast’s guests attention is through email. Stewart says this is a business owner’s most valuable asset because it’s the only way to directly communicate with an audience.

Steadfast collected emails by using ConverKit’s app that plugs into the coffee company’s website; opt-in forms were linked to from social media and email content.

With all the new algorithms and overpopulation of social media, there’s no guarantee that your messages are being seen by audiences in those channels. But with email, you know you’re in their inbox, and that’s a safe, usually guarded, and privileged place to be,” Stewart said.  

Jamie Cunningham, partner and general manager of Steadfast, explained how they chose an email campaign because of its directness.

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Not only that, but they’re able to learn more about what their customers are interested in by seeing if they opened the email, redeemed a code, or even unsubscribed.

“We want our email correspondence to be an extension of our in-shop customer service: personalized and meaningful,” Cunningham said.

Because this promotion was marketed as a “Celebration of Nashville” — and frankly, because Steadfast’s coffee is incredible — people got pumped. They ended up collecting somewhere around 1,000 email addresses, plus media outlets Tweeted and Instagrammed about it.

At the end of the day, Steadfast’s loyal customers ended up loving them even more, and I would dare to say they ended up gaining quite a few new customers, as well.

It might seem like a lot to give away free coffee all day, but to Steadfast, it was worth it. The coffee was given in exchange for an email address. This information was volunteered, rather than gathered out of necessity, like when you have to enter your email address to use Wifi.

“Ultimately, we want to have tons of fun and connect with guests, both old and new,” Cunningham continued. “Giving coffee away was a great way to create some buzz and grab the attention of folks that we likely had never reached before.”

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Now Steadfast can go and use the newly-collected email addresses for future marketing campaigns and new product announcements. The coffee company even used the list to promote its monthly coffee-subscription as a holiday gift idea.

Convince and Convert wrote a blog that echoes exactly what Dani says. It talks about what marketers can learn from sports marketing fan engagement.

The basic idea is this: the best way to convert anonymous users into a registered fan is to give out incentives. Whether you’re a sports team or a local coffee shop, this idea works.

Building loyalty gives your fans (or clients) a deeper experience. You allow fans to become a part of the story., and they’re excited to be a part of something they care about.

The Winnipeg Jets are cited in the post for creating something called “Jet Points.” Fans receive points if they’re season ticketholders, and they can receive more points if they opt to pay with a check instead of a card. This not only saves The Jets’ money on credit card fees, but fans get special points to spend on memorabilia in the Jets store. It’s a win-win.

Promotions have to be worthwhile on both ends. It has to be thoughtful, and it has to be something clients truly want.

Jamie offered one last piece of advice for small business owners interested in creating promotions:

At the end of the day, I believe, guest are attracted to the heart of the business, the values. So fight hard to be you and to connect with guest who like you for who you are. They are the ones that will come back again and again.”

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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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?

The Cheers Effect

By Chelsea Kallman, NAMA Blogger | 10.25. 16

Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name.

If the Cheers television show theme song starts playing in your head then we’re on the right track. Not only is this an incredible TV show, but it’s also a great example of why knowing your customers is the best solution for growing your business.

Whether you company lends itself to a daily customer or even a yearly interaction, you can glean wisdom from the beloved TV show.

Customers who feel known and appreciated are going to come back time and time again.

I know sales representatives at clothing stores are paid to tell me I look great in a dress, but when they say it in a way that I believe it, you better believe I’m coming back again – not just for another great outfit, but for the affirmation and experience of feeling like a superstar.

Take a second and think about the opposite.

When you go into a coffee shop and you’re not greeted – you’re immediately put off. You feel like you’re not cool enough for the space or that you don’t know enough to order from their menu. How likely are you to go back? Zero percent.

Business Grow has an article about turning online influence into offline results, and in it Mark Schaefer makes the point that “relationships with companies are formed through interactions over time.”

Your business will grow when people you know are talking about it and when your regular customers feel known, appreciated, and like they’re a part of something.

In short, The Cheers Effect.

To be effective in this means you have to actually care.

One of the phrases Schaefer uses is being “authentically kind.” You have to be willing to start the conversation and emotionally invest with whomever you’re trying to influence. This looks like being helpful even when you don’t think you’ll get something in return. It means being trustworthy. He says small interactions like these lead to larger engagements.

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Ask yourself this: Why do you go to the same bar over and over again? Maybe you like the food. Maybe the prices are great. But maybe at the end of the day it’s because you’re know,n and you can go in and be taken care of by someone who remembers your name, your favorite drink, and maybe even that you like two sides of blue cheese dressing with your french fries.

I found my Cheers when I started regularly going to a local barbeque restaurant. I would sit at the bar each time, and I quickly realized I kept getting the same bartender. He didn’t talk too much. And really, he didn’t need to. But he would make small talk about music, what was on TV, or just ask me what I was up to that day.

Fast forward several months. Now he is my favorite bartender in Nashville. All the small talk led to more conversation, and now he’s a part of my friend group. He has since gotten a new job, and you know how often I go to that BBQ restaurant now? Maybe once since he has left. Instead I go to the new bar where he works.

Having employees who are willing to make connections with your customers will, in turn, make your business so much more money.

Working in the coffee business, I get regulars who come in every single day.

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It’s hard not to get to know someone when you see them five days a week. Many of these regulars have made such personal connections with the staff that they end up getting hired when they’re in need of a job, or they’re invited to staff bonfires at our houses. We get beers with them after work.

This concept doesn’t just apply to the hospitality industry though. I believe The Cheers Effect applies to every type of business. This goes back to our blog post about how being nice is always the best option.

At the end of the day, it’s about making a personal connection.

Read this article about how one car dealership did this extremely well. They were genuine, friendly, and they just acted like themselves. When you’re a car dealer, you’re not going to get repeat customers daily, but the shop gave its customers roadtrip inspiration and even great food suggestions. They were about more than just cars.

When you put time and energy into making your customers feel appreciated, it shows. It’s worth the work because at the end of the day, you’ll have an incredible reputation and a committed customer base. These two attributes lead to word-of-mouth marketing that is invaluable to any business.

Eventually enough people start talking, and it draws a crowd.

Because sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name and they’re always glad you came. You wanna go where you can see people are all the same. You wanna go where everybody knows your name.

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.

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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.