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Congratulations 2014 DECA Scholarship Winners

March 12, 2014

A big congratulations to Sarah Green and Sage Fuller- the 2014 DECA High School scholarship winners! Thanks to AMA Board Member Brandon Pelissero, Roshonda Coleman and AMA President Renee Spurlin for judging.

DECA $500 Winner

Sage Fuller from Alcovy High School – $500 winner


DECA $1,000 winner

Sarah Green from South Forsyth High School – $1,000 winner

AMA Partners with Ronald McDonald House Charities for the Holidays

December 9, 2013

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It’s December and the influx of holiday parties have begun! Perhaps you have a large number of invitations sitting in your inbox, but the AMA Holiday Mixer this week is one you don’t want to pass up. We will be hosting this annual event favorite on December 12th from 6:00 – 8:00pm at Tongue & Groove.

Similar to last year, we’ve partnered with our friends at the Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charity to give back to those in need this holiday season. Help us help others by bringing an unwrapped gift to the event. (Suggested items can be found at the end of this post.) The Ronald McDonald House Charities provides a home away from home for families of ill and injured children who must travel to receive treatment at Atlanta area hospitals. With your help we can make their holiday a little brighter.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Ronald McDonald House Charities Gift Suggestions:

Bibs, pacifiers, soft books, bottles, art kits, iTunes gift cards, video games, stuffed animals, Legos

Guest post by Jennifer Groese (@JGroese), YP SIG member.

Five Best Uses of Pumpkin Spice in a Marketing Campaign

November 12, 2013

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This year the AMY Awards, AMA’s annual recognition for outstanding marketing efforts, has a new category:  Best Use of Pumpkin Spice in a Marketing Program.

Ok, it hasn’t cleared the AMA board yet, but with the onslaught of pumpkin in everything from coffee to catnip every year at this time, it deserves consideration.  Here are some nominees for brilliant marketing in this category:

1.  Starbucks

Could be credited with starting it all. Starbucks has successfully branded its Pumpkin Spice Latte known by devotees as “PSL,” and rules in Twitter and Facebook mentions.  This is the 10th Anniversary of the PSL, sold only during a limited time, and its highly anticipated seasonal debut creates a frenzy each year. Results:  per season, 20 million PSL’s sold, generating $80 million, not counting the bottled Pumpkin Spice sauce, sold separately (Forbes). Can’t argue with that.


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2.  Dunkin’ Donuts

A market leader in both coffee and donuts, Dunkin’ has an edge in promoting a double whammy of pumpkin treats and pumpkin beverages. They arguably own the fast-food pumpkin space with Pumpkin Pie donuts, Pumpkin Coffee Coolatas, and now Pumpkin K-Cups, all branded through solid advertising and savvy social media.  Results:  Dunkin’ took it to the next level, capitalizing on its assets.


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3.  Trader Joe’s

Among the culinary adventurous, Trader Joe’s successfully positions itself as the one-stop for all things pumpkin.  The fall campaign includes a direct mail of their newsletter, featuring 35 pumpkin-infused products – pumpkin waffles, pumpkin body butter, pumpkin dog treats…along with recipes and clever anecdotes.  Results: with revenue of $10.5 billion in 2012 (Supermarket News), we’re guessing that pumpkin marketing sweetens both the brand and the bottom line.

4.  Yankee Candle

Pumpkin spice is not only a flavor, it’s a yummy aroma. Yankee Candle creates the ultimate customer experience in this category, providing sensory satisfaction with nearly a dozen pumpkin fragrances including Pumpkin Spice, Pumpkin Brulee and Pumpkin Buttercream.  The heady in-store aroma literally draws customers in.  Results:  the pumpkin fragrance lines are top sales contributors during fourth quarter.

5.  Grandma

Definitely could be credited with starting it all.  Most of us would not even know what pumpkin spice is without Grammy’s famous pumpkin pies at Thanksgiving.  In terms of brand recognition and longevity, she takes the cake (or pie). She only gets fifth place because of low resulting revenue, unless you want to count hugs and a heart-warming user experience.

Is this why consumers are so crazy for pumpkin spice at this time of year: the cozy, comforting association with home?  A nostalgic reminder of simpler times and autumn family rituals?  Or is it brilliant marketing with a limited time availability and addictive sweet-spicy taste?

What local businesses have capitalized on the demand for pumpkin during fall?


Guest blog by AMA Member Ann Morgan Kaser

Ann Morgan Kaser writes about retail trends from a marketing perspective.  Her background is 15+ years in retail real estate marketing.

When Two Worlds Collide: Tech and Marketing.

November 8, 2013

Atlanta Tech VillageAll I can say is “wow.” After our October 24th speaker event featuring David Cummings, I’m struggling with how to fit his amazing story into a blog post. If you have a passion for veering off the beaten path, I highly recommend hearing David’s success story in person. I should warn you though, don’t be surprised if you walk away feeling really under accomplished (unintentional of course).

As with most entrepreneurs, David’s drive started at a young age. In middle school he decided to transform his back yard into a putt-putt course, making his first profits off of friends who wanted to come over and play. Then, a few years later while most of us were attending keg parties, David was busy building software and starting companies (note how I said companies- plural, not company- singular).

At an early stage in his career, he quickly realized that even if you build something spectacular, you still need to figure out how to sell it. This was the turning point in which David realized that if he wanted to become successful, he was going to have to learn a thing or two about sales and marketing – and that he did! Once he started segmenting his target audience, he was able to enhance his products to better meet their needs – ultimately building a stronger company.

It wasn’t until 2006 when he had his first idea for Pardot. (Trick question: do you know what pardot means in Latvian?) After paying $8 to register the domain, he was off to build another company from the ground up. Many people might not know this, but Pardot actually started as a PPC lead generation service. After its launch, David soon realized that the platform he built was actually more appealing to consumers than the business model of delivering leads. Recognizing this early on, he quickly adjusted Pardot’s path into a marketing automation platform instead.

As Pardot became extremely successful, he also pointed out another lesson – the startup with the most venture capital doesn’t always win. His company was going head-to-head with competitors who had deep pockets, and beating them each time. It was interesting to learn that from Pardot’s beginning, until its recent acquisition, the company remained lean and never accepted VC.

One of the neat things we’ve all heard about this company is how unique their culture is. The AJC even named Pardot as the #1 place to work in 2012. No wonder! They had their own masseuse on payroll, and they provided up to 4 hours of monthly housekeeping for all employees.

When David finally decided to sell Pardot later that year to ExactTarget (for $100 million in cash!), he didn’t kick his feet up for long. Instead, he got permission from his wife (smart idea) to buy the biggest building he could get his hands on, and start a community where he could support the growth of tech start-ups. Once he closed on the building, he sent out a tweet saying, “We’re open,” and within 24 hours the space at the Atlanta Tech Village was completely sold out! And who said you couldn’t show a ROI for social media?

To date, the ATV houses over 110 companies and is committed to growing the economy by fueling innovation. It’s simple – the more start-ups that graduate from the ATV, the more jobs that are created and the better our economy becomes.

A big thanks to David for taking time out of his busy schedule to share his story with us.

Stay tuned—the YP’s have more events to come!

PS – The Latvian word pardot translated means “to sell.”

Guest post by Jennifer Groese (@JGroese), YP SIG member.

Volunteer of the Month: Jennifer Groese

October 28, 2013

Jennifer GroeseMeet our Volunteer of the month – Jennifer Groese and follow her @JGroese

Jennifer Groese is a strategic, can-do marketer with over 6 years of B2B and B2C experience, offering an extensive track record in corporate event management, marketing automation, social media and client relationship management. Her success in effectively managing multiple high profile projects to increase profitability and overall company growth recently led her to her current Marketing Manager position at The List, the leading online business intelligence for marketing services and media companies.

With a passion for standing out, Jennifer enjoys keeping a pulse on emerging trends and finding innovative ways for her company to stay ahead of the pack. Her addictions include checking multiple times a day and constantly downloading Hubspot’s thought leadership.

As an active member in the marketing community, Jennifer has been a part of the American Marketing Association Atlanta chapter for the past two years and currently blogs for the Young Professionals SIG.

Jennifer holds a BBA in Marketing from Kennesaw State University and is planning to start her MBA in the next year.

Drumroll please …

October 25, 2013

ReneeLast week, we learned that AMA Atlanta won first runner up in the national Chapter Excellence Awards from more than 75 chapters nationwide. As we aim to help you grow throughout your career as a marketer – through premier programming, an ever-growing network and helpful resources, we’re thrilled that our hard work is paying off and earning national recognition. Congratulations to Ashley Schoenith and our amazing team that put all of our achievements last year into this award submission.

And if joining an award-winning chapter isn’t enough of a reason to become a member of AMA Atlanta, here’s another: it’s our annual membership drive! Click here for more information.

I look forward to seeing you at our next event!

Renee Spurlin
AMA Atlanta

Entrepreneurial Insight from David Cummings

October 9, 2013

AMA_102413Here’s a treat for our entrepreneurial minded members – a glimpse into what makes David Cummings tick. As the founder of Pardot and the Atlanta Tech Village, the Young Professional SIG is thrilled to have David hosting our first speaker event of the year. Mark your calendars for Thursday, October 24, 2013 as we learn more about his initial vision behind Pardot and his later decision to sell it, eventually leading him into a different project—the Atlanta Tech Village.

Learn what it takes to build a successful start-up company, and how marketing is tied to it’s prevail. To make the event complete, we’re even hosting it at Atlanta Tech Village – the breeding ground for start-ups. So gather your friends and bring your questions as we all learn a thing or two about building a one-of-a-kind company.

To register, click here.

Guest post by Jennifer Groese (@JGroese), YP SIG member.