AMA Atlanta Signature Lunch – Moving the Needle in a Tough Economy: Three Interactive Strategies That Paid Off Big in 2009?

I attended the January Signature Lunch for AMA Atlanta. I know I should have posted this on Wednesday, but my personal social media is like the story of the Cobbler. The cobblers kids have no shoes. I always put my stuff on the back burner. But, I plant to blog a lot more about events and topics.

I was impressed with the turnout. Being the first event of the year I didn’t expect to see a full crowd. I think it was close to a sell out, if not sold out. The event was held at Villa Christina by Perimeter Mall. As, you can tell the lunch was about showing what paid off in 2009. Since, it was a down year, anyone who had success could easily transfer that into bigger successes in better years.

Richard Warner from What’s Up Interactive hosted the Lunch. He brought each of the speakers on stage for 15 minutes to talk and take questions. The speakers were:

  • Bert Dumars, VP of E-business and Interactive Marketing, Newell Rubbermaid about the work produced for Sharpie brand
  • Ashley Payne, Director of E-communications and New Media, Georgia Aquarium
  • Shana Keith, Director of Public Relations, Cbeyond

Then after the even there was a 2 hour break out sessions where you got to spend time with each of the three guests and What’s Up, and ask more detailed questions.

The lunch opened with Burt Dumars from Newell Rubbermaid. He talked about what a success they have had with Sharpie. They have built a community at It’s a community that celebrates the brand and what people are doing with it. The really great thing about this is, the company is borrowing the content, and they are not taking ownership. If content is featured on the site, the person simply gives them permission to post. It’s a way to bring people together and talk about the brand and show off their creativity!

Other areas the talked about was that social media was core and needs to be integrated with the rest of your marketing mix. Then he talked about how the other divisions are separate and are taking social media at their own speed.

The three take away from last year are:

  1. Focus on Customers and not you
  2. Integrate social media with your entire program
  3. Show you care about your Customers

The next person up was Shana Keith from Cbeyond

They had a different reason for doing social media. They have had some bad press and needed to do some reputation management. They used social media and SEO to manage this and addressed some of the more serious concerns. They followed the principles in the book Ground Swell. Monitor/Listen and its all about your customer.

I wish we could have heard more about the reputation management, but for 15 minutes we got a great overview.  That is a growing concern of many companies and it was great to hear that a company can turn the bad comments online around. She said they found out as well, if you put out quality content, the bad postings/listings get pushed further down on the search engines.

The three take away from last year are:

  1. Put an initial guideline in place
  2. Be ready to invest a lot of time
  3. Balance social with traditional.

The last Speaker was Ashley Payne from the Georgia Aquarium. She spoke about how a lot of their social media was focused on moms. They came out with a ticket for $25 that a mom could bring up to 4 children to the aquarium on a weekday. They posted this just on Twitter and Facebook and it spread virally. It turned out to be a great success. Then when they ended it mom’s complained. The ticket is now on sale till Feb. 28th. Which, she told us can be used year round.

She also stressed the importance of being transparent. You shouldn’t be something you are not. Then said that they don’t discount smaller outlets. It’s not the amount of followers a person has but the quality. Lastly, track for internal accountability. Make sure what you are doing is working.

The three take away from last year are:

  1. Customer Acquisition
  2. Customer Retention
  3. Brand Awareness

The Break out sessions were held next. I was really interested in more analytical data. How do you effectively measure social media, which is not too labor intensive. The program that Newell Rubbermaid uses in Scout Labs, from what I have seen on their site, isn’t too expensive and does some great analytics.  Where as the Georgia Aquarium uses the Facebook Insights and then does manual Twitter. They look at @ replies, retweets to judge the effectiveness of the medium. They use Tweet Deck to do this function.

The Lunch was a great learning experience.  The next AMA Atlanta Signature Lunch is on February 16th and will feature Margaret DeFrancisco, CEO, Georgia Lottery. You can register on the AMA Atlanta website.

Tim is the founder of Element33. A social media agency specializing in education, management and strategy for small businesses. He comes from a traditional marketing agency but has embraced all things digital. He considers himself a marketing nerd and believes that all marketing is tied together. This means no matter what silo you are in, social, email, seach, etc, changes in one will affect the other!

2 comments on “AMA Atlanta Signature Lunch – Moving the Needle in a Tough Economy: Three Interactive Strategies That Paid Off Big in 2009?

  1. Pingback: ARNOLD
  2. Pingback: focus

Leave a Reply