Tuesday, July 27, 2010

China Continues to Lead the West out of Recession

Upon recently completing a month long project in China and Vietnam, I noticed the burgeoning China economy continues to roll on. The IMF recently upgraded China’s annual growth rate to 10.5%, and with US$2.5T (yes, that’s Trillion) in foreign reserves and the world’s 2nd largest economy at a US$4.9T GDP, there is a lot more to the China economy that can be leveraged by Western businesses as demonstrated by the following.

1) Shanghai China is currently hosting the 2010 World Expo. This event reveals the character of this market. Starting in May and concluding in October, the World Expo is expected to attract nearly 70 million people, with a daily average attendance of 344,000. They recently set a record of 553,500 people on June 26. With well over 90% of attendees being mainland Chinese, and pavilion line wait times generally 2 to 4 hours, at 160RMB (US$23.50) for a standard day ticket and 90RMB (US$13.25) for a standard evening ticket, this demonstrates the buying power of this market. Most mainland Chinese see this event as the premier opportunity to see a large window into the world, while most countries use this opportunity to advertize tourism and business opportunities to the Chinese market.

2) Infrastructure development has continued at a breakneck speed. While living in Shanghai in 2004-05, there were four subway lines running through the center of the city. Today there are more than 13 lines running around the entire city that carries nearly 5 million people per day. The continuing Foreign Direct Investment that pours into this country ($90B in 2009) is also contributing to China’s prosperity.

3) Recent strikes among several multinationals that include Honda, Toyota, Foxconn, and others have driven wages up an average of 20-30% and, ironically, are endorsed by the Communist Party. These rising salaries are increasing disposable incomes in top tier cities, which contribute to the great opportunities to sell highly desired Western products.

These are only a few of the many factors that signal a great opportunity to sell your products into the China market. By selecting the right strategy to find, target, and sell your product in this market, your company can share in the prosperity of this emerging behemoth. Don't miss this great opportunity to grow your business. Will your products sell in China?

Let us know…

Rodney Hiel is Managing Director of Asia Business Consulting. Minnesota based Asia Business Consulting strategically researches, develops, and tactically executes a proven process to create cost effective strategies for market entry in today’s Southeast Asia and China. Visit http://www.asiabusinessconsult.com/ for additional information.
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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Meet the MN AMA’s 2010-2011 Board of Directors

Congratulations to the new MN AMA Board of Directors, which took the reins on July 1. In the upcoming year, look forward to new events and new programs designed to accelerate your career, increase the depth of your knowledge and put you face-to-face with the movers and shakers of the Minnesota marketing community. Want to learn more about our board members? Check out their goals for the 2010–2011 fiscal year:

Andrew Chollar, President
"For the last year, I’ve been working with others on the board to lay the groundwork for a program I conceived of while on the Programming Committee. It’s called the Executive Engagement Program, and is designed to increase participation in the MN AMA by senior level marketing professionals and thought leaders. Kicking off that program this year is a primary goal of mine."

Dani Luffey, President Elect
“One goal I expect to see over the next year or so, is an increase in the value we provide for MN AMA members. We have great plans for our MN AMA membership that includes improvements in the overall member experience. We'll step it up with meaningful, impactful events and tools that help members achieve their professional goals and more. I'm very excited about the future.”

Kim Verros, Immediate Past President
“To support the President in building a highly involved and relevant marketing community that marketers can count and adds value to the lives and careers of our members.”

Janelle Lynch, VP—Annual Conference
“My overall goal is to have a successful 2010 Annual Conference.”

Jessica Egyhazi, AVP—Annual Conference
“To increase 2011 and 2012 Annual Conference attendance by Midwest marketing professionals regardless of AMA affiliation.”
Jessica Meilleur, VP—Collegiate Relations
“Delivering the value of MN AMA and bridging the gap between our collegiate chapters and the professional chapter is my main goal as VP of Collegiate Relations this year.”

Clark Gregor, AVP—Collegiate Relations
“I'd like to leverage our incentives for collegiate membership to gain more graduate student members.”

Cassie Fyten, VP—Finance
“To work closely with all the committees that make up the MN AMA to ensure all financial goals are met.”
Laura Kalies, AVP—Finance
“I think it will be of key importance to engage the board in activities that strengthen our financial position. This will include effective budget management as well as cultivation and support of sponsorship relationships that will enable the organization to provide a meaningful experience for our members and become their primary base for education, networking and job resources.”

Dominic Fong, VP—Marcom
“I want to revitalize the MN AMA brand as the premier marketing professional organization in the State of Minnesota as well as the chapter's online and social media presence to enhance membership and programming outreach efforts.”
Rob McChane, AVP—Marcom
“I hope to help streamline our internal marketing communications processes to make our communications to membership as timely and effective as possible. Additionally, I hope to continue to help the chapter stay ahead of new technological advances in Social Media and online marketing communications.”
Heidi Theede, VP—Membership
“My main goal is to increase membership by retaining those members we do have by creating engaging topics, venues and speakers.”
Ken Gregory, AVP—Membership
“Increase member retention through focused events and initiatives that promote professional education, knowledge sharing, and networking, and provide meaningful experiences to our member community.”
Camille Benoit, VP—Programming
“My goal is to provide engaging, high-quality programming that can help marketing professionals stay current and technologically savvy amidst the rapid rate of change that is affecting every aspect of our industry.”

Laura Bates, AVP—Programming
“Continued relevant, fresh programming. Improved planning and promotion to increase attendance.”

Catherine Gillis, VP—Sponsorship
“I expect to provide an increased level of sponsorship to provide a high quality experience for members.”
Melissa Halling, AVP—Sponsorship
“One goal that I would like to achieve while in my position is to incorporate more sponsors into dual sponsorships with the MN AMA. I would like to create more excitement around our core sponsorship benefits along with stretching the sponsorships into the Annual Conference as well.”

Chuck Swensson, Director at Large—Executive Engagement
"I am excited to launch our Executive Engagement Program, which has the potential to fully engage and support the marketing executive segment of our constituency."

Learn more about the 2010-2011 MN AMA Board of Directors now!
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Monday, July 12, 2010

Job-Seeking during “The Great Recession”

By Barrie Berquist

Career Insider is a quarterly newsletter and is one of many benefits to MN AMA members. Each month, a dedicated blog submission will feature the current job market, employment trends and professional training opportunities. This is the first blog post to kickoff the conversation. Join us!

As we all know, we are still in the midst of The Great Recession and although we hear that things seem to be getting better, it is still tough out there. Jobs are still hard to come by. If you didn’t lose your job during the past 2 years, chances are pretty good that you know someone who did. Unfortunately, I was one of the unlucky few who was laid off and spent 14 months searching for employment before landing my current position. I know first-hand the amount of time, energy and stress associated with job-seeking. I also know the joy and relief of landing a job in my desired field and the satisfaction of having work-related successes once again.

For those of you who are currently seeking employment (whether or not you are currently employed), I’m curious to know the following:
• What has worked?
• What has NOT worked?
• What various methods are you using (i.e. job boards, career fairs, recruiters, networking, volunteering, etc.) and what has been your “hit-rate” with each?
• What advice do you wish you would have received when beginning your job search?
• What advice would you like to give others?

Barrie Berquist is a Retail Analyst on the ConAgra Foods Team at Acosta Sales and Marketing. She has been a member of the MN AMA since 2007 and is a member of the MarCom Committee where she serves as the Career Insider Blog Project Manager. She can be reached at barrieberquist@yahoo.com.  You can follow Barrie on Twitter @BEBERQUIST.

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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

It Takes a Village to Build a Blog

Most things are easier when you have a little help, and managing a corporate blog is no exception. As marketers, we should always be asking for assistance – from our customers, co-workers, peers, and so on. After all, what would we do without things like proofreading and customer feedback?

Here are a few simple ways to use your network to help write posts for your blog:

1) Get internal writers from your company on board. For instance, there should be at least one person in each of your sales, marketing, and customer service departments who would want to contribute from time to time.

2) Find a freelance writer to post for a very reasonable cost. A freelance writer could contribute an article that is relevant to your readers, as well as optimized with targeted keywords that would help your blog rank high with search engines.

3) Look for guest writers who may write once or twice. This could be a customer with a unique experience or other bloggers with a complimenting message. When a long-term commitment is not required, there are more people who may be willing to write, especially if they get a link back to their blog or some promotion for their cause.

4) Participate in Wordless Wednesdays. Wordless Wednesday blog posts are an opportunity to share a fun or interesting picture without the stress of a detailed post. They are a great way to recognize a customer, showcase an event, or just share a fun photo that gives your readers more insight into who your company is. Make sure to get permission from the people in the photo and/or photographer if it is not within your company.

5) Look for related blogs that are willing to cross-post articles. Ask other bloggers if you can re-post their article (or an excerpt) on your blog with a link back to the original post. Maybe they also want to reciprocate and cross-post your article on their blog. This can be a win-win opportunity with link exchanges and increased exposure.

6) Re-purpose what you already have either on your blog or in existing media. What questions do your customers ask you the most? What articles have been written in trade magazines about your industry that you can review? You can even look at past blog posts and create “Best of” or “Top 10” lists, or other compilations of past articles to create a new idea.

When it comes to finding writers for your blog, the most important thing to do is ASK. Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin are great sources to find potential writers, as well utilizing your e-newsletters and your customer database to recruit writers. The best part? Meeting others with similar interests and building long-lasting relationships, all while seeing your blog grow.

How have you recruited writers or found interesting topics for your blog? What other ways have you built up your blog content and readership?

Jackie Kaufenberg is the Marketing Manager for Altimate Medical Inc. in Morton, Minnesota. They manufacture standing frames for people who use wheelchairs and also have a blog for people with disabilities, and medical professionals. You can reach her via Twitter @jkaufenberg.

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