Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Connect. Learn. Grow. With the MN AMA!

The American Marketing Association is a nonprofit organization, serving as THE SOURCE for more than 23,000 professional marketers in 74 chapters across the United States and Canada.

AMA members receive members-only access to the AMA website, which includes numerous incentives such as free webinars and the latest research in the field of marketing; steep discounts on the AMA’s national training programs; and a choice of AMA marketing journals for cutting-edge articles and information. On the local level, you will receive a 30 percent discount on all local events, be able to take your networking to the next level as a volunteer on an AMA committee, and have access to other members-only events and incentives.  AMA connects you to a world of resources that deliver results, and helps you succeed today and into the future.

Still not convinced?  Below are the Top 10 reasons why your employer should support your professional development with a MN AMA Membership:

1. Expand your knowledge base to become a better marketer
2. Market your company by sharing its story and mission
3. Stay ahead of the competition with marketing best practices
4. Follow the latest marketing trends for consideration by your company
5. Learn what other Minnesota companies are doing firsthand
6. Strengthen or develop your managerial and leadership skills
7. Find qualified professionals when it’s time to grow your team
8. Receive the industry’s finest publications—not available without membership
9. Hone your networking skills as a representative of your company
10. Collaborate with other marketing professionals to build career-long relationships

The MN AMA is a very active, exciting marketing organization.  I personally have been a member since2008, and have enjoyed many career benefits and enhancements as a direct result from my membership.  We have over 600 members representing every type of marketing discipline, industry, and business entity.  If you are interested in developing your marketing knowledge, looking for resources, building your contact list, and meeting business leaders, then you would find membership in our organization to be a good fit.

Already a Member?  Help spread the word about the MN AMA! All members are allowed 2 guest passes per every year to show others what the MN AMA is about.  Guest pass registration is unavailable online; call the MN AMA office at 651-917-6241 to register your guest.

Now is a great time to join….Sept 6-Nov 8tn is the Fall Membership Drive!  Anyone who becomes a New Member during the drive will receive the following benefits*:
·       Complimentary registration fee ($30 value)
·       A choice of ONE of the following offers:
o   A $20 Amazon** Gift Card
o   A $200 coupon redeemable at any AMA national conference

Don’t miss this great opportunity to get involved with MN AMA!

*The following offers are valid for applications received 9/6/11-11/18/11. Group members, College members and current AMA Members are not eligible to redeem offer.
**Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Amazon, Amazon.com, the Amazon.com logo, and the Amazon Gift Cards logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. Amazon.com Gift Cards (“GCs”) may be used only for purchases of eligible goods on Amazon.com or its affiliated website Endless.com. GCs cannot be redeemed for purchases of gift cards. Except as required by law, GCs cannot be reloaded, resold, transferred for value, redeemed for cash, or applied to any other account. See www.amazon.com/gc-legal for complete terms and conditions. GCs are issued and ©2011 by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Digital Series Speaker Profile: Marty Weintraub

Marty Weintraub
Author of "Killer Facebook Ads" and CEO of aimClear®

Marty kicks off another exciting MN AMA Digital Series with his keynote presentation "36 Ways to Make more Social Media Friends Who Matter" on 10/24 at Rojo Mexican Grill.

What is most exciting to you about the field of marketing today?
I love emergent technologies that allow marketers to target users based on their intrinsic characteristics. From deeply rooted predictions to the music people prefer, platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, Twitter, blogs and forums make it possible to identify users based on documented engagement, and target them by paid and organic methods. My fascination culminated with a Wiley Sybex book book about Facebook Ads.

"Paid" means Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads, Paid Stumbles, YouTube ads and other channels' advertising programs. "Organic" means community management, reaching out and the systematic identification of authority users to target for engagement by various models.  Either way, it's a brave new world where cool marketers make forever-friends by giving and...actually being friendly.
Who or what has been the biggest influence on your career?
So far as the "who" goes, my favorite industry sage is Chris Sherman. He's a true futurist and one of the wheels behind SMX conferences. If you ever get a chance to attend and SMX conference, don't miss it. Danny Sullivan (Executive Editor of SearchEngineLand.con), Rand Fishkin (Braintrust and founder of SEOmoz), and Barry Schwartz (
SearchEngineRoundTable.com) are my favorite bloggers in the business. My mom and dad were huge influences, as well.

So far as the "what" goes, my time at Berklee college of music was a huge deal for me. Though the first 25 years of my career were as a musician, the impact of my Berklee education looms large every day.
What are the top 3 resources you turn to for information to keeps you current in your field of marketing?
I read the DailySearchCap in SearchEngineLand every day, without fail and have for years.  Barry Schwartz is Executive News Editor of SEL and does a bang up job. Twitter is an awesome resource for staying current. Check out my Twitter profile and follow who I do. You can't go wrong. I go to a lot of conferences. I love SES, SMX, MediaPost SearchInsiderSummit, International Search Summit, and a numberof others.
What book are you reading now?
A Lapsed Anarchist's Approach to Building a Great Business, These management principles are from Zingerman's, a flagship Ann Arbor deli that does about 30 million a year between their businesses. The book includes an explanation of the “Twelve Natural Laws of Building a Great Business” and Writing and Using Guiding Principles” Zingerman’s co-founder Ari Weinzweig offers up eighteen fascinating "secrets" that help companies like aimClear grow. I am again listening to the audio book, "Good To Great" by Jim Collins. I love this book and revisit it every couple of years.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing marketers today?
It's challenge that things move so quickly. It  takes me between 1-2 hours every night to study the trades' to stay current. If not aimClear could lose its edge. Fortunately now we have a staff of research artists to keep us current. Still, I study every night...and I mean every night.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Wine and food. Then I switch to food and wine. I also love canoeing in the BWCA, fishing, hiking and working out

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

How to stop looking stupid on sales calls

Over and over, we all share the same experience.  Some salesperson calls you on the phone, and immediately launches into a laundry list of all the amazing things that their product does, after barely saying “hello.”  It is as if they are on a game show, trying to get the right answer by dumping enough words into the call, hoping that some chance phrase lights your interest before you hang up.

Salespeople call me anywhere from 4-8 times daily, all with some variation on the same pitch.

And they wonder why they have such little success.

Most companies, including some of the largest sales organizations in the country, follow the same approach:  Call, describe your product and ask if they are interested in purchasing.  If not, then hang up and go to the next name on the list.  The goal is to move through the list and find any opportunities you can in the shortest amount of time.

While they may achieve some short-term sales wins, the net effect of such a sales approach is to alienate a larger and larger share of your prospect pool.  That share by the way, includes a valuable group –prospects who may be willing to buy later, but lack the information and clear benefit to make the switch at this moment.

When you try to force a sale on those prospects and then repeat the same process over and over again, you create three impacts.  Your prospects learn that:
1. You are less interested in them than you are in yourself
2.  You are not to be trusted
3. You do not care for them as individuals
The net result is not only do you fall out of the “circle of trust” with prospects, you also make it more unlikely that the prospect will make any decision at all.  In a world where there is no trust, who can you believe in?

But there is another way.

The top business development efforts today combine the best of database marketing, publishing and sales in order to build relationships with key prospects, nurturing them and building trust until they are ready to make a sale.  The process is called Content Based Selling (CBS), and it hold potential to reinvent relationships with prospects and lead gen from now on.

I will write in more detail about CBS in my next post, but the high-level approach is to determine NOT whether a prospect is ready to buy, but instead, what information they need to have to be ready to make a decision – what questions, what concerns, what objections do they need to overcome in the process of making a decision.  By providing impartial information to prospects based on those specific needs, you can build trust and relationships over time – critical ingredients in building a stable, growing pipeline of business.

Follow Content Based Selling and you will be able to:
  • Stop cold calling in your firm
  • Build an accurate, predictable sales pipeline
  • Drive insights from prospect needs to improve your marketing and customer service experience as well as sales process
  • Enjoy your work more every day while you consistently surpass your goals
In my next post, I will tell you what to do so Content Based Sales can revolutionize your business and your career.

Mark Price is Managing Partner of M Squared Group, a consulting firm focused on understanding and building customer relationships, and the author of the blog “Cultivating Your Customers,” where he writes about practical approaches to improve customer retention and overall customer value. 
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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Member of the Month

Welcome to the MN AMA’s new feature--Member of the Month!

Member of the Month is designed to show appreciation for and recognize MN AMA members for their membership. Member of the Month is also a great way for other members to get to know each other. Once a month a member will be chosen at random at the end of the month and receive a congratulations email at the beginning of their month asking them for an interview.

Member of the Month receives:
                Recognition on the MN AMA website, all social media outlets and at all monthly events
                Free attendance at all events (mixers/programming events) that month (minus Annual Conference).
                Thank you card from VP of Membership and President
                Personal Phone call from VP of Membership

October Member of the Month

         What’s your name?
Jessica Berg
         Where do you work? What is your role?
Fredrikson & Byron, P.A., Marketing & Business Development Assistant
         When did you join the AMA?
August 2011
     Why did you join the AMA?
I joined the AMA for professional development.
         What have you learned or do you hope to learn from the MN AMA?
I hope to learn more about how different industries are marketing in the post-recession era and how tactics are changing to meet the values of a new consumer.
         What is one piece of career/marketing advice you have for other MN AMA Members?
Allow yourself a few misses and mistakes. Most times I’d rather stay in my comfort zone, but I’ve learned more from mistakes and projects that needed a ‘Plan B’ or ‘Plan C’ solution. If something is easy, then I need to push myself further.

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