Author: AMA_admin

AMA Member Perk: Marketer’s Toolkits

By AMA New Orleans Uncategorized

AMA content marketing plan

One of the numerous benefits of being an AMA member is its vast library of toolkits. FREE for all AMA members, marketer’s toolkits are interactive marketing tools, templates and dashboards to help you make smart business decisions.

Toolkit Spotlight: Content Marketing Playbook

The Content Marketing Playbook is built to give you a comprehensive strategy framework and easily editable tools to quickly bring your plan to life. No more searching for the right download or building spreadsheets from scratch. This all-in-one guide saves you time and helps you make smarter business decision.

See the entire library of marketer’s toolkits here:

Millennials Are Reshaping the Economic Landscape

By AMA New Orleans News

Millennials are reshaping the economy, and in turn, business practices.  Companies are recognizing the need to adapt to and understand these changing population trends. Marketing research can be a powerful tool employed by companies in understanding these changes and how they will impact future business success.

Born roughly between 1980 and 2000, Millennials are the first generation to have had access to the internet during their formative years. They are the most diverse and educated generation so far, with 42% identifying their ethnicity as other than Non-Hispanic white and 61% of adult Millennials having attended college or higher. Millennials now represent the largest generation in the United States, and as of 2013, comprised roughly one-third of the US population. They are collectively moving into their prime spending years with a collective annual spending power of $2.45 trillion.

Apart from being the largest, most diverse, and educated generation thus far, their upbringing has coincided with an unprecedented period of innovation and this has influenced Millennial’s expectations and how they interact with technology. While all generations experienced technological advancements, the quantity of information a finger touch away that has been available to Millennials since childhood is unparalleled.

Growing up with a device that bundles communication, entertainment, shopping, mapping, and education all in one has led Millennials to adopt new technology more quickly and expect it to work because this has been their experience.

Their affinity for technology is reshaping the retail space because of the instantly accessible product information, reviews, and price comparisons. Millennials use a mobile device at a rate of more than twice that of Non-Millennials to research products and read reviews while shopping.

The way Millennials communicate and interact with others is dramatically different from those in previous generations due to the wide spread use of cell phones and the Internet. However, this change in communication and interaction does not mean that Millennials do not value community, family, and creativity. Millennials value staying close to family and friends, having free time for recreation, and working in creative jobs. And the group they socialize most frequently is their parents.

Over a third of Millennials of all ages say that they influence what products their parent’s buy, what shops and restaurants they visit, and what trips they make. As time passes, it may well be that Millennial buying patterns and attitudes will expand to other generations.

Millennials are a social generation, contrary to what many may believe, both in the online and offline worlds. Millennials are more likely than other generations to shop, dine, and travel with groups. Online, sharing on social media sites and opinionating on review sites such as Yelp and Amazon reflects a strong desire for connection. This need for connection has big implications for those who serve customers as Millennials tend to shop in groups and seek the opinions of others. More than two-thirds of Millennials do not make a major decision until they have discussed it with trusted people. Millennials regard shopping as a group activity, particularly female Millennials.

The way Millennials interact with  companies is different from the interactions of other companies. Millennials enjoy collaborating with companies. In fact, almost half state that they are interested in helping companies develop future products and services. However, and most importantly, Millennials have to see that companies care about what they say.

Products and services are started by companies; they are completed by the customers.  But this is not the only way that B2C interactions are changing. Outbound marketing is trending down while inbound marketing is increasing in success. Content has to be created so that Millennials feel that it was tailored for their interests, not their wallet.

As it stands, the companies that truly understand Millennials and engage with them can differentiate themselves and create vast opportunities for success. Companies and Non-Millennial Executives need to recognize the value in marketing to Millennials. Companies that fail to understand this generation will have a hard time achieving success. By employing marketing research to fine-tune customer acquisition, retention and loyalty building strategies can be improved and generational differences can be observed, quantified, and acted on. The methodologies for conducting marketing research are no different from the traditional methodologies when studying Millennials; however, as expected, digital data collection methodologies must be employed to achieve greater success.

This post was provided by Q2 Insights, an AMA sponsor. To learn more and for contact information, please visit

NOLA AMA on Facebook

By AMA New Orleans News

Click here to join the New Orleans AMA group on Facebook – a great way to further connect with AMA members.

Data-Driven Content Development

By AMA New Orleans News

Content marketing is the art of creating and distributing relevant and valuable information to drive more engagement, traffic, leads and closes. Content may include email, blogs, direct mail, visual (e.g. infographics, tables, graphics), conference presentations, webinars, and gated content (e.g. eBooks, case studies, white papers). Typically, the target audience is clearly defined and well understood. Many successful content marketers have personas for the target market segments as well as a content marketing strategy.

Taking these channels, personas and segments into consideration, the marketer must create fresh, relevant and valuable content that is not simply a repackaging of what others have said and, deploy the content on an ongoing basis and according to a marketing calendar. Herein lies the stumbling block for some – creating the content, especially content that is fresh, relevant and valuable to the target.


Research findings (data and insights) are an excellent source of fodder for marketing content. They are also very useful in positioning the publisher as a thought leader in the particular topic area. Furthermore, research can be the gift that keeps giving in terms of fueling the marketing content development funnel. This said, it is important to let the marketing calendar drive the research conducted and not let the research drive the calendar.


There are a variety of sources that you might consider as you work on data-driven content development:

Previously Completed Research

Past research reports are a treasure trove of material for content development. While these studies were not purposefully built as input for marketing content, many can be repurposed. The key, of course, is not to give away anything that would compromise your business in any way. And it is important to keep the target audience in mind ensuring that anything you share is relevant and engaging.

Custom Designed Qualitative Research

There are many ways to conduct qualitative research that are not expensive and can fuel the content pipeline. Formal or informal Focus Groups and Depth Interviews are one way to gather qualitative data and insight. Other simple ways might include posing questions to your brand’s Facebook followers, inviting some to engage in digital journaling about a specific topic, or posing questions via email to senior executives at your brand. The line of questioning should be based on the content you require for your marketing content calendar.  And, be careful not to lead the witness. Your customers will notice if differing perspectives are not presented.

Custom Designed Quantitative Research

SurveyMonkey and similar applications provide an inexpensive way for brands to conduct surveys that are custom designed with content development in mind. These days, many of these platforms provide access to consumers and business representatives (referred to as respondents) who are willing to participate in your survey.  Alternatively, you can use your own customers as study participants. Pose questions in a straight forward, unbiased manner and avoid double or multi-barreled questions. Include a series of demographic (e.g. age, gender) and psychographic (e.g. behavior, lifestyle characteristics) questions so you can slice and dice the findings in different ways.

Statistical Modeling

If you have statistical bench strength at your organization, you might consider using statistical modeling techniques to extract new and reportable patterns in existing data (e.g. past quantitative research, transaction data) or data that you purchase from a data purveyor such as Acxiom, Claritas or Experian.

Social Media Monitoring and Aggregation

Social media can also be a rich source of new and interesting content.  Sharing trends from social media monitoring and aggregation with your existing and potential customers can be very compelling.


Here are some case studies that outline how research can be used for data driven content development.

Qualitative Research with Students to Create Content Targeting Educators

Educators nationwide are seeking to improve the student’s postsecondary experience with the goal of increasing retention and number of graduates. Students were interviewed using a digital methodology to understand their experience and identify ways to assist students in being successful during their journey as students. Students at varying points in their postsecondary education participated and the findings were compared by class. Overall the project revealed great points of communication for advisors and counselors to use when working with students. The findings were used to develop content to share with academics.

Quantitative Research with Consumers to Create Content Targeting Physicians

A company that manages medical practices for specialized physicians wanted to understand consumer opinions, attitudes, knowledge and behaviors associated with a specific category of physician that is often underutilized in favor of a class of physicians without specialized training. The client suspected that consumers did not really understand the difference between the two types of physicians. A nationwide Web Panel Survey was conducted with patients.

Results provided proof of confusion between the two categories and provided insight on how to overcome this confusion. With the research findings in hand, the client created content for conference presentations, a series of webinars, development of blogs and other content for over 12 months. The client is also preparing for additional qualitative research to delve deeper into some of the previously misunderstood confusion amongst patients.

Qualitative Research with Chefs to Create Content Targeting Consumers

This project entailed delivering data to build content for consumers about a freshly available food product that was being underutilized due to misinformation. (Due to a confidentiality agreement, the actual food product cannot be mentioned here.  We will use “bananas” as a pseudonym.) A two-phased qualitative research project was implemented where gourmet chefs were sent a box of “bananas” and asked to prepare a meal with the product and to video or photograph dish preparation as well as the final dish. Then, In-Person Interviews were conducted with the chefs in New York, San Francisco and Chicago to understand experiences with and opinions of the product. The interview was also used to understand whether the source of the “bananas” influenced use and opinion of the product.

Output from the project was beyond client expectations. The client developed a cookbook with the delicious recipes provided by the chefs and shared recipes with consumers. Blogs, articles and presentations were also developed based on the findings of the qualitative research.


Using research to feed content development takes the angst out of finding fresh, relevant and valuable content.  Research findings can provide sufficient content to fuel the pipeline for long periods of time and can position the publisher as a thought leader in the content area

This post was provided by Q2 Insights, an AMA sponsor. To learn more and for contact information, please visit

4 Steps to Marketing Yourself with LinkedIn

By AMA New Orleans News


By Danielle Dayries

When you see a powder-blue bird you immediately recognize it as Twitter, when you see a swoosh logo you know that’s Nike, and when you hear a few quick soft tones from your smart device you know you’ve received a Facebook message. This connection is corporate branding. As the master of your own personal brand, have you determined how to build a connection when other professionals come across your name? A successful personal brand creates a consistent, targeted impression that helps you achieve your personal and professional goals.

LinkedIn is one of today’s most valuable tools for marketing yourself or personal branding. With over 43 million users, LinkedIn provides the ability to connect with other professionals like no other network can. Here are tips to help build your personal brand on LinkedIn in a way that will attract a network of like-minded professionals and market you in the best possible way.

1. Complete Your Profile

After signing up, it is essential that you answer all of the questions in setting up your profile and proofread everything to eliminate any typos or grammatical errors. It’s equally important to know your target market and what makes you unique to communicate your strengths, mission, and specialized skills to set you apart from the rest. Your goal is to build effective business relationships by nurturing the similarities with your target audience.

2. Choose the Right Headline

The best headline when branding yourself is one that reflects the job you want. Unless you change the headline manually, LinkedIn will insert the last job you had or currently have. For example, if you’re a PR manager for a large company you may wish to change the headline to “PR Specialist for Fortune 500 Companies.” That way, your headline will appeal to large companies looking for someone with your expertise. As another example, you would want to changr “Vice President Sales at ABC Corporation” (your current position) to “VP Sales. Revenue Growth in Cloud-Enabled Technology Solutions. Product Development & Sales Operations Leadership.” The Job Title field on LinkedIn is a highly indexed field that helps with being more exposed in searches.

3. Summary, Experience, and a Dash of Keywords.

Your summary should be a short paragraph that summarizes your work and experience, with a focus on the experience that pertains to the job you are seeking. This is the place to highlight any awards or honors you received relating to the job you are after. In your experience section you should list every job you’ve had that relates to your current position and the job you are searching for with accomplishments listed vs. just a list of job duties.

Use keywords that describe what you do to attract jobs or people that you are after to increase traffic. Keywords will have greater impact therefore, increasing your ranking among other users. Take these words and sprinkle them all throughout your profile, but especially in your job title, summary and experience. These keywords will help recruiters and other professionals find you when they search for those terms in LinkedIn’s People Search.

4. Grow your Network

Now that your profile is complete or your house is in order, it’s time to build your professional network. Growing your LinkedIn network helps establish you as an expert in your field and extends your reach and exposure. Your first, second and third degree connections are the ones that could refer you to new career opportunities in the future. The more first-degree connections will exponentially increase the likelihood that LinkedIn search algorithms will find you and place you near the top of search results. So do everything you can to grow your network! Trade association contacts, current and previous colleagues, friends and family are great places to start.

LinkedIn helps you jumpstart the process with a built-in import function that allows you to import all your contacts from other platforms. After you have populated it with people you already know, the next step is to build new pipelines of contacts by not only connecting with other people, but building relationships. How do you do this? Join groups of like-minded professionals and participate in discussions. Just like a live networking event, it works best by participating. Engage in discussions when someone is asking for guidance or expertise. Make sure your posts add value, talk about your business and include a call to action. This is how you get known as an expert in your field without showing off. Someone in the group may ask for an opinion on new software, a tough client, etc… Chime in and answer and voila – you are now seen as an expert in your field!

Lastly, add your LinkedIn URL to your email signature for more exposure and traffic. This is your free marketing tool, so let the world know where to find out more about all you have accomplished.

Invest some time in LinkedIn to market the most valuable client you’ll ever have – yourself! I guarantee it will prove to be a valuable asset to your career.

If you would like some additional information on the importance of self-branding, join the New Orleans Chapter of the American Marketing Association at The New Orleans Yacht Club from 11:30 am to 1 pm where I will be giving an interactive workshop to build your profile. Those who attend the presentation will leave with a profile and clear understanding of how LinkedIn can be utilized as the ultimate self-branding platform.

Click here to register.

I hope to see you there!


Danielle Dayries is the CEO/owner of the locally-based outplacement firm, DMD & Associates, Inc. Her firm is engaged by companies worldwide to deliver outplacement programs that empower those affected by a reduction in force to get back to work quickly, while helping companies protect their brand and limit legal exposure. She is a board member of several Society of Human Resource Chapters, speaks throughout the United States about career transition topics and is published in multiple publications.

Fill Out the AMA New Orleans Survey. Win a Free Luncheon.

By AMA New Orleans News

As a valued member of the New Orleans marketing community, we invite you to participate in a brief survey that will allow the New Orleans chapter of the American Marketing Association to better serve its constituents. Your participation in this survey will help AMA New Orleans board as they plan for the year.

Q2 Insights, a national market research firm, is conducting this research study on behalf of AMA New Orleans.

The survey will take approximately ten minutes to complete.

After completing the survey you will have the opportunity to enter to win one of three free tickets to a New Orleans AMA luncheon.

Click the link below to take the survey.

We look forward to hearing your opinions and suggestions. We appreciate you taking the time to participate in this project.

A Forward Look Into Emerging 2016 Marketing Trends

By AMA New Orleans News


MNI graphic

Every year, Mintel, the world’s leading Market Intelligence firm, rounds up a global lead of thought leaders, to predict market-moving trends based on current events, legislation, innovations, and more.

Since we’re all about staying ahead of the trends, we sent a team of research experts to Mintel’s most recent summit in New York. See some of our favorite trends below, or download the full report from Mintel here.

Media Consumption Is All About the Yin & Yang

Consumers have a plethora of different, unique facets to their personas, and they want to nourish them all. This is fueled by the paradox of choice, leading consumers to go to extremes to feel like they have it all. For brands to capitalize on this, they should encourage consumers to make room for indulgences in their balanced lives.

  • Because media consumption is at an all-time high, the couch potato is completely destigmatized.
    • Binge-watching is a celebrated activity that is offset by taking time away from media and technology.
    • Half of consumers binge watch TV and half agree they need breaks from technology.
    • Brand examples: Amazon Fire and Xfinity promoted binge-watching. On the other side of the spectrum, Dixie urges us to go #DarkforDinner to make more time for family and friends.
  • In a high-tech world, consumers seek a human touch.
    • As more and more consumers are exposed to automation, robots, droids, and more, they want to speak with a live individual.
    • Brand Example: Sprint launched a Direct 2 You program, promising free personal delivery with expert attention, wherever you are.
  • Consumers strive to find a weekly balance.
    • Financially, consumers are embracing the concept of The Weekend Millionaire: brown-bagging it during the week to live large on the weekends.
    • When it comes to leading a healthy life, consumers will indulge in all-you-can-eat bacon-fests followed by juice cleanses.
    • For personal beauty regimens, more and more consumers are wearing make-up six days a week and going fresh on the seventh, to give their skin a break.

The Big Brand Theory

A story can make or break a brand, as consumers strive to create deep, authentic connections with the brands they engage with.

  • Why is storytelling important to building brand awareness?
    • After the 2008 financial crisis, consumers checked their behavior—moving away from McMansions and conspicuous consumption towards small businesses. Craft is the new luxury, where consumers can trade up without being ostentatious.
    • Consumers want to be romanced and are excited to learn about a product, how it’s made, and what goes into it.
    • Genuine storytelling creates connections with brands that inspire loyalty and create brand advocates.
  • Great Storytelling Examples?
    • Small businesses have an immediate advantage when it comes to storytelling, as illustrated by the popularity of platforms like Etsy or the growth of craft beer (two new breweries open each day).
    • While small businesses have leveraged this well, it doesn’t mean that large corporations are left behind.
  • There are a record number of acquisitions and partnerships, where larger companies are buying up smaller ones, enabling them to gain knowledge, share best practices, and embrace small brands and stories. For example, Starbucks most recently partnered with local, artisan bakeries in DC and NY, to add a homegrown flair.

Written by: Marisa Davis, Manager, Brand Marketing at MNI Targeted Media

“Know me!” —The Personalization Revolution

By AMA New Orleans Member Blog

By Sandra Jordan, MNI Targeted Media

Knowing your consumers and their habits will be the key to engagement and success in 2016.

  • 56% of consumers say that the most important element of their retail experience is that the information shared with them online is relevant to what they are currently interested in or looking to buy.
  • 52% want relevant content that considers their personal taste, style, age group, or location.
  • 36% of shoppers say real-time, personalized offers on their mobile devices as they enter a store would enhance their shopping experience.

*Source: eMarketer, August 2015; eMarketer, October 2015.


Let’s Get Personal

Consumer-facing businesses are tackling the challenge of personalization. Get ahead of the competition and reach the consumers who are most likely to move your bottom line.

  • Consumer Targeting—Reach consumers who frequently shop online, based on their browsing behavior, online purchases, and shopping cart abandonment.
  • Influencer Marketing—Partner with key people who have influence over your potential consumers and who are in-market for your products.
  • Contextual Targeting—Reach customers who are visiting relevant shopping content.
  • Search and Site Retargeting—Target individuals who are constantly seeking information online.
  • In-App Targeting—Reach shoppers who are constantly glued to their devices.
  • Geo-Fencing—Serve ads to consumers who are performing searches on their mobiles in-store.

Value-Based Pricing Strategy

By AMA New Orleans Member Blog

One of the main issues faced when releasing a new product or service is how much to charge. There are many different pricing strategies; however, few companies use a pricing strategy that is focused on the customer as opposed to the product or service. Value-based pricing is a pricing strategy which sets the price of the product or service on the perceived or estimated value to the customer rather than on the cost of the product, competitor prices, or historical prices.

Traditional pricing strategies do not incorporate market research to determine the optimal price for the product or service. With value-based pricing, research (typically in the form of a survey and multivariate statistical modeling) is conducted so the product or service is launched with minimal to no adverse effect on consumer perception due to incorrect pricing. Determining the optimal price for a product or service is critical to its success. Charge too much, and the product or service will not sell; charge too little, and your product or service is fixed in the market at a low level. Of the two, charging too little is by far the worst choice as raising a products’ price often proves to be extremely difficult.

Q2 Value Graph

Calculating the optimal price point is a science. According to a McKinsey & Company analysis of the typical S&P 1500 company, a price rise of 1%, if volumes remain stable, can lead to a profit increase of 8%. However, the opposite also stands true, a price of 1% less than the optimal price can lead to a loss of 8% of its potential profit. Changes in variable costs such as lower material cost and labor do not impact profit margins nearly as much as having correct pricing. While some companies believe that a lower price will lead to increased sales volumes, this rarely happens. In the same McKinsey & Company analysis, volumes have to rise by almost 19% to offset a 5% price cut.

So how do we determine the value of a product or service to consumers to determine the optimal price? There are several methodologies that may be employed on their own or in conjunction with others. One of the classic approaches is using the Van Westendorp method with a Revenue Forecast Extension. The method asks consumers a series of questions relating to their purchasing intent based on price. Next, a range of acceptable prices and an optimum price point based on an analysis of price and value ratings obtained from consumers is calculated. The Revenue Forecast Extension is then used to determine the optimal price taking purchase intent into account.

Another approach used is the Discrete Choice Model. Consumers are asked to choose between two or more hypothetical products or services at different price levels. The resulting model includes a simplified description of reality that provides a better understanding of how consumers make their choice. A well-constructed model allows for multiple scenarios within the model and can optimize price and brand position. With Discrete Choice, a company can project their potential market share among key competitors.

A newer methodology is Maximum Difference (Maxdiff). Maxdiff uses customer trade off rather than usual rating scales responses. Consumers identify the best and worst choice from a variety of groupings of three or more products or services at different prices. The order of questions is randomized and price levels are randomly assigned. A discrete choice model and a simulator are developed. Modification of price within the simulator allows the client to quickly identify what happens to demand as price increases or decreases.

The application of Monte Carlo Simulation to pricing takes in to account the customer’s price value perception, product, variable fixed costs, and market size. Several levels of price are tested for a given product. The resulting analysis shows the penetration of the product or service at each price point. Typically the model output is presented in an Excel spreadsheet. The key benefit of this approach is that it allows the client to run multiple “what if” scenarios by changing the parameters in the worksheet.

There are various methods to determine the optimal price for a product or service based on the perceived or estimated value to the customer. A value-based pricing strategy allows companies to launch new products and services with reduced risk and confidence that the success will not be hindered by sub-optimal pricing.


Xavier Alvarez is a Project Analyst at Q2 Insights, a market research consulting firm with offices in San Diego and New Orleans.

Projective Techniques in Qualitative Market Research

By AMA New Orleans News

Qualitative market research is often aimed at increasing understanding of consumers’ thoughts and feelings toward brands, products, concepts, advertising, social issues and other important topics. Projective techniques are indirect methods used in qualitative research. These techniques allow researchers to tap into consumers’ deep motivations, beliefs, attitudes and values. This is important because psychology has told us for a long time that much of what drives behavior can be emotional and irrational in nature. To some extent, these emotional drivers of behavior lie below conscious awareness.

Consumers tend to be aware of their conscious motivations and decision-making processes. Therefore, when a researcher directly asks a consumer why they like a product, favor a brand, or prefer a competitor, responses tended to be rational and purposeful. However, we know that our connections to brands and our preferences for some products over others stem from motivations and values in which consumers are not consciously aware.

Projective techniques are useful because people tend to have limited understanding of their own behavior; likewise, people often have difficulty articulating their motivations and desires. While direct questioning works well most of the time, sometimes market researchers want to investigate consumers’ deeper values and beliefs. In such cases, projective techniques are typically used in conjunction with direct questioning in qualitative research.

The Use of Projective Techniques Originated with Clinical Psychologists

Projective techniques and tests are rooted in clinical psychology. The Rorschach Inkblot Test, probably the most famous projective test, comes from the psychoanalytic branch of clinical psychology and was popular in the 1960’s. The Rorschach Inkblot Test involves the use of ambiguous images (inkblots). Individuals are asked to name what they see and responses are interpreted by a psychologist specifically trained to do the test.

The Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) is a widely used projective technique used in mainstream clinical psychology where an image of an ambiguous social scene is shown and an individual is asked to create a story to explain the image. The assumption is that sub-conscious or non-conscious feelings and beliefs will be “projected’ onto ambiguous stimuli.

Many other traditional projective techniques have their origins in clinical psychology, too, such as word associations, role-playing and sentence completion. Projective techniques allow psychologists to uncover deep associations, emotions and thought processes.

The Use of Projective Techniques in Market Research

Although market researchers are interested in deep emotions and thought processes specific to brands and products, the purpose is still to get at those feelings, motivations, attitudes, biases and cognitions that are below rational, conscious awareness.

Some projective techniques, such as the Rorschach Inkblot Test, are specific to clinical psychology but many other techniques are quite useful in market research. Not all projective techniques involve projection in the classic, psychoanalytic sense; rather, the idea of tapping into subconscious associations and emotional connections is the goal of projective techniques in market research. Good market researchers will always confirm their findings through various sources. It is likely that findings from projective techniques would be subsequently confirmed with survey research, as are most qualitative findings.

Some common projective techniques include word associations, imagery associations, grouping and choice ordering techniques, imagery associations with consumer personalities, and personification activities.

Projective techniques are typically used in depth interviews or traditional focus groups. The techniques tend to yield rich and accurate information and they do not require sophisticated verbal literacy or forethought. Research participants often like these exercises even though the main purpose is not always clear to them

Projective techniques can be fundamental to consumer research, particularly when the goal is to understand deep emotional connections and cognitions toward brands, products, and services.

Evette Joyce is an Account Director at Q2 Insights, Inc., a market research consulting firm with offices in San Diego and New Orleans.

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