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A Message from AMAK President Erica Coffey

A Message from AMAK President Erica Coffey

For as long as I can remember, I have loved to read. Reading has educated me, broadened my horizons and exercised my imagination. Even now, with precious little time to indulge in my favorite activity, I rely on audiobooks to “get my fix” while commuting or shopping. Reading has impacted my life in many ways, from career aspirations to passionate causes.

What does reading have to do with marketing? Quite a lot, if you think about it. Both writers and marketers need you to be interested enough in their product to want to learn more. However, a clever book or blog title, or social media blurb, needs to have the substance behind it to keep you engaged. Publishing houses and marketing agencies must stay on top of trends and technologies in order to provide timely content in relevant mediums.

This year, AMA Knoxville is focusing on one of the most challenging trends in recent years – storytelling as a marketing tool. Storytelling takes the best parts of both worlds, literature and marketing, and combines them to excite, inspire and motivate people to act (or buy or sell). It’s no longer enough to say, “Here’s our product, isn’t it great? Go buy it!” Now, people want to know the story behind the product and how it will help them. All of our programming this year will be related to storytelling, whether it’s how to tell your brand’s story, how others have incorporated stories into their marketing campaigns or new technology that helps you do it better.

AMA Knoxville is adding another facet to our storytelling theme. We are partnering with Leaders for Readers, part of Great Schools Partnership. Leaders for Readers is a program that helps children in first, second and third grades learn to read and improve their skills by providing free books and matching volunteers with children for weekly lessons. AMA Knoxville will not only be donating books in honor of our speakers but will include the creation of a volunteer recruitment marketing plan at our conference this November. (The conference’s theme is “Wonder,” inspired by Alice in Wonderland!)

Reading is the first step to experiencing all the world offers. Without reading—or wonder—we marketers would not be in the careers we are. Without literacy, we wouldn’t have college students to award scholarships to each year. I am excited that AMA Knoxville is combining the worlds of reading and marketing into one amazing focus this year. I am confident that with our dedicated Board of Directors, volunteers and members, AMA Knoxville’s story will be one of success, community involvement, engagement and education.

June Luncheon: Push Play on Growth

June Luncheon: Push Play on Growth

BY: ANNA WILT, KNOXVILLE HABITAT FOR HUMANITY

With over one billion unique monthly users, YouTube presents a unique marketing opportunity for businesses, and it’s more important than ever to utilize digital ads as more advertising moves towards multimedia formats.

At the American Marketing Association Knoxville’s June luncheon, “Push Play on Growth,” Jonathan Halley and Lucas Cooper of Big Slate Media led the audience through an enthusiastic presentation covering all things YouTube.

Big Slate Media is a Knoxville-based content creation company. Since its creation three years ago, they have grown to advise their clients on a variety of topics, such as video marketing, content and strategy.

The digital age has given advertisers the unprecedented opportunity to “track exactly how far [their] dollar amount is going” using this video platform. More specifically, YouTube allows businesses to track the effectiveness of their ad and content campaigns through a variety of tools.

Halley and Cooper also pointed out the distinctions between YouTube and other social media platforms. Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat present a “finite” option for video content. With YouTube, marketers have “the opportunity for that content to live forever.”

Marketers can organically boost their SEO ranking simply by “having a video with the keywords you want to be found with and tagging them correctly.” YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, which is owned by the largest search engine, Google. By uploading and tagging videos, Google AdWords is able to crawl and index your content. This, in turn, makes it easier for customers to learn more about your business.

Spending advertising dollars on YouTube can be a quick and easy way to see results. As a caveat, Cooper pointed out that non-skippable ads can be an annoying inconvenience to consumers. However, they can also be a “wonderful tool for advertisers if you need more time to tell your story.”

Skippable ads have proven to be the most popular form of YouTube ads. These ads are appealing to advertisers for several reasons. They are low-risk, versatile and visible to a wide audience. This method encompasses the entire Google search and YouTube search networks.

The top three data points to measure while analyzing your performance metrics are views, view rate and cost per view. View rate is the number of views and engagements on your ad, divided by the number of times your ad was shown.

As all marketers know, determining your audience is the first step you should take when making an advertisement. This is especially true for YouTube and Google AdWords. According to Halley and Cooper, you should narrow down your audience by demographics, interests and video remarketing. Video remarketing includes people that are “already engaged in your brand,” whether that means they have already watched one of your videos or bought your product.

According to Big Slate Media, the secret to successful content marketing can be found by following these five easy steps:

  1. Practice filming yourself until you know what works for you and your audience.
  2. Research is an important aspect to developing meaningful content. Cooper suggests spending ten minutes a week analyzing competitor YouTube channels.
  3. Brainstorm with your team, and write down your ideas.
  4. Planning is essential to achieving a great YouTube campaign, even if it is just an hour a month.
  5. Lastly, and most importantly, just do it! Challenge yourself to make “consistent, relatable content” that will engage your audience.

Want to learn more? Check out this blog post from Big Slate Media.

AMA Knoxville Presents 30th Annual Honors Celebrating Alan Carmichael

AMA Knoxville Presents 30th Annual Honors Celebrating Alan Carmichael

The American Marketing Association Knoxville (AMA Knoxville) held its 30th Annual Honors Ceremony on Tuesday, May 15 from 6 – 8 p.m. at the Historic Southern Railway Station. Alan Carmichael, president and chief operating officer for Moxley Carmichael, was recognized as AMA Knoxville’s 2018 Outstanding Marketing Professional.

Alan Carmichael brings more than 30 years of real-world experience to help clients communicate effectively in his role as president of Moxley Carmichael. From a love of literature and writing, he crafted careers first in journalism and then public relations. The ability to create and execute up-to-date communications strategies is based on firsthand experience in advising clients on proactive public relations programs, as well as preparing for and managing crises.

The Outstanding Marketing Professional is a lifetime achievement award presented to an individual who has made meaningful and innovative contributions to the community and in the field of marketing. Past recipients include Jeff Lee, Jim Clayton, James A. Haslam, II, Townes Lavidge Osborn and Pat Summitt.

Attendees enjoyed dinner and drinks as AMA Knoxville celebrated Alan Carmichael, recognized this past year’s AMA marketing scholarship recipients and honored AMA Knoxville’s chapter leaders with the Locander Award, Volunteer of the Year Award and STAR Award. Board members recognized this year included:

In addition to honoring an outstanding professional and AMA Knoxville’s chapter leaders, the annual Honors event raises funds to provide scholarships for exceptional students majoring in marketing at the University of Tennessee. This program, the Eagle Endowment, has provided over $120,000 in scholarship money in an effort to preserve and grow the marketing industry.

“The AMA Knoxville board of directors is so happy to honor Alan Carmichael as this year’s Outstanding Marketing Professional,” said Carol Kelly, AMA Knoxville president. “His longstanding dedication to this community and his incredible work in the marketing and communications industry makes him so deserving of this prestigious honor.”

APRIL LUNCHEON: FROM FRIENDING TO FIRING – SOCIAL MEDIA’S IMPACT ON EMPLOYMENT

APRIL LUNCHEON: FROM FRIENDING TO FIRING – SOCIAL MEDIA’S IMPACT ON EMPLOYMENT

BY: JESSICA GUTMAN

As an employer, should you find job applicants on social media? Should you accept friend requests from current employees? How should you handle online and physical harassment claims from employees?

Chris McCarty, attorney at Lewis Thomason, covered these topics and more during a lively, open discussion at the American Marketing Association Knoxville’s April luncheon, titled: “From Friending to Firing: Social Media’s Impact on Employment.”

When searching for job applicants or current employees on social media, McCarty said there are pros, cons and legalities to consider.

“You can find out things you could never ask in an interview, including their age or family status,” he said. “You can also see their social life habits to determine how responsible they are. Anything that is publicly posted is fair game.”

However, searching for an applicant’s social media accounts may also cause negative bias against them. For example, if a job candidate is pregnant and posts that information on social media, an employer may be less likely to hire them given insurance costs and future time off.

When accepting friend requests from employees, McCarty said employers should consider their industry and office culture, and that there are always risks involved. He also informed attendees that as an employer it is illegal in the state of Tennessee to force employees to be friends with you on Facebook.

In regard to employment and social media endorsements, McCarty explained the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) endorsement guidelines.

“You can’t have a material connection to what you’re endorsing without disclosing the connection in a clear and conspicuous way,” he said. “Material connections include employment.”

This means employees endorsing their company’s products or services on social media must also disclose that they are employed there. This includes a public employment listing on Facebook or mentioning it in a Twitter or Instagram bio.

He cited an incident in 2017 in which the FTC sent out more than 90 letters to celebrities, athletes and other influencers reminding them to clearly and conspicuously disclose relationships to brands when promoting or endorsing products through social media.

“It’s the same if you work for a hotel and post on Facebook, ‘this the best hotel ever, you should stay here,’” McCarty said. “You must disclose that you work for the hotel because you have a material connection. It’s the law.”

He also said employers must be cognizant of employees’ rights to express themselves online, especially about working conditions.

“Employees are not forbidden from talking publicly about working conditions on social media,” McCarty explained. “This includes pay, benefits, break times and OSHA concerns.”

This protection falls under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which states, “Employees have the right to unionize, to join together to advance their interests as employees, and to refrain from such activity. It is unlawful for an employer to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of their rights.”

Lastly, McCarty covered a popular topic in today’s society: harassment in the workplace. He said to be aware that proper workplace boundaries apply offline and online.

He said, “If someone is uncomfortable in a workplace setting because of something happening online, it cannot be ignored by the company.”

To learn more about these topics, visit FTC.gov or EEOC.gov.

AMA Knoxville Member Spotlight: Annie LaLonde

AMA Knoxville Member Spotlight: Annie LaLonde

NAME: Annie LaLonde

COMPANY: Shoney’s of Knoxville, Inc.

TITLE: Marketing & Advertising Director

WEBSITE & SOCIAL MEDIA: www.shoneysknox.com, Facebook, Twitter

WHY DID YOU JOIN/RENEW AT AMA? 

AMA provides a forum for learning and meeting other marketing professionals in the community. We get so caught up in our everyday tasks that we often forget the world is changing around us, and we need to keep learning!

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A MEMBER OF AMA?

20+ years

WHAT ARE YOU HOPING TO GET OUT OF IT?

Sharing ideas with other marketing professionals is so valuable to me. During networking events we have helped each other brainstorm ideas to solve issues in our organizations. I also have taken several AMA webinars that have been very helpful to me and Shoney’s.

WHAT DOES YOUR COMPANY DO BEST?

Serve guests great food in a comfortable setting with friendly service. Shoney’s is known for the best Fresh Food Bar, Breakfast Bar and for our signature desserts, Strawberry Pie and Hot Fudge Cake!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TYPE OF CLIENT?

All of our guests are valuable to Shoney’s, however, we love introducing our Fresh Food Bar to new generations of guests.

WHY DO YOU LIKE WORKING THERE?

Shoney’s has a stellar reputation for providing good food at a great value, that’s vitally important. However, I’m very proud of the ongoing community support that Shoney’s has provided to countless organizations over the past 55 years. While Shoney’s works rather quietly on many community events, we were truly honored to receive the 2017 Knoxville Chamber of Commerce’s Pinnacle Impact Award, recognizing our long-term community impact over the years.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN THAT JOB?

11 years

WHAT DO YOU FIND BEST ABOUT DOING BUSINESS IN KNOXVILLE? 

I describe Knoxville as a big “small-town”. It’s big enough to have lots of opportunity, but small enough that one can get to know people in business and marketing. It’s a friendly place to work and live.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PAST TIME? 

Depends on the season – waterskiing/boating and snow skiing! I’m a passionate Green Bay Packers fan!

DO YOU READ, WATCH MOVIES OR TV, AND IF SO WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITES?

I love to read, mostly fiction. I am a die-hard “Survivor” fan!


Next time you’re at an AMA Knoxville event, be sure to chat with Annie about what she’s reading!

March Luncheon: Integrating Sales & Marketing

March Luncheon: Integrating Sales & Marketing

BY: ANNA HUGHES

On March 14, AMA Knoxville hosted its March Luncheon in Knoxville’s Old City at the Alliance for Better Nonprofits in the Regas Building. Brandon Bruce, co-founder of Cirrus Insight, shared his experiences and observations since his business vision came to life six years ago. Recently named no. 41 on Inc. 500’s fastest-growing companies, Cirrus Insight works to seamlessly integrate sales and marketing.

Bruce began his presentation by briefly explaining what the software company offers. Cirrus Insight is a browser extension for Gmail and Outlook and was the first software of its kind. It features email templates and tracking, drip campaigns, reminders, meeting scheduling, attachment tracking and salesforce integration.

March_Luncheon

After admitting that he believed the company would only last about two years, Bruce shared that roughly 250,000 people are now utilizing this time-saving email software. In an era when social media was anticipated to end the use of email, he explained that “email still dominates the internet,” correctly – and humorously – pointing out that to open any social media account, you must have an email address.

Through years of marketing and selling their own product, the team at Cirrus Insight has discovered what works best for email campaigns. Bruce told the audience that for marketing emails, an email blast should be more generic with graphics and a flashy designs. On the other hand, sales emails should be short, sweet and completely text.

He has found that if you use the wrong format for your purpose, your open rates will be drastically lower, and it will be harder for your emails to stand out in an inbox. Knowing your audience and how to reach them makes a drastic difference in terms of email effectiveness.

He also emphasized the necessity of “short emails from real people” in sales. These emails gain much more attention than computer-generated emails and drip campaigns. Although these systems are decent at pattern-recognition, Bruce joked that “Artificial Intelligence (AI) is long on artificial and short on intelligence.” Because of this, a human touch still prevails in the world of sales.

Although the majority of its customers are in sales, there is an upward trend of marketers utilizing Cirrus Insight for the first time in six years –  showing that Bruce and his team are meeting their goal of bridging the gap between sales and marketing.

Want to learn more? Check out this blog post from Cirrus Insight – “What to Include & Avoid in Sales Emails.” 

February Program: Branding the Beer Business

February Program: Branding the Beer Business

BY ANNA HUGHES

February’s AMA Knoxville meeting took place after hours at Hexagon Brewing Company on Feb. 21, 2018. With beer in hand, Co-owner Matt McMillan walked the audience through his experiences of starting the brewery with his business partner, Stephen Apking.

The Hexagon Story

The business started out with the name Underground, which came from Stephen’s method of brewing the beer under his porch. He quickly ran into the issue of “Underground” already being used by another brewing company.

Rather than fight to keep the name, Stephen and Matt decided to move on and find something more unique to their story. Through the process of trial and error, the two came up with the name “Hexagon,” which has many interesting ties to the duo.

Stephen was an avid beekeeper, which of course includes the hexagonal honey comb structure. Also, while looking through some of his grandfather’s old bamboo fly rods, Stephen came across an autographed book from the maker of the rods. Stephen came across a passage about how the rods were constructed using a hexagonal structure. He took this as a sign from his grandfather, and the name Hexagon was chosen.

The Hexagon Mission & Brand

Hexagon strives to focus on local partnerships. This has led them to partner with many local chefs, restaurants and foods trucks. He explained that ties between food and beer are “ever more prevalent, especially with the demographics that we are selling in.”

People want both great food and great beer. In order to cater to its market, Hexagon is working on building a small kitchen on site to provide food to patrons, in addition to the free popcorn that is already offered.

Hexagon differentiates its brand by focusing on quality and unique flavors. Matt explained their success in the craft beer business by saying, “We’re excited to be alive and making great beer.”

He is not only involved in Hexagon’s business, he is also on his fifth year of coordinating the Knoxville Brew Fest. He is also heavily active in the Knoxville Area Brewer’s Association (KABA). This group, which started in 2015, is a collection of breweries, retailers and individuals in the industry. This group helps to “define the landscape of the craft beer culture in Knoxville.”

In order to better promote the industry and “cater to locals and tourists alike,” KABA produced a map of all breweries in Knoxville in partnership with Visit Knoxville, known as the Knoxville Ale Trail. Matt explained this as a great way for Hexagon and other breweries to market themselves in the area.

Knoxville’s craft beer culture has grown from being well under the average number of breweries three years ago to 20 breweries today. Matt stressed the benefits of the craft beer industry to the local economy. By catering to their demographics and working in collaboration with other local breweries, they are able to grow the craft beer culture in Knoxville while also growing the local economy.

The AMA Knoxville event concluded with a tour of Hexagon’s impressive brewing facility.

AMA Knoxville hosted its February Program at Hexagon Brewing Co. The event concluded with an exclusive tour of its impressive brewing facility.

AMA Knoxville Member Spotlight: Daniel Monday

AMA Knoxville Member Spotlight: Daniel Monday

NAME: Daniel Monday

COMPANY: Slamdot

TITLE: COO

WEBSITE & SOCIAL MEDIA: www.slamdot.com, Facebook, LinkedIn

WHY DID YOU JOIN/RENEW AT AMA? 

I joined AMA to network with those in the marketing profession, both for business development purposes, and collaboration. I also joined to volunteer my time and give back to the marketing industry by serving on the board from the beginning, and continuing to stay involved.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A MEMBER OF AMA?

I’ve been a member since 2013.

WHAT ARE YOU HOPING TO GET OUT OF IT?

I’m hoping to build long-lasting relationships that may turn into clients, colleagues, partners, or, just good friends. It’s also a great way to learn from others and gain valuable insight from speakers throughout the year, so I hope to continue using AMA for ongoing education. At the end of the day, this is a fun group of individuals representing some really awesome companies, with opportunities to hear from the best marketers in and around Knoxville, as well as learn about what’s happening in the local business community.

WHAT DOES YOUR COMPANY DO BEST?

We throw a wicked Halloween party, but when we’re not doing that once a year, we’re executing comprehensive digital marketing plans for small and mid-sized companies that get results, which includes website development, SEO, AdWords management, social media marketing and a lot more fun, innovative stuff. Our company is basically the best at making other companies more money, and you can take that to the bank.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TYPE OF CLIENT?

Our favorite client knows their business well, listens to us, and understands their sales should drive decisions, based on analytics of course. We also prefer clients who are friendly and love a good pun, or generally have a great sense of humor.

WHY DO YOU LIKE WORKING THERE?

There are a variety of reasons as it relates to our company’s values and philosophies, including transparency, integrity, focus on results and customer service, responsiveness, and efficiency. Our culture is built around excellence from our team, and excellence for our customers, while emphasizing a positive, fun experience at the same time. I enjoy the people, and I love helping companies grow. Lastly, I trust the owner, because he never stops innovating, and settles for nothing less than perfection, so our business constantly focuses on the details that everyone else overlooks – and if the Devil is in the details, then we’re one hell of a company.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN THAT JOB?

I’ve been with Slamdot since it began in 2005.

WHAT DO YOU FIND BEST ABOUT DOING BUSINESS IN KNOXVILLE? 

Knoxville has so much to offer, and the business climate here is incredible. It’s the best of big city and small town rolled into one. It’s been a very receptive and welcoming community in which to start and grow a business, and we’ve really enjoyed calling Knoxville home. The climate is great, downtown is growing, the outlying areas are really starting to thrive, and we’re at a major interstate crossroads, which are a handful of reasons why Knoxville is not only a great place to live, but operate a business, as well. And, really, the people make Knoxville what it is.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PAST TIME? 

It used to be soccer or reading, but now I enjoy playing with our son, Walker, in my “spare time,” whether it’s killer chalk art on the back patio, reading his favorite books, a good puzzle, or shooting some hoops on the Fisher Price, and anything in between. With another baby on the way, I’m looking forward to my wife and I spending even more time being kids again.

DO YOU READ, WATCH MOVIES OR TV, AND IF SO WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITES?

I love to read, but these days don’t find much time to, and don’t spend much time watching TV or movies, but usually it’s college football or basketball, and whatever is next in my Netflix queue or watch list, which consists primarily of action, comedy or documentaries.


Next time you’re at an AMA Knoxville event, be sure to chat with Daniel about his killer chalk art!

January Luncheon: Branding The Maker City

January Luncheon: Branding The Maker City

BY: ANNA HUGHES, DIGITAL CONTENT SPECIALIST

AMA Knoxville’s January Luncheon, hosted at The Square Room in Market Square, was a great start to 2018! Joseph Nother, executive creative director and founder of Designsensory, guided the attendees through his team’s journey to brand Knoxville as “The Maker City.”

On the eve of Designsensory’s 16th anniversary, the team decided they want to give back to their community and approached Knoxville leadership in search of public work that aligned with this theme. When the city pitched the idea of branding Knoxville, the team immediately said yes, stating that this was something that they could “sink their teeth into.”

“It was wonderful to see the city and the mayor and those in public office see this as something important,” Nother said. “I think we should all look at that and be proud of the leadership and what they’re trying to do.”

Nother and his team began their eight-month journey by first outlining the Maker Movement and decided it uniquely applies to the Knoxville community. Ultimately, the Maker Movement was defined as an “umbrella term for individual inventors, designers, and tinkerers that tap into an American admiration for self-reliance…”

When describing the “why” behind their creative process, Nother explained, “More and more people want a more meaningful consumptive experience.” Trends like localism stem from “the desire to infuse meaningfulness in the consumptive actions and behavior that we have, so it is not so transactional.”

“The future of Knoxville’s economic success belongs to individual innovators and artisans,” he said.

Inspired by Knoxville being named as Etsy’s first “Maker City,” Nother and his team wanted to expand on the idea of localism and meaningfulness. As Nother explained, “branding is essentially short for meaningfulness.” Their job at this point was to capitalize on the meaningfulness of the Maker Movement in the Knoxville community.

The Designsensory team set to define Knoxville’s niche in a “sea of ambiguity” that surrounds the Maker Movement. Through an extensive trial-and-error process, the team strived to name and define the movement that represents the collective. Eventually, they decided on a name and idea that is “broad and representational” as to not “lose people and their relationship to the movement.”

Moving on to the visual identity, Nother and his team wanted to channel the look and vibe of the Knoxville area. They began by developing a universal design that appealed to everyone in the Maker Movement, both businesses and individual tinkerers. By creating flexible brand guidelines, they created a system that allows Knoxville natives to adapt the logo to their unique and diverse needs.  In the end, Designsensory was able to create a “unified vision” that successfully encompasses the entirety of the Maker Movement in the Knoxville community.

AMA Knoxville Member Spotlight: Jill Weinstein

AMA Knoxville Member Spotlight: Jill Weinstein

NAME: Jill Weinstein

COMPANY: Radio Systems Corporation

TITLE: Sr. Marketing Specialist

WEBSITE & SOCIAL MEDIA: www.petsafe.com, PetSafe Facebook, PetSafe Twitter, PetSafe Instagram

WHY DID YOU JOIN/RENEW AT AMA? 

I initially joined the AMA for the national publications, but I’ve renewed because I find value in the local programs.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A MEMBER OF AMA?

I joined in November 2008

WHAT ARE YOU HOPING TO GET OUT OF IT?

I enjoy connecting with other marketing professionals. I’m always looking for best practices and new ideas.

WHAT DOES YOUR COMPANY DO BEST?

We strive to make the most trusted pet products.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TYPE OF CLIENT?

I appreciate partners who provide honest feedback.

WHY DO YOU LIKE WORKING THERE?

I like working with smart, talented people plus having dogs in the office is a lot of fun.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN THAT JOB?

12 years

WHAT DO YOU FIND BEST ABOUT DOING BUSINESS IN KNOXVILLE? 

Knoxville is such a pet friendly community. We have a great supply of pets to model for photo shoots and to try out our products.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PAST TIME? 

I’ve been playing in a weekly mahj jongg group since 1995.

DO YOU READ, WATCH MOVIES OR TV, AND IF SO WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITES?

When I travel, I enjoy reading historical fiction. My favorite TV shows are Ray Donovan, Broad City, and The Voice.


Next time you’re at an AMA Knoxville event, be sure to chat with Jill about your furry friend! 

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