TWITTER FOR BUSINESS A Guide to Social Customer Care on Twitter

The twitter for business sproutrate at which people are adopting social media to ask for help, make buying decisions, lodge complaints and have an ongoing dialogue is remarkable. However, brands’ ability to keep up with the demand is declining under the pressure. In fact, social media response rates have dipped below 20% overall in the past year—meaning 4 out of 5 consumer inquires go unanswered.As these customer messages come in, your business has the opportunity to utilize Twitter to both proactively and reactively manage these service questions and provide critical levels of customer service. In this guide, we’ll overview ways to structure your business and your social media teams to handle Twitter traffic and reap the rewards of successful social customer care.
Explore These Themes:

  • Delighting FollowersTips for creating content that engages your customers.
  • Resolving IssuesHow to effectively create a strategy for managing, routing, and responding to incoming tweets.
  • Measuring SuccessHow to set goals and stay honest about your social efforts.

The Simple Economics of Decline Salvage


verifyA recurring customer is valuable; reduce churn and increase lifetime value. Request a copy of “The Simple Economics of Decline Salvage” Use Decline Salvage to recover customers that would otherwise be lost to card decline.

Churn is the most important metric for companies with subscription payment models. Each customer lost today negatively impacts future annuity revenue streams, producing a negative churn rate that impacts profitability and valuation.

Decline Salvage service delivers a significant positive ROI every time and significantly adds to a merchant’s bottom line.

The cost to reduce churn from credit card decline is minor. Request a copy of our white paper now and learn how credit card declines are increasing your churn and learn how to stop this PREVENTABLE drain on revenue.

Protect Your Rights, Revenue & Reputation

What Does Reputational Risk Cost?riskwhitepaperimage

Whether you are a small business or a large corporation, a damaged reputation can result in lost customers, costly litigation and reduced revenue. Maintaining a reputation is hard. Failure to do so can be catastrophic.

The advent of the Internet means that information travels faster than ever before. It also means that virtually anyone can report a bad customer service experience, make false allegations, or leak sensitive information through multiple public and shareable channels.

This whitepaper, “Protect Your Revenue, Rights and Reputation”, will show you how to quickly uncover and mitigate the issues that erode customer trust and put your corporate reputation at risk.


BrandSmart2014 Fireside Chat Recap

Session: Building Your Team for Brand Storytelling Success


“Once upon a time” — when I heard those words as a child, I knew I was going to hear a story that would capture my attention.  These stories painted vivid pictures of the situation or challenge, and provided an outcome that would do more than just entertain.

Employing storytelling in your marketing communications will draw your audience into the message and increase their understanding of the value of your product or service.

At the recent BrandSmart 2014 conference, Andy Crestodina, Co-Founder of Orbit Media, sat down with CMOs from several industries to discuss the challenges they face when attempting to acquire and tell stories about their brands.

Panelists included:

  • Dana Todd, CMO, Aftermath
  • Roberta MacDonald, SVP of Marketing, Cabot Creamery Cooperative
  • Steven Handmaker, CMO, Assurance
  • Joe Pulizzi, Founder, Content Marketing Institute 

Q: What are your challenges with adoption of story telling and content marketing?

Dana Todd, CMO, Aftermath

Before I came to Aftermath, the company was always reactionary in their content marketing because the founders didn’t necessarily understand the best way to tell their story.  Our communications were either inbound press inquiries when things went wrong, or they were very sales driven and did not really tell our story.  So, on my first day, I set out to reverse this. The challenge I had was getting our CEO to understand the importance of story telling in getting our message across.

Steven Handmaker, CMO, Assurance

Assurance is an insurance brokerage and in the past, the insurance brokerage industry did not really tell stories.  Insurance companies around us do a great job telling their story and running with content marketing.  But we had no identity, so we decided to go out and start telling our story which was about our internal culture.  It became an interesting angle and was responsible for part of our growth niche. 

Roberta MacDonald, SVP of Marketing, Cabot Creamery Cooperative 

Story telling is not new to us. We have been engaged in telling stories since 1989.  To tell stories, I feel you have to be real.  Get to the heart of what makes you better and different, and listen to what people say about you.  Then let others tell your stories.  On our website, you will see other people talking about us.  You will see farmers telling their story and ours.  Stories told that way have longevity and feel authentic.

Q: Many stories come out of a company’s internal culture. How do you give birth to or get at those stories that are locked inside a company?

Steven Handmaker, CMO, Assurance

Everyone in the organization has a story, and they don’t know it.  People in an organization can tell you what they do to help their clients. Our job is to get at those stories.  To do that, you really need to pull, query and question. Then, a light bulb goes off, and employees see they do more than what is in their job description.  They are now excited, and you now have access to their great stories. 

The goal is to get the company to the end game, to tell how and what they are doing to truly serve customers.  Also, don’t get trapped by the idea that everything needs to be perfect and polished before it goes out.  It is okay to grab a cell phone video to capture the story and share it.  Not everything has to be high gloss. 

Dana Todd, CMO, Aftermath

Storytelling was new for our company, so I needed to have our stories created.  I hired a writer to interview people in order to pull the stories.  And we hired a PR firm and explained to them how we wanted to tell our story in the market.  We also had to bring in ghost writers to listen to our scientific employees and write their stories in way that the readers would easily understand.

Joe Pulizzi, Founder, Content Marketing Institute

To begin content marketing inside your company, look internally to find stories that can be shared.  Look at job descriptions and go to people and ask how they impact the bottom line.  When you begin the content marketing process, know that it takes 18 months for the program to be successful and take hold.  I suggest you run a six-month pilot program and be clear about the objective and metrics that show that you’ve achieved success.  Once you have the raw content, have a managing editor to edit and adjust the stories.

Dana Todd, CMO, Aftermath

You need to show me proof that your content marketing is working. Metrics are important. This is where many of the digital agencies fall short, as they don’t really understand the importance of metrics.  What we expect from an agency is solid messages, creative tactics and metrics.

Q. How do you pick a good content marketing agency?

Joe Pulizzi, Founder, Content Marketing Institute

Look to see if they do content marketing for themselves and assess how well they do it.

Q: What challenges have you faced in the world of branded content and storytelling, and how did you overcome those challenges? 

Steven Handmaker, CMO, Assurance

Our challenge has been that we are talking to an audience that is not used to hearing a story about a broker.  They are used to buying insurance in a specific way.  We are asking them to consider new criteria when purchasing insurance.  This is a major behavior change in the buying process.

Joe Pulizzi, Founder, Content Marketing Institute

The challenge is that to tell stories that are new and different from everyone else’s in your industry.  It is also a challenge to be more focused with your channels in order to gain better impact.  Not everyone needs a Facebook page.  First, focus on the story, and then select a few channels to deliver that story.

Dana Todd, CMO, Aftermath

We initially used a lot of different channels to tell our story, and we were everywhere.  Then we took a step back and decided to use with fewer channels but go in deeper with our content.  Through community awareness programs, we found people to be our best channel.  We empowered them to be storytellers.  It is important to focus, be more methodical, and then reiterate your stories through those channels.

Blog post written by: Pamela Wedgeworth President and Sr. Creative Director at Wedgeworth Business Communications, WBC.  WBC is a creative services agency, that helps organizations create communications that influence’s employees thinking and behavior to help companies achieve key business outcomes. Headquartered in the Chicago area, WBC works with clients all over the US and Europe.



BrandSmart Case Study Recap: Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, United Airlines & All Terrain

Session: Fasten Your Seat Belts: Designing a Unique Brand Experience that Engages Consumers at 30,000 Feet


How can you make a luxury brand hotel in Las Vegas stand out in a sea of luxury hotels to capture the attention of consumers and drive hotel business?

At the recent Brand Smart conference, Angela Wise, VP of Marketing & Advertising for the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, was joined by Brook Jay, CMO/Co-Founder of All Terrain and Sean Burke, United Airlines Sr. Manager of Media and Business Development, to discuss the highly successful brand-building and launch strategies developed by All Terrain for the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

We wanted to capture [the consumers] before they land; that was our challenge to All Terrain,” says Angela.

According to Angela, many Vegas travelers decide where to stay once they arrive in Vegas. If the Cosmopolitan waits until consumers arrive in Vegas, it becomes difficult to engage them because there are numerous brands competing to connect with consumers.

Our solution was to connect with consumers on an airplane.” says Brook.

All Terrain suggested that Cosmopolitan provide travelers on Vegas-bound flights a Cosmopolitan branded gift box of cards to interact with while they were on the plane.  The cards provided discount packages to restaurants and activities at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

According to Brook, today marks the rise of the experiential consumer.  Consumers want to experience a brand and then tell the brand story in their own way.

She says today’s marketers should make consumers the center of the strategy, not the brand.  Brook suggests that marketer’s look to create a unique experience that captures attention and has consumers share the experience with each other.

The gift boxes we created give the passengers something that would not only be fun to open and explore, but also ignite conversation among those on board.” states Brook.

Key Takeaways for Marketers

According to Brook, the following were key principles leading to the success of the Cosmopolitan Hotel brand-building engagement program:

Psychographics. Psychographics led to the decisions on what was the right experience to engage consumers.  All Terrain observed the targeted consumers to gain a deep understanding of who they are and what motivates them.

Identifying and communicating to key resources. Cosmopolitan provided communications about the program along with gift boxes to United Airlines Vegas-bound flight attendants in advance of the official launch.  The goal was to ensure flight attendants could heighten the consumer experience.

Tracking gift boxes. Tracking inventory and strong communications between all parties confirmed that the gifts were available.

Aligning gift content with desired consumer experience. The gift box content guided the experience Cosmopolitan wanted consumers to have, and it aligned with the story they wanted consumers to experience and share.

Conducting a pilot program or trial period. Testing the offering and delivery of the gift boxes allowed All Terrain to confirm the consumer experience, work out any issues with boxes reaching the airplanes and finalize the gift box content.

Varying the offer in gift boxes. Varying the offers over time provided fresh marketing to engage repeat consumers.

Blog post written by: Pamela Wedgeworth President and Sr. Creative Director at Wedgeworth Business Communications, WBC. WBC is a creative services agency, that helps organizations create communications that influence’s employees thinking and behavior to help companies achieve key business outcomes. Headquartered in the Chicago area, WBC works with clients all over the US and Europe.


Chicago AMA Launches New Brand Identity & New Website

Two years ago, Chicago AMA leadership began the process of evaluating our brand strategy.  The process involved market research studies, the development of a new value proposition, key supporting messages, a revised tagline and new logo in coordination with Chicago AMA’s Agency of Record, All Terrain. Be sure to explore our new brand narrative and values described below.

In addition to the development of a whole new identity for the Chicago AMA brand, we just launched a new, dynamic website, designed by our website partner, Mindful Mix.

The following timeline gives a good understanding of how large an undertaking these projects were for the Chicago AMA, a primarily volunteer run organization.

Planning Timeline

  • Fall 2011 – Chicago AMA Board sets strategic goal for evaluating the organization’s brand
  • Spring 2012 – Mission and goals for branding analysis and brand project defined
  • Spring 2012 – 1st Step – Market Research
    • Competitive landscape analysis
    • Brand analysis survey conducted
    • Name recognition of organization
    • Value proposition
  • Summer 2012 – Branding task force determined and has first meeting and meets throughout 2012. Team members included: Tara Giuliano, Darcy Schuller, Michael Long, Paul Stark, Cheryl Moe, Paula Kapacinskas, Lisa Edwards, and Ellen Albright
  • Winter 2012 – Key Messaging and supporting taglines developed by task force proposed to Board and tested with focus groups
  • Spring 2013 – Branding RFP conducted
  • Summer 2013 – All Terrain selected Chicago AMA agency of record
  • Fall 2013 – All Terrain works with task force to finesse tagline and messaging
  • Fall 2013 – Mindful Mix selected as preferred partner for new website
  • Winter 2013 – Spring 2014 – Logo and brand look developed
  • March 5, 2014 – New look and new website unveiled 



Over seventy-five years strong, the Chicago AMA delivers cutting-edge marketing programming, connects marketers across all disciplines and business industries, and enables marketing career advancement. With Chicago as an epicenter for marketing excellence today and tomorrow, no other organization connects as many marketers with as many opportunities as the Chicago AMA.


A Chapter of the American Marketing Association

A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization

Comprised of approximately 1,100 members

Governed by a board of 21 members

Supported by over 100 volunteers annually

Connected to over 10,000 marketers annually

Key Supporting Messaging

Brand Value:

Cutting-Edge Programming

Chicago AMA keeps you a step ahead with more than 50 multifaceted programs and events annually.Thoughtleading content with realworld application delivered by C-level marketing leaders across intimate roundtables, full-day conferences and convenient online webinars provides you the “know how” to thrive in the ever-changing landscape in both B2C & B2B industries.

Brand Value:


Engage, connect, and establish relationships with thousands of marketers across all disciplines, industries and career levels locally and nationally.

No other organization opens more doors to share ideas, finds new opportunities, business partners or mentors others than the Chicago AMA.

Get real one-on-one dialogue among power players & peers. Get inspired and more motivated through the abundance of opportunities available with Chicago AMA.


Brand Value:


Get inspired and more motivated through the abundance  of opportunities  available with Chicago AMA.

Gain hands-on experience, tackle new marketing challenges as a chapter volunteer, share thought leadership, or leverage a plethora of career insights.

Find your next career opportunity like many others through Chicago AMA.


New Website

For an overview of all the great features of our new website, please take our virtual Slideshare tour here.


For questions regarding the Chicago AMA’s new brand identity, please contact Chicago AMA Executive Director, Michael Long, or for media inquiries, Scott Phillips, of Scott Phillips + Associates.

The Power of A Human Network

humannetworkby John Hambrick, VP of SIGs, Chicago AMA

“Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.”  — Theodore Roosevelt

Picture it . . . Friday afternoon at 3p. You’ve got a BIG presentation to your CEO on Monday morning. And you want an objective, but informed sounding board. (In the iconic words of 1984’s ‘Ghostbuster’) Who you gonna call?

If you are like many of us, it can feel like you’re an island inside your company. There aren’t always other marketers around us with deep understanding of the specific, defining nuances of our particular industry. There’s usually no qualified, readily available resource who can say, “I care . . . I’ve got you covered . . . here’s what I think.”

This type of relationship gap can really hamstring a career.  So the Chicago American Marketing Association tackled this issue through a SIG (Special Interest Groups) service.  Essentially, we are fostering peer-led communities designed around the exact needs of individual verticals.

SIGs are about fellow marketers coming together to form dynamic, intimate networks of conversation and knowledge sharing.  SIGs are for people who want to channel the power of collective, human intelligence to exchange ideas, get inspired, and stay ahead of their industry.

Got big challenges?  Bring ‘em on!

In a SIG community, its ‘citizens’ bring their personal best to each gathering.  Every one of our SIGs is unique, but they all are agnostic in terms of age/experience level.  Everyone is welcomed, from industry veterans (who’ve “learned a thing or two along the way”) to young professionals with insatiable curiosity and optimism.  And everyone ups their individual game by exploring shared questions, common issues, and special marketing conundrums.

Every SIG relies on hyper-targeted thought leadership as currency.  Sometimes this involves subject-matter experts providing contextual content to spark discussion.  On other occasions, it takes the form of facilitated, small-group dialogues. But just as in life, SIGs are never scripted.  The experience is always spontaneous and built on participatory, 2-way conversations (not 1-way transfers of information).

Importantly, SIGs address big questions (e.g., What’s worked?;  What hasn’t?  And why?) to real marketing problems and actual business outcomes.  Egos are checked at the door, so frank, open discussion can flourish.  It’s how we help each other build to/on our individual success.

And SIG communities don’t evaporate as you walk out the door.  Personal relationships are often established in real time; and they deepen through on-going discussion in SIG social media, as well as during subsequent SIG gatherings.

New members (non-members) may walk into a SIG event as a virtual stranger, but most leave the room with a budding, lifelong network in place.  So, bring your mind, heart, and soul to a SIG event.  You’ll find a room full of professional communication, personal relationships, and hot coffee.  We’ll save your seat!

If you’re interested in learning about the SIG program, please reach out to John Hambrick.

Why Chicago AMA is a Great Sponsorship Investment for You

roi3by Paul Freidman, VP of Business Development, Chicago AMA

A lot has changed in the world of sponsorships.  As the general sales manager for WBEZ in Chicago, one of the oldest-school, old-school media platforms – a radio station – I know from personal experience the challenges on the ever-expanding options of spending never-expanding budgets. Social Media, SEO, direct mail, outdoor, list buying, street teams, experiential, POS, ASI, you name it; there are more options than ever to consider.

So, why would it make sense to set aside a portion of your budget to work with an industry association that is only Chicago focused, and only reaches industry insiders rather than the larger population in general?

Here’s why!

1.  Chicago is a relationship city.  For better or for worse, Chicago has always been known as a place where “who you know” is more important than “what you do.”  Building relationships through the Chicago AMA, your message will be recognized by the 10,000+ Chicago marketers that interact with the Chapter every year.  These are your company’s potential customers; let them know that you’re from Chicago too!

2.  Stay on the front burner.  We’re all subject to countless offerings every day, from the time you turn on your smart phone in the morning to the time you log off LinkedIn at night.  How do you break through the clutter?  By having a consistent presence, in front of the right audience, over the course of time.

3.  Be one of the cool kids at the party.  The Chicago AMA is the largest Chapter of the National Association and is widely known for creating insightful, engaging and valuable events and tools for its members to use and experience.  Creating an association with the Chicago AMA will heighten awareness, trust and interest in your brand, leading to more customers, more revenue and a larger marketing budget for you to work with next year!  (Ok, maybe just more customers and more revenue…)

4.  A little goes a long way.  An investment in the Chicago AMA will not break your sponsorship budget.  There are a wide variety of pricing options to offer you fantastic ways of getting your message in front of your potential customers, from introducing CMO speakers at day-long conferences to hosting a Shared Interest Group and having a logo on the job board.

For more information on the different levels of sponsorship available, review our Media Kit and to earn more about our exciting upcoming events such as BrandSmart (where sponsors will enjoy 10+ hours of direct access to 300 high-level marketers); please visit

I hope you have a great February and a prosperous rest of the year!

Paul Friedman
VP of Strategic Relations & Business Development
Chicago American Marketing Association
General Sales Manager
Chicago Public Media/WBEZ 91.5FM

Marketing Research “Think Tank” Forming

All Terrain & Chicago AMA Invite You to Attend A Research-Focused “Think-Tank”

The goal is to gather 10-15 senior professionals from the experiential marketing and market research industry to join in a Think Tank where together, we will discuss experiential marketing, campaign tactics and metrics, research methodology, and ideate the ideal way to construct a research plan to address this topic. This is a unique opportunity to exercise creativity, strategy and share your expertise.

Location: All Terrain, 2675 W Grand Ave, Chicago
Date and Time: TBD- Mid/late March – Food and drink will be provided

CAMA will also provide a gift card as a small token of our appreciation.  In addition to generating innovative ideas and devising effective strategies, our hope is that from the Think Tank, we will source one or more partners to help conduct the research. This research will:

  • Generate seminal work leading to a published white paper and findings
  • Be presented at a conference or event such as BrandSmart.
  • Connect the research partner with All Terrain and their client base should they need further research with regard to experiential marketing.

All parties involved in the research project agree that there will be some in-kind work contributed by everyone so that the project can be carried out and that it benefits all without being burdensome to any one group. If you are interested in attending this evening of conversation, ideation and networking with other professionals in your field, please send an email to or by February 28th, 2014. In order to keep the group small enough to inspire constructive interaction, only 15 applicants will be selected.

Chicago AMA Chapter Wins Excellence Awards 2012-13

The Chicago chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA) received three 2012-13 Excellence Awards in the areas of Leadership, Programming and Communications from the organization’s international headquarters. The AMA’s annual Chapter Excellence Awards program highlights exceptional performance among the organization’s 75 professional chapters across the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

The award for Leadership Excellence recognized the Chicago chapter’s board leadership, strategic planning, vision, volunteer management, financial and KPI management, sponsorship and collegiate relations efforts.  The chapter was also recognized for re-investing six percent of its net income for strategic initiatives for 2013-2014.

The Programming Excellence award took note of the more than 30 quality educational events planned by the Chicago chapter, including new programs like the CAMA’s Sunrise Executive Series, Evening with an Expert, inaugural Momentum conference and a highly successful BrandSmart conference. The Communications Excellence award recognized Chicago AMA for best practices in content development, delivery and overall engagement and community building.

For full details, download the Chicago AMA award submission here:

Click here for the news release.