Free events! Your membership just got better.

By: Bonnie Massa, AMA Chicago President

Earlier this year, we promised changes to your AMA Chicago benefits to ensure that your membership is the best ticket to your career success. Since July, you’ve enjoyed free registration for Connex, our bi-monthly networking events, as well as each of our Shared Interest Groups (SIGs).

It’s always been the Board’s top priority to gain ongoing feedback for how we are providing value to the Chicago marketing community. We do our best to connect with you at our events, and you may have noticed that we occasionally reach out over the phone, via email and even through traditional mail to find out how we’re doing. We make adjustments and improvements so that your membership continues to make a positive, significant difference for your career.

In case you haven’t heard it already, today’s message is: We hear you.

It is my pleasure to announce that, as an AMA Chicago member, you now receive FREE access to all of our monthly events! Your registration fees are waived for our Sunrise Executive Series and our Evening with an Expert. (By the way, our next Evening with and Expert event is on May 3, and the next Sunrise is on June 7.)

By making these events free, your AMA Chicago membership comes with an added value of more than $600 each year. This change is made possible through our growing network of amazing sponsors. (OK, and maybe a little help from unicorns and rainbows.) Our sponsorship team, board of directors and members like you have made lasting connections across our community to underwrite our events. It’s with pride that we can pass along the value directly to you.

Now more than ever before, your AMA membership is an all-inclusive ticket to the cutting-edge programming, resources and networking with the largest community of marketers in Chicagoland. In fact, are you aware that in addition to Chicago events, your AMA membership gives you access to 100 webcasts and podcasts, a job board, discounts, and member-only tools, templates and forms that help you do your job? We’re working on developing even more ways to engage, so make sure you subscribe to our newsletter to stay tuned to what’s on the horizon.

So if it’s been a while since you mingled with your peers or rubbed shoulders with senior leaders in the industry, check out our events at a glance. I can speak for the Board with confidence that we would love for you to find one of us at our next event and let us know how we are doing!

Our ability to make these events free is another step toward making it crystal clear how much we value your membership.

Bonnie Massa is Founder and President of Chicago-based Massa & Company, Inc. She works with companies and nonprofit organizations to help attract new customers, find the best ways to segment and reach out to existing customers, analyze customer behavior to predict future behavior, and increase the value of their customer base. Bonnie has a BA degree from Lambuth University in Jackson, TN. She is a Market Motive Certified Practitioner in Web Analytics, Conversion Optimization and Social Media. She has achieved a Google Analytics Individual Qualification. Bonnie also volunteers her time as President of American Marketing Association Chicago.

A very special thanks to AMA Chicago sponsors:

Re-Shaping Your Customer’s Experience through Mobile – What’s Now & Next

It’s been nearly ten years since the iPhone debuted, and the opportunities to service, sell and create loyalty with your customers is now greater than it’s ever been before.  New iphone8 trends that are driving consumer mobile behavior now should be used as a filter for re-looking at your customer’s journey with your category and brand.  But the consumer mobile experienice is rapidly heading towards even more sophistication, and the challenges & opportunities that come with that powerful evolution will equally demand marketers to step up their game in order to remain relevant.
Without question, mobile is now the epicenter of digital life – people spend more time on their devices than any other channel, now eclipsing the desktop as primary access point.  The increase in time spent brings with it serious productivity expectations that are raising the bar for mobile experiences.
E-mail is mostly read on mobile devices – making subject lines, preview text, landing pages even more critical to get contextually right.  As you can see from some recent stats by Google – patience is thin, almost a third of folks will bail if you don’t provide a good mobile experience.  The rewards are worth it for those that get it right – with nearly two-thirds likely to buy more for smart contextualized experiences.
Another aspect to keep in mind is the domination of video consumption on mobile devices.
Half of YouTube’s viewership now takes place on mobile devices.  Interestingly, good weather spikes the amount of mobile video content consumption – 6x more according to Ericson’s 2016 Mobility report.  It’s not just short-form formats that garner interest – people are also willing to look at videos that are +5 min in length if it’s compelling, relevant and provided in the optimized vertical format.  Plus live streaming is becoming more popular and pervasive.


But, are we recognizing our customer’s mobile moments and meeting them there?  Not just in the obvious ways, but the less obvious ones as well?
Consumers are depending on their mobile to help them get more things done in any available spare moment according to a 2015 study by Pew Internet on mobile phone use in public.
You may be waiting to go through the security line at the airport or waiting for a flight to board – in those minutes realize that you need to get my bills paid – RIGHT NOW.  Sound familiar?  Mobile online banking has completely changed mine and many others productivity in exactly this manner.  Thanks to mobile, consumers are starting to interact with your brand in the less than typical places.
For those in the travel industry, we’re digging deeper into the traveler’s journey to identify and meet more of those mobile moments as seen here in this “Mobile Moments in Travel –Customer Journey Map”.




Starting with the “Dream” phase of inspiration triggers that come from social media and other sources – you might have ten minute on your morning commute to check out destination videos, message with your network on where to go for your weekend getaway or do quick flight, hotel search comparisons and see reviews.
Bookings are shifting from desktop to phones/tablets as consumers become more reliant and trust their mobile devices to handle everything from sharing an itinerary with one’s social network to working on pre-trip plans incrementally through messaging platforms.
Mobile is tailor made for travel in that it is the primary device travelers now depend on to learn, navigate and solve their needs across the entire travel customer experience journey.  Airlines and hotels are operationalizing through mobile – with things such as check-in, boarding pass, room key, upgrades and other guest service requests.
Besides the mobile responsive design and other basics, the travel industry is also going deeper to create unique mobile value in other areas:
Mobile Only Incentives – Orbitz was an early leader with their bonus incentives for booking exclusively in their mobile app;
We at Amadeus are curating relevant partner content for up-selling and cross-selling, and airlines like American, JetBlue, United and others are weaving more utility in their apps – Dynamic Terminal Maps that recommend dining options and help you navigate based on your gate location; JetBlue shows upgrade status and onboard flight entertainment content options.
But, like other industries – we have our work cut out for us in the travel industry in moving into the next phase of mobilizing the traveller’s experience, as you can see from recent stats depicting traveller frustrations that need to be addressed through mobile contained in the Slideshare presentation below.
Whether it’s simple flight delay notifications or more demanding complexity of re-booking during disruptions – these must be delivered with high-quality AT SCALE.  Remember the Ash iCloud from a few years ago, or more recent system outages by various airlines?  Human systems (call centers, websites and social media) couldn’t keep up with the overwhelming service demand, so we must turn to more automated and sophisticated mobile technology to address these growing demands.
Similarly, every industry can look at their customer’s journey map to identify, their mobile moments – from the basics to the exceptions and the sticky value creators that build long-term loyalty.  Some illustrative examples for the Insurance industry based on things the travel industry has adopted or is now actively exploring:


  • Health – encourage shoppers to share their daily steps and/or preventative check-ups with insurers for pricing incentives, curate providers that can improve their health levels
  • Home – take a page straight out of the travel playbook –parse itinerary confirmation e-mails and capture receipts for easy expense reporting – perhaps do the same to create property inventories for easier loss reporting later, same with disaster prevention checklists
  • Auto – bring real-time traffic and weather pattern together to help drivers avoid flood zones and other high accident prevalent areas
  • Life – use Facebook Check-In notifications to notify agents and other loved ones in disasters; calculators that ease scenario planning and tap into geofencing to keep an eye on special loved ones like children and the elderly.
    But the biggest challenge to marketers yet is speed – the world of mobile continues to rapidly evolve.  First, we’ll see smaller wearable devices like watches take off as people become more accustomed to micro experiences with high service value impact.  Images and video get a big definition quality boost from improved camera features, which will continue to push expectations for mind-blowing content.


But what’s really about to change the mobile game is the rise of Messenger Platforms and the emergence of Chatbots.


Facebook Messenger and its equivalents are rapidly topping the most popular apps and time spent thresholds.  Now, robotic chat entities are being developed to interact with consumers across shopping and customer service needs at scale.
Facebook Messenger recently opened up their API and within 2 months’ time, claiming 11K chatbots have been created by developers for a variety of brands, such as Sephora.  In travel, bots are exploding and KLM has led the way in exploring this next digital customer experience frontier.
For these reasons – I believe that mobile is now a much more complex channel – requiring us as marketers to think in a multi-dimensional way along a 24/7 social, micro-data visual and increasingly sentient environment.
As our industry moves up the innovation curve, there are challenges as well as opportunities we face as marketers.  Here are a couple that I think are important for marketers to chew on:

  1. Digital Brand Ambassadorship – first- we’re in the early days of bots…and they just like us have a learning curve.  IBM, Microsoft and others are working on their NLP capabilities but it will take a while for the machine learning to do its work.  Likewise, limited product / service options and incomplete check-out processes will need to be addressed for wider adoption. On the upside, this also presents an opportunity to turn Chatbots into true “digital brand ambassadors” – Rosie is my archetype – efficient, but her personality and caretaking of me is what will count in the end.  This is a two-way play – (1) Consumer to feel like their real-life agent has a virtual assistant to interact with and (2) Agent gets reciprocal benefit from having a virtual assistant to optimize their time and follow-up.
  2. Nomadic Branding – this new mobilized experience will also continue to push brands off of their “home turf” and into other platforms.  Essential to understand how your brand will need to translate into these micro-environments and not become a commodity / overshadowed by the platform brand.  On the flip side, entering into more distributed mobile platforms like messenger opens up even greater opportunities for brands to tap into an always on Focus Group audience.  Whether that’s getting location-based engagement patterns (moments where your brand is consumed), assessing category/brand sentiment based on messaging sentiment, emoticons or wearable sensors, being able to use images, video and live stream to solve frustrations (e.g. how to hurricane proof house or show effects during eye of storm) and further segment offers and trial them based on mobile behaviors and data.


As 21st century marketers, we’ve got a daunting, yet exciting task ahead.  Here are some starting points to help tackle the mobile customer experience evolution:

  1. Go through your customer’s experience with a purely mobile lens – try to do basic as well as the exception case tasks with your mobile web and app and see if it passes the test.  Go after quick win gaps and build your list of longer-term sticky value-adds that you can test.
  2. Start exploring the Messenger world – talk to your agents and other field representatives about what basics could be “messengerized” now and later – create a roadmap.
  3. Lastly, work with your creative teams to build a nomadic brand architecture – visual, text, audio presentation across your mobile footprint and continue to re-assess and update it.

It’s an exciting time to be in marketing.  I’d love to hear from anyone who is testing and learning with messenger platforms and chatbots – please reach out to me via @iMediaMichelle on Twitter.

Full slide presentation accompanying the above post also available on Slideshare:



Article originally posted by Michelle Batten on 


Social Media Rules! How Can Higher Ed Marketers Reach Prospective Students?

When trying to reach Generation Z or Millennials, SnapChat, Instagram and Twitter are the “it” social media platforms. Print still serves a purpose — mainly driving the recipient to your digital presence – but social media is the place where engagement and conversion happens. That was the message Michael Mullarkey, chief executive officer of Chicago-based Brickfish, delivered at the Higher Ed SIG gathering that took place April 6.

The SIG meeting, which was held at Troquet North, was a discussion about how to optimize social media for colleges and universities. In keeping with our new format for these gatherings, the meeting was more of a moderated conversation as opposed to a presentation.  It was a huge success!

Brickfish, whose slogan is “Engagement is Everything,” manages the content and social media of large brands like Neiman Marcus and Hertz.  Relevant, fresh content along with a quick response to visitors’ queries is essential to the success of any enterprise. Generation Z and Millennials expect instance responses. Mullarkey believes Facebook is still important, but these cohorts spend most of their time exchanging rapid-fire communiqués with their friends on SnapChat and WhatsApp. Marketers need to become a relevant part of these exchanges.

Mullarkey also spoke about the shrinking reach of Facebook and Instagram. Once brands established their presence on these platforms, these firms monetized their sites.  You now have to boost your post to expand your reach and that requires paying for it. He offered some advice about how to get around having to pay, which includes unique, relevant content, engagement and short video.

Bottom line: For us higher education communicators, it’s new a world. We just need to fasten our seat belts and enjoy the ride.

Betsy Butterworth Dean Petrulakis

Betsy Butterworth and Dean Petrulakis

Co-Chairs, Chicago AMA Higher Education Special Interest Group

Darcy Schuller, President Chicago AMA, 2014-15

Thanks for a Remarkable Year

Chicago AMA

As we wind down the 2014-15 programming term, I can’t help but to look back at all the accomplishments we achieved this year. We set out one year ago as a Board to help ensure the Chicago AMA continues to explore exciting ways to connect, inspire and engage with our marketing community. We rallied around a simple, yet powerful theme: Be Remarkable!

Thank you to the 2014-15 Board of Directors and Volunteers for everything you did to make this year such a resounding success.  I invite you to watch my year-end video summarizing our goals and accomplishments.

A few highlights include:

  • Over 50 events featuring CMOs, VPs and Directors from prominent brands and agencies such as Ulta, DSW, United, Mead-Johnson, Deloitte, TransUnion, IPG Mediabrands, Prophet, Kraft, Beam-Suntory and many more.
  • Published findings from our own research, including ‘Chicago’s Most Recognizable Brands‘ and ‘The Role of a Professional Association‘.
  • Raised nearly $9,000 for UCAN at our Chicago AMA Gives Back charitable event, supporting youth, who have suffered trauma in their lives, to become our future leaders.
  • Established the Chicago AMA Grant Program, awarding a one-year membership to three outstanding marketers in our community who embody what our organization stands for.
  • Engaged, inspired and connected a marketing community of over 10,000 marketing professionals, 1,000+ members, 150+ volunteers and 22 board members through thought leadership, programming and networking opportunities.

Thank you to our 2014-15 Board of Directors: Tara Giuliano, Tom Jacobs, Marty Kozar, Marty Hill, Michelle Batten, Judi Myers, Brad Messenger, John Bruhnke, Paula Kapacinskas, Mark Sterne, Suky Lawlor, Victor Lim, Scott Green, John Armstrong, Paul Friedman, Michael Wall, Patrick Steffes, Stepheny Lauer, Pon Angara, Bonnie Reid and Ashlee Earl. Also, a special thanks to our Executive Director, Michael Long, for his dedication and hard-work in keeping our organization running strong year after year.

Congratulations and best of luck to our 2015-16 Board of Directors under the leadership of Tom Jacobs as the President of the Chicago AMA: Ashlee Earl, Bonnie Massa, Claire Slattery, Darcy Schuller, Jenna Redline, John Armstrong, Mark Sterne, Jennifer Gladstone, Jill Goldstein, Joe Wright, Katie Badeusz, Martin McGovern, Marty Kozar, Michelle Batten, Jordan Rittenberry, Carey Kogol, Tim Boudos and Pon Angara.

It has been my honor and pleasure to serve as the Chicago AMA President for the 2014-15 term. I look continuing to connect with this great marketing community.

Be Remarkable!

Darcy Schuller, President, Chicago AMA, 2014-15

Darcy SchullerDarcy Schuller has been on the Board of Directors of the Chicago AMA since 2011. Outside of the Chicago AMA, Darcy is the President/Founder and lead Digital and Brand Strategist at Suvonni, a boutique digital marketing and brand strategy agency. Connect with Darcy on Linkedin and Twitter



Darcy Schuller, President Chicago AMA, 2014-15

The Chicago AMA Gives Back To Our Community

Nearly $9,000 raised for UCAN at our annual holiday party!


December 9th marked the second annual Chicago AMA Gives Back Holiday Party, with proceeds benefitting UCAN.  UCAN is a Chicago-based nonprofit organization whose vision is that youth who have suffered trauma can become our future leaders. Established in 1869 as a Civil War orphanage, UCAN has grown into one of Chicago’s oldest yet most innovative social service agencies. UCAN serves more than 10,000 children and families annually in the greater Chicagoland area through a range of 30+ programs that promote compassionate healing, education, and empowerment.

The Chicago AMA was proud to work alongside UCAN for this special fundraising event.  It was a festive night filled will great food, fun networking and, most importantly, an opportunity to give back to the Chicago community.  We had an amazing raffle with great prizes as well as generous sponsors who donated to UCAN on behalf of the Chicago AMA.  Together, we were able to raise nearly $9,000 for UCAN, well exceeding our goals.  Thank you to everyone who made it out to the event.  It was truly a very special evening.

None of this would have been possible without the tremendous work and support of our volunteer committee, our sponsors and those who donated cash and prizes.  I would like to thank our Board sponsor and VP of Strategic Relations, Stepheny Lauer for her oversight of this project for the past two years.  Under her leadership, this event has grown and blossomed into a strategic initiative for our chapter.  I’d also like to thank our Chair for the event, Lauri Konik Zessar, as well as everyone who served on the committee and provided personal donations, raffle prizes and their time and talent to pulling this event off.  Great work by everyone!

I would also like to thank and recognize our very generous host sponsor, Russ Klein and Nancy Costopulus from the American Marketing Association.  Their significant contribution as a Host Sponsor will help to make a huge difference in the lives of these youth.

Thank you to our friends at LYFE kitchen for the great venue.  And lastly, thank you to Ann Kniola, Zach Schrantz the entire UCAN team for all that you do to make a difference in the lives of our future leaders.  We are thrilled to be able to support you in those efforts.

Darcy Schuller, President Chicago AMA, 2014-15

A Season of Thanks and Giving…

In the spirit of the season, I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone in our community who helps make the Chicago AMA the great organization it is, from our dedicated Board of Directors and committee volunteers to our loyal members, speakers, sponsors, partners and supporters. Without the collaboration, participation and guidance from all of you, we would not be able to achieve all that we set out to do to advance the profession of marketing locally and nationally.

As we begin to wind down 2014 and look to the new year, it’s important to reflect on some of the accomplishments that have been made throughout the year.

  •  We will finish the first half of our fiscal year in a strong financial position, allowing us to continue to invest in programming and special initiatives as well as providing more opportunities to extend value to our members.
  •  We successfully hosted 35+ events in 2014, providing thought leadership, networking opportunities and professional development to our marketing community.  We have had world-class speakers from top brands (Kraft, DSW, Progressive, Mead Johnson Nutrition, The Content Marketing Institute, United, Grainger and many more) sharing their insights on the latest trends, techniques and best practices in marketing.
  •  We completed several in-house research studies to uncover unmet needs within the marketing community, allowing us to tailor our strategic goals to better fulfill the needs of our key stakeholders.  We also tapped into the collective knowledge base of our community of over 10,000 marketers to gain valuable insights on trends in marketing, and specifically within the Chicago market (see our latest findings on Chicago’s leading brands.
  •  We increased opportunities for marketers across all disciplines, industries and career levels to interact and engage with us and with each other.  Our Up & Comers young professionals group continues to grow, offering new avenues for peer learning, mentorship and career guidance.  Our new corporate affiliate program provides brands, agencies and vendors the opportunity to participate in several of our events at a significant discount.

These are just a subset of the remarkable things we together as an organization have been able to achieve this year.  “We” is the critical word in everything we do.  As a volunteer run organization, it is very much a community effort. Whether you are a member, a speaker, a volunteer, a sponsor or a participant at our events…your involvement is key to our success.

I hope you will join me on December 9th at our Chicago AMA Gives Back Holiday Party to give a toast to 2014 and a nod to continued success in 2015. This celebration is not only an opportunity to get together as a marketing community, but also to give back. Proceeds from this event will go to UCAN, an organization dedicated to helping youth who have suffered trauma, to become our future leaders by providing them a safe place to mend, heal and grow. It’s going to be a fabulous party, with awesome raffle prizes, festive food and drinks, and of course great conversations.

Thank you again for being part of our remarkable marketing community.

Darcy Schuller
Chicago AMA President, 2014-15
President, Suvonni Digital Marketing


Darcy Schuller, President Chicago AMA, 2014-15

A Message From Our President

We Are Ready for a Remarkable Year!


I am honored and excited to serve as the 2014-15 Chicago AMA President and to be a part of this group of dynamic leaders within our local marketing community. 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. It’s certainly a great time to be a marketer and an even more exciting time to be a leader in this amazing organization.  I would like to congratulate our talented new board of officers & directors:

  • Tom Jacobs, (President, Jacobs Agency), President-Elect
  • Tara Giuliano, (Chief Marketing Officer, Sikich), Immediate Past President
  • Bonnie Reid, (Director of Marketing, Corptax), Treasurer
  • Marty Kozar, (Director of Events, Catholic Extension), Secretary/Chapter Excellence Officer
  • Brad Messinger, (Director of Marketing, Rise Interactive), Vice President of Programming
  • Paula Kapacinskas, (Advertising and Marketing Consultant), Vice President of Membership
  • John Bruhnke, (Director, PSC Group), Vice President of Business Development and Strategic Relations
  • Judi Myers, (Marketing Consultant, Becker Professional Education), Vice President of Communications and Brand
  • Michelle Batten, (Director of Emerging Channel Strategy and Programs, Amadeus), Vice President of Special Interest Groups
  • Martin Hill, (President, VIP Research and Evaluation), Vice President of Market Research
  • Michael Wall, (Associate Director of Digital Strategy, Rise Interactive), Director of Programming
  • Mark Sterne, (Chief Operating Officer, Print & Marketing Solutions Group), Director of Membership Value
  • Jill Goldstein, (Partner, GO Promotions), Director of Membership & Volunteer Engagement
  • Stepheny Lauer, (Regional Vice President of marketing, Coldwell Banker), Director of Community Outreach
  • Ben Bradley, (Managing Director, Macon Raine), Director of Strategic Partnerships
  • Paul Friedman, (General Sales Manager, Chicago Public Media – WBEZ), Director of Sponsorships
  • Nicole Simonds, (Consulting – VP Client Services, MtoM Consulting), Director of Digital Media
  • Victor Lim, (Digital Product Marketing Manager, Tribune Company), Director of Email and Mobile Marketing
  • Pon Angara, (Principal and Creative Director, Barkada Circle), Director of Special Interest Groups
  • Patrick Steffes, (Marketing and Operations Specialist), Director of Event Operations
  • Michael Long, (President of BeeLong Group), continues on as the Chapter’s Executive Director.

This programming year, we are focused on achieving 4 strategic goals that will allow us to make connections, foster inspiration and engage our community:


We will also continue to offer a diverse array of events and opportunities for getting involved, including:

Evening with Experts: Our “mash-up” of top tier brands and the brightest minds from Chicago’s start-up community hosted with our partner 1871.

Sunrise Executive Series: Our signature power breakfast events featuring top marketing executives in an intimate and interactive format.

BrandSmart: Chicago’s premier annual 1-day conference focused on brand & innovation in March 2015.

Momentum: Our half-day educational conference on the current and future landscape of marketing and technology in November 2014.

Special Interest Groups: Niche marketing communities that hone in on the areas that matter to marketers most.

Connex: Monthly networking and orientation events that allow our community to make connections and learn more about Chicago AMA.

Up & Comers: An inspirational group for Young Professionals to make their mark in the Chicago marketing community.

Be sure to mark your calendars for these exciting events and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube and visit our website latest news and blog to stay on top of all the great things happening at the Chicago AMA.

We cannot achieve these goals without the continued support and participation of our volunteers. Volunteers are at the heart of our association and we welcome you to become involved in one of our committees. Find out more about volunteer opportunities and get involved today!

It’s going to be a remarkable year and I look forward to seeing familiar faces, making new connections and continuing to grow our fantastic marketing community.

Please feel free to contact me directly at with your questions and feedback.

Best Regards

Darcy Schuller
2014-15 President, Chicago AMA
President/Founder, Suvonni


2013 – 2014 Year In Review

One year ago, the Chicago AMA Board of Officers & Directors set out to achieve three things: bring Chicago marketing swagger, engage a community of CAMA fans, and roll out the red carpet for our members.  I am proud to say that we are doing all three of those things!

When it comes to bringing Chicago marketing swagger, we are succeeding in our objective to become recognized as the association who is helping fuel a marketing rebirth here in Chicago.  We have done a number of things to help bring the swagger:

  • We effectively launched a new Chicago AMA identity and website to the Chicago marketing community that aligns with this persona.
  • We formed strategic partnerships in the community and with the media this year.  I am especially proud of the initiation of our CAMA Gives Back program as well as the launch of our partnership with our pro-bono PR agency.
  • Our Up & Comers program for young professionals has really blossomed this year resulting in a Mentorship program, Launchpad meet-ups and Swaportunity workshop.
  • BrandSmart 2014 was one of our best ever featuring some of the country’s most sought after marketing experts- resulting in sold-out attendance, high satisfaction results, and coming in with big financial success.
  • We engaged CMOs throughout the year in our Sunrise Executive and Evening with Experts programs as well as with the launch of the CMO panel and video series.
  • Our research on Chicago’s viewpoint of the outlook of marketing will be broadcast this year.
  • With our Special Interest Groups, we created a SIG Leadership Team and toolkits, hosted Leadership Summits and reconfigured our overall SIG strategy into one that will lead us into continued success in the future to only heighten our reputation as the association fueling a marketing rebirth.

When we sought out to engage a community of CAMA fans, our plans called for strategies that helped us boost communications efforts amongst our board, with volunteers, with members, prospective members, SIGS and sponsors.  We have made great strides with all parties.  I am very proud of the introduction of our weekly board communications, monthly volunteer communications, complete revamp our of CRM list management system & processes, and personal phone call outreach to all new chapter members amongst many others.  Our SIG engagement and social media engagement efforts also only continue to grow stronger.

We rolled out the red carpet for our members through the introduction of Connex- a free-to-members monthly networking event, our members only lounges at our two conferences – Momentum and BrandSmart, members-only experiences like our breakfast with the CMO of Cabot during BrandSmart and red-carpet themed members and VIP-only Brand Launch Party.  We also conducted research on lost members to understand why they have left our chapter.  This information helped serve as an impetus for our member engagement strategies and decision to partner with AMA International on a pilot program aimed at continued retention of new members.

Lastly, we had a goal to decrease costs through sponsorships, increase revenue and reinvest excess dollars into a strategic initiative that benefits CAMA members.  We had the privilege to do this following last programming year- which resulted in the formulation of our member scholarship program.  And I am proud to say that due to this year’s financial success, we will have the opportunity to once again reinvest in our members and in our chapter.

None of this would have been possible without our wonderful board members, volunteers and participation from Chicago AMA members and the Chicago marketing community.  Thank you for making this year a success!

Click here or view below to watch a special congratulatory video message to the 2013-14 Chicago AMA board members and volunteers.

Tara Giuliano

Chicago AMA 2013-14 President

Tara was recently named Chief Marketing Office at Sikich LLP, a leading accounting, advisory, investment banking, technology and managed services firm that ranks as one of the country’s Top 35 Certified Public Accounting firms and is among the top 1% of all enterprise resource planning solution partners in the world.

Chicago AMA Announces 2014-2015 Board of Directors

Chicago, IL – Today, the Chicago Chapter of the American Marketing Association (Chicago AMA) announced it has elected its board of directors for the 2014-2015 fiscal year. The 21-member board is comprised of an elite team of top Chicago marketers who will oversee one of the oldest and largest marketing organizations in the world.

Download a copy of the press release here.

11 Elected and Voting Officers:

  • Darcy Schuller, President and Founder, Suvonni – President
  • Tom Jacobs, President, Jacobs Agency – President Elect
  • Tara Giuliano, Chief Marketing Officer, Sikich – Past President
  • Bonnie Reid, Director of Marketing, Corptax  -Treasurer
  • Marty Kozar, Director of Events, Catholic Extension – Secretary
  • Brad Messinger, Director of Marketing, Rise Interactive -Vice President of Programming
  • Paula Kapacinskas, Advertising and Marketing Consultant – Vice President of Membership
  • John Bruhnke, Director, PSC Group -Vice President of Business Development and Strategic Relations
  • Judi Myers, Marketing Consultant, Becker Professional Education – Vice President of Communications
  • Michelle Batten, Director of Emerging Channel Strategy & Programs, Amadeus, Vice President of Special Interest Groups
  • Martin Hill, President, VIP Research and Evaluation – Vice President of Market Research

10 Appointed Non-voting Directors:

  • Michael Wall, Associate Director of Digital Strategy, Rise Interactive – Director of Programming
  • Mark Sterne, Chief Operating Officer, Print & Marketing Solutions Group – Director of Membership Value
  • Jill Goldstein, Partner, GO Promotions – Director of Membership & Volunteer Engagement
  • Stepheny Lauer, Regional Vice President of Marketing, Coldwell Banker -Director of CommunityOutreach
  • Ben Bradley, Managing Director, Macon Raine – Director of Strategic Partnerships
  • Paul Friedman, General Sales Manager, Chicago Public Media – WBEZ – Director of sponsorships
  • Nicole Simonds, VP, Client Services, MtoM Consulting – Director of Digital Media
  • Victor Lim, Digital Product Marketing Manager, Tribune Company – Director of Email and Mobile Marketing
  • Pon Angara, Principal and Creative Director, Barkada Circle – Director of Special Interest Groups
  • Patrick Steffes, Marketing and Operations Specialist – Director of Event Operations

 Ex Officio Board Member and Executive Director:

  • Michael Long, MPA, CAE, President, BeeLong Association Management Group – Executive Director

The board will assume these responsibilities July 1, 2014 and continue through June 30, 2015.


Darcy Schuller, President Chicago AMA, 2014-15

There Has Never Been A Better Time To Be A Marketer

Insights from the American Marketing Association’s Annual Leadership Summit

Screen Shot 2014-05-09 at 12.46.14 PMOver 450 marketers from around the country convened in Chicago on May 3rd for the American Marketing Association’s annual leadership conference: Ignite – Fueling Leadership at Summit 2014. The conference brings together an elite set of marketers who provide leadership at the chapter level. The 3-day Summit is designed to educate, inspire and connect marketing leaders and to officially kick off strategic planning for the new fiscal year for the AMA, which begins July 1. The Chicago AMA was strongly represented, with 12 Board members participating in the Summit this year.

This information packed weekend was full of networking, learning and fun. Below, are some of the key highlights from the event:

Chicago AMA Recognized for Chapter Excellence 

Chicago CEAThe Chicago AMA chapter was recognized and awarded Chapter Excellence Awards for Leadership Overall Excellence, Programming Overall Excellence and Communications Excellence for our efforts in the 2012-13 fiscal year. This is a wonderful accomplishment for our Chapter and we thank all of our dedicated and hard-working volunteers for making the Chicago AMA a premier marketing association.


What the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Can Teach Marketers About the Value of Innovation

al-callierA powerful opening keynote by Al Collier, VP Strategic Innovation & Emerging Technology, Universal Parks & Resorts, gave marketing leaders insights as to how they can help foster a culture of innovation for their chapters. Al discussed the importance of nailing the basics and building from there. A solid campaign should be built like a pyramid, where the base is built on sound guaranteed practices, moving up to the pinnacle for new, innovative ideas. He stressed that there is no existing playbook for being an innovator. Rather, in the world of innovation, we’re constantly writing that playbook. Innovation is about bringing discipline to unexpected things. It’s actionable, achievable and repeatable. Innovation is a movement, and we as marketers must be a part of that movement.

Top CMOs Share Insights on the Future of Marketing 

CMOPanelDennis Dunlap, CEO of the AMA, moderated a panel featuring Kim Feil, President of the CMO Club, Mary Garrett, VP of Marketing & Communications, Global Sales & Distribution at IBM and Rob Malcom, who sits on the board at Heshey’s, Logitech and the AMA. This experienced panel shared their insights on everything from the role of the CMO, to big data and where marketing will have the biggest impact in the future. A few of the more notable soundbites from this session:

  • “IBM Study reveals that two-thirds of CMOs feel underprepared to deal with the continuous rise of Social Media”
  • “According to the most recent IBM study, 82% of CMOs feel unprepared for big data”
  • “We are now marketing to individuals, not masses. Knowing your customers is critical”
  • “The brand and culture of your organization must be authentically one”
  • “Top marketing spend in the next 5 years: data, analytics and mobile”
  • “By 2017, CMOs will outspend CIOs on technology”
  • “There has never been a better time to be a marketer than today”
  • “Infobesity: We have so much data… and we don’t know what to do with it all”
  • “The time a CEO spends with a CMO is now comparable to the time a CEO spends with a CFO. Marketers have a full seat at the table… and are driving the discussions”
  • “Marketers are now the stewards of an organizations most valuable asset: customer data. Sharing and acting upon it are keys to success”
  • “Find the right balance between reliability and disruption: developing today to deliver tomorrow”

When You Have A Room Full of Marketers… Things Will Happen On Twitter

Ignite TorchesA couple of mock torches (used as props) that went missing kicked these marketers into high-gear. The twitter handle @IgniteTorches was swiftly created and sparked a whole new dynamic to the conference.  Be sure to check out the #AMASummit stream for insights into the lively conversations that were happening in real time.

Shift Your Brilliance (And Get Out Of Your Own Way)

SimonTBaileyTo round out the Summit, the energetic and exuberant Simon T. Bailey gave a motivational and inspirational closing keynote on how marketers must shift their brilliance to achieve success… because in times of change, the shifters will rule the world. Simon had a plethora of great insights:

  • Build your life around who will cry at your funeral – that’s what is truly important.
  • Release your inner salmon and swim upstream. Take a quantum leap. Become comfortable being uncomfortable.
  • Brilliance is released and ignited when you are in an environment where you are celebrated rather than tolerated.
  • Stop communicating and start connecting.
  • It’s not who you are that holds you back… it’s who you think you are not.

Chicago AMA is Poised to Be Remarkable! 

IMG_5615At the conclusion of Leadership Summit, the Chicago AMA Board immediately started the strategic planning for our new year, beginning July 2014. Our theme for the year is simply to Be Remarkable. For the leaders of our chapter, this means to be remarkable in our brand values of offering cutting-edge programming, connecting marketers, promoting professional development and providing overall marketing leadership. Look for continued great things from the Chicago AMA as we unite together to celebrate all things marketing. Want to be part of our journey? Our members and volunteers are the lifeblood of our organization. Explore the many ways to get involved in the Chicago AMA and reach out to us today!

Darcy Schuller is President and Founder of digital marketing agency Suvonni, and currently serves as the President Elect at the Chicago AMA. Darcy will assume responsibilities of President of the Chicago AMA in July 2014.