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:

The right place to start your next creative campaign: design thinking

By: Maggie Lewis

Finding the right place to start should be the first consideration when developing marketing communications for any organization. In my experience working with a non-profit client base, we do our best work for our clients when we employ principles of design thinking. And, I would encourage all marketing communications experts to begin projects with a design thinker’s mindset and practice.

You’re probably familiar with the term. But, a decade ago I heard from colleagues, “Design thinking? Why would we want our clients to do that?” Now design thinking is a popular approach not only in its product design origins, but also in marketing communications and even organizational development. It’s no longer perceived as business jargon and hocus pocus. Design thinking changes how people collaborate and produce innovative products and organizations. It makes design outcomes more successful, beautiful and engaging.

When developing, for example, a campaign for a mission-driven organization, instead of beginning a project with application of a best-practice or well-used model, the design thinker starts with the question, “What is the context for our “end user” (e.g., prospective client, student, donor, board member, etc.)? “Where are they when they receive my communications? What are they doing? What are they thinking and feeling?” To answer these questions, we watch and listen to find out what is needed. We engage users in the making process, as testers of early ideas (we call them prototypes) which allows more data to be collected before we explore whole solutions.

The right attitude and a few skills can help anyone be a design thinker.

Let’s start with attitude. Design thinkers have empathy for the user. We care deeply about users’ points-of-view, what motivates them, their values, etc. because we are designing for them. We spend time with people experiencing and watching them to reveal problems and give us clues about to how to solve them. Paying attention to the role that affect plays in decision-making is significant to mission-driven organizations. A user’s involvement with the organization may be heavily influenced by an emotional desire to support a mission about which they care deeply. While rationale thought is a part of the decision to participate, a marketer’s ability to align communications with empathy and value is vital to having messages resonate with stakeholders.

Another trait we share is curiosity. A curious mind notices things— how people move in a space, with whom they interact, emotional reactions. Designers who are curious are also excellent interviewers, quick to ask the follow-up question, “Tell me more about that.”

The ability to take a risk and be uncomfortable may be the trait that sets the design thinker apart from other consultants. Design thinkers derive a solution from what the users are showing and telling. For some thinkers, this can be frightening for a number of reasons. We like to know what the end state looks like— it makes us feel confident and secure. We are operating with limited budgets and don’t have the ability to re-do a program if it’s not a complete success. And, we have a range of constituents with a stake in our work—from board committees to peers in other departments— and they all have an opinion.

There are at least three skills which all design thinkers have. First is the ability to watch a system at work. We observe physical interactions with space, artifacts on walls and desks, rituals and meetings. This process of immersion (think Sherlock Holmes’s powers of deduction) reveals what those donors, students, service recipients, members, etc. need. Throughout this period, we remain curious about what is happening and don’t rush to propose solutions. Only after the process is complete do we begin to interpret or think about the meaning of what we observed and heard.

Observation therefore leads to the second skill, objectivity. Like a scientist, the design thinker doesn’t assume anything, but works to figure out what is happening in a system to determine what it needs.

Making ideas physical introduces possibilities and questions to the users we’ve observed and interviewed. Using simple tools (e.g., Sharpies, Post-Its, paper), the designer creates a prototype in the form of a sketch, a user interface, a journey map and sometimes even a script or skit. The prototype is then given to the user to experience. The designer resumes his/her role as observer, recording how the user interacts with and modifies the prototype.

Here are two ideas for how to start using a design thinking approach in your organization.

Build a team that includes the client. Involved from start to finish your team should include the client, their constituents and members of your own creative teams. This allows for innovation and assures that multiple perspectives are considered. The client is part of the team as co-creators. At a minimum, they provide a critical perspective and share knowledge in the discovery process; challenge thinking and build on the ideas during presentations. Their inclusion not only provides critical insights, but also ensures successful implementation because they were involved in developing the solution. You can start small by observing your clients’ constituents engaged in their activities. Designers, writers and the client team should participate in observations.

This may require a shift in the client’s way of thinking, but it’s worth the effort to build empathy with users and develop solutions that are distinct and directed toward users’ needs, not only what we think we know about them.

Ideate (yes, this is similar to brainstorming, but with a twist). Ideation is when the team regroups and shares what each learned during discovery (which includes observation). Essential to ideation and the design process, is a comfort with not knowing the answers at the beginning. It is liberating to not be fixated on a specific end result, rather determine the right answers through the process and based on what we learned during discovery. If we knew what the campaign’s logo looked like and the overall voice, the client would essentially be ordering a template and not a custom approach to achieve their distinct goals and express their brand.

When we ideate, for a period of time there are no bad ideas offered around the table. And, eventually we work to discern key themes/categories for exploration. That said, at some point we do find ways to challenge thinking. We frame this part of the process as divergent thinking. It starts with asking questions of the team, sharing thinking and grouping ideas to find distinct directions for schematic exploration. We sketch and begin conceptual design exploring a range of ideas.

Considering including the client in these sessions. We did this once for a website project and involved the client in two half-day sessions. One session involved forming multi-functional teams— curators, operations, marketing, etc. that were given a specific question to consider and design nascent solutions. In another session, teams designed a portion of the website in the form of a low-fidelity prototype made of Play-Doh, paper and pipe cleaners. New ideas came out of the effort because people were taken out of their comfort zones. And, everyone had a great time doing it.

Practicing the skills and embracing the attitudes of a design thinker can change not only how mission-driven marketers collaborate with their internal and external constituents, but also the outcomes of the marketing communications challenges we face. By engaging with users, our service recipients, members, donors, staffs, etc., we not only embrace them, we empower them to be part of the solution.

Maggie Lewis works at doing internal change management and organizational design. She is a former Managing Partner of Studio Blue, a design firm serving non-profit organizations. Maggie also is an Instructor in the MS in Learning and Organizational Change Program at Northwestern University where she teaches design thinking to master’s candidates.

Is your brand keeping up with the platform world?

By: Vivaldi

Last month, Vivaldi, the growth, innovation and brand strategy consultancy, hosted on October 4th the first “Breakfast of (Brand) Champions,” a workshop series specially organized for the Branding Special Interest Group of AMA Chicago. We focused the inaugural workshop on how to build strong brands in today’s rapidly changing world. With platforms seemingly poised to take over our business landscape, we discussed how platform thinking can benefit even incumbent brands as they evaluate their own path forward.

The workshop kicked off by defining platform thinking as the ultimate source of value creation for modern business success – where value is created not by means of optimizing production and traditional value chains but by facilitating interactions and linking data sources for greater impact.  Platform companies attract a wide range of participants, and involve them in the creation of products, services, and experiences that help solve real problems and meet real goals, and that enable the participants to collaborate and interact with each other, and thus increase the value of the products and create exponential growth.

Using Vivaldi client LEGO as a case study, we explored how the modern advantage of facilitating interactions could be adopted by other brands – and how a thoughtful approach to understanding how to create value could leverage the global infrastructure of connectivity and collaboration, shifting power instead of struggling to control it.

We had a fantastic time and participants left the workshop energized by the conversation and the new thinking that emerged. For those of you who weren’t able to attend, here are three questions that were asked of participants, as they identified the best platform approach for their own brand and gathered into breakout groups where the Vivaldi team helped outline key steps that brands can take to navigate today’s world of platforms.

1. What is your brand’s source of strength?

As an incumbent player, two of your key advantages in building a platform are your existing customer base and an established network of suppliers, partners and intermediaries. You can begin the business of building a platform with a selected set of existing customers, and then grow the platform from there. But in order to do so, there needs to be some basis for which existing customers would want to bet on you. And that’s where your brand comes into play. It’s important to understand your brand’s source of strength as it will influence what type of platform you can most easily and credibly build and how to communicate the value it brings to participants.

2. What enabling processes and technologies can you take advantage of?

Are you, like John Deere whose sophisticated tractors can be equipped with sensors to collect and communicate data, able to bring the IoT to each of your products in order to offer a new data infrastructure to partners? Do you, like Amazon who put its warehousing and fulfillment capabilities at the service of small businesses globally, excel at certain activities along the value chain and can you offer these to participants in exchange for gathering data about participants on the platform? Or are you, like GoPro who has become a media powerhouse, at the center of user generated content that can be shared and amplified, leading to network effects?

There are many ways to build the processes and technologies that will enable your platform, but before you plan a new digital transformation project, take a look at the initiatives already in place within your organization. You may be surprised at how forward-thinking they are when looked at in the right light.

3. What interactions can you facilitate?

The final question that we addressed in the workshop was that of knowing how to uniquely respond to the market’s needs. Using a series of probes, we explored the long list of possible stakeholders who could interact on our platforms, the goals they were pursuing, the data each of them would need to meet their goals, but also what data they had or could generate easily for others to meet their goals. This led to some insightful ideas regarding how some of the companies present could create new connections between stakeholders, play a different role than today, and create value in the process.

We wrapped up the workshop by discussing how this platform exploration could help expand a brand’s vision, shared some examples and introduced our next session. Join us in Q1 of 2018 for the second “Breakfast of (Brand) Champions.” We’re partnering with Barry Calpino, VP Innovation at ConAgra to talk about brand innovations and share some tips and tools to consider as you look ahead to 2020.

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

Trendsetter Alert: Keeping Up With The Latest In Wearable Tech Trends!

Unless you’ve purposefully removed yourself from Social Media or the internet over the past week then it is not secret that the Apple Watch is finally here and available for purchase. From sporty to bling you can customize this smart watch to fit your lifestyle and personality. Their is so much more to this $5 billion wearable tech industry than the Apple Watch and in this post we’ll explore them.

1) Activity Trackers Intersect with Fashion

As fitness and health and wellness continue to ingratiate fully into our daily lives brands like Nike Band, athleticFitbit and Jawbone are intersecting are with fashion. No longer just clunky bands on your wrist they are getting sleeker, smaller and more discreet. Take Tory Burch is the latest designer to launch a new bracelet to hold your Fitbit. And if you’d rather put a ring on it then look no further than the start-up Ringly launching this Spring, which is a fashion ring that notifies you when you have a text, a phone call or calendar alert.

2) Smart Watches

In addition to the Apple Watch,  Motorola, Samsung s8, Sony, Pebble, Moto 360 and LG g6 all have Smart watchesWatches currently on the market. Ranging in prices starting as low at $150 and with an average cost of $350 their is a watch to fit every budget and taste. Whether you prefer a digital interface or the traditional look of an analog watch and depending on your wireless carrier you can find a Smart Watch to suit your taste and needs.  With most offering text, phone, and calendar alerts some take it a step further and offer activity tracker capabilities as well. 2015 is definitely the year of the Smart Watch and if you’re on the market to make a purchase be sure to check out Tech Radar’s review of the best watches on the market! 

3) High Tech Pets

If you’re in the Early Adapter category when it comes to the latest wearable technology, why not make supettechre four legged friend is too. New to the market and unveiled at CES this year are fitness trackers for your pets. Monitoring their movement and behavior throughout the day as well as temperatures alerting you if outside of a safe zone. Wonderwoof and Fitbark are two great examples launching next month. Both have wearable trackers available for pre-order with an average cost of $99.95 and integrate with an app on your phone or tablet.

To learn more about the latest trends in wearable technology join the Chicago AMA Special Interest Group Pop Up Event this Tuesday, April 28th from 5:30 – 8:00pm!

The event will be held at Networked Insights:

350 N. Orleans St, Suite 850, Chicago, IL 60654

Click here to register! 

Nicole Simonds is a volunteer for the Chicago AMA and the VP, Client Services for MtoM Consulting, a digital marketing agency specializing in influencer, brand and social marketing for the hospitality, consumer packaged goods and fashion verticals. She’s a life long marketer having worked previously on the brand side for Flatout, NBC Universal and Marriott. Her second love is fitness and wellness. She is currently studying holistic nutrition at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and looks forward to bringing what she learns back to the corporate world!

Meet Rich Walters at the Chicago AMA’s SIG Pop-Up Spring 2015 Series Shopaholics: Keeping Up with the Increasingly Mobile Retail Consumer

Meet Rich Walters at the Chicago AMA’s SIG Pop-Up Spring 2015 Series

Shopaholics: Keeping Up with the Increasingly Mobile Retail Consumer Wearables, Oh My!

Tuesday, April 28 from 5:30–8:00 PM CST

WaltersThe Chicago AMA is pleased to have Rich Walters of LS Research on this week’s upcoming SIG Panel featuring a spirited discussion around the ever increasing fashion and technology behind mobile wearables. As the Apple Watch has finally come to market Rich who has over 24 years of Industrial Design consulting experience, designing and leading cross functional design teams in the area of wearable technology will share with us his feedback on the latest products on the market today as well as the future of segmentation within the $5.1 billion industry of wearable technology.

Currently serving as a Product Design Group Manager for LSR Research Mr. Walters is helping to grow their business through superior design leadership. His expertise covers a wide spectrum of product development, cover30 design patents and several utility and international patents. In recent years Rich has specialized in wearable technology product design. His work ranges from medical and commercial grade headsets to wireless fashion technology and smart watches.

After attending the Consumer Electronics Show this year Mr. Walters shared his thoughts on the  wearable tebandsch industry in his piece coined: Wearable Tech at CES 2015: What’s New…and What’s Still Missing? In his piece he broke out the wearables industry into several segments including “fashion that camouflages technology” and “more than just fitness bands and watches” as well as discussed gaps in the current consumer offerings for wearable technology.

Additional professional specialities include: Industrial Design, User Experience Design, Graphical User Interface Design, Design Research, Brand Identity, Visual Brand Language, Mechanical Design, Intellectual Property Development, Consumer Electronics, Exercise Equipment, Lawn and garden, Medical, Personal Grooming, Juvenile, Sporting Goods, Kitchen Appliances, Industrial Equipment, Kitchen and Bath, Hand Tools, Power Tools, and other consumer products.

Mr. Walters works with over 70 specialists that include Software Developers, User Interface Designers, Graphic Designers, Design Researchers, Prototype Specialists, Mechanical and Electrical Engineers, and Firmware Developers. He holds a Bachelors of Science in Industrial Design from the University of Wisconsin-Stout, where he continues to serve on their Professional Advisory Board for the School of Art and Design.

To hear more on Rich Walters thoughts on what he saw at CES and what he foresees to be the latest trends in 2015 and beyond you’ll have to attend his panel at the CAMA Sig Pop Up Event this Tuesday, April 28th from 5:30 – 8:00pm!

The event will be held at Networked Insights:

350 N. Orleans St, Suite 850

Chicago, IL 60654

(312) 985-9700

Click here to register!

Nicole Simonds is a volunteer for the Chicago AMA and the VP, Client Services for MtoM Consulting, a digital marketing agency specializing in influencer, brand and social marketing for the hospitality, consumer packaged goods and fashion verticals. She’s a life long marketer having worked previously on the brand side for Flatout, NBC Universal and Marriott. Her second love is fitness and wellness. She is currently studying holistic nutrition at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and looks forward to bringing what she learns back to the corporate world!

Meet Don Bora, co-founder of Eight Bits and Mobile Makers at the SIG Pop-Up on Wearables.

On April 28, the Chicago AMA will be offering a unique member benefit: SIG Pop-Up Spring 2015 Series: Shopaholics: Keeping Up with the Increasingly Mobile Retail Consumer – Wearables, Oh My! 

The program will be led by experts in the field, Rich Walters of LS Research and Don Bora, co-founder of two cutting-edge companies, Eight Bit Studios and Mobile Makers. Last week we told you about the background of Rich Walters and now we’d like to do the same regarding Don Bora.

Don Bora has spent over 20 years as a leader in the software industry.

With his team of tech wizards at Eight Bits, he delivers ground-breaking digital products that leave customers awestruck. Always an advocate for women in technology and young entrepreneurs, Don also facilitates and teaches iOS development to a wide array of code-minded men and women at The Mobile Maker Academy and area high schools and colleges. His unique perspective on the evolution of mobile technology and its impact on consumers led to his recognition by TechWeek as one of the 100 top influencers in Chicago in 2014. And his generous sharing of his time, knowledge and enthusiasm for the industry, earned him nominations as Moxie Mentor of the Year in both 2013 and 2014.

Eight Bits’ co-founders, John Ostler, Steve Polacek and Don, shared their insights on Smart Watches in the company’s blog. We thought we’d publish some excerpts from Don’s comments as a sort of unofficial preview to his participation at the Pop-Up SIG on April 28.

Here are some quotes from Don:

“I am not enamored of the emerging smart watch ecosystem. The watch, in its current envisioned state, shaves seconds off otherwise mundane tasks, like checking the time or seeing if I have any unread emails. Any meaningful productivity bump will come from serious hardware support that is just not available right now.”

“Today, … a smart watch must be paired with a much more powerful device. While it is true that these smart accessories are relatively underpowered, we can be sure of this: hardware will continue to get smaller and faster. Ingenious engineering has found ways around the feared physical limitations that have threatened the past 20 years of computer and device advancements.”

“If I had a prescient scope, my watch would do all kind of Bond-ishly cool things. I want to see evolution in these platforms; I want to talk to my watch for the geek factor alone… The sheer amount of progress we’ve seen over the past 10 years is nothing short of stunning. Heightening the user’s experience through screen real-estate restriction will force us makers to be ever more diligent and judicious about our design, user interfaces, and feature sets.”

Join us on April 28 to meet Don and Rich and discuss Wearables with your fellow members.

Please join us on Tuesday, April 28 from 5:30 PM to 8:00 PM to meet Don Bora and Rich Walters and learn from their knowledge, experience and expertise on this important communications breakthrough. The meeting will be held at Networked Insights, 350 N. Orleans St, Suite 850, Chicago, IL 60654. Register now.

Wendy Lalli, Principal, Wendy Lalli, Ltd., VP Creative, Crux Creative

Wendy Lalli is an award-winning writer and marketing strategist who has served clients in a wide range of industries and created communications in every format. She describes herself as “Peggy from ‘Madmen’ grownup.” She’s had her own company, Wendy Lalli, Ltd., since 1997 and is now a VP/Creative Director at Crux Creative, a creative and marketing agency in Milwaukee.


The SIG (Special Interest Groups) Pop-Up Series Keeps You Up With The Times

One of the major benefits that the Chicago AMA offers our members is networking that not only increases your professional contacts, but your industry knowledge and understanding of the latest trends.

Special Interest Groups (SIGS) offers all this in monthly programs that are sure to keep you on the cutting edge of marketing – whatever your industry or skill set.

SIGS. How to network with your peers while gathering insights from industry leaders.

These intimate communities of pro-active Chicago AMA members focus on a common interest or topic. SIGS maybe organized around specific industries such as financial services, non-profit and higher education or cut across industries to explore subjects of interest to all marketers like Market Research. Designed to broaden and deepen the Chicago AMA membership experience, SIGS provide a chance to connect, coordinate and collaborate with a diverse group of colleagues in real time off line.

And now the Chicago AMA offers the SIG Pop-Up series.

These programs revolve around a single topic – specific to an industry or cross-industry themed – that is currently at the top of everyone’s mind – especially savvy marketers. A perfect example is:

 SIG Pop-Up Spring 2015 Series: Shopaholics: Keeping Up with the Increasingly Mobile Retail Consumer – Wearables, Oh My!  

 The Apple Watch comes out on April 24. Discuss the implications with the experts on April 28.

Talk about timely! Now you can be the first to get insider knowledge of how the new wearables – iBeacons, Smartwatches and Glass – will impact the customer experience for retailers, hospitality, travel, media and more. Our guest experts – Don Bora, co-founder of both Mobile Makers and Eight Bit Studios and Rich Walters of LS Research – will lead us in an exploration of how these new digital devices will benefit consumers, businesses and the marketers that serve them.

 Join us Tuesday, April 28 from 5:30–8:00 PM CST at Networked Insights

Don’t miss this program that’s bound to be as intriguing and awe-inspiring as the futuristic products we’ll be discussing. Networked Insights, 350 N. Orleans St, Suite 850, Chicago, IL 60654. Register now.


Wendy Lalli
Principal, Wendy Lalli, Ltd.

VP Creative, Crux Creative 

Wendy Lalli is an award-winning writer and marketing strategist who has served clients in a wide range of industries and created communications in every format. She describes herself as “Peggy from ‘Madmen’ grownup.” She’s had her own company, Wendy Lalli, Ltd., since 1997 and is now a VP/Creative Director at Crux Creative, a creative and marketing agency in Milwaukee.

60 is the New 40: Baby Boomers and The Changing Consumer Landscape

by Peter Morich, Chair of the Market Research SIG

The 2014-15 market research SIG series has kicked off with two excellent presentations: one on Millennials in the Marketplace and the second on Baby Boomers and the Changing Consumer Landscape. Both events were highly interactive! The meeting was a combination of presentation and small group discussions in which attendees were able to develop implications for their particular business. Approximately 20 marketers attended each event at NQC, National Qualitative Center.

At the most recent event, Curt Fedder of Life Stage Research Insights shared learnings from his research on Baby Boomers. He presented 10 key insights about this segment:

  1. The absolute number of Baby Boomers and Senior Citizens is staggering!
  2. There are no “typical” Baby Boomers (or Senior Citizens for that matter).
  3. Personal buying power and influence over purchase decisions is significant.
  4. Baby Boomers are working longer and reinventing themselves.
  5. Baby Boomers are an anxious generation.
  6. Retirement living situations are changing for this group.
  7. Age is relative…60 is the new 40! And so on!
  8. Baby Boomers are enthusiastic users of technology.
  9. Baby Boomers have new role models.
  10. Baby Boomers find satisfaction in new hobbies and special interests.

If you missed the event, contact Curt Fedder at for a copy of the presentation he shared.

A special thanks to NQC-Chicago (National Qualitative Center) who hosted the event. Located at 625 N. Michigan Avenue, NQC is a top-notch focus group facility complete with the latest technology to host qualitative research. Participants were also treated to tour of the facility and light snacks.

Join the next SIG event on March 19th. Curt Fedder will also lead this session. The topic is Maximizing the Use of Qualitative Research through Active Listening and Objectives Setting. Curt will draw upon his extensive experience as both a buyer of qualitative research (from his client side years) as well as from a vendor perspective (now that he works on the supplier side of the business).

At this session you’ll learn tips for how to listen to qualitative research, develop strategies for interpreting what you hear and taking better notes while attending sessions. There will also be a discussion on objective setting with examples of appropriate objectives.

This will be an interactive event as well: attendees will work in teams on “mini” qualitative assignments.

The session will begin at 6:00 PM and will be held also at NQC. Register today!

Put Your Audience First: How to Build an Effective Persona

Written by Bridgett Colling

On February 23, the Nonprofit Special Interest Group hosted an informative breakfast meeting to teach attendees how to create an effective audience persona. Local nonprofit i.c.stars hosted the event, featuring presenter Bridgett Colling, Director if Content Marketing at See3 Communications, a digital agency for nonprofits and social causes. Attendees learned how to identify their content marketing mission statement, how to narrow their audience targets, and how to  put their new knowledge into action.

Colling showed attendees a Buzzfeed video featuring President Barack Obama that encouraged people to sign up for Obamacare. She discussed how the video’s placement on Facebook and humorous messaging showed a clear understanding of the target audience for the campaign: young people. She then led the group through examples of audience personas, and shared a series of tactics that can be used to create them, including Google Analytics, ESRI zip code lookup, and Hubspot’s audience persona templates.

The session concluded with small group breakout sessions. Attendees discussed what kind of content they could create that would speak to their audience’s goals and needs.

Readers interested in learning more about upcoming webinars and events from See3 can sign up for the DoGooder Dispatches, a weekly email that provides advice, insights, resources and inspiration for nonprofits and social causes.