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:

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

From print to digital: Content marketing remains on the throne

Event summary for Sunrise Executive Series:   How to create powerful content & extend reach with emerging platforms

Presenter: Jonathan Copulsky, Chief Content Officer for Deloitte LLP, and Chief Marketing Officer for Deloitte Consulting.

Content marketing is not new. In fact, it has been around for centuries with the only difference are that we have moved from print to digital. That said, great brands have been sharing their stories for a long time.

Consider the following:

  • 71% of marketers intend to increase their content marketing budget in 2015. (Source: eMarketer)
  • 69% of marketers are creating more content now than they did one year ago and 70% of B2B marketers will be creating even more content this coming year. (Source: CMI)
  • More than 27 million pieces of content are being shared each day. (Source: AOL, Nielsen)
  • Over 90% of companies invest in content marketing, but less than 10% view as significantly effective. (Source: BMA Buzz)

As an example, The Michelin Guide was introduced in the early 1900’s and still exists today.  The guide was started to sell tires and also provide useful information to motorists.  The content of the guide included maps, instructions for repairing and/or changing tires, hotel information, gas stations and list of car mechanics.   As the years’ passed the guide then took shape to target the American market with the listings covering hotels and restaurants for the New York area only. The guide is currently sold in about 90 countries and published in 14 editions covering 23 countries.

Other print publications that have evolved over the years also include:

  • The Furrow (published by John Deere)
  • Jell-O Recipe Book
  • Oxydol (P&G later developed as sponsor to “television soaps”)

Great brand stories are found in many forms and getting the right mix is critical.  Content marketing is simple in theory but difficult in practice.  Before launching a content marketing system, consider the following steps:

  • Plan: identifying goals and documenting strategy
  • Develop content: creating content with target audience in mind
  • Determine channels: establishing best channels suited for the content and audience
  • Curate: organizing and saving
  • Target Audience: specifying intended audience (for example: industry)
  • Publish/Deploy: Sharing content through multiple channels (including internal and external audiences)
  • Measure:  determining what is working


For Deloitte, content marketing equals thought leadership.  This is presented through You Tube, Deloitte University Press and Deloitte Review.  Quality is of upmost importance; as a result, editorial board exists to approve content that internal employees wish to develop.

With the above in mind it allows the organization to frame its business capabilities, expertise and intellectual capital in the context of business issues that matter to clients, prospects, talent and stakeholders.

Deloite clients expect content that is:

  • Relevant
  • Practical
  • Credible
  • Appealing

At the beginning the quantity of content overwhelmed the quality with over 2,500 pieces being produced.  Today the number of pieces produced is approximately 500 pieces.


Over the past four years of creating powerful content Deloitte has learned the following:

  1. Find your voice
  2. Experiment endlessly, but test rigorously
  3. Collaborate with others
  4. Win the hearts and minds with a campaign mindset
  5. Both creative and content quality matter
  6. “Go to school” on the competition
  7. Outsource insights at your own risk
  8. Never yield when it comes to quality
  9. Deploy, deploy, deploy
  10. Don’t add to the noise because just because you can, it does not mean that you should

Read more about the morning insights on Twitter at #camasunrise, and mark your calendars after visiting our UPCOMING EVENTS page.


Imelda This blog article was written by Imelda March, who has more than 10 years of experience in marketing, communications and branding. She works as a brand specialist at a local agency is support of brand marketing plans. Additionally, she is a content producer for The Daily Peloton Cycling News, reporting on industry news. She holds an MBA and active with the Chicago chapter of the American Marketing Association with both the communication and membership teams. Connect with Imelda on Twitter @hcram1 and on LinkedIn at

Interview with Jonathan Copulsky, Chief Content Officer for Deloitte LLP, Chief Marketing Officer for Deloitte Consulting LLP



Chicago AMA: Congratulations on Deloitte’s recent acquisition of LRA Worldwide (to operate as LRA by Deloitte). Speaking of customer experiences – for marketing to deliver right-time consumer experiences it fundamentally requires organizations to take a sustainable approach to content that’s instantly at odds with marketing expectations for the disruptive pace of change. Have you found content architecture to bridge the gap between content strategy and content management to ultimately serve content marketing?

Headshot FY15JC: Thanks! We’re very excited about our acquisition of the leading global provider of Brand Protection and Customer Experience Measurement services for multinational companies with complex customer interactions. It’s a great complement to our already formidable customer experience and customer strategy offerings.

For a professional services business like Deloitte, delivering insights to clients about the issues that matter is a critical component of a great client experience. Our clients rely on the content that we provide to them to gain the confidence to move forward in the face of uncertainty.

We invest significant amounts in developing research-based content. Our Issue Architecture guides our selection of research topics and helps our clients navigate through our content repository.

It’s the job of our Content Marketing team to make sure that clients become aware of the most relevant content at the right time and using the right platforms. Often this means customizing and distributing previously developed content based on external market developments.

One area where we have seen this pay off, for example, is in the area of cyber-security, where our clients often start looking for relevant content when a major cyber-breach takes place.


Chicago AMA: In what ways have you seen big data influence content marketing strategies?

JC: We use big data both to create content and inform our approach to content distribution.

We recently published research on smart mobility (   This research takes a data-driven look at what metropolitan areas can gain from four alternative mobility approaches—ridesharing, bike commuting, carsharing, and on-demand ride services—and explores ways that governments can encourage their use. If you go to our website, you will see an interactive map that allows the viewer to look at different alternative transportation modes by selected geographic areas.

Big data also shapes our distribution strategies. We’ve gotten a lot smarter about SEO, what types of outbound email works best, and content consumption patterns.  As a result, for example, we’ve changed our approach from one-off pieces of content to a more curated approach, where we offer a collection of content from multiple perspectives on a single topic.


Chicago AMA: In your book Brand Resilience: Managing Risk and Recovery in a High-Speed World you state “Marketing is no longer about building a brand. There’s now a need for brand defense.”  Can you talk about risk and resilience?

JC: I believe that we live in a world in which what our customers say about our brand is often more important than what we say.

We all need to recognize that brand-damaging events will take place and that waiting for the events to occur before we spring into action is a losing strategy.

The book focuses on what brand stewards can do to proactively manage brand risk as part of a comprehensive enterprise risk management program. It also offers suggestions as to what brands can do to engineer resiliency into their brand risk management approaches, beginning with equipping employees appropriately.

At Deloitte, for example, our Ambassador Program and our brand narrative have been key tools in galvanizing our employees to reduce and manage brand risk.


Chicago AMA: To keep momentum, what strategies are effective in scaling content marketing?

JC: You asked previously about content architecture. We use the term, “Issue Architecture,” to identify the issues that matter most to our clients and select the appropriate topics for content development.

The single most important strategy that has worked for us is developing content that has a common core and is then customized by industry sector.

Two years ago, for example, we identified additive manufacturing (a.k.a., 3D printing) as one of the topics that was becoming more and more important to our clients, regardless of industry sector. We developed a core set of materials on additive manufacturing which then became the platform for a substantial collection of content ( This included the first ever MOOC from a professional services firm. A number of our clients, including the Federal government, have contracted with us to use the MOOC for educating their employees on this topic.



 Interview with Jackie Maman, Content Manager, Chicago AMA

Sunrise Series Event Recap: ULTA’s Beauty Experience

daveAt the June 22 Sunrise Executive Breakfast Dave Kimbell revealed how ULTA is raising awareness of its brand by making beauty a fun experience for women across the nation.

David Kimbell, Chief Merchandising and Marketing Officer of ULTA, presented the evolution of ULTA’s latest marketing campaign at the first suburban Sunrise Executive Breakfast, held at Gibsons Bar and Steakhouse in Rosemont on June 22.

As ULTA’s CMO, Dave has the formidable task of making sure that this innovative company continues to grow within the context of a unique vision.  Established 25 years ago, ULTA was built on a new business model inspired by an insight about the buying behavior of cosmetics’ consumers. The company’s  founders realized that contrary to conventional marketing of cosmetic products previously, women didn’t buy just one brand of beauty products. Nor did they limit their purchases to one type of store. Instead, they bought what they liked when they needed it from drug stores as well as department stores. Furthermore, they felt as confident about their selections made at the grocery store as they did about those purchased from high-end salons.

Today, under Kimbell’s leadership, the company continues to be guided by the attitudes, needs and desires of its primary audience – “Beauty Enthusiasts.”  This group, largely suburban women between the ages of 35 and 55, view ULTA stores as a special place to explore new cosmetic trends, learn about new beauty techniques, access a wide range of products and enjoy sharing this experience with like-minded friends and family members.

Since 1990, ULTA has grown from its original store in Chicago to 800 locations in 48 states. Yet, despite the fact that it’s now the largest specialty retailer in its category, ULTA’s brand awareness is only 70% compared to that of its competitors who score 90 to 100%.

This realization led to the development of a new customer-centric marketing strategy that includes selling much of its product online, offering more in-store services and a highly successful loyalty program. Currently the company’s 15 million rewards members not only account for 80% of its sales, they offer ULTA access to detailed data on which to base future strategies.

To sum up, Dave described the steps ULTA took to pay off the premise that at ULTA – “Beauty is a fun adventure.” Here they are:

  • Study the marketplace. Find out what the competition is doing, what’s working, what’s not. Where do the opportunities lie to grow your own business at all levels.
  • Define your target. Make sure you know where your primary focus should be. In ULTA’s case it was “Beauty Enthusiasts.”
  • Integrate all the elements of your company. These include how you communicate, what you sell, how you sell it and internal communications to support your efforts. Also the infrastructure needed to support your current programs and future growth.
  •  Build a strong culture. One that will support your brand and enable you to successfully meet your goals.
  • Be open to learning and change. Being able to adapt quickly to trends already developing and knowing enough about the market to create your own new trends will mark your company as a leader.

Dave’s presentation was well received and led to several lively table discussions as audience members considered how to apply his insights to their own work.

The Sunrise Executive Breakfast Series will return in August. Look for announcements of upcoming programs under events and in the Chicago AMA blog.  In the meantime, have a wonderful summer!


Jonathan Copulsky CMO, Deloitte Consulting LLP to Speak for Chicago AMA on August 12

Jonathan Copulsky, joins Chicago AMA on August 12, for the Sunrise Executive Series to present: How to Create Powerful Content & Extend Reach with Emerging Platforms

Key pillars to his presentation are:

1.      Understand the role that content marketing can play in creating a powerful brand
2.      Identify what it takes to build and sustain a compelling content marketing program
3.      Discover emerging platforms for connecting your content with customers

deloittelogoJonathan Copulsky serves as Chief Content Officer for Deloitte LLP and Chief Marketing Officer for Deloitte Consulting LLP.   In these roles, he leads the creation of iconic content that communicates Deloitte’s unique attributes of leadership, trust and confidence and development of marketing programsthat enable Deloitte to clearly differentiate itself in a crowded and increasingly noisy market.   Jonathan recently launched Deloitte’s highly successful and award-winning advertising campaign.

Jonathan speaks and writes frequently on issues related to sales and marketing strategy.   His critically acclaimed book, “Brand Resilience:   Managing Risk and Recovery in a High-Speed World,” was published by Palgrave Macmillan in May 2011.   The book identifies the strategies and tactics that senior executives can employ to prevent their brands from falling prey to deliberate and inadvertent acts of brand sabotage.

Prior to joining Deloitte as a partner in 1997, Jonathan was the Chief Marketing and Sales Officer and member of the executive committee at CCH, a NYSE-listed professional publishing and software company.

Outside of work, Jonathan is an avid long-distance runner, a devotee of public radio, a long-time Chicago Public Media Board member, and an adjunct faculty member at Northwestern University, where he teaches courses on branding, customer loyalty, and customer experience.

Visit the Sunrise Executive Series webpage for more information.

Read Jonathan Copulsky’s interview with Chicago AMA.

Suburban Breakfast with Dave Kimbell, CMO, ULTA Beauty in Rosemont, IL on June 22.

David Kimbell, CMO, ULTA Beauty

David Kimbell, CMO, ULTA Beauty

Dave Kimbell, Chief Merchandising and Marketing Officer of ULTA Beauty, has a remarkable story to tell at our upcoming Sunrise Executive Breakfast Series on June 22.  ULTA has not only been breaking new ground in merchandising and marketing communications, but also setting new records in profitable growth. And Dave Kimbell will share all the details in his talk on “Building a Consumer-Centric Business Strategy.”

Founded 25 years ago, ULTA Beauty has enjoyed great success offering a wide range of products and services in its own stores and others. But with the passing years and changes in the marketplace, it was clear the company had to revamp their strategy to keep up with the times and ensure future growth. ULTA’s success in this effort is borne out by the 30 percent increase in profits it enjoyed in 2014.

In March 2015, following the retirement of Janet Taake, Chief Merchandising Officer, ULTA announced that CMO Dave Kimbell, would take over a newly created position, Chief Merchandising and Marketing Officer. Declaring this organizational change, ULTA’s CEO, Mary Dillion described it as “an opportunity to create an integrated merchandising and marketing team structure by organizing these functions under one leader.”

Before joining ULTA as Chief Marketing Officr in February 2014, Dave was CMO and Executive Vice President at U.S. Cellular. Previously he served as CMO, Vice President of Seventh Generation, a producer of environmentally friendly household and baby care products for seven years. From 1995 to 2008, he held various positions with such iconic consumer brand companies as PepsiCo, Quaker Food and Procter and Gamble.

Now on June 22 you have the unique opportunity of hearing Dave share his innovative vision and insights gained from ULTA’s exciting success at Gibsons Restaurant in Rosemont. Registration and networking starts at 8:00 AM. The presentation begins at 8:30 AM, and concludes at 10:00 AM. Seating is limited, so register now to join us at this very special Sunrise Executive Breakfast!

Join the conversation @chicagoama #camasunrise


Sunrise Series Event Recap: Liz Ross revealed “The Future of Media”

Liz Ross Sunrise May 2015Liz Ross, Global Chief Marketing Officer, IPG Mediabrands gave a talk that was as provocative as it was informative. For two decades, Liz has overseen the growth of major agencies from Tribal DDB and Modern Media in San Francisco to IPG Mediabrands in Chicago.  Long recognized as one our industry’s great innovators, in 2014 she was declared one of the 10 best mobile marketers.

Her talk, billed as a discussion on the “Future of Media,” centered on the tension that exists between dealing with a constantly evolving technology and the universal truths about human nature that every successful marketing campaign must acknowledge. Liz feels that ultimately, marketing is a matter of making the customer feel “loved” by a brand. At the same time, how this message is conveyed is constantly changing as communications technology, data research and the intersection between the two engages in a state of never-ending transformation.

To make her point, she began by reminding the audience that 11 years ago Facebook was just beginning. While there had been similar internet meeting sites before, Facebook took the concept of connecting online with strangers around the world as well as friends and family to a new level. Now it’s an integral part of our lives and marketing programs. In summary, Liz advised us to remember the words of Alvin Toffler, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”  For the future of media, indeed the future of everything is a story of constant adaptation to change.

The next Sunrise Executive Breakfast Series promises to be just as enlightening. Dave Kimbell Chief Merchandising and Marketing Officer of ULTA Beauty will be the guest speaker on Monday, June 22, from 8:30 to 10:00 am at Gibsons Restaurant, 5464 N. River Road, Rosemont, IL

 So join us on Monday, June 22, from 8:30 to 10:00 am and hear Dave share his informed observations at Gibsons Restaurant, 5464 N. River Road, Rosemont, IL as guest speaker at the Sunrise Executive Breakfast series.  Check our blog for updates on Dave’s presentation!

Join the conversation on twitter @chicagoama #camasunrise


Liz Ross, Global CMO, IPG Mediabrands to Speak on May 27

LIz Ross, CMO, IPG MediabrandsLiz Ross will headline the May 27 Sunrise Executive Series at Gibson’s Bar and Steakhouse on Rush in Chicago.

As global chief marketing officer, Liz Ross is responsible for further defining the mission and vision of the firm’s network through clear articulation of the products, services and client solutions that differentiate IPG Mediabrands from its competitors.
Prior to joining IPG, Liz was North America president at BPN. Under her leadership, BPN NA doubled its billings with major clients including Hillshire Brands and Morgan Stanley.  Before  joining BPN, she was CEO of Geomentum, an IPG Mediabrands agency, delivering excellence in the realms of shopper and geo-targeted marketing strategy, and as North American CEO of IPG Mediabrands Ventures.
A veteran of the industry for nearly 20 years, Liz has been chief growth officer at Publicis Groupe’s Digitas, U.S. president at Tribal DDB, and Modem Media in San Francisco, where she led the business development groups in San Francisco and Norwalk, Conn. She has been associated with J. Walter Thompson in Chicago and New York.Liz was inducted into the American Advertising Federation (AAF) Hall of Achievement in 2008 and was named a “Woman to Watch” by Advertising Age in January of 2008.  She received bachelor’s degree in advertising from the College of Communication Arts and Sciences at Michigan State University.

Sunrise Executive Series Recap: The Customer Journey: Owning the Moments that Matter

Written by Suky Lawlor

Sunrise Executive Series: January 22nd, 2015
The Customer Journey: Owning the Moments that Matter
Jennifer Ramirez, VP Global Customer Experience, Western Union

On January 22nd, marketers from around the Chicago area gathered for our first Sunrise Executive Series Breakfast of the year: The Customer Journey: Owning the Moments that Matter. Our speaker for this event, Jennifer Ramirez, VP of Global Customer Experience for Western Union, shared her thoughts on loyalty and retention strategies, with an emphasis on creating an exceptional experience for their customer.

Founded 1851, Western Union has been providing money transfer services to their customers for more than 160 years.   During this time, they have built a strong brand, becoming synonymous with transferring money both domestically and internationally. With 29 transactions per second and over $5.5 billion in revenue, Western Union is definitely not hurting for customers.

So why the shift in ideology when things seemed to be working well enough as is? According to Jennifer, conversion rates were a strong motivator. Somewhere along the path to purchase, customers were dropping off. With a little introspection, they realized that they were only “talking to” the customer, not “doing for” the customer. Until about 18 months ago, the idea of customer experience went from a “nice to have” to an integral operational strategy at Western Union.

As a means to better understand their customer’s needs, Western Union worked with several organizations, including Ideo and Forrester, to map their the customer journey. By conducting interviews with 200 of their customers, they were able to better understand the process, attitudes and behaviors involved in completing a transaction from end to end.

Through this dialogue, they found that the most important moments within the customer journey happened at both the beginning and the end of a transaction. In particular, they found that the area within their website that listed their products was more of a “choose your own adventure” experience rather than the guided tour that it should be. To address this, Western Union adopted an interface that broke down the transaction into easy-to-follow steps. By taking some of the guesswork out of the process early on, they were able to alleviate some of their customer’s anxiety, thus making it easier to continue on to the next step of the journey.

In addition, insight into the final stages of the transaction highlighted the lack of transparency into what happened to the money after it left the customers hands. In turn, this was having an adverse affect on the customer’s loyalty and likelihood to return for repeat transactions. To address this problem, Western Union established a more transparent interface that mapped the path of the money from Point A to Point B and gave an estimate of the time it would take until it reached its destination.

By developing a more customer-centric outlook, Western Union has seen itself transform from a “transactional” mentality to a “customer-focused” mindset. They have turned actionable customer insights into standards by which they measure their behavior across all future transactions. As marketers, we should keep this in mind and execute our strategies with Western Union’s idea of “doing for” the customer instead of just “talking to” the customer.