AMA Iowa Recognizes Top Marketing Talent in the State; Names Marketing Executive & Marketer of the Year
DES MOINES, Iowa (May 10, 2019)—The Iowa Chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA Iowa) held its 14th annual NOVA Awards on Thursday, May 9 in downtown Des Moines.
In addition to recognizing the top marketing campaigns completed in 2018, this year’s AMA Iowa’s awards also showcased top marketing talent working in Iowa’s businesses and organizations. With two new award categories, Marketing Executive of the Year and Marketer of the Year, this 2019 addition to the awards allowed for individual recognition of those making a significant impact on their company and the community.
Through a reciprocal judging agreement, a panel of marketing professionals from the AMA San Antonio Chapter judged all categories for the 2019 awards. Top award recipients in each NOVA category include:
- Advertising – ZLR Ignition, Wellmark-Medicare Campaign
- Copywriting – Indigo, Indigo Premier Brochure
- Direct Marketing – Sammons Institutional Group, Inc., Tax Season Care & Safety Package
- Integrated Marketing Campaign – OBI Creative, Cobalt Credit Union Rebrand
- Interactive Marketing – Bank Iowa/Lessing-Flynn, Bird’s Eye View – Bank of Iowa
- Marketing Communications – Sammons Financial Group, Midland “MVP Playbook”
- Marketing Department of One – ASI/Signage Innovations, Reflections Campaign
- Marketing Research – Sammons Financial Group, Empowered: Women and Retirement
- Non-Profit Marketing – OBI Creative, Nebraska CASA Campaign
- Public Relations – Vermeer Corporation, Vermeer Corporation Survives the Storm and Comes Back STRONGER THAN EVER
- Small Budget Campaign – Sammons Institutional Group, Inc., Tax Season Care & Safety Package
- Special Event – Iowa Finance Authority, Flock to the Block
- People’s Choice Award – Goodwill of Central Iowa, Styled by Goodwill
- Best of Show – Iowa Finance Authority, Flock to the Block
Marketer of the Year was awarded to Abby Delaney, Digital Marketing Manager at Bankers Trust. Receiving this award, which recognizes one up-and-coming marketer who shows potential to shine as she rises in her career, is a testament to the “high volume of high-quality work” Abby produces for Bankers Trust. She leads a variety of digital campaigns and projects, all positively contributing to the bottom line. Because of her work in marketing automation and digital advertising campaigns, Bankers Trust is now able to run… “consistent, regular email touchpoints with all customers, customized to the individual based on their current bank relationship and anticipated future needs,” said her nominator.
The Marketing Executive of the Year Award was created to honor one individual who inspires, leads, and achieves excellence in the field of marketing, and has contributed significantly to the region’s marketing community. At the 2019 AMA Iowa NOVA Awards, this achievement was given to Emily Abbas, Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Bankers Trust.
In her time with Bankers Trust, she has built a highly-functioning and fast-paced marketing team. Most recently, her team launched a new “Bankers Trust Difference” branding campaign and an updated website. Her team has also done tremendous work in documenting personas and customer journey mapping for all customer segments and has created advanced marketing automation systems to drive business results.
In a recommendation letter, her team wrote, “Emily is a leader who encourages collaboration and creativity,” stating she “has helped shift our Marketing and Communications team’s role from order takers and brochure makers to consultative, strategic partners for our business units.” They added, “she inspires the people around her to be better” and continually “motivates everyone around her to reach higher. She achieves results and shares her successes.”
Visit amaiowa.com/novas for a full list of award recipients.
Q & A With Jessica Best – June Luncheon Speaker
Can you give me some of your professional background? How did you get to where you are today?
Why are you so intrigued by email marketing and data?
How has email changed in your time as a marketing professional?
Your presentation topic is focused on “Balancing Relevance vs. Privacy: The State of Data in Email Marketing in 2019” — what does this mean for marketers and what should they expect?
What is the primary point of information you’d like to share with folks attending your presentation? Who should attend?
Hitting a Home Run with Digital Content: A Look at the Chicago Cubs’ Rise to the Top with Kevin Saghy
Q & A With Kevin Saghy – May Luncheon Speaker
When the opportunity for his dream job opened up with the Chicago Cubs about ten years ago, Kevin Saghy jumped on it. As a fresh marketer at a time when brands were just starting to utilize social media, it was the perfect fit. On Wednesday, May 1st, Kevin Saghy will share his experience while working with the Chicago Cubs – not only on the tactical social media strategy that brought the team’s presence to the top of the league but also the fun, behind-the-scenes work environment with the legendary baseball team.
Can you give us a preview of your professional background and how you got to your position today?
I came from a marketing communications background and started out at a PR firm, Ketchum, my first three years—financial, corporate, you name it. Several brands we worked on at the time were using social media for the first time such as Kellogg’s and Best Buy.
When the Cubs job came open, I had the experience they were looking for both in traditional PR and social media. Essentially, we launched their presence on social. We had a strategy in place, but we weren’t where we wanted to be as a brand, so we hired a social media agency to look at our strategy and how we could better support the business. Ultimately, that helped us grow from average to number one in the league—which we’ll talk about during my presentation.
After eight great years with the Cubs, I wound up having to juggle the tough schedule with my newborn daughter, which became tough. First and foremost, I needed to be a good dad, so we moved closer to family in Ohio. Now I’m almost a year-and-a-half in as the Senior Director of Social Media for The Ohio State University.
Your presentation topic is titled “Hitting a Home Run with Digital Content: A Look at the Chicago Cubs’ Rise to the Top”. What does this mean for today’s marketers and what should they expect when they attend?
I’ll touch on how to integrate marketing communication efforts to better support their business. A lot of what I worked on [with the Cubs] was specific to social media, but I will talk about how it will expand into other marketing areas that we have to also dedicate time to as marketers. We’ll talk about what that build out looked like at the Cubs and how that helped us build a smarter business.
It’s fun for me to revisit these memories at the Cubs, so we’re going to talk about the “fun stuff” as well. I’m happy to answer questions about working for the team.
What is the primary point of information you’d like to share with folks attending your presentation? Who should attend?
The flexible framework we are going to talk about will be applicable to different industries and business models no matter what the goals. Just because this is focused within sports, doesn’t mean it isn’t applicable to other folks in the room. Even at the Cubs, a lot of the goals changed throughout the time working on social media and utilizing this same framework and principles, we were able to keep moving up.
As far as who should attend, this isn’t just for Cubs fans. Anyone within marketing and communications across a wide variety of industries would benefit from hearing about the framework and process we went through. Senior-level folks who are in positions critical to driving change in their organization would truly benefit from these insights, but anyone can learn from a foundational framework such as this.
How has social media changed in your time in the marketing field?
It has changed in a number of ways, but really, social media drives the news cycle now. It went from this thing that we needed to fight for attention and to prove the work of social media. Now it leads a lot of the communication efforts and it’s how people consume the news and information. Tactically, the platforms have also changed so much. It puts us in the position to learn in real-time to help increase your reach. It’s a challenge, and a fun one if you’re up for it because there is constant change in this space.
About Kevin Saghy
Prior to joining The Ohio State University in his current role as senior director of social media, Kevin worked for eight seasons at the Chicago Cubs, most recently as assistant director of communications. Kevin was responsible for promoting the club’s business
and community initiatives through integrated communications channels, including the overall direction of the team’s social media strategy and reporting. Kevin led cross-functional strategic planning, collaborated with corporate and community partners, and served as a team spokesperson to local and national media.
Under Kevin’s leadership, the Cubs’ social media team was nationally recognized for its compelling content, entertaining voice and focus toward personal engagement, including the most total interactions with fans on Twitter among any Major League Baseball club. In a 2017 social engagement study released by SportsBusiness Journal, the Cubs were recognized as the top-performing baseball team, and the only MLB club ranked among the top 25 global sports organizations.
WHAT IS KEY MESSAGING?
Key messaging is all about creating a strategy (with an accompanying document) to use as a quick reference guide for communicating about your brand. This is not about creating a catchy tagline or an advertising headline. This is meant to be an overview piece to be used internally and with external partners to help ensure your brand is providing consistent messaging in marketing campaigns and more.
THE KEY TO BRAND MESSAGING
A good key messaging document includes:
- Positioning statement – Think of this as your brand’s elevator pitch. How do you describe what you do for your customers in two sentences or less?
- Personality – Try establishing four to five personality traits you’d like your brand to emulate and incorporate those traits throughout the document.
- Target audience – You don’t have to go into great detail, but provide a general framework of the audience you are trying to connect with. If you want to go above and beyond, you can develop key messaging in conjunction with persona research and create messaging specific to each persona.
- Differentiators – What makes you different? If your sales team or spokesperson can’t answer this question quickly, they won’t be effective.
The real key? All of this should fit on one standard piece of paper — this should help you stay concise and be direct in your messaging (and make it easy for employees and others to print it off to hang at their desk).
RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH
It can be intimidating to just sit down and try to write key messaging, and that isn’t even the best way to do it. Start by spending time talking to others in your organization, including leadership, customer support and sales, to identify what they think makes the company unique. If available, you can also review your organization’s mission and vision, past customer research, as well as reviews and feedback. Starting with research will help your resulting key messaging be effective and, more importantly, accurate to the customer experience.
From there, venture into your target audience and brand personality sections. Once you’ve got alignment on those pieces, the positioning statement, differentiators and any other key messaging can be developed.
>> Download Lessing-Flynn's Key Messaging template to get started!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR & LESSING-FLYNN
While Laura Plumb debuted at Lessing-Flynn in 2013 as a public relations intern, she has since evolved into a strategic digital marketer. Using her serene personality Laura tackles countless projects with calm precision. She’s also known for her penchant for discovering new techniques and platforms — you might say she keeps us “in the know.”
Lessing-Flynn was founded in 1907, some eight decades before Al Gore got around to inventing the Internet. But Lessing-Flynn, in the spirit of its brilliant and/or crazy founder, continues to use powerful storytelling and savvy marketing strategies to help brands and entrepreneurs in agriculture, construction, financial, insurance, health services, tech and other industries grow their business.
Iowa AMA is excited to host “Bingo and Beer Benefiting By Degrees” next month at Flix Brewhouse for a night of BINGO and trivia to benefit the By Degrees Foundation. As we get ready for the big event, we wanted to share a little more about this great organization. We sat down with Emily Westergaard, CEO of the By Degrees Foundation, and asked her to share more with our members.
Check out her interview below, and make sure to register to save your seat!
Tell us a little bit about the foundation. How was it formed? How long has it been around? Who does it impact?
By Degrees was founded in 1990 as an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization as the Des Moines I Have a Dream Foundation, and originally operated as an affiliate of the national I Have a Dream network. Our original goal has remained the same after almost three decades: help more Des Moines students graduate from high school and go on to receive postsecondary education.
Since our founding, we have worked to increase high school graduation and postsecondary readiness rates in Des Moines’ most underserved communities. We originally operated using a cohort model (used from 1990 to 2018), which identified and supported small groups of students throughout their entire academic careers, providing resources and programming to meet their needs in preparation for the future. We worked with and supported these students throughout high school and then providing them with postsecondary tuition assistance.
Using the original model, we launched three cohort programs of around 45 students at a time:
- Moulton Elementary 5th graders in 1990
- Homes of Oakridge 1st graders in 1996
- King Elementary 1st graders in 2006
In the spring of 2018, our King Elementary cohort of students graduated from high school. Of the students who maintained contact with our program, 95% graduated from high school and 70% began postsecondary journeys in the fall of 2018. Support for our graduated cohort students remains strong, regardless of where they are in their postsecondary and post-graduation journeys.
You were affiliated with the "I Have a Dream Foundation". Why did you choose to become a local organization?
On December 5, 2018, we disaffiliated from the national network. We chose to become a local organization in order to better customize our programing to meet the needs of our students, and create local solutions to fit the central Iowa community. Through the years, our model has expanded from helping 50 students at a time, to whole schools of students, and we’re now able to support over 1,000 students in the Des Moines community. As we add more schools, this continues to grow.
Our new name, By Degrees, reinforces our belief that incremental changes can have a significant long-term impact on a child’s future. Through disaffiliation and this name change, we believe we are better able to serve the Des Moines community as a local and independent nonprofit focused on a future-ready approach to education.
We also love the name, because we recognize the kind of significant, long-term impact for each student that we aim for does not happen suddenly. It happens in hundreds of small increments—or by degrees.
How long have you been with By Degrees? What drew you to the organization?
I joined the organization in 2010, and knew quickly that this role was the perfect fit for me. Every day, I get to use my skills and experience in fundraising, community organizing and nonprofit management, to ensure more kids have life-changing educational opportunities, just like I did. Education is incredibly important to me personally as well as professionally. I was born and raised in Des Moines and graduated from North High School. I attended Grinnell college, which was possible because I had incredible mentors and teachers in middle and high school that helped me navigate the complex path making Grinnell College possible for me.
What should we watch for in 2019 for By Degrees?
We are very excited to begin expansion into North High School, where our kindergarten through 8th graders attend high school, and pursue opportunities to expand into additional elementary schools. We believe breaking down the systemic cycle of poverty is best achieved through business and community partnerships that benefit more students and families, and are focused on affecting change through whole neighborhoods.
How can people support By Degrees?
We strive to make sure donors to By Degrees understand the impact their investments are making. Whether it’s a gift of $20 or $20,000, we want every donor to know how we’re making a difference for the students we serve. Our “Sponsor a Scholar” program (for gifts of at least $1,000), enables donors to make a deeper connection with the students we support. Through the Sponsor a Scholar program, donors will hear from our students regularly, and can participate in events at the school throughout the year. We also host two annual events. Our spring event, called Sweet Dreams, will be on April 30th. More info on events and donation information is available at www.bydegreesfoundation.org.
What kind of volunteer opportunities are there?
We are currently developing volunteer opportunities and encourage people to reach out to us as interested.
Are there other ways to get involved?
We are always looking for energetic people to join our event committees! We hold two large events throughout the year and love to get more members of the community involved. If you’re passionate about education and enjoy a good party, reach out!
Is there anything else we didn't ask that you'd like to share with our readers?
I’ll leave you with a quick statistic: Research shows that $500 in a college savings account makes a student three times more likely to attend college and four times more likely to graduate. This fact led us to develop our unique College Savings Account program, where all students at Findley Elementary have the chance to earn up to $200 per year into their own CSA through meeting personal, academic, and family milestones. We know that $500 (or $2,000 if they stay in our program for all 13 years) won’t pay for all postsecondary costs, but we know it’s enough to start the conversation.
About Emily: Emily Westergaard is the CEO of the By Degrees Foundation (formerly called the Des Moines I Have a Dream Foundation), which works to ensure more kids graduate from high school and pursue education after high school. As the chief professional officer of the organization, Emily has led the development of an innovative new model for program delivery called the Dreamer Academy. Launched in 2014, the Dreamer Academy is the first of its kind in the nation to partner with public schools and create long-term, sustainable, and proactive support for students in under-served neighborhoods, and to pair that support with comprehensive financial capacity building and college savings accounts.
Emily has over 15 years of experience fundraising and managing programs within community organizations and higher education institutions. She has a Masters in Public Administration from Drake University, her Bachelor’s in International Development from Grinnell College, and spent her first few years after college as the Research Associate at the Desert Research Foundation in southern Africa. Emily is in the current Leadership Iowa class, a co-chair for Neighbors for Growth, which is working to pass a local option sales tax in Des Moines, and volunteers with United Way, Polk County Early Childhood Iowa and the John Stoddard Cancer Center. She’s also a Girl Scout Troop Leader.