Phoenix: An emerging hot-bed for tech innovation and digital marketing

phxblogMatt Kalina, account manager at Marketing With A Flair, shares here how Phoenix is quickly becoming a U.S. hotbed for tech innovators and digital marketers, and about the area’s growth into one of the newest big tech centers in the country.

The metro Phoenix area services either headquarters or large operations for big-name technological and on-line firms such as Amazon, Apple, Clear Channel Outdoor, Ebay, GoDaddy, Intel, LifeLock, PayPal, Shutterfly, and many others, and is a hot destination for the operations of fast-growing tech start-ups and fast-growth companies, as well as large agencies for advertising, digital interactive, integrated marketing, public relations and social media disciplines.

Read the full blog post here and connect with Matt Kalina.

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Guest Post: Help! My video’s not going viral!

mark knowlesBy Guest Blogger Mark Knoles of Phoenix-based digital agency Gate 6.

The first time I used video in content marketing, I was so excited. I was extremely proud of the work and its potential to help viewers understand what I was trying to communicate.

So with a sense of giddiness, I hit the upload button.

I went to all of my social media channels and shared my video. I posted it on my website, and I asked friends and family to share it with others.

Well, if your experience has been anything like mine in this regard, you can probably guess how that turned out. In a few days, I’d managed to rack up about 75 views — and then nothing.

I didn’t want to keep bugging people on social media or in emails, but I added a link to the video on my profiles, hoping this would encourage some activity. After about a month, my now tempered expectations were thrilled that number of views had exceeded 100.

It was a real disappointment.

For all of the exceptional things that I know video marketing is capable of, at the time, I couldn’t understand why my first video seemed to fail so miserably in generating much interest, let alone “going viral”.

Surely there must be a lesson here…

But as it turned out, I learned a very important lesson. I was in fact undervaluing the video’s potential by looking at only a single metric — the number of views.

There’s nothing wrong with looking at the number of views as a metric, to help you understand what kind of activity is surrounding your video marketing. But the biggest problem with view counts along with the number of likes or comments that you receive is that they can obscure a much more important set of data.

So let’s reset and look at video projects from the very beginning, to better understand what we want to achieve and then measure that.

Know your goals

First things first. It’s a good idea to sketch out a couple of high level goals for your video content before even hitting record, or even starting a script.

  • Do you want to build a brand awareness?
  • Do you want to better explain your products or services?
  • Do you want to give people an inside look at your company?
  • Do you want to share success stories from your clients?
  • Do you want to explain a particular process?

The answer to the question, “What is my video for?” should give you a pretty idea about what questions you want to answer, or what the utility is to your customer, or what the value is to your brand.

Example: for a brand awareness campaign, the number of views of your video might be a more significant metric than, say, the number of views for a conversion focused video such as a product promotion where the goal is to prompt user action.

Measure value beyond views

For the piece that promotes your product or service, views don’t matter as much as other metrics such as audience retention or demographics data.

If having a video on your product’s landing page helps to improve conversions and address customer concerns or questions, thereby saving you time and money as well as fostering and nurturing prospects, then measuring the value of your video content based on the number of views alone doesn’t really make much sense.

Instead, you want to look at a set of metrics relevant to your video content that measure the benefit it provides in context: for example, average percentage viewed, geographical location, embed sources, shares, and any others that help you connect your video’s performance with your business and marketing goals.

How does the story end?

Here’s the most important thing that I learned from that first video I posted online, the one that got about 100 views. Forget “going viral”. That’s not a realistic or even measurable goal. Ultimately, the real value to me wasn’t in just the number of views or shares or comments or likes, or whatever.

The real value was when prospects or potential customers saw the video — even if it was just two or three out of the 100 — and contacted me to do work for them. The real value is that my video achieved its true goal: bringing in more business and generating more interest in my brand.


Mark Knoles is the Media Production Director at Gate6, a full-service digital agency in the Phoenix area. Mark and his team have produced a collection of award-winning video and creative productions. He has also served as adjunct faculty teaching film production at Grand Canyon University.

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5 Keys to Great Company Videos

mark knowlesGuest Blogger Mark Knoles of Phoenix based digital agency Gate 6 shares his 5 Keys to Great Company Videos:

Your company is a culture unto itself. Whether you’re aware of it or not, this culture affects everything from your daily business interactions to your long-term business goals, from your customer experience to your employee satisfaction.

Your company culture not only influences your brand but also has other implications as well:

• It becomes a common frame of reference for your employees.
• It differentiates you from your competition.
• It shapes your relationship with customers, vendors and partners.

So how can rich media like video content promote your company’s culture? Here are 5 keys that will help.

1. Tackle realities and skip the “us too” trends.

Video content is highly engaging as a means to showcase your unique qualities, values, and expertise – when done right.
The problem is that many companies fail to understand their culture or are unaware of the preconceptions that already influence their customer relationships. Too many companies fall prey to preexisting formulas for video content, mimicking what already exists rather than creating something truly unique to their brand.
So how can you stand out from the crowd? How can you create a lasting impression that generates brand awareness and stimulates interest in what you do?
With a company culture video, you can create a window into the very soul of your organization.

2. Embrace your culture story.

When you think about your company, it helps to fill in some blanks that tell a story…
● …about your qualities: “My company is ____________.”
● …about your customers: “Our customers value _________.”
● …about your employees: “I work at a place where qualities like _________ are esteemed.”
● …about your brand positioning: “Our competitors don’t have __________ like we do.”
● …about your goals for the future: “Our success will be measured by ____________.”

At Gate6, we’re tech geeks and darn proud of it. We nerd out on strategy, and our brand essence is all about developing killer ideas and brilliant execution for our clients. We own our roots, our diversity, and our passion. Everything we say and do stems from a company-wide awareness of our company culture.
So when we’re creating video content about Gate6, it’s not just an exercise in talking about what we do – it’s about showing the inside view of who we really are and what motivates us.

Reflect on your organization’s personality. How do your customers see you, and how do you see yourself? Video is a powerful way to connect the two perspectives and project confidence about who you really are. On the other hand, when companies fail to understand or value their culture, their messaging will lack focus.

3. Invite audience participation.

As a window into your company’s soul, culture videos can and should pique the interest of your audience. Use them to showcase real people who make your company what it is – then invite viewers to participate in the conversation.
Your video needn’t talk at viewers. Rather, you can create a conversation with them. Take them on a visual journey of your company’s vision, motivation and personality.

● Do you improve the quality of life for customers? How?
● Just released a proprietary technology? Showcase it!
● Do you deserve more business? Prove why!

Your culture is a two-way street. Not only do your customers encounter it, they shape it – because they, too, participate in your organization. Many successful campaigns have leveraged customer interaction and perceptions about a brand. (A recent example: Coca-Cola’s “Share A Coke” campaign, featuring customized bottles.) Consider how you might interact with your own community of participants and use video to document the journey.

4. Mine your history for culture riches

Great cultures evolve from rich history. Regardless of how long your company has existed, its history will provide valuable insights into culture. Consider using video to share your company “origin story” or to identify key milestones that allowed the organization to overcome adversity.

Video can help partners and investors better understand company expectations and values. Your staff can benefit, too. Internal videos can help to:

• Celebrate employee milestones.
• Highlight career advancements.
• Recognize birthdays and employment anniversaries.
• Share news about awards & certifications.

These and other events can develop a deeper connection to your culture – and as a bonus, documenting company history as it happens.

5. Share it. And share more.

Platforms and channels for video content abound. Don’t be shy about your company culture – let it live and breathe throughout your marketing opportunities. Your website, social media channels, and email marketing all benefit from rich media that engages viewers.
You don’t need to stop at one video, or put all of your culture eggs in one basket. Instead, include your personality as a natural extension of your ongoing communications and customer interaction.

Take an honest look at what’s going on in your market space. This is your chance to do something different and redefine the way people interpret your brand.

It’s time to rethink video strategy and tell your story with a unique voice.
In the end, you’ll not only have great marketing pieces, but you’ll also develop a thriving company culture that energizes your brand.

Mark Knoles is a Digital Producer and the Media Production Director at Gate6, a full-service digital agency in the Phoenix area. He and his team oversee creative marketing productions for clients.

Mark and his team have produced a collection of award-winning video and animated productions, receiving 11 Telly Awards, several AMA Spectrum Awards including the People’s Choice Award, and top honors from other national and international award competitions.

Mark also serves as an adjunct faculty member at Grand Canyon University.

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AMA Star Member: Mark Vance

Mark Vance, Vice President – Marketing Manager at National Bank of Arizona, is AMA Phoenix’s Star Member of the Month. Mark is a talented and effective communicator whose strength is his ability to rally organizations around a shared vision.

A fun fact that most people don’t know about Mark: As Brand Manager for Adidas, he produced the first commercial at the Berlin wall when it came down.

Mark is working on several important events right now, including:

  • Arizona Leadership Forum – September 19th at the Phoenix Convention Center. This event brings together leaders from the private, public and non-profit sectors to improve the future of Arizona. Seth Godin will be speaking.
  • Super Bowl Host Committee – NBAZ’s role is still to be determined but they will play a role in supporting the Host Committee’s efforts in the global branding of the state of Arizona.
  • Winter Swing – Charity golf tournament
  • The Taste of the Biltmore – This on October 2nd event is NBAZ’s biggest social event of the season. All proceeds go to charity; this year the event is benefitting the Act One Foundation.

In addition to Mark’s individual engagement with the AMA, National Bank of Arizona graciously hosts our monthly Signature Lunch Events at their beautiful Conference Center in Phoenix.

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Seth Kerr AMA PHX Star Member

This gallery contains 1 photo.

Seth Kerr, vice president of sales and marketing at Enliven Production Group, is AMA Phoenix’s Star Member of the Month for June. Enliven is an innovative communications company delivering multimedia solutions in content creation, digital technologies, graphic design, executive presentation … Continue reading

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Interested in Volunteering with AMA Phoenix?

amalogoWe are always looking for people who want to get involved with the AMA Phoenix

Many volunteer positions are available, including:
•    Event Programming
•    Membership
•    Sponsorship
•    Website Maintenance
• Social Media …and more!

Fill out this form to get started. We’ll be in touch shortly.

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The Falsehood of Instagram’s Engagement Rate

InstagramBlogPostInstagram’s recent buzz around their seemingly high engagement rates is naturally appealing for social marketers to tout the effectiveness of their Instagram presence. Can Instagram’s boasted high rates of engagement be compared to activity and engagement across other, more established platforms?

In this blog post from Defero’s Hailey Crider, read more about why Instagram’s engagement rates give the impression of being higher than they might actually be, and the importance of content in creating deeper connections with your social audiences.

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Bill Lavidge May AMA STAR Member

lavidgeAMA Phoenix is proud to name Bill Lavidge as May’s Star Member of the Month. Lavidge is CEO and owner of The Lavidge Company, founded in 1982. Today it is among the largest full-service marketing firms in Arizona.

Lavidge’s career spans over 30 years, and demonstrates an active and supportive role in the marketing community. He is past chairman of KAET Public Television, the ASU M.B.A Council and the Phoenix Advertising Club, as well as a former board member of Valley Leadership. He has served on the Foundation Board of The Better Business Bureau, and was an analyst on the panel of Truth Watch, an investigative series sponsored by the Arizona Republic and KPNX-TV Channel 12 that reviewed and critiqued political advertising. Lavidge is a Member of the Phoenix Thunderbirds and was a founding member and past president of Phoenix Suns Charities and a past Chapter Chairman of the Young President’s Organization (YPO). Currently, he is a board member of the Harvey Mackay University, Bell Automotive Products and the MVP Foundation.

Lavidge attended Arizona State University, where he received an undergraduate degree in business and a master’s degree in business administration. He also has taught in the marketing department as a faculty associate for the university.

On being named May Star Member of the Month, Lavidge shares: My father, Bob Lavidge, served as the national AMA President in the 1970’s. Therefore, I have long been an admirer of the AMA and its on-going focus to provide relevant education in the constantly changing field of marketing. It is a nice, yet unexpected honor to named the Star Member of the Month.

Connect with Bill Lavidge.

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Spectrum Awards Highlight Board Member, Volunteer of the Year

Thank you to everyone who joined us for this year’s Spectrum Awards on Wednesday, May 14, at the Musical Instrument Museum.

Congratulations to this year’s award winners. We’d like to specially acknowledge our Board Member of the Year and Volunteer of the Year.

annabriceBoard Member of the Year
Congratulations to Anna Brice!  Many thanks for her dedication and service to the chapter.  As President-Elect she has went above and beyond this year to help with communications and successfully lead and manage the 2014 Spectrum Awards — which turned out to be a spectacular event.  Her leadership and passion definitely make her a valuable asset to the chapter!

Nina SegoviaVolunteer of the Year
Congratulations to Nina Segovia!  With her go-the-extra-mile work ethic and “can-do” attitude Nina has served the chapter well.  She volunteers as the Hispanic Special Interest Group (SIG) Chair but also finds time to support our other events. Many thanks to Nina for her commitment, passion and excellent service!

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Google Sets Out To Change How We Speak About Web Traffic

Google_Analytics_logoFrom the company whose name is now a verb, come new additions, or changes, to the lexicon of web speak. Recently, Google updated its Analytics terminology in a way that changes up how we refer to web traffic.

Site “Visits” are now referred to as “Sessions” and “Unique Visitors” are now “Users.” The small wording updates (tied in with changes to web and app view displays) are set to have a big impact in in how we communicate and report on website visits. These changes, made in an effort to better communicate user behavior, are requiring online marketers to familiarize with the new basics of web traffic.

Find all the details and more from Google on this change at this Google+ post.

Google Analytics image courtesy of
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