2013-2014 Monthly Programs – third Thursday of each month

How to Avoid the Pitfalls of  Social Media in Business – Brian Wassom, Partner, Honigman Business Law Firm 
April 17, 2014 – Fetzer Center at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo
11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Social media. You know it well. And use it daily. But in the “anything goes” digital Wild West, there are missteps and potential liabilities that can impact your brand, your reputation, and your company. Attend the April AMA event to learn how to avoid the pitfalls of social media from attorney and digital media expert, Mr. Brian Wassom, J.D.

Brian will discuss the legal considerations that might not be top-of mind but often come into play on-line such as intellectual property law, advertising regulations, and unintended consequences of user-generated content campaigns.



Adams Outdoor Advertising - Dave Alsvig
May 15, 2014 – Fetzer Center at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo
11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.



Achieving Great Results With Great Leadership – Jim Eckert
March 20, 2014

To achieve great results the team has to perform at its best, and that requires great leadership.  To be at your best you need to be a coach, a communicator and a catalyst. This session will explore these topics and each participant will leave with practical and proven strategies to apply immediately to maximize their own leadership efforts while pushing their team to greater heights.

Duncan Aviation - Lori Johnson and Diane Heiserman
February 27, 2014

Lori and Diane discussed the unique challenges of relationship-marketing in a niche business with a long sales cycle like business aviation and how Duncan creates strong connections and long-term partnerships with customers and prospects through content marketing and accessibility to Duncan’s experts, systems, and data.

Founders Brewing Co. – Dave Engbers, Co-Founder, Vice President, Director of Brand & Education
January 16, 2014

Mike Stevens and Dave Engbers both had steady jobs when they decided to chase their dreams and open a brewery–which meant writing a business plan, quitting their jobs, and taking out giant loans. They figured if you’re going to live life, you ought to live it hard, without regrets. The Founders Family, a group of passionate beer enthusiasts, has grown around this simple philosophy: “We don’t brew beer for the masses. Instead, our beers are crafted for a chosen few, a small cadre of renegades and rebels who enjoy a beer that pushes the limits of what is commonly accepted as taste. In short, we make beer for people like us.”

Competing with National Brands and Tasting Success!
December 19, 2013

Randy Stickney, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Hudsonville Ice Cream,  highlighted Hudsonville Ice Cream’s eighty plus year history in the ice cream business, how distribution network changes have impacted the company’s marketing strategies over the years, and how this small family owned business continues to succeed in a grocery category dominated by international food producers.

Driving Growth and Innovation with Design, Culture, and Craft
November 21, 2013

Guest speaker, Richard Heriford, discussed  how Landscape Forms has enjoyed unparalleled success as a premium global brand of site furniture, LED lighting and accessories through creating a design-centric business model; using leading edge technology; and offering integrated product solutions. Mr. Heriford also discussed how the company’s commitment to engaging their employees and creating a culture of excellence has built strong customer loyalty and earned Landscape Forms national and international recognition.

SEO What? - Enhance the Efficiency and Effectiveness of Your Online Marketing Efforts
October 17, 2013

Guest speaker, Matt Bonofiglio from Mlive provided insight on why SEO is important, why SERP rank matter, where SEO and marketing goals intersect, and how on-page and off-page work together.

Mobilizing for Good - How Amway Changed 10 Million Lives in 10 Years
September 19, 2013

Guest speaker, Debra Kalmbach, Global Manager of Corporate Citizenship at Amway Corporation, will tell the story of the company’s “One by One Campaign for Children,” a charitable focus for Amway since 2003. She will explain how creating a focus on improving the lives of children worldwide 10 years ago helped the company change 10 million lives for the better, and how any brand can use corporate social responsibility to create positive change locally or globally.

Managing the Digital Ecosystem at Thomson Reuters
May 16, 2013

Guest Speaker Bryan Hoeft, Senior Director at Thomson Reuters will provide an inside look at how Thomson Reuters Tax & Accounting leverages its web properties as a centerpiece in its customer experience approach. You will learn about consolidation efforts and how Thomson Reuters manages its digital ecosystem using A: B testing, visitor segmentation, progressive profiling, dynamic content, and validation of go-to-market strategies.

Using Community Engagement to Drive Brand Value
April 18, 2013

Gazelle Sports actively pursues, encourages and celebrates a healthy lifestyle. The company strives for retail excellence by providing the world’s best customer care, focusing on a never ending commitment to unmatched product knowledge and creating friendly, positive relationships with customers, vendors and our communities.

Is Direct Mail Still Relevant in Today’s Digital World?
March 21, 2013

Now, more than ever, consumers are under a constant barrage of marketing messages, and email marketing has overwhelmed inboxes on computers at work and at home. To get your message noticed is an increasingly difficult challenge. Creative use of direct mail is not only still relevant, it is often the most effective — and believe it or not — the least intrusive way to reach your target audience.

Evaluating New Markets: A Strategic Approach to Drive Organizational Growth
February 21, 2013

A business’ ability to identify and evaluate market opportunities is an important ingredient to achieve growth targets and long-term sustainability. New market development is a common strategy used to sustain organizational growth; however, many of the methods used lack structure or are limited to a specific industry or organization type. Guest speaker Dr. Wes Martz will introduce the Market Evaluation Checklist (MEC) tool used to assess new market growth opportunities that lead to organizational growth. Practical insights into assessing market opportunities and two case studies will be presented to illustrate the practical use, advantages, and limitations of the tool.

How Strong Business Relationships Can Help You Grow Your Business in 2013!
January 17, 2013

Have you ever wondered why you struggle to connect with certain people? Have you ever had a desire for less stressful relationships? Have you ever desired to become more influential?In this program, based on her book “You Can Teach a Pig to Sing!”, Mary Jane Mapes shared her innovative, laugh out loud, I can share this today insights that help you get along better with anyone – even the most difficult prospects, customers, clients or colleagues in your life.  Face it! Cooperative, productive, mutually rewarding relationships are good business – in fact, they are profitable business!

Aligning Sales and Marketing – Yes, you CAN get along
December 13, 2012

There is much talk today about the “problem” of sales-marketing alignment.  But a closer look at B2B companies today reveals that sales-marketing alignment is not a problem, but a symptom indicating deeper issues.  In this session, Jay Hidalgo, President of the Annuitas Group will address the symptom, diagnose the real problem, and provide practical remedies that can be used to align both groups, resulting in a unified approach to driving revenue.

Re-igniting Your Brand
November 15, 2012

With customers and markets changing the speed of technology, re-igniting you brand may become an important step in remaining distinctive and competitive in the marketplace. Culver Academies, formerly known as Culver Military Academy met this challenge over the past decade, and Bill Hargraves, Culver’s Strategic Marketing Director will share with you how this strategy may apply to your business.

The Past & Future of Integrated Marketing Communications: From CM to CRM to CN²
October 19, 2012

Marketplace changes have radically altered our views of marketing communications, advertising and IMC. Don Schultz of Northwestern University – a founder of the IMC movement – will describe how customers and their access to technology have totally changed the concept of marketing communication and IMC. He will discuss how and why integration will be one of the key communication strategies for the interactive marketplace.

After the Fall: Repositioning Your Brand Following a Crisis
September 20, 2012

Even the most reputable businesses can face a crisis. Find out how to engage your audiences in constructive ways to restore relationships and reposition your brand through solid communications. Our guest speaker, Rick Chambers, is a 30-year veteran of corporate communications, public relations and journalism and has spent most of his career in the pharmaceutical industry, holding key local and global leadership roles.

A Different Approach to Social Media
May 17, 2012

We all have seen brands embrace social media. Ford Motor Company, however, has approached social media differently. By infusing social purpose into its social media strategies, Ford balances the brand mantra of its early beginnings with the campaigns of today. Craig Daitch, U.S. Social Media Manager at Ford Motor Company will present how the company has brought social good to its programs, building unprecedented advocacy between the brand and its customers that has resulted in Ford being the envy of the industry.

A Journey to Luxury Positioning
April 19, 2012

The Jenn-Air brand was launched in the early sixties and widely considered to be the original luxury appliance brand. Like many brands Jenn-Air went through a number of changes over the years. It was sold several times and so it’s original luxury positioning had changed. Whirlpool Corporation acquired the brand in 2006; at the time of the acquisition Jenn-Air was positioned as a mass-premium brand, the same as KitchenAid (a part of Whirlpool Corporation’s portfolio of brands since 1986). A decision was made to follow a strategy that repositioned Jenn-Air as a luxury appliance brand. Whirlpool Corporation is two years into this multi-year strategy and already seeing positive results for Jenn-Air.

Getting the Edge: SEO Strategies and Insights
March 15, 2012

Learn how SEO strategies are changing in today’s hypercompetitive marketplace and gain insights into the latest developments and best pratices in SEO to leverage both on-page and off-page promotion.

Leveraging Mobile Technology to Enhance Sales and Marketing Effectiveness
February 16, 2012

The iPad, iPhone, and mobile technologies have changed the world. And today, the use of these and other smart devices can have a powerful impact on sales effectiveness and customer engagement. John Sadowski and Phil Neal of Maestro eLearning will discuss the latest trends in mobile technology and share their experiences, insights and samples of mobile apps for marketing communications, direct sales, CRM, mobile learning, and other customer-focused activities.

Event Marketing: The Making of a Marathon
January 19, 2012

In 2011, the first Kalamazoo Marathon changed the Borgess Run for the Health of It weekend from a modest community event to one that attracted runners from31 combined entries from Colorado and Texas and at least one from 46 states and five countries. Blaine Lam will talk about event marketing in his role his work as Race Director, which involved everything from getting the word out to potential runners, to generating $175,000 from 67 sponsors to allow the race to break even.

Creating a Global Brand: Challenges and Successes
December 15, 2011

Internal branding can be a challenge for any company. And when your company utilizes a house branding strategy in global markets, brand building takes on a whole new set of challenges. In this presentation, Mr. Jerry Schwabauer, vice president of sales and marketing for Azon USA, Inc., will discuss his company’s initiatives to build its company and product brands using a consistent voice across the organization and its various product lines.

Rethinking Brands and Branding in an Interactive Marketplace
November 11, 2011

Dr. Don Schultz, president of Agora, Inc. and professor (emeritus-in-service) of integrated marketing communications at Northwestern University, will discuss this “asset-based view of brands” and other novel and unique views of brands and branding. You may not agree with all he says, but, you will leave this session with a totally different view of what brands are and what your job, as a brand steward, should be today and is sure to be tomorrow.

One of a Kind: Niche Marketing to a Mass Market
October 20, 2011

Mr. John Dillworth, president/CEO of Goodwill Industries of Southwestern Michigan, will discuss changing customer demographics, the criteria for selecting retail store locations, merchandising, advertising and promotion, and other elements that have contributed to Goodwill’s success. He will also talk about how that success translates into employment and training for the people of Southwestern Michigan.

It’s What’s Inside That Counts: Ingredient Brand Power
September 22, 2011

Mr. Don Alles, director of global branding and communications for Eaton’s Vehicle Group. In this presentation, Mr. Alles will highlight the key factors involved in sustaining an ingredient brand and what this means for brand managers and marketing professionals who are working to leverage their brand as part of a larger brand identity.