Wednesday, November 30, 2011

American Marketing Association and ME

My name is Wes Morgan and I am a marketer. An important piece of continuity in my profession has been my continuing involvement with the local chapter of the American Marketing Association in St. Louis since 1997.

My career journey includes a crazy tour of the advertising business that took me to New York, LA and back to New York…and on to Raleigh, North Carolina and Miami before being recruited to St. Louis at the end of 1996. I sometimes say (tongue in cheek)that I was instrumental in putting two local agencies (TBWA Chiat-Day and D’Arcy) out of business here before becoming a corporate Marketing Communications Specialist in 1998. Around that time, I become more involved in the American Marketing Association.

In 1997, I was asked if I could write a column for the Chapter Newsletter.
I ended up being editor and publisher of 33 issues of the TOPline newsletter over the next four years. I became VP of Communications and a board member in 1997 – Laura Rossman was President. Terry Monchein became president (97-98) and Stephanie Camden followed her (in 98-99). I became President elect in 1999. At that time, the honor of that position carried with it the job of running the student conference in February. That conference (2/2000) was at the Adam’s Mark Hotel Downtown (now the Hyatt Regency Riverfront) and included speakers from The Republic of Tea, The St. Louis Post Dispatch, The Brand Consultancy and Southwest Airlines.

As President of the Chapter (2000-2001) I was proud to be part of presenting another conference – This time at the Regal Riverfront Hotel, now the Millennium Hotel. Dennis Dunlop (CEO of the American Marketing Association) was a speaker along with notables from The Sporting News and Arthur Anderson (February 2001).

I stayed on for a second term as chapter President (2001-2002). Eventually, I was able to convince John Lewington to follow me as chapter president. He did a great job. I was delighted when the chapter gave him a lifetime achievement award.

I was an active board member during terms of John Lewington (02-03), Susan Davis (03-04), Dan Diveley (04-05), Steve Condor (05-06), Lauren Kolbe (06-07), and less so for Mike McNamera (07-08) and Richard Arthur (08-09)

In January 0f 2009, I indicated an interest in rejoining the board as VP Membership. Melissa Keim (09-10) was good enough to invite me to participate again. I was happy to stay involved through the presidential terms of Dan McGrath (09-10) as Co-VP Membership and Christine Chamberlain (10-11) working on special events (Golf Outing and Conference).

In April of 2012 I attended my fifth American Marketing Association chapter leadership summit in Chicago as President Elect with incoming president Steve Thomas (2012-2013). It was great reconnecting with Dennis Dunlap (AMA CEO and others at IH) not to mention chapter leaders from Houston, Dallas, Lincoln, Cleveland and around the country. I accepted responsibility for leading programming and managed to get an impressive line up in the works: Golf Outing (July), Networking and Lon Zimmerman on research (August), Kraftig Beer (September), Phil Smith on Healthcare Marketing (Prairie Dog from KC in October), Jim Woodcock on Sports Marketing for November, a special joint holiday viewing of SKYFALL 007.

We rounded out the year with Ameristar (January), Social Media leader from Better Homes & Gardens (Mar) and Post Holdings (May) and Biz Library (June).

Our Remarkable Leadership conference in February 2013 managed to go on in spite of a bit of snow and ice with Elliot Robia (Pixel Farm of MN), Andrew Grinch (Mizzou athletic department), Mercy Healthcare and Kevin Eikenberry (via Skype). 

I have enjoyed contributing to the success of the annual golf outing in July (of which I have been chairman since 1999). I was invited to be a board member again for presidents Bev Feris, Anna Qualls, Pier Alsup and Bob Mastis, (2013-14; 2014-15; 2015-16, 2016-17) and contributed with the organization of successful July golf events each year.

In addition, for the 2013-2014 year, I was able to deliver Gabe Lozano for August kick off of programming. Another thing I am proud of is the engagement of two collegiate chapters (UMSL ad SLU). I was instrumental in fortifying the UMSL collegiate chapter as part of the chapters outreach initiatives which also lead to our chapters involvement in UMSL's digital marketing advisory board.

I still believe the AMA is the best professional association in St. Louis, even though I also participate as a member of the AAF (AdClub), BMA (Business Marketing Association), PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) and others. I am fond of reminding folks that Without Marketing, Nothing Happens.

Updated May 5, 2012, and Mar 21, 2013, November 2, 2013 and January 25, 2015 and May 2017 by wam

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Emerging through Tough Economic Times

Emerging through a recession or economic downturn depends a great deal on managing through rough patches and making some key decisions along the way that allow you to come out a better and stronger enterprise.

Most of us have faced the hard reality of acting quickly and decisively with regard to cost structure and continuing operations. Many have moved swiftly to cut expenses and make changes. Changes included practical things and some creative things to cut our overhead, selling and general administration expenses. Tough decisions had to be made in recent years but the best managed firms will emerge smarter, stronger and better companies.

We’re not out of the woods, but we have to hope for and be well-poised for global recovery if not a boom. Confidence is an essential ingredient and the fuel we need as we cautiously move forward with our business plans.

Keep analyzing industry segments. Work with distributor partners. Look for ways to improve productivity, decrease costly downtime (due to things such as welder fatigue) and ways to improve consumable parts life. Industries ranging from construction to shipbuilding will certainly have an impact. Some examples: Commercial and Residential construction and investments in infrastructure may account for as much as 25% the business for welding and cutting hard goods. Oil & Gas/Energy, Transportation, Railroad car production, Trailer manufacturing, Automotive/automotive after-markets, ship-building, aerospace and mining are industry segments that we must understand to better serve metalworking and fabrication needs.

Monitor currency exchanges and changing economies. Currencies, free trade agreements (such as LAFTA and NAFTA) and other global conditions can result in big shifts in demand for products.

Government regulatory issues. Safety, listing agency and government regulatory concerns will always have an impact.

Shifts in skilled labor. Supply and demand of labor and the economic outlook for these various skilled professions will continue to grow. As global economies look at ways to meet demand.

Consolidation of distribution. A trend that will continue to have an impact is the global trend towards consolidation of distributors. Just look at the comparison of Airgas and Praxair versus a few years ago. As key distribution channel leaders get stronger, manufactures and suppliers need to get better and be more responsive.

Product rationalization and product integrity. It is more important than ever. A better and more comprehensive line of offerings doesn’t necessarily mean proliferation. It is important to protect brands/product lines from illegal and inferior knock offs to protect the integrity and trustworthiness of channels and manufactures.

Keep the lines of communications open. Talk time to keep employees informed. Distributor and manufacturers need to have regular meetings and collaborate for business success.

Marketing and advertising needs to be restored. Careful investments need to be made to keep a sustained presence out in the marketplace. Companies who advertise through recessionary periods generally come out on the other end better off in the long run. Social media and other low cost tools are available.

The world is getting smaller. We are seeing a truly global economy. Examples include everything from global sourcing of components and global sourcing of labor to cost containment and manufacturing strategies.

Product innovation. In spite of the economic downturn we must move ahead albeit more selectively, always looking for ways to engineer better, higher performance tools and processes with an eye toward greater productivity.

Training. Everywhere we look, distributors and manufacturers need to get comfortable selling product. End users are screaming for qualified help as they struggle with purchase decisions, application questions and repair functions.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Knuckle Ball Hero

Hoyt Wilhelm is one of my heroes. He played for nine Major League Baseball teams: his clubs included the New York Giants (1952-56), Baltimore Orioles (1958-62), Chicago White Sox (1963-68), and spells with the St. Louis Cardinals, Cleveland Indians, California Angels, Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs, and Los Angeles Dodgers.

Wilhelm was best known for his knuckleball, which enabled him to have great longevity; occasionally as a starting pitcher, but mainly as a specialist relief man. Hoyt was an extremely durable and effective relief pitcher. Hoyt Wilhelm once said: "I don't even try to fool anybody. I just throw the knuckleball 85 to 90 percent of the time. You don't need variations, because the damn ball jumps around so crazily, it's like having a hundred pitches."

Hoyt was a special player with an incredible specialty. Hoyt’s ability to throw a knuckleball made him one of the all time great relief pitchers. He went with what he had and enjoyed a wonderful career in the process. In my book though, Hoyt was one of those rare people in this world who are destined for greatness.

Consider some of his lifetime highlights:
• Before he even got a chance to play professional baseball he earned a Purple Heart, having been injured in the Battle of the Bulge in WWII.
• He hit a home run in his first at bat as a major leaguer in 1952.
• He was named an All Star in his second season in the majors.
• In 1954, he became a World Series Champion with the New York Giants.
• In 1958 he pitched a no-hitter against the New York Yankees (who went on to win the World Series).
• He pitched his last game just 16 days short of his fiftieth birthday in July of 1972.
• He was named into the Hall of Fame in 1985.

Sadly, the world lost Hoyt Wilhelm in 2002 at the age of 90.
Hoyt had what heroes always have. They believe in themselves and in their own unique ability.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Geaux. Geaux. Geaux.

Bill is a LSU Tiger and the French influence in Louisiana is undeniable so they like to say “Geaux Tigers!” when they root for their teams. The football program will be facing a serious challenge when they meet the Alabama Tide on the grid iron this coming week. This game could have national championship implications.

I am a Hurricane and while I miss the swagger UM made legendary, I’m glad the U is somehow deflecting the white hot spotlight of media attention these days. The Canes are playing out a respectable if not a championship season this year. It makes me smile a little, since I remember when my alma mater was thinking about eliminating collegiate football altogether. It was back in the 1970’s. (Can you imagine the NFL today if those gadflies has won that debate back in the day? A former Hurricane can be seen on national television every week. Canes have Super Bowl rings. The swagger lives in great players like Baltimore Ravens Ray Lewis and a long list of others. I love being a part of that tradition and the one that evolves even today.)

I had the pleasure of watching the Miami Hurricanes against THE Ohio State University last year in Columbus. It was fantastic to be there with my son, who is also a proud Hurricane alumni. We were on the fifty yard line at the Shoe! (We lost that contest but it was so cool, and a little scary, being among the minority in Miami gear and in the middle of all those Buckeye fans.) Ohio State played Miami away this year. We won this time. I watched it from my couch at home on TV. The Canes now play their home games in the same venue in which the NFL Miami Dolphins play.

I’m just sayin’ the U is a place like no other. The school is moving up the ranks as one of the nation’s best academically too. It ranks near the top in research. The University of Miami once aspired to be the Harvard of the South. (But I can assure you no-one is wearing flip flops as they move across campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts in February and I’ll bet there are plenty of Ivy Leaguers who wish they were in South Florida instead of New England between classes and on weekends when the snow flies and temperatures drop.)

Here I am Rockin’ like a Hurricane! I’m sorry. I do understand school pride and I do wish Bill and his alma mater all the best. I just don’t really have a dog in that fight. I certainly understand though. Geaux Tigers. Enjoy the game Bill.