It's not you, it's me.

I am hanging my head in shame. Did I really only post one blog in 2013? Pretty sad folks. Pretty sad. That's OK, the new year is to bring upon new beginnings, right?

Let's get Rachel's blog issues in the open.

I use my notebooks a lot always. I tried to go digital and write notes on my iPad, then I tried typing them all, but I love good ol' paper. And unfortunately, good ol' paper doesn't copy/paste. I blame this for the lack of digital transfer of all my good ideas. 

The truth is, I think about marketing every day. It's not a sickness, it's been a revelation over the last year that everything we do can be related in marketing in some way. I believe marketing is more of a science than pretty pictures and slogans. Good marketing can be perfectly calibrated, and it can be accidental genius. If marketing is made up of sloppy gimmicks and unplanned verbiage - you will fail. Miserably. 

I believe I can help others who are over-thinking what marketing is, or under-providing what marketing should be. So my new blog will have new focus. Every day I learn something new. Each week I will post what I learned in the "real world" that is actually helpful in the "marketing world". 

For instance, I went to see Blue October last week in Houston. Great band - former crazy lead singer who has dropped his drug habit, turned to his faith, and stopped drinking. I was a little afraid I'd like him better crazy... but at his concert, he did a fantastic job of balancing his crazy and his new life so his old fans, and new fans would love him just the same. And I'm thinking at this concert - isn't that what corporations should do? If companies want to evolve, they can't upset current customers, and they can't miss out on new ones... they have to find a way to reach both sets of people. Let people see a little of your crazy, and let them know there is something even better headed their way. 

I realize this is a stretch, and I realize it may seem weird to think of marketing while I'm squished on the bottom floor of the Houston House of Blues. But for me, it's not. This is the way I'm wired, and this is my crazy that I'm willing to share with the world. 

To me, everyone is marketing all the time. It's when you don't know you're being courted, is when it works best. Let's explore together how awesome marketing is. Shall we? 

Me and my daughters at Blue October.
Feel free to comment on what a cool mom I am. 

When do you stop growing?

This blog post is dedicated to my little/big daughter, Jessica. She says I only blog about Lauren. (I posted one blog about Lauren, and to my credit, neither girl remembers I blog in the first place.)

So, fine. I'll post a blog about Jessica. (who probably won't read it anyway.) Sounds easy enough, but really this blog is dedicated to the Macik Market, and all things marketing. So how can I relate Jessica to marketing? Got it.

Lately, she can't stop eating. Mind you, this 13 year old girl is already over 5'9" tall. I tell her she's hungry because of a growth spurt (up or out, I don't know which). She asks, "When will I stop growing? I'm tall enough!" I think it's funny. I finished growing in 8th grade at 5'5.5". Her older sister is in at 5'4" (she'll lie and say 5'5").

Everyone is back to work after the holiday, so we're all swapping holiday stories about kids and family. As I'm talking about Jessi getting even taller, they say they'd love to be taller and think its cute she's still growing--how awesome it is to be 13 and full of the unknown. And really how cool is that?

So here I am wondering... Am I still growing? Am I still looking toward the unknown? Man, I sure hope so.

Awesome Giant Lawn Chair seats too-tall-teens Comfortably
If you've kept up with my employer, Atos Origin, we're looking toward a big year in 2011. North America is set to triple in size, the company is set to more than double their expertise and gain one of the largest IT contracts in history. For me--for marketing, this means lots of changes ahead. With change, I can only hope for growth. Growing to unknown heights is kind of exciting, right?

You never know where you'll end up. All you can do is feed your charisma, feed your inhibitions, and watch how far you can go (or "grow" in this case). As you enter the new year, why not wonder where your career will take you. Are you finished growing? Do you want to be finished growing? Do you think you've grown enough? Clearly, my answer is no. I'm not finished. I want to see how far this ride will take me.

I'm booked for New York next week. I hope to learn from the Argyle CMO Leadership Forum around all things Marketing in 2011. I'm begging for the departments first iMac for video production. I'm learning how to better utilize Microsoft Project to track true costs of project work. I'm learning to research the market better, to research our clients needs and expectations. I'm learning to groom my marketing team for reaching new heights. I'm learning to grow, I'm learning not to stop. I'm learning to love it.

How far will you grow in 2011?

Happy Holidaze! Acquisitions and Planning, OH MY!

Its that magical time of year again... snow is falling, Christmas lights are twinkling, everyone is singing, the kids are begging to unwrap their gifts under the tree. Ahhh.... such a serene life we lead.

Ok, well I'm sure that's in someone's house, but not here. In Texas we're enjoying 80+degree weather (and by enjoying, I mean suffering). I still have to do Christmas shopping, my kids are Lord knows where, and I'm still at work pumping out projects as a last ditch effort to finish them as promised in 2010. (Sorry, Pete, I'm working I promise!)

What happed to the end of the year when things calmed down? Maybe that's not true anymore, or maybe its just not true for me anymore. Atos Origin has shared some exciting news over the last few days. We're set to acquire Siemens IT Solutions by 2011 mid-year. As the sole seat for communications in the US, its is an exciting time for me, as the US operations is expected to triple in size. Its my first rodeo (that's Texan for my first M&A experience). Just like any other employee, I wonder what the next step will be...but as a Marketeer, it has me thinking on a different level.

I've interviewed employees who were part of an outsourcing transition. They spoke about how they didn't know if they would be chosen to stay in their current seat until end of transition, they spoke about worry, and spoke about times being tense. It seems this acquisition will be similar to a new contract for Atos Origin and Siemens. And honestly, that makes me feel better. All teams will have expert transition managers,  highly-trained HR representatives, and on-board staff who are no strangers to this practice.

I expect the next six months to be filled with tense communication, rapid market deployment of new strategies, documentation of all best practices, and committee upon committee to decide best steps for the way forward for Atos Origin. It's exciting to be a part of such whirlwind change.

As I finalize my work today, and hit shut-down for the last time in 2010...I'll enjoy my time off, enjoy the kids, enjoy the gifts I haven't bought yet, and just relax. For 2011 looks like a shotgun start!

See you on the flip-side folks!

Notice the tank-tops and boots. Texan Christmas Ya'll.

My new title: Jack of all Trades

So, I'm sitting down this morning with my work mentor (I like to refer to it as my personal counseling), and we came to the conclusion that being a "Jack of all Trades" isn't all bad.

I decided a long time ago I liked design. Then, I decided I liked PR, no wait--trade shows...and multimedia..oh! Maybe I should just be a "marketeer"? Well, I've been doing this for about 13 years, I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Now, Marketing has encompassed personal client outreach, analyst relations, industry knowledge, social media, community relations, and even more. What's a girl to do?

We talked this morning that maybe its OK to be a little scattered. It seems that gone are the days where you could hire one person to do one job. I like working in groups, I like volunteering, I like my social media attempts, I like project management... Perhaps if I stop trying to find my niche, and just embrace the mayhem that is "my work", I'll find the inner peace that I've been looking for.

I've been invited to join our Global Marketing campaign groups, flying into Paris to get face-to-face collaboration meeting time; I work directly with the service lines to make sure their vision is what we are selling; I'm working on proposals to make sure our clients are receiving the most up to date information. And at this very moment as I feel overwhelmed, I'm writing a blog about being overwhelmed. :)

So, how do I skim the top of all these projects, and still dive deep enough to create impact? I'm still working on that part. For now, I will continue working with my team to deliver on all our promises.

Question for you... is it better to under promise, over-deliver? or to Offer the moon?!

*Note to self: Used 7 Cliche's. Re-read first Blog post.

Social Media is not "Crystal" Clear for AMA Houston

We had no idea what to expect. Kayleigh Kannady and I were super excited to be considered a finalist for the AMA Crystal Awards and were ready to accept our prize.  My stepdad said, "When I heard Rachel had been nominated, it never occurred to me that she wouldn't win!" Thank you sir, I take that as a compliment!

Marketing Campaign - Medium Budget ($25,000-$150,000)

Winner: Atos Origin
Atos Origin in the Spotlight

I had just got home from the SapphireNow Conference in Orlando, Kayleigh was sporting a seven-month baby bump so we decided together to go business casual to the "Gala".

Wow, were we ever surprised. There was much glitz and glamour at the Crystal Awards Ceremony. I suppose we should expect nothing less from the people that do this for a living. Well done AMA'ers.

The venue was packed with over 500 attendees. The entire show was broadcast live by Omnovia. You can see us walk up (waddle up in Kayleigh's case) and pick up our prize. It was neat to go home and be able to show my girls after the show. See more vendors who helped here.

I was however a little disappointed in the build-up to the event. After jumping off the SapphireNow bandwagon, it was odd not to see the AMA putting on the same kind of show in the social media space. At SapphireNow, I had vendors coming up to introduce themselves in person, as we had been tweeting/facebooking each other for weeks building up to the show. It was really neat to see everyone come together.

SAP of course has a huge budget, and AMA is ran by volunteers, I realize that. However I really think we could join forces and do a little better at our online elbow rubbing. Maybe a little PR for the event? Maybe a dedicated twitter? Maybe a blog? I did like the idea of the projected tweets... that was cool.

Maybe I'm not looking hard enough. AMA Houston social media buffs, where art thou?

...and just like that, its over

Wow... It hurts a little seeing this photo. The fish being scraped off the wall of the TOC in Vancouver. Alas, the show must go on--or I guess the show must close in this case. The teams have had there celebration parties and everyone is either ready to try to find some resemblance of their normal Vancouver lives, or they move back home, or they move on to follow the Summer Games in London. The room is all but a sea of monitors either turned off or running the screensavers.

Ward Chapin, the VANOC CIO was kind enough to speak to a group of analysts and sourcing partners from the US during a trip in late February. He said a lot of the equipment is sold or donated, and the infrastructure that was improved for the games is there for the city to enjoy.

So, my question is what happens now? We have had our first successful global/social campaigning with these games, and now what do we talk about? Do we just let the blog die? Do we start talking about London (its 2 years away!)

I was thinking our Olympic time campaigning is much like the Houston Rodeo. The event consumes a city, then its gone as quick as it came up. And if I'm not mistaking this is the first year for Houston Rodeo to participate in the social media space, where you live and die by how much you communicate. So will the Rodeo continue to their outreach on myspace, facebook and twitter? Or will the postings cease until next year's line up? ...maybe--just maybe they are waiting for Atos Origin to make the first move?

To be continued...or not? 

Cowboys Go Social: Rodeo Houston gives traditional media the boot

Last I checked, the Rodeo Houston fanpage had nearly 80,000 fans. This pretty much kicks the pants of other fan sites from in and around Houston. This fan base even beats the Houston Texans, who have a respectible 50k fans. The only major Houston fan pages that are above the Rodeo Houston's 80k (and growing) fan base is the Houston Astros and the Houston Rockets.

The Houston Rodeo has been in exhistance for 78 years, but their fan page is a wee FIVE MONTHS OLD! Seriously. This means that the page has grown 16,000 fans per month. That's nearly 600 fans per DAY. This is an amazing feet for any organization.

What I find personally awesome about this, is that I actually met the PR/Marketing Director Johnnie Westerhaus in a web promotional class about five years ago. She was the lone ranger with one(ish) web designer just learning how to enter metadata so people could find the rodeo line up. A few weeks later, I met Leroy Shafer at a direct mail association conference. He gave the history of the CRM system for HLSR, and how its evolved throughout the year.

I was drinking the kool-aid from that moment on. I have to admit my boots have had more dust than dirt on them, I could never pull off one of those awesome rhinestone belts, and most people can't even detect a Texan accent. I'm doing this cowboy nation zero justice, but I've got to be HLSR's biggest fan. And a fan because of their business (and mine) of marketing. These guys really know what they are doing. They have gone from posting non-searchable PDFs on their webpages, to eighty thousand fans of their facebook, twitter, youtube, mobile contest, and an incredible innovative website in just a few years.

You may have never thought of turning to the cowboys for your how-to guide of social media and marketing technology... but its definetly time to take notice. 
*My companies fan page Atos Origin North America is 200 members strong after almost a year of promotion. Maybe we should be more closely related to the Houston Rodeo? :)

I want to drive the Marketing Experience!

Wow, where have I been?! Apparently, Girlfriend Getaway is the new term for "staycation"... and Chevrolet has got the market covered in that arena. http://www.girlfriendgetawayhouston.com/

I've heard the radio commercials that offered free massages for a test drive. Good for them I thought. But why haven't I heard of the Girlfriend Getaway?! Who knows, but I'm glad I did. The gig, find several metro based women to drive a Chevy branded car and blog, twitter, facebook, and vlog all about it on about it in front of the camera.

Now, I don't need a car for four weeks, but I sure could use a marketing high for a month! MAN! what a fabulous campaign. My hats off to Velocity Marketing for spinning this campaign. I really can't wait to see the ROI from this. The branding among women is phenomenal.

Looks like the first campaign was Mommy Madness in Houston. They had the Traverse to test drive. They were a bunch of soccer moms... pfft. I want a cool car. I'd like to take out some clients, video some of the "hoity-toity" women around our Houston Galleria office... Let's see what these chicks really think. The car looks fabulous. Would they even know what they were getting into? It would be cool to have a "hidden camera" type video blogging. I'd like to take a bunch of these IT geeks around. What do they think about the gizmos? I'd take my 16 year old daughter out with her friends... is it cool enough for them to be seen in? Will the valet guy leave the Malibu all shiney and up front at the Hobby Center? Will the Malibu go with my Cheetah dress when I go on date night with Toddy? Ah... maybe I should just do a secret campaign if I don't get picked. I'll do my own test drive! :) That would be awesome.

Anyway, its a great campaign. Get some known social media experts with legit backgrounds and steady stream of acceptable comments and reviews. Even if I don't get chosen (which you should totally pick me) I'll be watch the stream of comments from the campaign. But man! with all this campaigning... shouldn't you be easier to find? :(

With love, Future Marketing Engine --I mean Malibu Test Driver :)

The New Rules of Marketing and PR

I just ordered my first marketing book in a long time... The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use News Releases, Blogs, Podcasting, Viral Marketing and Online Media to Reach Buyers Directly. It was recommended by another blog I just read on how to convience the CEO into social media. (Paul Stewart, Atos Origin CEO for North America already onboard by the way: @atosCEOPaul --what! what!) 

I really think the PR rules HAVE to change. Whatever we learned in school is all out the window now. I would love to interview a journalist... do you guys read the wire anymore? Do you acutally use the services that wire companies sell? 

I need some help. Hopefully this book is step one!