Tag: Community

Why Real People Like AZIMA

AZIMA Members

You’d expect our official site to talk about the benefits of joining the Arizona Interactive Marketing Association, right?

But the people whose opinion matters more aren’t the official ones. They’re the people like you — who don’t automatically believe the marketing story.

Here are the four biggest reasons those people, the real ones, are excited about belonging to AZIMA:


Mark Knoles of Gate6 singles out the opportunity to meet fellow professionals as his primary benefit from joining the group, and David Knight of Republic Media agrees. “I can sum it up in one word: networking,” he says.

“It’s a great way for people in the Phoenix metro area to connect with other marketers,” notes Paul Borselli of Ethology.

Networking includes promoting expertise built through association with the group, which can boost credibility for individuals as well as companies.

Joanne Levin, who joined as a Mesa Community College student, refers to her AZIMA activity on her LinkedIn profile. “I promoted that I was coming tonight,” she said at a recent event. “It’s a great organization.”

There’s also the prospect of networking leading to new business, as it has for Cody Landefeld of Mode Effect. “We’ve worked on website projects with other member companies,” he says. “I like the collaboration with folks in the marketing world.”

Jackie Wright of Rainmaker Integrated uses AZIMA meetings as a way to introduce new concepts to people who may not be familiar with every aspect of interactive marketing. “I enjoy bringing digital marketing players into our business model,” she explains.

Equally enthusiastic about spreading the word on digital marketing is Lisa Owen of G/O Digital. “This is a great resource for our account managers and fulfillment team to stay up-to-date on trends,” she says.


Lisa isn’t the only one who appreciates AZIMA’s monthly programs on a variety of topics. Makinzie Loeffler of Medical Marketing Solutions confirms, “I’ve enjoyed learning a lot from all the speakers.”

“The headline grabbed me,” says Clay Hanawalt, a visitor who received an email about a recent program. “I’m interested in Facebook and Pinterest marketing.”

That same event drew the attention of Alexandria Marlar, whose co-worker at Spooner Physical Therapy suggested “this might be beneficial to what I do in my job, which encompasses social media.”

Programs change from month to month, always focusing on different aspects of internet marketing.

Tessa Barrientos of Cramer-Krasselt cites the educational opportunities as one of her reasons for valuing AZIMA. “I’m brand new, and excited about learning,” she says.

“I always come away with inspiration and ideas for marketing our company better,” notes Paul Capodanno of Gate6, and Sean Rogers of Republic Media concurs that membership is a great way of “staying abreast of what’s current, the way the industry is unfolding.”


While learning from experts is always popular, learning from fellow members is another benefit. “Everyone shares their knowledge with each other,” says Natalie Barreda of Vertical Measures. “You can share ideas and grow, and help each other grow.”

Mixing and mingling before dinner and the program makes it easy to strike up new relationships. “You can meet a lot of people here who do what we do,” observes Andrew Tamm of The Lavidge Company. “You don’t get to do that often.”

That’s true for veterans as well as for new members like Carrie Morgan of Rock The Status Quo. “I joined six weeks ago because I do a lot on the national level but wanted to do more locally,” she explains.

David Knight confirms the value of coming face to face with others in the business. “I’m new here,” he says, “and this is a wonderful way to meet people.”

Of course, there’s more to enjoy than just great conversation by the bar. “I’m here for the food!” jokes Cody Landefeld, and Jorge Tobar of eBay Enterprise expands on that theme. “There’s a cool menu — the speakers and the dinner.”


One reason for the cool menu of programs is that AZIMA is focused on serving so many different aspects of the internet marketing community.

“There’s a wide variety of speakers from around the industry,” observes Sarah Schager of Vertical Measures. “There’s paid advertising, and social, and everything.”

Austin Leonard of eBay Enterprise agrees. “We’re seeing the full Phoenix digital community here,” he says.

“I like the variety of speakers and topics,” says Kathy Morgan of Ethology, and her co-worker Paul Borselli concurs: “It’s important to understand how all four pillars of the industry work together — branding, agency, media and marketing technology.”

Jackie Wright, an AZIMA board member, explains that the blend of perspectives is deliberate. “The business model is fully integrated; you get a 360-degree view of all the facets of marketing,” she says.

Variety also figures into what Roger Hurni of Off Madison Avenue views as the group’s mission:

“Having been one of the founding companies of AZIMA, I’m often asked why it’s beneficial to be a member of it. The reasons are numerous. To start, the value of the membership fee to the number and quality of monthly events is the best educational deal I’ve ever seen — bar none.

“That said, the real value is in the connections you can make with other members. My comment isn’t about the networking, that’s a given. It’s about the conversations you have with other members that can provide you with new insights into new strategies and practices that would be difficult to find elsewhere.”


If any of these reasons for joining AZIMA resonate with you, you know what to do — click here!

Sending Users to Communities vs. Creating Communities

In April, I went to a workshop held in Boulder, Colorado titled “Making Digital Work”. The main theme of the workshop was that marketers should be creating communities around, and improving how communities use, products and services.

It makes sense. People want to be connected and can often be associated through a brand. The majority of brands accomplish this by asking for ‘Likes’ and running some kind of promotion through Facebook, Twitter and a host of other big-name communities.

While this creates many opportunities to interact with a subsection of users, this grouping of communities with third parties (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) can also defragment what should be a whole community under a brand. Rather than always sending users to these others platforms when in need of social integration, why not look at how user communities can be kept together as well as add features to brands, products and services?

Creating a community that adds to your product or service

Garmin is an excellent example of this. Garmin had a similar social setup to most companies. They have Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and a blog. But, their users were split into these communities and their product wasn’t getting better for it. So, Garmin developed a social experience — Garmin Connect — that fit the culture of their community as well as extended the benefits of their products.

Garmin Connect is an entire social platform for the outdoorsy Garmin GPS users. With a Garmin GPS, walking, biking, running and hiking routes can be uploaded and shared with other users. If a user is looking for a change of scenery or in an unfamiliar location, the user could access Garmin Connect to browse and download routes according to the activity, distance, elevation and time needed to complete. Users can also share and track workout goals and analytics. To date, Garmin Connect users have logged more than 1.15 billion miles.

What’s can be learned from this? While a proprietary social network can’t always be developed for a brand, product or service — it’s important to think about how user communities can stay intact while improving whatever it is being sold. If there’s a culture behind a brand, product or service, make a better way for that culture to get together — even if it doesn’t fit within the confines of popular existing social platforms.

Guest Post By: Scott Rostohar Lost Creature (formerly Dojo Collective) | Copywriter for Apollo Group

Intrigued by technology, passionate about the phoenix creative community and plagued by the blank page.

Website: MeMyselfandIdeas.com