Watching the Market

Cindy Todd

Chief Marketing and Branding Officer, Tennessee Aquarium

We must be responsive to millennials, who are now the largest generational segment of the U.S. population. For the Tennessee Aquarium, this is more of an opportunity than a challenge because we have a great story to tell. We are located in the equivalent of an underwater rainforest that is rich in biodiversity, and we are here to make a difference in this precious environment. We know that millennials are more likely to engage with an organization that demonstrates a commitment to its mission, so a primary objective is to enhance the Aquarium’s reputation as the authority for freshwater animals. The changing media landscape, 24-hour news cycle, and social media interaction demand that we produce much more content. With our attractions, that’s fun work, but it’s also very time consuming to do. Personalization and customization of content, along with customer engagement, are priorities for all marketers. Our digital advertising campaigns are highly targeted and the creative is dynamic so that we can appeal to individual interests. We know that what people say about us is much more important than what we say about ourselves, so I probably spend at least half my time working cross-functionally with other departments to enhance the visitor experience. We carefully track satisfaction ratings and reviews on sites like Trip Advisor. For a number of years we have been the highest rated aquarium in the country for visitor satisfaction, and that’s a key differentiator that we can’t take for granted.

Carla Raynor

Vice President of Consumer Experience and Brand Management, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee

Consumers continue to seek greater engagement with the companies that provide products and services they use. This brings an increased need and demand for a consumer experience, tools, and resources that are interactive, personal, and portable. Companies must be focused on strategies that bring more one-to-one experiences to current and potential customers. We have done this in substantial ways by launching the Blue of Tennessee center in Nashville, adding a mobile center that assists members and customers statewide, and by adding chat support for online marketplace enrollment services. We know that it is also vital to have strategies that meet the growing need for mobility and portability. Before launching a new product or service, we have to consider how we can make it mobile or portable so that our members can use their benefits and manage their health as simply and efficiently as possible. And as companies strive to meet the need for consumer engagement and mobility, protecting and enhancing the brand must remain a priority. This means continually monitoring and managing issues through social media as well as being actively involved in supporting our communities.

Blake Poole

Vice President of Air Service and Economic Development, Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport Authority

For those of us who travelled by air prior to September 11, 2001, we remember how “easy” it could be: short security lines, few, if any restrictions on our carry-ons, and very few full-body searches at the security check point. Fast forward to today: longer security lines, the creation of the TSA by the federal government, and a much more stressful experience for the flying public. Previously we were more worried about what we were going to eat or drink at the airport. Today we have more time at the gate, and we worry about whether or not our iPhones, Droids, and laptops will have enough battery life to make it to our final destination.
Our business is unique as we must offer a venue for companies to market to air travelers, plus we must market the airport to those choosing between travel options. Advertising in the airport has continued to change to meet the changing demographics of the typical airline passenger. Historically, Chattanooga has predominantly been a business market, with direct service to five airline hubs, plus service to the main airport (DCA) in our nation’s capital. Allegiant Air has introduced a new concept in Chattanooga, as they handle two leisure destinations in Florida, in addition to several weekly charters to gaming destinations.With this mix of travelers in Chattanooga, many customers have noticed some unique advertising in the terminal and gate areas. These appeal to both the leisure and business traveler.
The challenge the Airport faces in the future is to target the right mix of travelers, through local business magazines and other strategically placed target marketing venues. Through internal market research and by monitoring social media outlets, the Airport must remain flexible and constantly adapt to the wishes of our customer base. We are in a great community, and we are very fortunate to benefit from serving a very dynamic city.

Lisa McCluskey, MBA

Vice President of Marketing Communications, CHI Memorial

The greatest challenge facing today’s health care marketers is how to effectively switch from individual service to system thinking. With new bundled payment models, population health, and the rise of consumerism, marketers are compelled to take a holistic view of care resources to connect people and providers. Engaging in the operation of the health system is a must for marketers as the heightened expectations of consumers drive providers to craft an enhanced patient experience rivaling that of the retail or hotel industry.
Health care is highly insular and personal; being treated as a human is more important than ever. Marketers are perfectly positioned to provide insight into consumer motivation, behaviors, and triggers to ensure the experience is tailored in a way that ensures ease of access and connects disparate resources in a seamless manner that revolves around the person.
How one harnesses the power of influencers with the five generations of people for whom we provide health care services is a question that will plague marketers who operate on razor-thin budgets. As we move into a world with clinically integrated networks and medical homes, engaging, systematic internal communications will rise in importance as will fostering a strong, active brand ambassador program. Health systems employ thousands of people who, when well-equipped, can effectively connect community members to system resources. Health care lags the product industry in leveraging the powerful tool of brand ambassadors, and I envision this to be a focal point for marketers in the future.

Dave Santucci

Vice President of Marketing, Chattanooga Convention & Visitors Bureau

Marketing has been revolutionized by smart phones. Less than a decade ago, people made travel plans via computer, travel agent, or calling a destination. Our screens were small, and the online experience on our phones was terrible. Today, we’ve moved into a world where purchases, including vacations, happen every second on our phones. So how do we inspire and gain customers via handheld devices? The answer is tied to both quality and time. The quality of the content must be high and the authenticity must be real. Generating engaging and inspiring content should be a part of everyone’s marketing plan. But the content must not only be created, it must be distributed. Too often organizations create great movie posters, but they leave them in the closet. The strategy must be to distribute the content via your paid, owned, and earned media channels. The combination of all three is what makes it possible to have enough frequency to have an impact for your brand. In looking at our audience, first we make sure the customer is qualified, meaning they have enough time and money to travel to Chattanooga. Then we look at their interests and don’t worry as much about traditional demographics. This allows us to deliver a highly targeted message to the potential visitor increasing their intent to travel to Chattanooga.

Kirk Englehardt

Vice Chancellor for Marketing and Communications, The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Beginning this fall, we will be kicking-off an effort to define the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) brand. It’s an exciting project that will engage students, staff, faculty, alumni and the Chattanooga community. UTC has a strong visual identity, but what’s the true meaning behind our blue and gold Power C logo? What are UTC’s strengths? What makes this school special? Why are students and alumni so passionate about UTC? What does this school mean to the community? I’m anxious to start digging deep in an effort to clearly define what UTC is and how it’s different than other universities in Tennessee and across the nation. The messages we develop will help everyone tell the UTC story. Instead of being a ‘best kept secret’, we’ll be shining a light on things we can all be proud of, and helping prospective students recognize the amazing opportunities available to them right here in the Scenic City. This is only the first of many exciting marketing and communications efforts we’ll be undertaking at UTC. I’m so fortunate to be part of this university, and this community. Together we can make real progress and have a tremendous impact. I think the potential is unlimited.