Strategic Thinking is a Muscle. Work It or Lose It - Chicago

One Prudential Plaza - AMA Support Center, 130 E. Randolph St., 22nd Floor
Chicago, IL 60601
5/1/2019 8:30 AM - 5/1/2019 5:00 PM
Register before 4/1/2019 11:59 PM for early registration fee




Strategic Thinking Is a Muscle. Work It or Lose It.

Do you find yourself getting bogged down in the details of specific marketing tactics, campaign schedules, product specs, reports, updates, budgets and all of the other day-to-day work? Do you ever wonder what the work is leading to or why you’re doing it? Are you ready to expand your marketing strategy development skills and flex those strategic mental muscles?  Join us for Strategic Thinking, where there will be real, live exercises to work your strategic thinking abilities along with recommendations for resources you can use to expand your knowledge. You will also receive tools to lead strategic thinking back in the office. 



Learn

Participants will learn about the building blocks of creating strategy and resources for informing strategy. Marketers will also learn the integral role of creativity in strategy and how insights lead to strategic and creative thinking that eventually lead to better performing campaigns. Participants will use specific exercises and tools to inspire strategic thinking – in the session and back at work. Attendees coming out of this session will be better strategic thinkers themselves and will also have the tools to lead strategy development in their organizations.​

Takeaways

  • Understand the steps to developing marketing strategy.
  • Discern between facts and insights and how both contribute to strategy.
  • Separate tactics from strategy – and how one leads to the others.
  • Understand that strategy cannot exist without creativity – and why.
  • Learn to conduct strategy sessions back on the job.​

See Full Agenda>> 

Instructors:

Shane Johnston​
Principal, Market Position Strategies

Shane Johnston has developed branding, marketing and product strategies and integrated communications plans for Fortune 100 companies, small businesses and non-profit organizations. His 25-year career spans client and agency marketing roles. His expertise in campaign development and lead generation has delivered results for companies such as Lenovo, VMware, Chase Bank, the AARP, The Wall Street Journal, TruGreen and UNC-Chapel Hill. Shane’s client side experience includes positions at Sprint, Mutual of Omaha, Methodist Health Systems and Nortel Networks. He is now Principal of Market Position Strategies, providing marketing consulting services to enterprise and higher education clients. He’s also a Partner in Firestarters Club, which provides consulting sessions for entrepreneurs and small businesses. Shane served as 2010 president of the Triangle American Marketing Association. He earned his BSBA and MBA from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Todd Coats​​
Associate Director for Brand and Creative
Association of International Certified Professional Accountants​

Todd has helped businesses with complex stories find compelling and strategically sound ways to reach audiences. Todd brings his 32 years of experience to create effective concepts and ideas for industry sectors such as healthcare, pharmaceuticals, energy, higher education and retail. He brings an emphasis in brand building, integrated marketing, employee branding and digital advertising.  His experience ranges from working with large global corporations such as Deloitte, GSK and 3M to consumer-facing brands such as Cartoon Network, The Academy of Country Music, Hanes and Epic Games. Todd holds awards from such highly respected shows as Graphis, Print, American Advertising Federation and many more.​

​​Attend

Are you just starting a career in marketing and want to get a solid foundation on strategic thinking? Maybe you’re a seasoned veteran needing a jolt to re-awaken your strategic prowess?  Or perhaps you’re a marketing leader looking for methods to improve strategic thinking on your team. In any case, this program will help sharpen your strategic skills for just about any challenge including business obstacles, product lines, services, target markets and even organization-wide thinking.​ 

Strategic Thinking is a Muscle. Work It or Lose It. - Agenda

8:00 to 8:30am Registration and Hot Breakfast
8:30 am to 5:00pm Program (includes lunch, morning and afternoon breaks) 

What comes first? (The chicken/egg dilemma)

Marketers in every industry and organization require solid critical thinking to meet the needs of our customers, employees, partners, suppliers and business.  In an effort to be as responsive as possible, sometimes we get wrapped up in getting the job done – marketing materials, budgets, scheduling – before thinking through how to address bigger challenges.

We’ll discuss the key ingredients to a great marketing plan and strategy including:

  • Insights
  • Tactics
  • Strategy
  • Research
  • Objective

What do each mean to you? How do you ask the right questions to uncover them? How do they contribute to solid thinking for our customers?

Being questionable

The basis of any good strategic plan – or relationships, for that matter – is asking great questions. In fact, asking great questions makes everyone’s job easier, including yours. 

Good probing questions start with “How” or “Why” and are impossible to answer in one word. When talking with customers, smart questions are better than smart answers.  They make your colleagues think about their functions and goals differently. And it turns marketers into customer experts. 

We’ll discuss the building blocks of good questioning that leads to uncovering insights (next up) and creating great strategy.

Factually boring

Successful strategy is formed by customer insights. What is an insight versus a fact? Insights should be informed by reason, but are by no means 100% full proof. In fact, the closer to fool proof you get the less it becomes an insight.  Forming an insight requires that you step off the ledge a bit and have faith in your thinking. 

However, your thinking needs to be grounded in solid research. That’s where facts come in. Facts support insights, they are not insights.  And insights are not taglines or marketing copy. Insights inform strategy from which tactics are born.  And tactics make taglines, copy, media plans, videos, websites, etc. 

The role of creativity

Who identifies themselves as creative? Creativity isn’t just design or copy. Those are talents just like web development or math or public speaking. It’s about asking, “Is there a better way?” If you had the power to change one thing, what would it be? What would it take? 

Creativity is really about thinking. It’s being mindful of the circumstance while at the same time, undoubtedly believing you can better it. Creativity isn’t something your colleagues in other functions – accounting, operations, IT - do on the job – or even think about. Creativity can be “the thing” that wins the business or consumer.

How to be creative when you’re not creative? Everything we will do in this program is creative thinking.

The path to strategy

Strategic thinking can be taught. It can be learned. And it most definitely can be forgotten. Strategic thinking is like a muscle that must be continuously worked and trained for optimal performance.

When we’re not thinking strategically it’s not because we aren’t thinking at all. It’s because we have a tendency to think about “what” rather than “how” or “why” – tactics rather than strategy. We put a high value on performance and output, which naturally leads to tactical thinking. And the more tactics we develop the more productive we feel.

But strategy is often more about what to exclude rather than what is included. A good strategy will define a finite set of tactics. While communications plans can get deep and detailed, strategy should not be complicated. It’s the macro approach to a challenge or problem.

Group Case Study Activity

After reviewing, participants will deconstruct case studies to develop strategies for success including:

1. Objectives – What is the company trying to achieve?

2. Research – What would you recommend to get more information, if anything?

3. Insights – Try to come up with an insight based on the information you have.

4. Strategy – How would you advise the company based on the objectives?

5. Tactics – What would you recommend doing based on the strategy and objectives?

We’ll present our strategies and vote on the best one. Competition!

Wrap Up 


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Training Series Location 

One Prudential Plaza - AMA Support Center
 130 E. Randolph St., 22nd Floor
Chicago, IL 60601
Phone: +1.312.542.9000

Located in the heart of downtown Chicago on the northeast corner of Michigan Avenue and Randolph Street (two blocks South of the Chicago River), The American Marketing Association's, AMA Support Center is just steps away from Millennium Park as well as the City's premier hotels, shopping and entertainment. The AMA Support Center is conveniently located near two international airports: O'Hare (18 miles) and Midway (11 miles). It is also within a five to eight minute walk of some of Chicago's finest hotels. Three of them are the Swissôtel, Hyatt Regency Chicago and the Fairmont.

Recommended Hotels 
Hyatt Regency Chicago on the Riverwalk
151 E. Wacker Drive 
Chicago, IL 60601 
Phone: +1.312.565.1234
Walking Distance to AMA Support Center (5 minutes) 

Swissôtel Chicago 
323 E. Wacker Drive 
Chicago, IL 60601 
Phone: +1.312.565.0565
Walking Distance to AMA Support Center (8 minutes)

Fairmont Chicago 
200 North Columbus Drive 
Chicago, IL 60601
Phone: +1.312.565.8000
Walking Distance to AMA Support Center (5 minutes)

Club Quarters
75 East Wacker Drive 
Chicago, IL 60601 
Phone: +1.312.601.3400
Walking Distance to AMA Support Center (8 Minutes)

theWit Chicago - a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel
201 N. State Street
Chicago, IL 60601
Phone: +1.312.467.0200
Walking Distance to AMA Support Center (7 minutes) 

Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile 
540 North Michigan Avenue, (Driveway Entrance on 541 North Rush Street)
Chicago, IL 60611
Phone: +1.312.836.0100
Walking Distance to AMA Support Center (14 minutes) 

Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago
221 North Columbus Drive
Chicago, IL 60601
Phone: +1.312.565.5BLU (5258)
Walking Distance to AMA Support Center (5 minutes)

Virgin Hotels
203 N. Wabash
Chicago, IL 60601
Phone: +1.312.940.4400
Walking Distance to AMA Support Center (5 minutes)

Kimpton Hotel Monaco Chicago
225 N. Wabash Ave.
Chicago, IL 60601
Phone: +1.312.960.8500
Walking Distance to AMA Support Center (6 minutes)

LondonHouse Chicago
85 East Wacker Drive at North Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60601
Phone: +1.312.357.1200
Walking Distance to AMA Support Center (9 minutes)

Area Attractions and Events
Please visit Choose Chicago for additional city information.

ADA 
The AMA is committed to providing equal access to our meetings for all attendees. If you are an attendee with a disability and require program accommodations, please contact the AMA Live Experience Team, and a member of our staff will ensure that appropriate access arrangements are made. If you have specific disability related needs for your hotel sleeping room, please be sure to communicate those directly to the hotel when you make your reservation. In an effort to provide the highest quality of service to all attendees, we require that details of all access requests be communicated to our office at least 14 days in advance of the beginning of the meeting. 

Tower Travel Management 

AMA's travel coordinator, Tower Travel Management, is available to assist with reservations. Call +1.800.542.9700 within the U.S. and Canada. Reservation lines are open Monday through Friday 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. CDT or, you may contact them via email at association@towertravel.com.

Tower Travel will proactively research airfares on ALL airline carriers to ensure that the lowest available fares are offered to all attendees. They are dedicated to providing superior customer service and hassle-free travel arrangements. Please note that fees, restrictions and cancellation penalties will apply.

Parking Garage
Prudential Plaza features an on-site, indoor parking garage that allows you to park at your convenience. Located conveniently off of Lower Wacker Drive, visitors enjoy direct access to the parking garage.

Parking Garage Directions
Randolph Drive – in front of Prudential Plaza
West on Randolph to Michigan Avenue – turn right (north) to South Water Street – turn right (east) to Stetson – turn right (south) one block to end where you will see signs indicating the garage entrance.

Lake Shore Drive – North or South Bound
Exit at Randolph Street, west to mid-level Columbus Drive – turn right (north) to mid-level Lake Street – turn left (west) one block to end where you will see signs indicating the garage entrance.

Kennedy Expressway – South Bound
Exit Ohio Street, east to Fairbanks Court (which turns into Columbus as you proceed south) – turn right (south) at Lake Street – turn right (west) on Lake one block to end where you will see signs indicating the garage entrance.

Dan Ryan Expressway – Northbound
Exit Congress street east bound, to Columbus – turn left (north) on to Columbus to Lake Street – Turn left (west) on Lake Street one block to end where you will see signs indicating the garage entrance.

Eisenhower Expressway – East Bound
Follow expressway east through Congress Street to Columbus – turn left (north) on Columbus to Lake Street – turn left (west) on Lake one block to end where you will see signs indicating the garage entrance.

Rates for the Parking Garage are as follows (subject to change without notice):
Less than 30 minutes: $12.00
30 minutes to 1 hour: $16.00
1 hour to 2 hours: $21.00
2 hours to 4 hours: $26.00
4 hours to 12 hours: $29.00
12 hours to 24 hours: $35.00

Early Morning Special: $16.00
In between 4:30 am – 8:00 am, out by 8:00 pm (Monday through Friday)

Evening Special: $15.00
In after 4:00 pm, out by 8:00 am (Monday through Friday)
For more information regarding the Parking Garage, please contact:
Date Assadji
Parking Garage Manager
date.assadji@abm.com
312.819.6877

By train from O'Hare Airport 
Take the "Blue Line To Loop" train into the city (about a 45-minute ride) to the Washington/Randolph Street station (below ground). Proceed up to the street level and walk east on Washington to North Michigan Avenue. Make a left and proceed to One Prudential Plaza, The Prudential building. Take the escalator up and stop at the security desk to obtain a one-day building pass. Head to the 20-24 bank of elevators to get to the 22nd floor.

By train from Midway Airport 
Take the "Orange Line To Loop" train into the city (about a 35-minute ride) to the State/Lake Street station. Proceed east on Lake Street to North Michigan Avenue. Cross over North Michigan Avenue and proceed to the One Prudential Plaza, The Prudential building. Take the escalator up and stop at the security desk to obtain a one-day building pass. Head to the 20-24 bank of elevators to get to the 22nd floor.

Transportation
O’Hare International Airport 
Taxi: Allow 1 to 2 hours
Approximately $40.00-55.00 one way
Airport Shuttle: GO Airport Express
https://www.airportexpress.com/ 
Approximately $36.94 one way (subject to change)
Train: $5.00 for travel that originates at O’Hare Airport (subject to change)
Allow approximately 45 minutes to an hour

Midway Airport 
Taxi: Allow 45 minutes to 1½ hours
Approximately $30.00-45.00 one way
Airport Shuttle: GO Airport Express 
Approximately $31.94 one way (subject to change)
Train: $2.25 (subject to change)
Allow approximately 45 minutes to an hour

Helpful Websites
Chicago Transit Authority 
Metra Rail 

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