Four remarkable marketers were recognized
with ATME 1999 Atlas Awards, designed to honor those leaders
who show continual excellence through their innovative tactics
and results-oriented programs, during a banquet hosted by Discover/Novus
JAY WALKER LAUDED AS GUERRILLA MARKETER
Perhaps the Atlas Award for Guerrilla Marketer of the Year was
a given for 1999. Marketers have rarely, if ever, launched a
product that has been embraced by the public and investors as
rapidly as Jay Walker's priceline.com. The Internet travel company,
which allows consumers to set their own price for airline tickets
and hotel rooms, was introduced to the public via radio last
year by actor William Shatner. In its first year of operation,
the company sold 333,000 airline tickets and 75,000 hotel rooms
on-line, achieving mega-brand status among e-commerce companies.
"If you can imagine Jay incessantly telling William Shatner
to say 'big, really big,' just like that (during ad production),"
remarked Bill Harris, vice president of priceline.com, during
his acceptance remarks for Walker, who was unable to attend.
"Because Jay is in the trenches all the time, sending our
message to the world net."
Walker is chairman of Walker Digital Corporation and founder
and vice chairman of priceline.com. Walker Digital is a leading
inventor of innovative Net-centric business solutions, including
priceline.com's patented e-commerce system. An acclaimed entrepreneur
and marketer, Walker was ranked among the most influential business
leaders in the digital age by Time magazine in October 1998.
Target marketing magazine also named him a direct marketer of
ROGER BALLOU AWARDED FOR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT
The most prestigious honor bestowed by ATME is its Atlas Lifetime
Achievement Award, which was given to Roger Ballou, chairman
and CEO of Global Vacation Group (GVG), following a remarkable
19 years in the travel and tourism industry.
Ballou's first travel job was with American Express, where he
was given one year to turn around the company's flagging tour
business. He successfully did that, and became vice president
and general manager of AmEx's United Kingdom division. That job
was followed by heading a new division to merge corporate cards
with business travel services. When Ballou became president of
American Express Travel Services Group, its annual revenues were
more than $15 billion.
From American Express, Ballou went to Alamo Rent a Car as its
president and COO. Alamo was sold to a group of investors, for
whom Ballou became senior advisor to their capital partners and
private investment fund, helping to create GVG, which recently
completed a successful public offering. In March 1998, Ballou
became chairman of GVG, which acquires and consolidates vacation
package companies, and operates under three brands.
Ballou has also participated in travel organizations that work
for the good of the entire industry. He is past chairman of the
Travel Industry Association of America, and currently chairs
the U.S. National Tourism Organization.
In accepting the award, Ballou revealed that during his career
he has always followed the same philosophy. "The people
who build great corporations are those that practice anticipation
[of customers' needs] and innovation better than their competitors....If
you do those right, you should have great comfort that the return
on investment will be there. If the proof is there now, you are
already wrong if you are in marketing, because marketing is about
taking chances before you know the results."
Ballou encouraged conference attendees to be bold. "That
is one of the disciplines that marketing must have-to be the
risk-oriented arm of the corporation-the group that takes the
constructive risks to move the organization to new places."
INSPIRING LOYALTY, TWA'S LISBETH MACK
Veteran airline marketer, Lisbeth Lee Mack, received the Atlas
Inspiration Award for her leadership in developing and marketing
Trans World Airlines' "Aviators" frequent-flyer loyalty
program. In accepting the award, Mack, who is TWA's vice president
of marketing, said, "It's a humbling experience to get an
individual award for something that was so clearly a team effort,"
citing the advertising agency and the creative services department.
The loyalty program was revamped, based on customer research
that showed that frequent flyers perceived themselves as pioneers
who endured hardship [travel] in pursuit of their [business]
goals. She learned that customers want to be recognized by airlines
for their fortitude and loyalty. With that information, Mack
and her team created a program that celebrates the pioneering
spirit of TWA's frequent flyers. Advertising collateral features
aviator legends. For example, the headline for a picture of aviator
Amelia Earhart, reads, "You don't have to be a legend to
be recognized for your travels." That pioneering message
and its symbols were used to shape the program that recognizes
frequent flyers with awards and upgrades. In summing up the program,
which increased active membership to more than 20 percent it
its first year, Mack adapted the closing line from an earlier
conference speaker, Doug Fyfe, president and CEO of Canadian
Tourism Commission, who said "Don't ever forget we're selling
dreams." She said, "If you can convince your customers
that they're still buying dreams, that's inspiration."
RADISSON'S MAUREEN O'HANLON RECEIVES
'TO MARKET' AWARD
Maureen O'Hanlon, executive vice president of marketing and sales
for Radisson Hotels Worldwide, received the "To Market"
award in absentia for her many contributions to Radisson's innovative
trade and consumer marketing programs. These include the company's
Worldwide Hospitality Program, which provides corporate clients
with a state-of-the-art computerized rates and benefits package.
She is also instrumental in the success of "Look to Book,"
the company's computerized incentive program for travel agents,
and is responsible for developing marketing initiatives via emerging
technologies, such as the Internet, CD-ROM, and interactive kiosks.