Tech Thursday (Oct 20) – American Airlines, Infusionsoft, TripIt, Marchex, AT&T

American and Score Name Hope International Grand Prize Winner of “Flight.Camera.Action” Contest

Infusionsoft Unveils New Features Helping Small Businesses Launch Automated Marketing Campaigns Faster, More Easily

TripIt Launches Windows Phone App

Marchex Expands Digital Call Advertising to Hundreds of Local Properties Through Deal With CityGrid Media

American Express OPEN and AT&T Collaborate to Deliver Special Offers and Helpful Technology Tips and Insights for U.S. Small Businesses

American and Score Name Hope International Grand Prize Winner of “Flight.Camera.Action” Contest

American Airlines Recognizes Small Business Impact on the Economy – Grants More Than 350 Round-Trip Tickets to Small Businesses

Research and Surveys Validate Return on Investment for Business Travel

FORT WORTH, Texas – Recognizing that small businesses create 75 percent of the net new jobs in the U.S. economy, American Airlines and its small business mentoring partner, SCORE, announced the Grand Prize winner of its “Flights.Camera.Action” contest Sept. 15 at the 2011 SCORE Awards Gala in Washington, D.C. Hope Force International, from Brentwood, Tenn., was awarded more than 100,000 Business ExtrAA® points – enough for 50 domestic round-trip Plan AAhead award Economy Class tickets. The winner will be featured on American Airlines inflight television, a full-page ad in one issue of American Way® or Nexos® magazine, banners on AA.com, and more. The addition of the grand prize brings the total number of BusinessExtrAA points awarded to the equivalent of more than 350 domestic round-trip PlanAAhead® award Economy Class tickets.

Hope Force International is a not-for-profit that mobilizes thousands of volunteers into areas of crisis around the world. It was chosen through a public vote for 50 semi-finalists from hundreds of videos entered, which represented a cross section of industries and geographic regions from around the United States. A panel of esteemed judges, including Leigh Buchanan, INC. editor-at-large; Kelley Cox, U.S. Chamber of Commerce executive director of business development; Rieva Lesonsky, GrowBizMedia founder and chief executive officer; Virasb Vahidi, American’s Chief Commercial Officer; and Ken Yancey, SCORE chief executive officer – selected Hope Force International for articulating the most compelling case for how travel and media exposure to American’s customers could affect substantial growth for it’s company. To view the winning organization’s video, visit www.aa.com/newsroom.

The travel industry estimates unmanaged air travel generated primarily from small and medium businesses at about $36 billion annually.1 Recognizing the economic pressure on small businesses, American Airlines stepped up its long-standing commitment to those businesses in 2011. American partnered with organizations like SCORE, which helps small businesses succeed through mentoring and training, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and start-up incubators to provide critical travel resources to small businesses to help them grow and generate new jobs.

“The air travel and the media exposure we have received from the contest has been amazing and has opened doors for growth of our business,” said Jack Minton, president and chief executive officer of Hope Force International. “We’ve already received positive interest and heightened awareness as a result of the media exposure to date, and the flight awards will assist us in reaching out to more people in need.”

Infusionsoft Unveils New Features Helping Small Businesses Launch Automated Marketing Campaigns Faster, More Easily

New Infusionsoft Campaign Builder, Interactive List View and Improved Email Deliverability Features Help Users Save Time and Increase Sales

Infusionsoft today unveiled new features and enhancements to its all-in-one sales and marketing automation software making it simple for small businesses to plan, create, launch and measure automated marketing campaigns that convert leads, get repeat sales and save time. The lates release includes enhancements to each of the core functions of the Infusionsoft sales and marketing automation software including CRM, email, marketing, e-commerce and automation.

“Planning and executing an automated marketing campaign can be an intimidating process for even an Internet-savvy small business,” says Infusionsoft VP of Product and Strategy Richard Tripp. “With this release we’ve made great strides towards removing that feeling of overwhelm and giving a new breed of small businesses an approachable, easy-to-use framework for generating new and repeat customers with marketing automation.  Our new features, combined with our world-class Perfect Customer Lifecycle training, get the average small business up and running with marketing automation campaigns in just a few weeks, whether they’re looking for fully automated lead nurture and conversion solutions or driving leads through sales teams seeking hyper efficiency.  This release marks another major step towards our goal of making easy the new normal of Infusionsoft.”

Small businesses marketing on the web often use tools like basic CRM, email marketing, autoresponder and shopping cart products, but quickly run into problems because the disparate systems aren’t designed to work together.  This problem is exacerbated by the fact that small businesses don’t have the in-house IT resources to create and manage custom integrations for these point products.  Designed specifically for these Internet-enabled small businesses that aim to grow quickly and profitably with automated and personalized internet marketing, Infusionsoft combines CRM, email marketing and e-commerce with automated follow-up into one, easy-to-use system that small businesses can afford.

TripIt Launches Windows Phone App

Mobile Travel Organizer Available for Download in Windows Phone Marketplace

San Francisco, CA — TripIt, the leading mobile travel organizer from Concur (Nasdaq CNQR), today announced that its free Windows Phone App is available in theWindows Phone Marketplace. Now, travelers with Windows Phone devices can access all their travel plans in one place, and share them with others.

TripIt makes organizing travel easier – no more frantic searches for flight numbers in the inbox.  Instead, travelers have all trip details at their fingertips on their smartphone, calendar or online – for free. To get started, travelers simply forward travel confirmation emails from anywhere they book to plans@tripit.com. TripIt automagically creates a simple, smart itinerary, combining travel plans with maps, driving directions and more – which can easily be shared with others.

The TripIt for Windows Phone app also supports TripIt Pro, the premium service which acts like a personal travel assistant while traveling.  With all the benefits of TripIt – which makes it easy to organize and share travel information from one place – TripIt Pro goes much further by keeping the traveler in the know with status alerts and fare refund opportunities. The Windows Phone app provides TripIt Pro users with access to all their frequent traveler points in one place.  Greater peace of mind while traveling is available for $49/year.

“Windows Phone is backed by a rich developer ecosystem that is creating a variety of quality apps and games, like TripIt, from Concur, which help users take advantage of the phone’s dynamic design,” said Todd Brix, senior director, Windows Phone Marketplace, Microsoft Corp. “TripIt is a great example of the rich applications that people will find on Windows Phone Marketplace to get the most out of their phone,” he continued.

Marchex Expands Digital Call Advertising to Hundreds of Local Properties Through Deal With CityGrid Media

CityGrid Media’s leading local ad and content network, CityGrid® using Marchex to connect millions of consumers to advertisers through phone calls

SEATTLE, WA – Today, Marchex, Inc. (NASDAQ: MCHX) announced continued momentum for its digital call advertising opportunity through a partnership with CityGrid®, a leading local content network that connects web and mobile publishers with local advertisers.  This agreement will increase the breadth of Marchex’s Digital Call Marketplace through CityGrid’s extensive network of local web and mobile publishers, including Citysearch, Urbanspoon, Insider Pages and hundreds of other leading web and mobile properties.

CityGrid Media will place Marchex’s national and local advertisers in relevant call advertising placements across its CityGrid® advertising network – to connect them to consumers through phone calls when these consumers are looking for relevant products or services.  Through Marchex’s technology platform, advertisers pay for these live customer connections on a performance pricing model, Pay For Call (PFC), and then utilize call analytics to better understand the value of these calls.

“We’re excited to partner with Marchex and believe there is a great opportunity to create live connections between our local consumers and Marchex’s advertisers,” said Rob Angle, SVP at CityGrid Media.  “Marchex’s digital call advertiser base is a great fit for our network and we believe we can show them a lot of value from our network of local publishing partners.”

“We see strong momentum for digital call advertising, among both national and local businesses, and are focused on partnering with mobile and web traffic leaders to continue to increase the breadth of our digital call marketplace,” said Pete Christothoulou, COO at Marchex.  “CityGrid® is one of the most valuable and recognized local content networks and represents the type of partner we look for to help us drive live connections, new customers and more sales for our advertisers.”

American Express OPEN and AT&T Collaborate to Deliver Special Offers and Helpful Technology Tips and Insights for U.S. Small Businesses

DALLAS and NEW YORK Small businesses looking to stretch their budgets for communications services and for helpful advice on technology got some welcome news today from American Express and AT&T*, two of the country’s most recognized brands serving the segment.

The companies have formed a strategic alliance to deliver simple technology tips and insights online and to provide special offers and promotions for small businesses, a key segment in driving U.S. economic recovery.

Key Facts – Online Technology Content

  • AT&T is the exclusive sponsor of the Technology “Idea Hub” on OPEN Forum, an online community providing insight, information, news, and other content focused on helping small business owners grow their businesses.
  • Through the OPEN Forum sponsorship, AT&T is a regular contributor of articles and other information, focusing on small businesses technology tips, tools and trends.
  • OPEN Forum content also will be made available on the AT&T Small Business InSite, AT&T’s free online resource that offers webinars, articles, case studies and best practices for small businesses.

Key Facts – Special Offers and Promotions

  • The two companies are providing differentiated offers, featuring AT&T technology solutions and American Express OPEN Card solutions, including:

o    Offers include promotional pricing on select AT&T wireless plans and devices, including smartphones, LaptopConnect cards and Mi-Fi pucks for new AT&T customers who sign up online at www.amexnetwork.com/ATTWireless.

o   Promotional waivers of AT&T wireless plan activation fees are available for qualifying American Express OPEN Cardmembers.

  • Qualifying American Express OPEN Cardmembers purchasing AT&T solutions, including AT&T’s popular “All for Less” packages, also will be eligible to receive American Express gift cards, courtesy of AT&T.

o   All for Less features various services, including wireless, wired and broadband services, and Website hosting, tech support and data backup

o   In addition, OPEN Cardmembers, who purchase AT&T wired or wireless solutions, are eligible for a $25 gift card provided by American Express if they select AUTOPAY to their American Express OPEN credit card as their AT&T billing payment option.

For a brief video, highlighting the American Express-AT&T alliance, click here.

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Allison Midori Reilly is the CEO and Founder of Stirring Media, LLC. Stirring Media, LLC is a content marketing and news production firm that provides content marketing and business blogging services to the small business market. Prior to that, she was a freelance writer, who was published in over a dozen print and online publications, such as Smallbiztechnology.com, American City & County, Ideabing.com, Transport Topics and St. Louis Commerce Magazine. In her spare time, Reilly is an active member of Amnesty International as well as an avid poker player.

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