August Meeting: Adding and Improving the Research in Your PR Practice

Join us Wednesday, Aug. 2, from 11:45 a.m. till 1 p.m. at the Alagasco Center for Energy Technology (CET) as we hear from Mary Ann Smith-Janas and Grace Bottcher of Marketry, two local leaders of qualitative research.

As practitioners, goals for this meeting will be to:

  • Meet and hear from two industry leaders in marketing and qualitative research practices
  • Examine best practices for conducting your own research and working with a firm to embellish
  • More effectively harness technology to communicate with diverse audiences – and how to connect with millennials
  • Review a wide array of school communication issues related to integrating both formal and informal research into your practice
  • Share tips and tools to promote research – even when on a limited budget
  • Learn how to best share research results with your internal stakeholders
  • Get feedback from researchers about their perspective of the PR industry and PR practitionersRegister online today at This meeting will be held at the Alagasco Center for Energy Technology, 20 20th St South, Birmingham, AL 35233. Street parking is available around the venue.

The cost is $16 for members; $20 for guests and $10 for students (add $2 if not preregistered). Prepay options are available, or guests can pay at the event although registration is required.


Mary Ann Smith-Janas, Marketry President

Mary Ann Smith-Janas founded Marketry in 1995 and has since handled hundreds of projects for a diverse array of national corporate clients. Peeling away the layers to get to the heart of the matter comes naturally to Mary Ann. She has a knack for getting participants to open up and share the rich insights that clients need to make decisions. Mary Ann’s combination of experience, curiosity, and passion make her a leader in the field of qualitative research. With a Master’s in Communication Research from the University of Georgia, Mary Ann is armed with the deep knowledge needed to approach any client’s challenges.

Grace Bottcher, Marketry Research Analyst and Moderator

As one of Marketry’s Research Moderators, Grace leads projects of all types but has a special expertise in millennial and youth research. Her proficiency with technology has pushed projects beyond the norm to embrace a creative design and unique implementation.

Her expertise in graphic design allows her to perfect reports, using video footage, images, and graphics to add another level of understanding to each phase of research. Her eye-catching designs make presentations captivating, allowing Marketry to tell the story behind the research in a more fluid and descriptive manner. She holds a BS in Marketing from the University of Alabama and is RIVA certified in Qualitative Analysis and Reporting, Fundamentals of Moderating, and Fundamentals of Qualitative Research. Currently, she serves as the Young Professional Special Interest Group Chair for QRCA (Qualitative Research Consultants Association).


The Public Relations Council of Alabama (PRCA) is the state’s longest operating and largest group of public relations practitioners. The organization exists to further the professional and networking interests of today’s communication professionals in private, public and nonprofit businesses and organizations.

PRCA was formed by a group of Birmingham PR practitioners who saw the need for regular networking with their peers. Though the date of the first meeting is uncertain, various accounts put it sometime between 1953-56. The group is more formally organized now, with more than 500 members in six chapters – Birmingham, East Alabama (Auburn/Opelika), Mobile, Montgomery, North Alabama (Huntsville) and West Alabama (Tuscaloosa). Along with networking, PRCA offers career development opportunities, mentors college students and works to improve the professionalism of public relations practice through its accreditation program.

SPRF is a network of public relations professionals from Alabama, northwest Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi who share a common interest in the public relations profession. Membership in the Federation is automatic for members of the PRCA, the Emerald Coast Public Relations Organization (ECPRO), the Public Relations Association of Louisiana (PRAL), and the Public Relations Association of Mississippi (PRAM).

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