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Gutsy B2B Creative Calls for Mutual Trust

9 Nov

Six simple trust techniques for clients and creatives

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420769_789433871855_1274789115_nGuest Contributor:
KC Rudolph, Art Director

Trust between a client and agency is the single most important factor to achieve truly great creative work. Without trust, no one pushes the creative envelope, the best ideas end up mediocre, and the disruption that advertising and marketing efforts strive for goes unrealized.

That’s why building trust should be a priority for both the client and the agency. To stand out you need to take chances, do things differently and occasionally go out on a ledge. In business, that can be a daunting proposition and we often take the easier, safer, less challenging direction.

When trust doesn’t exist, the safer and often less rewarding path is usually chosen; when trust does exist, the path can seem less daunting and the rewards within reach.

Trust works both ways. Clients should strive to trust their agency’s creative team to deliver ideas and finished work that stands out—even if the ideas make you slightly uncomfortable. The best ones usually do.

On the other hand, B2B creative teams should trust their clients will be open to wildly creative ideas. Granted, we need to trust our clients when they throw legitimate red flags, but too often the best ideas get left behind. The defeatist mindset of, “they’ll never go for it,” can be the death of brilliant ideas. When trust exists, “they’ll never go for it” can become “let’s go for it!”

B2B Clients and creatives want the same thing—great creative work that stands out from the competition, and leaves a unique and lasting impression on the audience. They say trust takes a lifetime to build and only a moment to lose. But, if we wait a lifetime to trust our partners, then the moment to do great, gutsy things will pass us by.

Just like clients are experts in their roles, agency creatives are experts in theirs. Trust them to be just that, and the final product will be better for it. Ideas will be bigger, designs more eye-catching, copy more clever, and results more rewarding.

Remember these six simple trust techniques:

  1. TRUST the client to be an expert in their product or service
  2. TRUST the client to be open minded
  3. TRUST the creative team to be experts at what they do
  4. TRUST the creative team to deliver ideas that are unconventional
  5. TRUST gut feelings and push the envelope in order to break through
  6. TRUST that this will result in better creative

Now… what boundaries do you want to push? We’re ready.

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Demand Generation Tips for 2017

27 Oct

work tools

Most of our clients are in the midst or near completion of their 2017 marketing planning. An important element we’re discussing with them is their demand generation strategy.

Demand generation is a catch-all term that refers to the marketing elements your business employs to boost audience awareness and interest in what you offer.

As you consider your company’s demand generation toolbox, keep these online elements and tips in mind.

1. User-generated content

Most people spend at least a few minutes a day on social media. Facebook is the largest social platform with an average of 1.13 billion active users in June 2016.

Remember, when users share their experience with your company or how your product provided a viable solution to a sticky problem, their social media connections – as well as others who can see their content – are paying attention.

2. Audience engagement tools

Today’s customers don’t want to stand idly by while being lectured about the merits of your products and services. They want to engage and be part of the action.

Draw your customers in and keep them coming back with interactive content. Try infographics, quizzes, polls, videos, calculators and more.

3. Easy reading

Break content into bite-size chunks that can be easily read – and shared – in a short time. Use a story-telling narrative, as well as bullets and sub-heads, so info is skim-able, and web- and mobile-friendly.

4. Maximize budget

According to Hubspot, budgets for content marketing will continue to increase in 2017. Knowing how to effectively use resources is key to boosting demand and elevating your business.

Take the guesswork out of demand generation. Let’s talk about how we can work together to develop the tools your business needs to lead and achieve your marketing goals.

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Trust but Verify

25 Oct

Questions about the Facts

Several weeks ago, a train in Hoboken, NJ crashed and quickly made national news.

The first alert I received from CNBC said, “Major train accident causes ‘mass casualties’ in Hoboken, NJ: WNBC.”

Just 25 minutes later, I received a second CNBC alert. This one read: “1 dead, more than 100 people injured in Hoboken train accident: WNBC, citing source.”

CNBC is a reputable news organization, especially among financial audiences and business leaders. I’d wager their writers are journalists with ample experience.

Tragically, one person did die in the Hoboken crash. But the first email from CNBC was based on information from WNBC that at first glance, appears to have been incorrect.

President Ronald Reagan used a Russian proverb when interacting with the country’s officials, “Trust but verify.” Meaning, I’m going to accept what you say at face value but I’m also going to confirm the accuracy with another source.

WNBC, and ultimately CNBC, likely reported exactly what a transit official shared in what had to have been a chaotic environment. But our digital 24-hour news cycle puts a premium on speed – often at the expense of quality.

After all, if CNBC was a print outlet, this error would have been less likely. CNBC would have had time to verify that one person – not many – had lost their life.

There were nearly 212,500 students enrolled in college journalism programs in 2012.

There were 305 million blog accounts on Tumblr in July 2016, up from 17.5 million in 2011. That’s just Tumblr – not WordPress or other platforms.

Why does that matter?

Trained journalists of today and tomorrow have to meet specific standards. Stories are edited and fact checked. And, the threat of getting news wrong haunts most reporters – even if it’s just misspelling a name.

On the flipside, bloggers may or may not be officially trained. Objectivity and accuracy isn’t mandated like it is for reporters at credible news organizations.

That doesn’t mean bloggers aren’t good writers. It also doesn’t mean that bloggers are okay being loose with facts. I assume most want to do good work.

But it does mean that anyone can call themselves a blogger. And, not everyone can claim to be a trained journalist.

Bloggers aren’t held to the same journalistic standards. And, they don’t have the same repercussions as traditional reporters for inaccurate reporting.

As we enter the final weeks of a presidential election fueled by hysteria, hyperbole and even panic, it only seems appropriate to reference the Gipper’s line.

Consider the source. Consider the outlet. Don’t just accept what you read online and regurgitate it as truth.

Trust but verify. Before you share, like, retweet – or repeat.

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Trade shows: What’s the real ROI?

20 Oct

People at an Exhibition

On the way home from the Remodeling Show and Deck Expo earlier this month, I found myself wondering if trade shows still matter. Let’s face it: Trade shows are expensive.

  • You build booths
  • Create collateral
  • Give away tchotchkes
  • Travel
  • Entertain clients

But the trade show budget spreadsheet doesn’t tell the whole story.

Trade shows are a rare opportunity for marketers to talk first-hand with customers – those actually using your product or service. It’s also a chance to meet in-person with your sales team and talk face-to-face about their stumbling blocks and opportunities:

  • What keeps your clients up at night?
  • Does your three-step installation process matter to clients?
  • Does the sales team really need new collateral?
  • What messages resonate with prospects?

Sometimes these responses are hard to hear. But they’re often the reality check we need to show where we should really spend our 40+ hours each week.

ERM clients attend trade shows worldwide. And most would likely put their trade show ROI on the high side.

Why?

They understand the value of candid customer feedback, seeing the sales process up close and learning about new products.

The real trade show ROI is the stuff that never makes it on the budget spreadsheet. It’s intangible and hard to assign a number.

It’s the knowledge you gain, the people you meet and the qualitative learnings that shape how your business moves forward.

For trade show tips and tricks, check out this ERM whitepaper.

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Tesla: Innovation in the Driver’s Seat

18 Oct

The Building Materials Industry Can and Must Continue to Innovate

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I recently attended the inaugural Housing Innovation Vision Economics (HIVE) conference in LA. Kudos to Hanley Wood for a successful first-time event.

The opening keynote was JB Straubel, co-founder of Tesla. Arguably one of the more innovative companies right now, Tesla is doing more than just making a beautiful electric car.

When Tesla brainstorms, they start with the problem they’re trying to solve. Their team wanted to reduce harmful emissions. How could they do that? By making an electric car that people would actually buy.

JB and his team looked at how established companies were building cars. Tesla realized how inefficient the process was and created a new way.

During HIVE, two consistent problems kept bubbling up: the housing industry’s labor shortage and the increasing challenge of affordable housing.

How do we create a new way?

How do we build a better process for attracting, hiring and retaining labor? How do we hack and disrupt and innovate to make homes more affordable?

How do we follow Tesla’s lead?

Innovation isn’t industry specific. You don’t have to be Tesla to push the boundaries. A mature industry like ours can continue to innovate – in fact, we have to.

Better design. Better space planning. Better land management. All are important to meet the needs of shifting demographics, sustainability measures and first-time homebuyers.

HIVE was definitely not the typical building materials and housing industry conference. But the conversation about how our industry innovates can’t be limited to an annual event.

What “blue sky” idea is our industry pursuing today that will be mainstream tomorrow?

 

 

 

 

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