The world demands marketing people who are more than one-trick ponies. After four decades, we’ve learned a thing or two about what works – and what doesn’t. All that experience has led us to develop some special skills, skills not typically found in ad agencies. Here’s the top ten:
Middleware and Add-On Technology Development
It’s surprising to us that most company computer systems (especially banks) are so unbearably clunky. Many cool data management ideas die stillborn because the existing systems can’t handle simple requests. Our response has been to develop middleware (or add-on) applications to maximize customer service and data utility.
For example, we’ve produced Email management systems that provide an end-to-end process that keeps customer email addresses current. Customers can go online, edit their email profile (including opting out of marketing promotions) and the updates are transferred, automatically, to the bank’s core processing and CRB software.
Another example: we built a customer-managed online member database to replace a very unwieldy paper system. Now member data is displayed online (and in PDF format for die-hards). Members can edit their data, even change passwords online. This particular client realized $50,000 in savings in the first year – even after paying us a fee for development.
It’s amazing how much leverage a website plus microsite can generate. We’ve learned how to combine these two digital components in a way that delivers campaign elements at a fraction of traditional costs. (This approach works for selling and also for support: think converting a service manual to a video service manual!) Maybe the coolest thing is how cheap it becomes to update sales and service manuals going forward using a website.
The big problem with printed sales and service support documents is not the cost. It’s the obsolescence factor. Catalogs and service manuals, especially, are usually out date quickly. But if you’re delivering the information over a microsite (or website), updates are far easier. Think about it next time you crank up that annual printed project.
The other problem is all that printed stuff is one-dimensional. People retain much more if they hear it and see it. Think: how hard is it to write a “how to tie your shoes” manual? And, how much easier and effective it would be to produce a video, with supporting graphics and maybe musical sweeteners?
If you’re thinking video costs too much, think again. First time video production costs are roughly equal to initial printing costs. Lifecycle costs for video are even lower. (If you’re a serious prospect for video, see if you qualify for our 1st Time Free program. Get the details.)
Cross-Channel Marketing Systems
For clients who are advertising in multiple media, including social media, we have developed a way to use modern web tools to measure, monitor and revise ad spending based on individual prospect targeting. Cross-Channel provides a way to maximize the “where” of ad investment. This program is built combining readily available tools with a dollop of custom application programs. It’s not cheap, and not for everyone, but if you’re spending serous money, the productivity and efficiency gains will pay off directly to your bottom line.
Advertising success is based on a clear objective and smart strategic plan. You can’t know what to say unless you know why you are saying it. We’re not talking about a ring binder full of analysis (although some companies need to go that far). We are talking a few pages, clearly written in plain English that explains (1) what needs to happen, (2) what results are forecast, (3) by when and, last but not least, (4) the expected ROI.
A written strategy is an unbeatable way to focus the mind. It simplifies alternatives and eliminates unlikely approaches. Best of all, it is the only efficient way to spend advertising money, usually making it possible to do more for less.
We’ve developed a real talent for focusing client teams to get company projects done on-time and in-budget. Our marketing/advertising skills, combined with those of the client, make good things happen. From time to time, our clients hand off the day-to-day project management responsibilities to us.
Bank Consumer Compliance Management
Many years ago, we discovered that we didn’t know nearly enough about federal consumer compliance. We noticed this because we had many great ideas slaughtered at the altar of “Sorry, it won’t fly with Compliance.” We decided, in our own defense, to become compliance knowledgeable. It made a big difference in our bank advertising success. One day, a bank client had a compliance train wreck. He called us to help get the bank out of the ditch. That was 16 years ago, and we’re still working with that bank. Over those years, our compliance work has become a real “consulting service.” Many customers hire us to supplement their own staff. Some lose an in-house person and we take on temp assignments. If you’d like to know more, spend some time surfing our compliance website.
Everybody feels compelled to get on Facebook. We have no particular quarrel with any Social Media, but our experience is that unless clients have the resources to provide fresh, interesting and frequent content, the social experience will be decidedly unfruitful. (And given Facebook’s recent “throttling” posts, we now wonder whether Facebook is only good for companies who have significant resources.) It comes back to strategy. If you don’t have a sound social media strategy, you’re probably better off being “unsocial.”
Video and Animation
Noting beats show and tell. People are more seriously “converted to believers” with powerful video. Animation can help demonstrate complex operations in simple, understandable way. We produce both a simple and complex sales, training and communication videos as well as simple or complex two and three dimensional animation.
Contact us for a free proposal and cost estimate (with ROI).
Sales Cycle Management
It’s one thing to create a successful ad program; it’s quite another to manage the sales lead process, including a major annual trade show. This is a case of deploying a larger skill set, sort of a project management assignment on steroids.