What’s been on your marketing mind lately? What burning questions from your corner of the marcom universe are in need of answers? Let us know! We’d love to help by offering some of our thoughts in future episodes of Marcom Talk. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to comment below.
With both my pre-teen daughters' current fascination with cut paper crafts, and their burgeoning interest in graphic design, the creativereview.co.uk blog headline "Make design history with scissors and glue" immediately caught my attention.
The subject of the blog post, the book entitled A History of Graphic Design for Rainy Days (Gestalten), is now on my Christmas shopping list. Not only will my daughters benefit from it, but I'll finally have a way to easily explain graphic design (for the 100th time) to my adult relatives.
Uncle Ralph: "What is it you say you do? Graphic design? What's that?"
Me: "Read this Uncle Ralph... Merry Christmas. So, where's the eggnog?"
There are many goods and services in the marketplace that we don’t look forward to buying for whatever reason. The article provides a few examples like funeral services and bankruptcy counsel. Because of our work for The Maplewood, a Rochester-area skilled nursing facility, we've been exposed to the unique challenge of marketing a category that’s typically not at the top of one’s everyday shopping list.
I thought the article did a nice job of helping sellers think about marketing themselves purposefully before a triggering event. By highlighting a set of goods and services that seem to pose a number of unique selling barriers, the article communicates the importance of identifying the information that customers need throughout the whole buying cycle. This process of information discovery is otherwise known as content mapping. Because customers ask different questions and therefore experience different problems at each stage of the buying cycle, content mapping is a true problem-solving endeavor.
Regardless of your industry (Pulp Fiction-esque or otherwise), what constitutes a triggering event for your customers? What buying stages do your customers navigate prior to the triggering event? What questions do your customers ask at those stages? What content should be provided, and at what time, in order to answer those questions and solve problems? How do you transform a potentially scary or intimidating buying process into one that’s informative, tranquil and valuable?
Graham Beck has a wonderful article on the color palate of the US government. It's called Americhrome and it's published over at The Morning News. It's the most interesting thing I read all weekend.
Here's a snippet:
Born from the seeds of America’s second labor movement and reared in the midst of the Nader revolution, safety orange (F.S. No. 12300) and the rest of its OSHA-approved color family signal a shift away from the marking and branding of an institution and toward colors’ expanding role in the everyday lives of Americans. The orange cones lining a construction zone might not appear that dissimilar to the directional signs nearby, but behind them lies a different logic. That orange—maybe because it’s bright, and maybe because we’re hardwired to watch for it, and maybe because we’ve learned to do so—carries a lesson with it. That color warns. It says that people are working; shouts that equipment is ahead. At the end of a cap gun, it pledges that nothing more than noise will come out. These aren’t mere reminders of an orderly, rule-following American way of life; they are a shorthand for specific human concerns, and they’re applied with the wellbeing and needs of individual citizens in mind.
On Tuesday this week, Mike Nelson and I recorded what will end-up being the first in a series of Bob Wright Creative podcasts. I'm really excited about this and wanted to give our blog readers a heads-up.
Our goal for the series is help our audience with marketing and communication design problems by sharing our experiences.
This was the first time I'd personally taken part in making a recording like this and it was a lot of fun—so much fun that we'll be doing it on a regular basis. Usually I'm helping a client develop this kind of content so it was a special treat to be behind the mic. Mike is an audio pro and made it easy.
So, keep an eye out for the launch. (We still have to edit, etc.) Of course, we'll shout it from the rooftops when episode one goes live.
If you have topic ideas or questions you'd like us to tackle, feel free to leave them in the comments.
Remember the movies Helvetica and Objectified? Producer and director Gary Hustwit presents the third film in his design series: Urbanized. Watch the trailer below.
The film is premiering in a few big cities and will be released on DVD worldwide. I really enjoyed Helvetica and am looking forward to seeing Gary's current effort. You can learn more about the project at the Urbanized site.
Sometimes the full essence of a particular story can’t be fully conveyed through one media type alone, or even a collection of certain media types. When rebranding The Maplewood and building a new website for the long-term and rehabilitation care facility, we uncovered a challenge: Not everything that makes The Maplewood special can be conveyed via text and photos. The intangible qualities of staff – personalities, life experiences, values, passions – are all crucial elements in understanding the full Maplewood story. Observation of these qualities is important to prospective residents and families as they navigate what can be uncertain waters. Communicating these qualities requires a creative approach. The result was a series of “Getting to Know” videos, each highlighting a different member of the Maplewood family. With video, we were able to bring a range of human characteristics to the full Maplewood story. Here’s an example:Peace of mind is critical for those making long-term and rehabilitation care decisions. Through the help of video, the Maplewood’s audience can be confident that the right choice of care is being made. In your world, what messages pose a challenge for traditional media? How do you leverage video and other forms of new media?
I took part in a recent panel discussion as part of DrupalCamp WNY. "What's Drupal", you say? You can learn more here, although this post really is not about Drupal—it's about how marketers promote.
The topic was Selling Drupal with the idea that the audience, mainly Drupal developers, would learn how to do a better job selling Drupal to their clients and prospects.
In preparation for the discussion I spent some time thinking about how BWC typically sells Drupal and realized that we don't sell Drupal!
We never walk into a client or prospect meeting trying to figure out how we can sell one thing or another. We do, however, walk into every meeting with clients and prospects thinking about how we can understand their problem and how we can help them solve it.
And, sometimes, that includes Drupal.
I know this is simple stuff and that you already know marketing should be value-focused. All marketers are focused on solving a problem, meeting a need, scratching an itch, right? But, how often do you see, of have you succumbed to, marketing that hawks a product or service without any recognition of the value it provides it's targets?
If you feel like you've fallen into that trap think for a moment about what problems you solve. Forget your services, products and unique offerings for a minute and just focus on your prospects' needs. How does your company meet those needs? How does it solve those problems?
If you can answer those questions you've got the foundation for great messaging; you can stop trying to sell product and start solving problems.