OUR MUSINGS

The dgs Team, a Group with Diverse Interests

The dgs team is a unique bunch of people. While we collaborate and coordinate on client projects, the truth is we are all radically different individuals with different tastes, talents and interests.

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Case in point: recently, an office-wide survey was sent out to gauge team member hobbies and pastimes, and the results were all over the board. Each of us was asked what interests we pursue outside of the office, what recharges us after a long day and what unique hobbies we enjoy. Here are some of the answers submitted. If you know us well, you may be able to figure out which team member is associated with each answer.

Our Interests

First, we asked each team member to list his or her interests outside of the office. While many listed the usual activities of spending time with family and going out for drinks with friends, others listed volunteer work as a major component of their lives outside of dgs. Music lovers (including one member of a band) cited their love for concerts while film buffs and bookworms expressed how much they enjoy their preferred entertainment mediums. We have an excellent baker who enjoys bringing her latest desserts in to the office, which we all appreciate. We even have two political junkies who enjoy watching election debates/primary coverage, an Art Deco aficionado, and a fly fisherman.

Our After Work Rituals

Each dgs employee has a different approach to unwinding after a long day at the office. Many listed exercise like boxing, jogging and rowing as part of their nightly routines. Beer and wine showed up in more than one answer, as did spending time with our kids or pets, which many of us consider to be our kids. Our resident band member enjoys learning a new song on the guitar or piano, and one team member even enjoys brain-teasing jigsaw puzzles.

Our Unusual Hobbies

This is the fun part. While you can likely relate to one or many of the activities listed above, many of our team members have hobbies that truly are unique. One of our more outdoorsy members loves to farm and attend rodeos. Another uses her creative talents to create special greeting cards for her friends and family using old photos. We also have a snow globe collector in our midst, as well as a volunteer who enjoys delivering meals to the elderly. And while most of our time in the office is spent at desks, one of our team members enjoys getting active with DIY projects and has recently built a new deck and completed two room conversions.

Even though each of us has different personalities, hobbies and backgrounds, we come together to create an impressive team. In fact, our agency is able to accomplish so many great things because of the differences that exist between its members. Without all of our different interests and perspectives, we would be unable to produce the innovative, creative deliverables our clients have come to expect from dgs. Learn more about our unique team here.

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When Remarketing Goes Wrong

hands-coffee-smartphone-technologyMarketers can save themselves a lot of trouble by routinely asking, ‘what’s the worst that can happen?’ That may sound a bit pessimistic or cynical, but I disagree. If you don’t foresee potential problems, you’re helpless to avoid them. Few, if any, ideas are truly ‘all upside’ at their inception. Envisioning potential negative consequences is a vital part of both mitigating them and assessing total risk.

Of course, this process doesn’t have to rely solely on imagination. Every marketer is also a consumer and our peers are constantly trying to find new ways to engage us with their brands. Paying attention to our own responses to these efforts is an easy way to be mindful of potential pitfalls when we take actions of our own, which brings me to the topic in the headline.

Remarketing by showing ads to people who have visited a website or app when they visit other sites has been around for a while now, but it feels like companies have really ramped up their efforts over the past year. In that time, I’ve noted quite a few instances when I was the target of a remarketing campaign that rubbed me the wrong way. Here are three that really stand out, along with the lessons I took away.

Don’t be creepy / Don’t regurgitate what I’ve already read
This twofer has the benefit of proximity, as it happened just last weekend. I went to a retailer’s site to learn more about a product. The next page I visited was my webmail, where there was already an email waiting for me that contained identical text to the product page and almost nothing else.

We’re aware that companies track our behavior to the extent that we allow it and we somewhat expect unsolicited follow-up communications. That said, there’s a psychological difference between ‘hey, we saw you looked at this last week, are you still interested?’ and an instant response that feels like stalking.

Beyond that, when you follow up with me, either offer something new or vastly condense what you’re reminding me of. When I’m reading a wall of text that sounds familiar and then see that it’s verbatim the same text I already read, it’s annoying. It sends the message that you want my money, but it’s not worth putting any degree of effort into whatsoever.

Don’t point out I paid you too much
Over the holidays, I purchased a gift online for $180. For the following 3-4 weeks, I was regularly served display ads featuring it from the retailer I purchased it from. That’s bad form in the first place, as I already made the purchase and it wasn’t an item someone is likely to buy multiples of.

Even worse was the fact that they included the price, which slowly dropped to around $130. We all understand that prices fluctuate and mostly accept that, even if it still stings a bit to buy something and see an immediate drop. Despite that, it’s terrible form for a company to actively and repeatedly call attention to the fact that the wrapped present sitting next to my Christmas tree would’ve been $50 cheaper if I’d waited a couple weeks.

Don’t offer to sell me something you can’t sell me
Last year we were decorating our son’s room and found the perfect bookshelves for it on the site of one of the nation’s largest retailers. Unfortunately, it was out of stock online, not available for store pick-up and seemed to be exclusive to that store.

The next day, I received an email from the company urging me to come back and buy the bookshelves. Only, when I clicked on the link, they were still unavailable. That was the first of six emails, spread over the course of the month, designed to get me to buy the bookshelves. At least two included discount codes. Like an idiot, I kept clicking the links in the emails, hoping they’d come back in stock, but no, it was just the company repeatedly reminding me they couldn’t meet my need. Hopefully, not what they were going for.

Have your own lessons learned from a company’s mistake in remarketing to you? Why not post it in the comments?

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3 Tips for Marketing IIoT to Manufacturers

dgs_Blog_Feb15_IIoT_FNLThe Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is all the buzz in manufacturing right now. Using sensors, machine-to-machine communications and the Internet to share and access data throughout the plant–and even beyond its walls–creates tremendous opportunities for manufacturers to make better decisions and improve their operations.

Industry leaders agree that the global marketplace and manufacturing infrastructure are rapidly changing. To compete in this new environment will require U.S. manufacturers to embrace the concept of smart manufacturing. So what does this mean for in-house marketing departments and agencies responsible for marketing the products and services that help manufacturers enter the world of IIoT?

There are several communication challenges to overcome. For one, we are asking very traditional thinkers to think differently and to trust in concepts and technologies that are not yet fully understood in the industry. We are also asking them to embrace change and to move quickly to adopt new ways of operating so they do not get left behind.

Each of these challenges points to the need for us to market IIoT strategies, products and services in a manner that educates our target audiences and helps them overcome the fear and anxiety of making the leap. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

1. Target messages to all levels within an organization.

The decision to implement strategies and technologies that allow access to data from virtually any device, any time and any place likely requires approval from the highest level in an organization. It is a bold initiative that has widespread implications and requires a mind shift at every level. With this in mind, marketers must be sure to target messages that educate all levels of an organization – from the C-suite and IT personnel to the engineers and machine operators on the shop floor.

2. Focus on the benefits.

When companies market technologies, they often bog down their customers with too many details when it’s really the benefits that are most important. When it comes to marketing IIoT, customers want to know how digital integration of their factories will improve their productivity and how it will help them to be more flexible, especially in a world where Just-In-Time manufacturing is becoming the norm. Ultimately, manufacturers want to know how collection and analysis of all this data will increase their profitability. It’s our responsibility as marketers to create that context, and the best way to do that is by focusing on the payoff to customers through the tangible benefits to their operations.

3. Show examples of IIoT in action.

Right now, IIoT seems like this really big, nebulous idea that can be overwhelming. For some shop owners, especially those who have been very successful using their current methods, making such sweeping changes may seem like too much trouble. This is particularly true if they haven’t seen overwhelming evidence that convinces them that this is the way of the future and it’s time to get serious about about embracing IIoT. Owners of smaller job shops may wonder how this new technology will effect them and how they can scale it to fit their businesses.

The best practice for marketers is to show examples of how connectivity is making a difference in other manufacturers’ facilities. Seeing specific cases of how these technologies are being used–especially by competitors–to become more agile, more productive and more profitable, is likely to motivate a shop owner to learn more about how he or she can reap those same rewards.

One great way to show examples is through case studies or customer success stories. Companies that are marketing IIoT products and services should make it a priority to share examples of their customers who are already tapped into the IIoT. Check out this IIoT Report, which compiles several examples of companies that have connected devices and machines and are using the data to transform the way they operate. It’s an interesting read and may spark a few ideas.

Here are a couple other interesting articles about IIoT and its implications for the future of manufacturing. And, if you want more information or ideas on how to market the next generation of industrial products and services, please contact us.

What is Smart Manufacturing” This article, originally published as a Time Magazine wrap, provides a good explanation of smart manufacturing.

Driving Unconventional Growth through the Industrial Internet of Things” Learn how IIoT is about more than efficiency. It’s about growth…and lots of it.

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There is Still Time to Plan for a Great 2016

startup-photosIf you find yourself well into this new year without a finalized marketing communications plan, or have been frustrated in past years with plans that don’t produce the results you want, don’t worry. It’s not too late to develop a plan that meets your marketing and sales objectives plus helps you accomplish as much as you can with your budgets. But you must act fast – especially if you want to maximize your impact in 2016.

The key to effective marketing communications planning is to use a proven, repeatable planning process. We recommend the Research, Planning, Implementation and Evaluation (RPIE) method endorsed by major marketing and public relations associations, including the Public Relations Society of America. This four step approach allows you to tackle projects, especially campaigns with several moving parts, in the most strategic, intelligent and measurable ways possible.

STEP 1: Research

Start with research to understand and define each opportunity or issue you face. You may need to use more than one method – primary/secondary, formal/informal and quantitative/qualitative – to really understand who you need to reach, what you want your target audience to do and what type of messages need to be communicated.

STEP 2: Planning

To be successful in marketing and public relations, it’s important to plan the work, then work the plan. Planning begins with setting clear objectives for each opportunity you want to address, then creating the framework to meet each objective. Perhaps you want to increase booth traffic at your company’s trade show exhibits this year. Or maybe your company is introducing a new product to the market. Whatever your goals, you must first identify target audiences, objectives, strategies, messaging and budget allocation to determine the right mix of integrated activities to get the results you need.

STEP 3: Implementation

The most common mistake we see is when companies bypass the research and planning stages and jump directly to implementation. For most marketers, creating ads, brochures, websites, trade show graphics, and generating public relations campaigns is the most fun part of the process. After all, this is when the ideas really come to life. Skipping the first two steps of this process, however, is a slippery slope. More often than not, collateral and campaigns implemented without proper research and planning do not produce the desired results and don’t meet bigger picture objectives such as strengthening a company’s brand. Our experience has shown that investing the necessary time to research and plan, combined with strong project management, are the keys to ensuring each project is on strategy, on time and on (or under) budget and meets the objective.

STEP 4: Evaluation

Measurement is an often forgotten, yet oh-so-important step in the marketing communications cycle. Campaigns are an investment of time, money and other resources. It’s important to know how these investments performed. Evaluation of a campaign’s effectiveness and measurement of the results also becomes a very valuable tool for planning future programs because it clearly identifies which tactics worked best. If you need help with planning or just want a second opinion, let us know. We’d love to discuss how we can help you make some noise in 2016.

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