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What Exactly Do You Do?

Summary

When marketers are asked what we do, most of us muddle through – our roles are just not as defined as designers, engineers, and contractors. The goal of this session was not only to have an “elevator speech” that succinctly describes our jobs, but daring ourselves to think of what our ideal role is. Sue Stock suggests that each of us imagine what we would want people to say about us when we’re gone – a business eulogy. We can then work backwards to create our careers, rather than having our careers created for us. To do so, we must bring each of our unique attributes to the table – in other words, leverage our own particular talents and interests, not what we think others want us to bring.


Presentation Tidbits

  • A survey asked 160 Twin Cities business people (representing health care systems, architects, engineers, contractors, etc.), “On successful jobs, what has been present?” The top factor cited was trust/relationships, a soft skill that takes time to develop. It may take marketers multiple years to cultivate a relationship before it ever leads to a job, but once established it yields long-term benefits.
  • The foundation of success is made up of four elements split into two halves:
    o    Industry Focus – results/outcome, structure/process
    o    Intangibles/“Soft” Focus – vision/leadership, culture/team
    Many in our male-dominated industries fixate on industry metrics, but the soft skills are what unite people and build relationships. For companies that effectively achieve the intangible elements, the industry metrics and ultimate success will fall into place.
  • Effective communication is one of the most crucial parts of any relationship. Without it, no one gets what they thought they wanted, or beyond that, what they really needed but didn’t know it.
  • Sue asked for perspectives of what people in attendance do. Some of the answers gave credence to the communication theme:
    o    Company storyteller
    o    Cultivator of relationships
    o    Promoter
    o    Communicator
    o    Information gatherer
    o    Psychologist


Group Activity

We split into small groups created a “mind map” of the many different people and roles involved in marketing and business development throughout each firm (see images below). We all agreed that diverse teams add many perspectives, energy and ideas. Some roles/tasks on our maps included:

  • Research – market and forecasting
  • Positioning – align message with what you’re providing
  • Targeting
  • Qualifying
  • Strategic planning
  • Tactical – proposals, interviews
  • Relationship building
  • Brand – positioning, events; useful tool in relationship building
  • Content management
  • Media – including internal and external public relations
  • Communication
  • Project management – maps into marketing and business development

Danielle Hilmo
Marketing Manager and Associate
BWBR

 

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SMPS Marketing Coordinator Series Panel Discussion – Who’s on First Base?

Moderator: Libbie Krussow (ERA)

Panelists: Chrissy McNamara (KFI), Lynette Todd (Mortenson), Jackie Peacha (RSP), and Marcia Malinowski (Kraus Anderson)

Summary

During this Marketing Coordinator series, the panelists described their roles in the proposal process, and lent insight into effective strategies they use to develop the best proposal possible. The moderator asked some questions to get the ball rolling, afterwards the audience got involved for a substantial Q&A session.  This offered attendees with varying proposal responsibilities the chance to ask pointed questions to better improve their processes, and help develop better proposals for their firms.

Presentation Tidbits

Q1: Tips for dealing with people who do not meet deadlines?

  • One of the best tactics for getting the information you need is to build and maintain positive relationships with executives and project managers.
  • Another option, which can be used in tandem with the first, is to get started developing the information for them.  After you have information started for them, it is much easier for them to react and contribute to what you have started.

Q2: How do you say no to last minute changes?

  • One option (if true) is to tell them that by implementing these changes, there is a good possibility that the deadline will be missed.
  • Look at the changes and weigh the possibility of getting them completed in the time you have, against how important the new content is, and make a decision based on that result.

Q3: What sort of process do you use to get a proposal started?

  • The panelists agreed that it depends on the proposal, but the majority of the time it is best to have an internal kickoff meeting. In this meeting, everything from staffing to strategy and goals are discussed. Responsibilities and expectations of the project team are established and deadlines set.
  • If a kickoff meeting is not possible right away due to traveling PMs, etc. take a proactive approach and get the proposal started, you can adjust once the proposal team meets to discuss.

 Q4: What is the role of Business Development in the proposal process?

  • This depends on the client and the value they have in the proposal, responsibilities vary by firm but include: perform the research ahead of time, build the relationship prior to RFP being released, facilitate partnering if necessary, bring up external factors (client’s needs/wants, competition for the project), and performing final reviews.

Q5: How do you get the necessary details to develop accurate project sheets at project closeout?

  • Perform a closeout interview shortly after project has concluded; meet with the PM to gather necessary information.
  • Through the use of a database such as Vision, SharePoint, Salesforce, etc. This tactic can give you highpoints to get started, and can notify you when the project has concluded, to remind you to gather the rest of the information.

Takeaway

There is no perfect approach to coordinating proposals that will work for every firm, on every proposal.  You need to find your team’s strengths and play to them.  Proposal requirements will not always be the same, it is necessary to adapt and react in order to develop the best proposal in the time given.  However using these major points emphasized by our panel will help your firm get to more interviews.

  • If you have to wait on others, complete as much as possible on your own. By having something for them to expand upon, as opposed to a blank page, you are more likely to get them to contribute.
  •  Kickoff meetings are essential for a smoother proposal process. Expectations are set forth, due dates can be set, strategy of the proposal/approach can be discussed, and the story can be developed.
  • Find out (you probably already know) your team members’ strengths and weaknesses. Find a process that best plays to those strengths and weaknesses to get the proposal out the door. Continue refining your process as the environment changes to stay at the forefront of proposal development.

Scott Dunnwald
Marketing Assistant
Karges-Faulconbridge, Inc.

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Navigating the New Media

Moderated By: Paul Maccabee (Maccabee Public Relations)
Panelists: Chris Hudson (AIA, Architect MN), Jake Anderson (Twin Cities Business), Janet Moore (Star Tribune)

Summary

During this session, a Twin Cities media panel shared how their publications are adapting to new media in order to remain current and connect with their audiences. Those who attended the program were given an insider’s look at how content is developed and how they are handling the shift from traditional publishing to multiple outlets.

Presentation Tidbits

Q1: How do I get my press release published? And how has the way that you (the media) garner stories changed?

  • The majority of the panel agrees that when it comes to getting your press release published, your relationship with the publication is increasingly important. Traditional press releases are less likely to get published, or even noticed, unless you have an established contact. Their best advice is to nurture your relationships and, if you have no prior connection, be sure that you pitch makes it clear that the story is relevant and interesting to the audience of the editor or reporter.
  • The increase of stories being published on social media has led to an expansion of how publications interact with their readers and get leads on other possible stories or follow-up stories. Instagram has been a particularly interesting venue for story ideas and interaction.

Q2: How do I know if a story is compelling?

  •  When asked how publications measure a story’s interest and whether or not it is compelling, the panelists said that beyond looking at the analytics or metrics of stories online, they will see an increase in response to these stories via email, phone calls and letters to the editor.
  • Video blogs or clips are another great way for publications to gauge whether or not their audience is engaged. The comments, views and likes are easy to measure and they are easy for the readers to share.

Q3: Where should they land (in print or online)?

  • All three panelists said that they try to marry content and find a balance of print and online content to keep their audience engaged. They may have a printed article that pushes readers online, or have an article on their website that refers to something in their print issue. They agreed that as long as readers are sharing content, they are happy—regardless of whether it is in-print or online.

Q4: Is photography helpful?

  • For Chris, good photography is key. Both Jake and Janet stated that it is helpful if the photo is relevant, such as a professional headshot for a promotion or new hire announcement, or a shot of a building that is going up or being demoed. Janet and Jake also mentioned that providing a video clip and its embedded code is helpful to them as well.

Q5: How do you (the media) view outlets with little original content?

  • All three panelists agreed that, when done right, this can be very helpful if the reprinted content provides an additional perspective on the topic. However, they prefer original content. Janet pointed out that she has only used anonymous sources two times in 17 years. Be original!

Q6: How do you (the media) rely on new stories?

  • When you are sending in a new story to any publication, make sure you have done your research. Know the publication’s readership and why your story would be relevant to their audience. Know the “voice” of the publication and ask yourself if your story reflects the tone and style of the publication you are submitting it to. Relationships are key; knowing your contacts will boost your chance of getting your story published.

 Below are a few key points based on the additional questions posed by the audience:

  • Exclusives are preferred, BUT…
  • Don’t lie about having an exclusive if you are going to call several other publications. Those in the media can easily find out whether or not a story has already been picked up.
  • Be sure to do your research and fact checking ahead of time. Printing false information will make both the publication and your firm look bad. Not to mention lower your chance of having anything published in the future.
  • Stories are being published in many places. Not everything in print is online, and vice versa. Some stories might only be sent out via social media, whereas other in-depth stories might make it to print. The way readers consume news has changed, so be open to “non-traditional” outlets.
  • All three panelists said that they would be happy to meet with new PR or media professionals for coffee to establish contacts and help them get started in the Twin Cities media field on the right foot. So if that’s you, give them a call!

Melissa Trost, Sales and Marketing Coordinator
Virginia McCoy, Communications Consultant
Ingenuity Marketing Group

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