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customer relationships Archives - d.trio marketing group

Intern Series Finale: What College Doesn’t Teach You

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Note: Today is Laura’s last day at d.trio. She’s done a great job and we’ll all miss her. Good luck in school, Laura!

by: Laura Gorder, marketing intern

Walking into my internship on the first day, I knew I had a lot to learn, but never did I expect to learn so much in only eight weeks.

This summer, I have been exposed to a number of things that our college professors and curriculum tend to leave out. Things they don’t write about in textbooks. Things I’d likely only discover by being a part of the industry. Things I didn’t know that I was missing. I learned plenty about myself, about the industry, and about being a part of an account services team.

About Myself…
I’m far from an expert in anything. I have come to understand that I have a lot to learn. Being an intern exposed me to a variety of professionals, many of which are experts and incredibly knowledgeable in their industry due to their years of dedication and experience. As a soon-to-be college graduate, I have realized that in order to be successful, I must never stop learning.

Using my eyes & ears. I have also learned the importance of listening and observing at this stage in my career. d.trio marketing group has been wonderful about including me in their meetings – from brainstorming sessions, to giving creative direction, to presenting final work to clients. I have watched ideas grow into campaigns, criticism strengthen design, and executives sell their work and the rationale behind it. By observing these activities, I have a much better understanding of what works, what doesn’t and how to manage people in order to reach a final goal.

Tight Knit. This internship has reinforced my preference for small dynamic environments. Eleven professionals make up d.trio marketing group, providing an environment that’s open to collaboration and teamwork. Because of the agency’s size, I was able to be a part of projects throughout their entire lifecycle – a great fit for someone who likes to have control and stay involved from start to finish.

About the Industry…
It’s not all glamorous. That’s because until I was behind-the-scenes, I didn’t realize the amount of critical thinking, management, and re-do’s that creative work requires. I have learned that the marketing industry relies on trustworthy relationships not only with clients, but also with vendors. There is a magnitude of other businesses that work collaboratively, from commercial printers to specialized agencies, and play an important part in producing awesome work.

It’s not all the same. There are many types of agencies out there – marketing, advertising, design, digital, small, large, specialized, full-service. It’s all actually very different. My time at d.trio marketing group has helped me understand these differences and prepared me for interviews and opportunities with other agencies in the future.

About Account Services …
The art of communication. Whoa, I had never realized how important the role of communication is for an account executive. Nearly every person associated with a project takes direction from the agency’s executive, and if that direction isn’t clear, the project has potential of turning into a muddy mess. A good account executive is able to read between the lines of a client’s communication – verbal or non – and then pass it along to right-brain dominant creatives and so forth. Being able to master this task is something I know will take practice.

Constructive compliments. d.trio marketing group does an awesome job at giving compliments. I have learned that as a member of an account team, pointing out the positives in a situation builds morale and boosts collaboration. Giving credit when credit is due has proven to be a secret to successful teamwork.

My eight-week journey at d.trio marketing group has been very significant in my pursuit for a career in marketing. I couldn’t possibly share everything that I have learned, but look forward to fueling the path ahead with the knowledge I gained this summer.

Huge thank you to d.trio marketing group for a successful summer internship experience – I owe ya! 😉

Are you engaged in social marketing?

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In previous blogs I’ve talked about customer engagement. It’s a crucial part of new marketing and particularly social marketing. There are different ways of accomplishing engagement but it has to be interesting, sincere and fun.

Engage people
Whether you market to consumers or other businesses, you are still dealing with people, so consider your audience and what is meaningful to them. You can do this in many ways – as a retailer, you can offer product, product discounts or an exclusive say or insight into the next iteration of a product. If you are in education you can offer information (blogs or white papers), school discounts or other things of value such as links to scholarships and grants. Financial services companies can create forums for people to learn tips for saving and share successes or ask financial advice, as well as develop white papers regarding subjects of interest, such as saving enough money for retirement.

dtrioturfwars

Offer value
The key is to offer something of value to your customers and make sure they have a say. The social media realm is different from push marketing where you try to influence a group of homogeneous people with offers you think or know they will like. With social marketing you put your brand out there for interaction, buy-in and influence. You reach your audience by offering information or other things of value.

One way we have reached out at d.trio is by hosting a contest we called “Turf Wars” to engage customers and prospects. We mailed out a small container of grass seed and challenged recipients to grow the grass and submit photos of creative entries. We announced progress through email, Twitter, our Facebook page and LinkedIn. Tying into the spring theme, we offered Home Depot gift cards for the top two vote-getters and a gift card for a randomly chosen registered voter.

Measure response
We had a great response – 10% participation and over 260,000 votes from many different IP addresses (multiple votes were ok). We had a huge spike in traffic to our website http://www.dtrio.com/turfwars/, and our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/dtrio as we provided information and updates.  The response to the promotion was really positive and people had fun with the competition. It was fun, interactive, competitive and engaging.

How do you engage your customers and prospects?

We’d love to hear what your experience has been with your social marketing or contests, here or at http://www.facebook.com/dtrio – tell us what you think.

2010 resolution follow-up #5 – What do customers think?

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What do your customers really think? If your company has changed in the last year (and most have), it’s a good time to look at your relationship with your customers. Learn what they really think about your company and the products and services that you offer.

Obviously what your clients think of your company is critical to your success. This isn’t a situation where what you don’t know can’t hurt you. But it’s tricky, because clients sometimes will not tell the whole truth – it’s hard to tell someone they work with every day that something is not working. And they are probably nice people who don’t want to hurt your feelings. In Minnesota, there’s a culture of being nice to a fault, where we might not be able to tell by talking to clients day to day that there’s something wrong.

But it’s our (the company, vendor, agency, consultant, internal vendor, etc.) responsibility to know what is going on. So ask. And, you might want to hire someone to help you get the full story. We did, and we learned a lot:

  • Customers know mostly just what you do for them day in and out
  • Although you may do a good job at one thing, they will not necessarily make the leap that you can do something related
  • Perceptions about what you do best may be different from customer to customer
  • History is history, what happens most recently is what people remember (what have you done for me lately?)

If you’re like us, we thought that as we changed our clients automatically understood the changes we had made (and benefit). Things move so fast that in a daily business that a “what’s new” discussion may not always happen.

So make a point of pulling your customers aside periodically and updating them on what you do. Pretend they only know about the services or products that they use or buy on a regular basis. Just because they are familiar, doesn’t mean they won’t appreciate a well thought out recommendation or customized presentation. Especially if they have the opportunity to learn something in the process.

And connect with your customers in other ways – Facebook, Twitter, your Website – there are many ways to connect and find out what they want. The more you know, the more you can react to, fix and be proactive the next time.

We’d love to hear what your experience has been in getting feedback from your clients or customers here or at http://www.facebook.com/dtrio – tell us what you think.