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megan devine Archives - d.trio marketing group

Analyzing art

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I recently painted a self-portrait and posted it to social media with the question, “Am I done?” I did this because, with the subject matter so close, I wasn’t sure I could see it objectively. There were an interesting array of responses but the one that intrigued me was from my friend and fellow artist, Jerome. He asked, “Do you think you’re done?” Which begs the question, in creative pursuits, why do you have to live with what is done in order to improve the results? And how do you know when to stop?

In creative development it’s important to have the time and the space to take a step back in the process and let objectivity settle in. This will make good creative great by revealing things that are not immediately obvious, things that it takes our brains some time to process. The reasons for this are based in the way we perceive and process information, as well as our interactions with the world – stored as past experiences. And the more experience you have with something, the more your gut instincts come into play.

There were times in my process where I thought I’d gotten something perfect, and the next time I saw my painting I’d see the proportions were off or the color was slightly wrong. What I was in love with yesterday (the masterpiece syndrome, my Carleton professor called it) today was sub-par. With time, small iterations, feedback and a little objectivity I finished my self-portrait, and I’m pleased with the results. If I had rushed through it, it may have been fine, but not the best it could be.

Designers have it harder than ever because the perception is, if the tools are easier to use, design must be easier than it used to be. The tools may help the technician be more accurate but they don’t drive the creative process, they facilitate it. We still need the talent, the gut instinct, objectivity and time to do our best work. Next time you have a creative project, give it a little extra time to develop and see for yourself.

Please let us know what you think, here or on Facebook and for more information on how the brain processes visual information click here:

http://piktochart.com/5-psychology-studies-that-tell-us-how-people-perceive-visual-information/

Double black diamonds, anyone?

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Some people think I’m crazy because when I go on vacation, I don’t relax. I go. Hard. For instance, I like to go to the top of the mountain, feel the sun on my face, ski the double black diamonds and fall into bed exhausted at night (ok, maybe after a little wine too).

So what do double black diamonds have to do with business? A change of venue, change of pace and mindset in the great outdoors makes me more productive and creative in the long run. It releases the brain to think more broadly and makes me feel a sense of well-being. Here’s additional reading about the benefits of exercising outdoors.

My brain works hard at my job, but like most of you in business, I sit a lot. Not something I do well naturally, so when I feel a little burned out from thinking and sitting the best antidote to that is moving. And being in nature. Go to top of the mountain and your problems seem surmountable, or run or bike on the beach and look at the ocean – commune with nature, you’ll see.

It feels good to get outside and push yourself in different ways than you do in business, and test your limits. Even if you’re not that athletic, you can take a long walk or get on a bike and explore some new terrain. The fresh air and change will do you good, your ideas will flourish and you’ll sleep better than you ever have. I guarantee it.

Management Perspective

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Recently I watched a short creative morning talk by Seth Godin. Speaking about his marketing career, he said he wasn’t a strategic marketer until well into his career, maybe 10 years – it changed his world and the experience of his customers.

It’s an interesting take on what’s considered a young person’s game and made me reflect on the value of my own experience. Even with marketing changing at the speed of light, experience gives you context and a base from which to ask better and deeper questions, for superior problem solving and concept building.

Although I’ve always loved working with clients and creating great work, I realize I’m better at it now. As an inexperienced marketer I looked to the client to lead and was more of an order-taker. Experience has let me add value by asking questions to help my clients get to the deeper business goals of a project, to guide the marketing process toward those goals in messaging and design. The opportunity to really build a better marketing program – to collaborate on even the smallest collateral piece to make it more effective – is what’s really exciting. It’s not just about pleasing the client.

For sure, the new, young, fresh things that marketing focuses on are important. And some things come and go. But the characteristics of a good marketer– curiosity, a love of learning, interest in and understanding of people, behaviors and their motivations – don’t change over time, and improve with experience.

-Megan

Revealing moments from NY

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I swear I’m a time traveler. No, it’s not jet lag, it’s how much has changed during my relatively short stint of judging the DMA’s ECHO Awards. Of course I’ve been involved in the the massive marketing shift, as d.trio has evolved over time as well, but reflecting on my ECHO years reveals such a clear path:

  1. Early years: the entries (mostly from the U.S.) focused on Direct Mail Marketing (creative, offer and list). We were inspired by the creativity, the paper choices, the dimensional pieces – that one channel could be so innovative and effective – and oh, the size of the budgets!
  2. More recently: digital and interactive marketing changed the ECHO Awards landscape to multichannel marketing.
  3. Then the recession hit: reducing budgets and ushering in the brave new world of Social Media and video.
  4. Now: submissions from all over the world are mostly integrated digital/interactive programs and little mail.

How many years have elapsed? 20 years you say? Nope. Just 7…now where did I put that time machine…?  -Megan

Marketing in a tech-driven world

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We’re all aware of how much marketing has changed in 5 years and as a marketing company, d.trio’s looked for ways to marry traditional, paper-based tools and channels with digital counterparts. We’ve started seeing the term “Marketing Technologist” used to describe the tech expert in a marketing company or department, but we believe that instead of having a separate position in a company, technology integration strategy should be a skill set of all marketing employees. Technology is no longer just a vehicle, it’s an integral part of marketing and user experience. Technology is driving many projects from internal business tools that help with sales and customer interaction, to apps and mobile Web for easy access/viewing on smartphones, to collateral and other content management online.

Being problem solvers at heart and having always embraced technology has helped us find great ways to help our clients migrate their collateral and publications to bridge the gap between paper and digital experiences. Technology helps clients take their paper documents to reader-friendly electronic delivery on computers, tablets and smartphones. As people become more mobile oriented, they expect companies to provide the content they need – wherever they are, whenever and how they need to access it. To this end, we provide the technology of content delivery in different ways to maximize the reader experience.

Page-turn technology is one of these tech tools. It helps deliver publications in a reader-friendly manner with realistic page-turning graphics. You can zoom in, embed video, use links from the contents page and also link back to information on your own website all within the PDF document. It’s a great way to present your magazines, white papers or brochures. Here’s an example (not our work).

Marketing Intervention Results

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Call us crazy. Maybe we are. Busy with other client work we envisioned and created an event that would benefit one lucky company, charge us up, kick up our creativity, and keep us up all night. On March 10th we had our Marketing Intervention, complete with live streaming (no sound) and chat.

If you missed it (maybe you’re not a late night person?) you missed a lot and not much at the same time. We had plenty of toys to keep us from burning out and you’d have wanted to tune in for the target practice with the surprisingly accurate potato gun or you would have seen mostly brainstorm discussions and reading (an unglamorous peek behind the curtain) and, um, eating…the food and caffeine flowed aplenty.

Why the challenge?
We love marketing and actually like doing the hard stuff. We had fun helping another company with a marketing deficit develop tangible marketing pieces and kick up their brand. But also, after a stressful couple of years we got to pull out the stops for a very positive reason. And, it showed us just how much can be accomplished with focus, concentrated resources and collaboration (with a bit of play in between).

Thanks go out to all of our great designers, copy writers, our art director, account directors and others who contributed to this active 24 hours of creation. And thanks to Rick Diamond of for his patience and participation.

Rick was on call for the entire event. He was game – didn’t faze him a bit because he’s not a big sleeper.  But he does want to help more people quit smoking through his company Breathe: Freedom from Nicotine (formerly Breathe Laser Therapy). He answered tough questions for us and hung in there through the seemingly amorphous process.

Here are some of the marketing deliverables we created. We also developed a document of recommendations for Rick’s business that we can’t show you.

Some of the Breathe materials created during the intervention

 

breatheCollagez-smWhat did we learn?
It was harder and easier than we thought it would be. The excitement fueled a great thought process and creativity. Designers bore the brunt of the stress to come up with their best work in a shortened timeline – plus it was on their shoulders in the wee hours of the morning, along with the website and SEO recommendations.

It confirmed that our creation process is a good one and it’s even more important to adhere to a prescribed flow when there’s no time.

All in all it was an exhilarating and exhausting process. It confirmed the old cliché – when you work together, you can accomplish plenty and have some fun along the way. We’d definitely do it again. Oh, and no art or account directors were harmed in the making of this Intervention.

What’ve you done lately? What do you think about the Marketing Intervention? Tell us here or at our Facebook page.