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Megan Devine

Management Perspective

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Our word of the month for January is “Identify” and we chose it for a number of reasons: At the end of the year we like to identify things we’ve accomplished, and what needs to change. At the beginning of the year and it’s time to identify goals for the upcoming year to help guide our business to grow and improve. “Identify” is a positive word. As individuals, we identify with people and businesses we like and with whom we have an affinity. In marketing you identify your audience – as well as the opportunities, key strategies and tactics to produce a successful marketing campaign. So we felt it was apropos to lead the year thinking of this word and letting it guide us. It’s important to take stock at least once a year so you know where you’re going and have a clear idea what you want to get done. With that in mind, we hope you identify your key success strategies early in 2014 and have a great year!

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

How well do we pay attention?

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I recently discovered by taking an online assessment that my attention span might be a tad less than I had previously thought.

How can this be? I work in marketing. We all know that this business requires meticulous attention to detail and I pride myself on my ability to multitask and manage multiple projects like a symphony conductor. Give me any other attention measurement test and I will prove it to you. I will ace the test and impress you with my abilities. You cannot sneak a gorilla in on me. (If you don’t understand this reference, even though I’ve given away the punch line, you can still go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJG698U2Mvo).

All these statements are true. I can focus, zone in, manage the details, juggle a multitude of projects…all of that.  But, what happens when presented a series of questions where I am asked to self-report my behavior? Do I glance at the TV while my husband is talking to me and miss his point? Ok, yes.  Do I sometimes read email while on the phone. Guilty. These weren’t actually questions on the test, but they represent the point. These type of behaviors illustrate that we do things that can deflate our attention.

The attention span measurement test I took was from Psychology Today. The site states that it contains 10 questions and it takes 5 minutes, but it really only takes about a minute, so even if you have a very short attention span you should be able to get through the test. You can check it out yourself at: http://psychologytoday.tests.psychtests.com/take_test.php?idRegTest=3361.  Personally, my less than desirable score really got my attention.

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).

Trust Your Gut

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In a world of “best practices” and striving to make decisions based on complete and perfect information one needs at times to step back and do a simple gut check on the issue or challenge at hand. We can all get caught up in the process and politics of the situation and lose site of what often is the simplest and most elegant solution.

We’ve got three partners at d.trio, and many people have asked us how you make a business work with three different perspectives on everything. We’ve found it to be an advantage. Not only does approaching decisions from multiple angles result in creative solutions, voting on issues is unanimous or 2-1. Either way, a decision is forced to be made. And doing something nearly always trumps doing nothing.

There is one caveat to the above. And that is if you are in the voting minority but have an extremely strong gut feeling on an issue, your minority vote may trump the others. This has only been invoked a handful of times in our 12+ year history, but has proven extremely beneficial in each case.

Gut feelings are a curious mix of experience, science, common sense and intuition. As such, they are difficult to explain and can seem contrary to what appears logical. They are, however, powerful and if used judiciously can steer a clear path through the storm.

Innovation around here.

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Our theme for this month is innovation, and since we’ve recently updated our website home page, it got us thinking about the old days of websites. Remember Flash? Ok, I’m being a little tongue in cheek here, but our first website had bells and whistles. Almost literally. The mouse had a sound, as did most anything else you wanted to do on it. It was funky and fun, and probably annoying to other people. And, a lot of copy. Definitely not searchable, but then search as it is today didn’t exist.

Cute and noisy

Our second site represented our ability to build Flash based video. Like most other agencies the site entry was this gorgeous video. This was a beautiful, flowing personality statement. Plus lots of pictures of our office and we talked about everything. I hate to admit it, but it was probably like being on a date with someone beautiful who can’t shut up about themselves. But we loved that site.

Flashy

Then we rebranded and embraced the “less is more” approach with search at the center. We took all that content and cut it down by about half (or more!). That was a couple of years ago and this summer we saw we needed a refresh. We’ve taken our home page to a simplified level where featured relevant work and content are at the center. We looked at our stats and saw where people want to go on our site and have made it easier to get there. You want to get a hold of someone? You want to see our work? You need content to see how we think or help support your marketing? Done. In one easy click. We’re excited about the change and welcome comments, because, if it’s working we want to know, and if it’s not working, we want to know even more.

d.trio marketing group

The newest. Until we make a new one.

Creativity vs. the Hard Stuff

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I’ve had blogger’s block. I don’t know why, but it got worse as the Super Bowl got closer. Intimidated by the extreme creativity and sheer enormity of the budgets for advertising during the Super Bowl, I felt diminished by it.

In our heart of hearts all marketers want to be able to turn on the Super Bowl and point to our pride and joy (ad) and say – “that’s my creativity, that’s my baby.” Yep.

But we’re boots on the ground marketers. We have big ideas that touch one person at a time and create results and ROI – not big splashy TV commercials that flood the airways with humor or drama. And although it’s not as sexy, it plays an important role in selling things, getting the word out, making connections and creating relationships that build trust and brands. It wasn’t until I read this blog in Advertising Age – http://bit.ly/eXZJK2 – that I started really thinking about the significance of what we do versus most Super Bowl ads that will be forgotten by next year.

Could it be that there is more value in strategic communications through multiple channels? That relevant communications are really better than all that creativity that is bought and sold at the Super Bowl? I’d have to say yes.

I’ve been told many times in my career that marketing is a really tough way to make a living – that we do the hard stuff.  And we do. But it’s the good stuff, it’s the relevant stuff that really gets people to act and engage.

So I got myself together and wrote this blog. We’re out there every day with our creativity, finding the right way to move forward with brand messages through small and underappreciated channels. Pat yourself on the back; you do the hard stuff and it works. Keep on working hard, getting the word out through the channels that work for you – social, digital, direct response, print and mobile etc.

And if you continue to give the people what they want, then maybe, just maybe you’ll do something that ends up being shown during the Super Bowl. Okay, just kidding, probably not, but doing what you love to do and having success with it does have its own rewards. Do you agree? Tell us how you’re doing and what you think here or at our Facebook page.