Tag

business Archives - Page 2 of 2 - d.trio marketing group

The Art of Business

By | General | One Comment

In honor of Creative Summer, one of our awesome clients has written a guest blog about how her art has made her better at business.

by Renée Vevea

It’s always a bit difficult for me to answer the question, “What do you do?”. A common question oftentimes asked by people just met or haven’t seen for a while. My answer is not a simple statement or a one-liner. I’ve come to fear, in my own way, answering this question because I’m not sure where to edit myself. It would be easy to say I’m a teacher, a banker, a marketer, a salesperson, a stay-at-home mom, a student. But my answer goes something like this:

“I work full-time as a digital senior business project manager for a large corporation downtown Minneapolis, am a part-time adjunct faculty (teaching two times a week) at a local college, am working on my doctorate and am also an artist specializing in acrylic painting and have an art studio in St. Paul. And, by the way, I’m a mother to a college senior, am preparing for my third solo art show this year, and spend lots of time in the social media arena – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and blogging – under various nomenclatures. “

Eyes start to glaze over midway through my description and heads start to shake.

But I don’t think I’m alone in not having a one-line answer to the question “what do you do”. In our current culture of digitization we have at our realm smart phones, wireless tablets, GPS navigation systems, and everything in between. We are becoming a culture of multi-taskers whether we like it or not. We can order our groceries, make doctor’s appointments, pay our bills and send a birthday card all online. Instead of sitting on the couch and watching television for four hours a night, we can sit on the couch, watch television, pay our bills, send emails to friends and family, connect thru social media, take college classes, check our work email and write our grocery list. Some say technology has improved and streamlined our lives; others state it has isolated us.

I’ve always been both analytical and creative, using the left and right sides of my brain. Finding a career that both challenges and satisfies both sides has in itself been challenging. Always easier to find jobs that were more analytical, the creative side started to atrophy a few years ago and I felt like I was losing part of myself. After trying jewelry making, knitting, quilting and card making, I took a painting class. It lasted 6 weeks. The first night I was so afraid – I had never held a paintbrush in my hand nor made a color wheel. Blue and yellow make green….red and blue make purple….how glorious it felt to blend and swirl the paintbrush with the wet acrylic paint into a variety of sumptuous colors. The first stroke of wet paint on the canvas made me feel uplifted, airy and light. I wasn’t nervous anymore. I took the class six more times and began to introduce myself at each first session as the student the teacher wouldn’t pass – it was a joke – but I couldn’t get enough of painting and the classroom gave me the three hours a week to be free. Free from thinking about work, about deadlines, about schedules, about to do lists.

Nuages Pleurer, acrylic with multiple compounds, 2011

Nuages Pleurer, acrylic with multiple compounds, 2011

Finally, after the sixth time taking the class, my teacher, a wonderful woman with two MFAs, took me aside and said I should go it alone – she could teach me no more. I had started using many multiple compounds with the paint and my paintings, very abstract and textural, took on a style all of their own. Fortunately, I found an artist’s cooperative in St. Paul who, after an interview and viewing of my work, accepted me into the co-op. My art has flourished and is ever-changing – with the seasons, with where I am emotionally and spiritually, and with the different and myriad inspirations that come my way. My first solo art show was this past January – over 40 pieces. I was very excited to have the opportunity to show my work – and only my work – in one location for three months but also apprehensive and a bit anxious feeling vulnerable about my paintings. What if people didn’t like it…what if no one came to the opening (fortunately over 200 people did come to the opening!).

Naptime, acrylic, 2012

Naptime, acrylic, 2012

Art is art. It has its own subjectivity which cannot be controlled, nor edited. I paint what I like to paint. When I paint I’m in a place like no other – my mind is free and I feel the most creative. The time I take to paint – usually 4-6 hours per week is very important to me and I have realized, thru the practice, exercise and commitment to painting, I have grown in my career. Painting has taught me to be more patient, to not be so hard on myself, and also, if I don’t like something, I can do it over. It’s okay to show someone your art – or at work to share with your co-workers your successes – it’s okay to be vulnerable, it’s okay to open up. Rejection is something we put on ourselves.

I still don’t have a short answer to the question, “what do you do”, but am happy to share all that I do and have realized that sharing the part of my life, art, that is so important, has not only filled the creative side of my personality but also allowed that side to show at work and through some of the projects I work on. Art and creativity are everywhere…including the business world.

bulles d’air, acrylic with multiple compounds, 2011

bulles d’air, acrylic with multiple compounds, 2011

Renée Vevea lives in the Twin Cities and works in the interactive field. Renee is also an adjunct faculty at the Art Institute International. A member of the Old Town Artist’s Co-op in St. Paul, Renée has been painting for over three years and is busily preparing for her third solo art show this October. She is excited to have her son graduate from college in December so she’ll have more funds to purchase painting supplies.

Marketing Intervention Results

By | General | No Comments

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.

Creativity vs. the Hard Stuff

By | General | No Comments

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.

The 12 days of marketing

By | General | No Comments

The end of the year is a time of reflection and review, so the next time you find yourself humming along with the 12 days of Christmas, make it productive. Here’s a perfect opportunity to review and renew your marketing for next year.

In the spirit of the season, here are my 12 days of marketing action.

  1. On Day 1, you look back at 2010 and take stock of the good, the bad and the ugly. What can you do differently in 2011? Did you stop or cut back on marketing to save money – it’s time to start again to gain visibility. You’re behind.
  2. Day 2. Now look forward. Make a plan based on what you achieved with your marketing in 2010 and need to accomplish next year. Did you try a new media? Did you measure the results? Yes? Then you have a benchmark for 2011.
  3. Day 3. Review your customer list and contact your customers to thank them in some way.  It doesn’t have to be big, just heartfelt. Maybe you’ll get a testimonial.
  4. Day 4. Examine your failures. Don’t just blame loss of clients or revenues on the bad economy. Make sure you understand what didn’t work and why. Make a plan to fix the issue(s). You don’t want to lose next year’s marketing budget because you don’t understand what happened this year.
  5. Day 5. Thank your employees, vendors, freelancers, and others who helped your business run smoothly in 2010. They matter in the success of any business and can make the difference between being good and great.
  6. Day 6. Think about what didn’t get done that you wish had and why. Make a wish list and prioritize what you want to get done.
  7. Day 7. Find more visibility – there are many ways to help people find you – from running ads, to email, mail and PR campaigns, to redoing your website for better search results, to kicking up attention to your social media platforms.  Embrace the new marketing scene and aim for multiple touches.
  8. Day 8. Read, learn, and find out what your competition did and is doing in terms of marketing and innovation. What did they accomplish in 2010? Are you ahead or lagging them?
  9. Day 9. Take some time to look up and out of the minutia. The big picture never presents itself to someone staring at details all day long. We all need to take a break, go to a seminar or take an improv class. Do something to kick up the creative juices so you can hone your vision. Your marketing will be more successful if it’s built on vision.
  10. Day 10. Once you’ve created your marketing calendar, publish it so there is buy-in and input from your organization. Create excitement!
  11. Day 11. Ok relax. You’ve earned it. And enjoy your holiday season! Volunteer your time and get refreshed to take on your 2011 marketing plan.
  12. Day 12. We’d love to hear from you! Tell us what you learned from 2010 here or at http://www.facebook.com/dtrio

New beginnings

By | General | No Comments

Nine months into the year I look back at the advice offered in this blog early in 2010 and I can pretty much run the checklist for d.trio. Embrace change – check. Try new things – check…we’re taking our own advice.

Exciting things can happen during down years. You have more time to think, your internal resources may be available to do special projects. And, you have time to add new things to your repertoire. You can even do more charity work.

We’ve been busy taking advantage of the few extra minutes in the day and after many months of toil are unveiling our new brand. It’s been 10 years. Our old brand served us well, and we leave it behind with a touch of nostalgia. But our agency has changed. A lot. So we deemed it time to “whirl up” a new brand look, feel, tone and attitude.

We love what we do and we did it for our own creative agency. Hope you like the change because we’re a little bit in love.

Tell us what you think of our new look here or at www.facebook.com/dtrio

Is comfort good?

By | General | No Comments

I spent the weekend at an event that took me out of my comfort zones, and it made me think about the role comfort plays in our business and personal lives. During this event, I talked to a woman who wants her business to be at the top of her industry, but doesn’t want to venture into new territory to do it. Nor does she want to spend money on search engine optimization (SEO) strategies to help other businesses find her.

She was smart, articulate, clearly had plans and was undoubtedly comfortable with her company as it is – somewhere between the status quo and real success.

Just as author, Jim Collins, says in his book “Good to Great” that “Good is the enemy of great,” comfort is the enemy of success in business. Comfort is lounging on a soft couch in sweat pants, feeding on junk food. Fine for a weekend but bad as a lifestyle. In business, comfort means not challenging the status quo or taking risks. It means doing same things day after day without questioning whether they are the best decisions for your business, product or service to be successful into the future.

If you apply that inertia to your marketing decisions, it’s even worse. You can’t market yourself well unless you find fresh ways to get your name, products or services out there. Different marketing channels can work together to improve how people can find you and you can move the needle toward your goals.

There are many marketing channels that produce results and many that work together to increase business success through increased visibility. Maybe you haven’t changed your marketing programs for a while, or you need help figuring out the steps to take to move that needle in the right direction – that’s what we’re here for. Send us your questions or tell us how you’re doing, here or on our Facebook page.

Coincidentally, I just read a good blog that ties in with this, about getting out of your comfort zones and striving for excellence. I hope it helps motivate you. http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2010/08/six_keys_to.html

Are you engaged in social marketing?

By | General | No Comments

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.

10 Reasons to Embrace Change:

By | General | No Comments

Change is good. It has to be because business is always in flux. So we’re better off embracing it, not fighting it.

We exist, here at d.trio, in the agency world where everything changes and time is accelerated like dog years – so we’re happy to look back on 10 successful years. We’ve learned a lot. And, no year has been the same as the last one.

So what is the point? The point is I’ve been thinking a lot about business and how change has affected our choices. As a result, I’ve come up with the top 10 reasons change is good:

1. Change keeps your ideas fresh – and we’re only as good as our ideas in business.

2. Change makes you keep learning – short term this keeps our strategies relevant and leading edge; long term we fight Alzheimer’s!

3. Change makes every day different – it fights boredom and give us a reason to look forward to tomorrow.

4. Change keeps you on your toes and thinking sharply.

5. Change is the enemy of hubris, which is the enemy of long-term success.

6. You learn more from change, such as failing at something, than you do from unfettered success.

7. A change of view can help keep the important things in perspective.

8. Change is responsible for inspiration (and inspiration can also create change).

9. Without change, there wouldn’t be game changing technologies like the personal computer, the iPhone and maybe the iPad http://www.garysky.net/ipad-review-by-cnet.html (time will tell) – things that make people think differently.

10. Change is required to take a leap of faith – as we did 10 years ago to start d.trio!

So go embrace change today. Share with us how change has affected your life – we’d love to hear what your experience has been here or at our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/dtrio