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Engaging Marketing Minds

Vol 5, Issue 4, July/August 2015

The Connection Mindset Engaging in the new age of communication INSIDE Re-branding Trending with marketing guru Michael Klynstra Data you say


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publisher’s letter

A seat at the table M

Bill Barta

arketing’s seat at the executive table has long been up for debate. The past 20-plus years have been dominated by the insatiable desire for short-term profits and immediate gratification, and financial executives and their corresponding metrics sat at the head of the table. As technology and competition push us down the slide of commoditization, the idea of marketing seems to be gaining some popularity. Apparently, understanding and connecting with others and propelling them to a better place has some merit. In other words, successful brands tend to focus on a much bigger picture with greater purpose than themselves. While a marketing mentality is easy to talk about, executing on it proves difficult. There are those who are quick to exploit internal issues and create division where there should be teamwork and chemistry. The fact is that we need less talk and more doing; fewer characters and more character; less shortterm and more long-term; less finance and more marketing. The day has arrived when talking about marketing no longer holds water. We have to commit to it. Marketing minds will rule the future, because having a relationship with a community is the only sustainable advantage. And while that may sound a bit like a broken record, it’s a tune that we will gladly keep singing. We find ourselves in a marketer’s landscape. And our cover article, The Connection Age, details the death of the industrial age and why, along with it, the industrialist mindset must be discarded. This feature demonstrates how the Connection Age demands a new kind of thinking. As great marketers know, getting over a first impression is hard, but it can be done with great connection and a relentless focus on the client. Our second feature is about how a company rebrands after years of tradition and perception. It’s no easy task, and it takes a completely different strategy. Marketers weigh in to show us how.

Marketing minds will rule the future because having a relationship with a community is the only sustainable advantage.

Enjoy the issue and have a seat at the big table.

Dean Petrulakis


Bill Barta President & CEO Rider Dickerson



Publisher’s Letter

04 The Inbox

A seat at the table



Dean Petrulakis Senior Vice President Business Development Rider Dickerson


Marketing in the Connection Age Engaging in the new age of communications



Trending with...

Data you say

How and why to reshape your image

Marketing guru Michael Klynstra

Survey: Marketers struggle to think ‘data first’

Printed on 100# MPC Silk Text


Bill Barta, President & CEO, Rider Dickerson

Managing Editor

Dean Petrulakis, Senior Vice President, Business Development, Rider Dickerson

Art Direction

Brent Cashman Editorial and Creative Direction: Conduit Inc. - printForum is published bimonthly by Rider Dickerson, copyright 2015. All rights reserved For more information contact 312-676-4119 printForum • July/August 2015






CMOs say

ome on, admit it, you want to know – what are all those CMOs on Twitter really talking about? From large brands to small, the “Social Insights: CMO Edition” report by Neustar and Leadtail breaks it all down. The most commonly used hashtags. The apps and platforms used to share information. Content sources. And the list goes on. Here’s a sample:


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• Across the board CMOs are looking for strategic insights from people, publications and vendors to cope with the explosion of technology and data-driven marketing. • The CMO-CIO relationship is getting serious, as marketing executives take an active role in beefing up their tech skills. • While the line between B2B and B2C marketing continues to blur, B2B marketers remain focused on technology, where B2C marketers place more emphasis on brand. • CMO media consumption and sharing habits continue to lean toward visual content that transitions seamlessly between desktop and mobile environments. • CMOs are attuned to the value of their “personal brand,” and they love to talk about and share lists of how influential CMOs compare and stack up.


Still the one Survey shows brochures No. 1 sales tool

When it comes to the best tools for B2B technology buyers, product brochures top the list. According to a report from Eccolo Media, brochures and data sheets are the most influential content types for decision making. Here’s a look at the most commonly consumed information:

The percent of companies set to increase their budgets for digital marketing over the next 12 to 18 months, according to Mondo’s “The Future of Digital Marketing” study spanning consumer and business-to-business brands. The majority of the increases are expected to go toward hiring more skilled talent in the digital space, the study found.

39% 52% 52% 42% 35% (tied)

Product brochures/data sheets


White papers

Competitive vendor worksheets

Customer magazines/publications Tech guides Video/multimedia files

CMOs today have a real opportunity to get a competitive jump by organizing more forcefully around today’s buyer, who is changing rapidly. It’s arguably the most important trend in marketing.” – Bill Lee, founder of the Center for Customer Engagement, on how marketers can gain a competitive advantage

Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach to Customer Service By Ken Blanchard & Sheldon Bowles On his first day, an area manager was given this advice: “Your customers are only satisfied because their expectations are so low and because no one else is doing better. Just having satisfied customers isn’t good enough anymore. If you really want a booming business, you have to create Raving Fans.” In their book, Raving Fans, Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles show how everyone in every kind of organization or business should heed this advice to deliver stunning customer service and miraculous bottom-line results.

Written in the parable style of “The One Minute Manager,” Blanchard and Bowles use a simple and charming story to teach how to define a vision, learn what your customers really want, institute effective systems and make, what they call, “Raving Fan Service,” a constant part of your mission statement. Raving Fans offers insightful tips and innovative techniques that can help you create a revolution in your workplace and turn your customers into your biggest fans. printForum • July/August 2015


Marketing in the Connection Age 6

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Engaging in the new age of communication By Charles Lunan


f there is one lesson marketers have learned over the decades, it’s that all the marketing, creativity and media dollars in the world are no match for a recommendation from good ole mom and dad, a co-worker or the local yoga instructor. While consumers have unprecedented access to product information to guide their purchasing decisions, recent research from the consulting firm Deloitte and others shows that consumers still overwhelmingly favor the opinions of their family members, friends and fellow consumers over bloggers, retail associates and other so-called experts. In a May 2014 survey of consumers, Deloitte found that 60 percent of respondents ranked recommendations from family and friends and customer reviews as the most trusted source of information on products and services, dwarfing the 43 percent who selected independent product/service experts or the 12 percent who chose product manufacturer/service providers. The good news is that the same digital infrastructure that has shifted so much power to the consumer also has enabled marketers to influence prospects during the earliest stages of their research. This is when they’re still gathering recommendations from friends and family via their social media networks and researching options on manufacturer and retailer websites. “Buyers have been researching your product long before they contact you,” says Barbara Thomas, founder of marketing firm Creative Tactics. “They are about 65 percent through the sales cycle by then. The key is to reach the people they are talking to before they are there.” Thomas has carved out a niche by helping business-to-business companies identify and leverage what she calls, “customer advocates.” These are the customers who willingly share their positive experiences with a product or service provider with their peers, family and friends. “That is something you don’t see on a normal spreadsheet,” Thomas says, before citing research that shows that uncompensated customer advocates can be up to five times more valuable than other customers. That’s because they not only spend more, but because the customers they refer tend to remain customers much longer.

“Buyers have been researching your product long before they contact you. They are about 65 percent through the sales cycle by then. The key is to reach the people they are talking to before they are there.” – Barbara Thomas, Founder, Creative Tactics

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Marketing in the Connection Age

Connections trump knowledge Many small businesses were reminded of this during the last recession, but the idea has gained currency since then, according to “The Shift Index,” a series of reports Deloitte began publishing in 2010 in an effort to determine why the return on assets among U.S. corporations had declined steadily since 1965. Deloitte found that rapid technological innovation had shifted the advantage from companies that had accumulated large stores of information over a long period of time, to those that could harness the digital infrastructure to quickly form networks and tap flows of information. In other words, an organization’s ability to connect trumped its stores of intellectual property, including patents that may have taken years to develop but could become obsolete long before expiring. The Connection Age had supplanted the Information Age. More relevant to the marketer was finding that wide availability of product information, especially prices, had eroded consumer brand loyalty. With 24/7 access to detailed product descriptions and price information, consumers were in a position to demand more. “It’s not enough to have a great product anymore,” says Meghan Skiff, founder of Mixy Marketing, an in-bound marketing firm that has carved out a niche helping tech startups. “That’s just one box checked, but customers expect a lot more than that. They expect service, intelligence, consultative relationships, value through content and things like that. You have to be really great at serving your customer.” Brands have turned to marketers like Skiff to help distinguish themselves in a sea of sameness and they are responding by using social media, data analytics and good old fashioned content marketing to engage customers like never before. “Now, for the first time, we can form an actual relationship with our customers based


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on a dialog that will actually serve them in a way that helps our business,” Skiff says. Skiff cites the example of one brand that learned how to use social media to develop a deep understanding not only of the companies it was trying to sell to, but its employees, who would ultimately be using its products. The company used those insights to craft content and a service model that resonated deeply with its target customers and enabled it to displace more established companies as an industry thought leader. “They know ultimately who they are serving and who they are selling to,” Skiff says. “They know what keeps their customers up at night and what their pain points are. You can call it service driven marketing. It turned a lot of heads in the industry and they are experiencing record growth.”

Like the Information Age and the Industrial Age before it, the Connection Age has not changed the fundamental purpose of marketing, which is knowing your customers.

Leveraging customer advocates Thomas has focused on helping clients in the business-to-business space connect with and leverage their most valuable customer relationships through award programs that recognize customers who have had success with a particular product or service. The ideal award candidates are successful, active networkers who welcome recognition. If they consent to an interview, Thomas or her clients work up marketing collaterals that range from a case study to a YouTube video, which the customers can share on their social medial networks. Thomas and her customers also have been able to connect with award winners online by offering to recommend them on LinkedIn. Once accepted, such invitations can yield valuable new insights and connections. The approach adapts many techniques pioneered by retailers and other consumer brands to identify, recruit and reward “brand ambassadors.” Consumer brands have since turned to a constant stream of contests that entice customers to send in photos, videos and other content for a shot at free products or an appearance in a marketing campaign. In 2012, more than 2,000 people submitted essays and other content to SylvanSport to explain how they would use the company’s tow-behind GO trailer if they could use it for free for three months. To be chosen as one of three finalists, contestants had to agree to document the adventures they took with videos, photos and blog entries. The winner whose content garnered the most likes, followers and views on social media was awarded a camper packed full of gear. In the outdoor recreation industry, many brands are adding enthusiasts, including young children, as brand ambassadors after learning their customers could not always relate to the high-adrenaline feats of the Olympic athletes, pro cyclists and mountain guides generating much of their social media content.

The most forward thinking consumer brands have moved beyond that to engage consumers in the product development process. In Boulder, Colo., Eric Greene used a variety of techniques he has developed over a career of bringing toys, medical devices, energy drinks and sporting goods to market to gather input from customers for a major refresh of the over 60 year-old Kelty backpacking brand. The goal is to make the brand more relevant to 25 to 44 year-olds. Members from a group of 250 customers were consulted on everything from what language and imagery Kelty should use in its marketing, to what features it should include in new backpacks, tents and sleeping bags. “In early rounds, consumers were judging concepts, in later rounds they were judging designs, colors and other details,” says Greene, VP and GM for Kelty. “They can’t always tell you what to do, but they can critique everything really well.” Consumer input led the company to adopt the tagline “Kelty Built: Memories that last start with gear that lasts.” In April, Kelty kicked off a marketing campaign loaded with images emphasizing the social aspects of outdoor recreation that

“As much as those things on a tactical level have caught on, many marketers have overlooked their real value. I’ve seen a lot of startups not understand their customers and struggle because they failed to connect.” – Meghan Skiff, Founder, Mixy Marketing

many in that generation find more appealing than the solitude that drew Baby Boomers to the brand.

Some things never change Like the Information Age and the Industrial Age before it, the Connection Age has not changed the fundamental purpose of marketing, which is knowing your customers. That task escapes even the most digitally literate marketers. They excel at using social media, search engine optimization and database management to generate leads and build emails lists, but they often don’t take the time to learn how to use them to listen. “Generally, marketers have not dived in deep enough,” Skiff says. “As much as those things on a tactical level have caught on, many marketers have overlooked their real value. I’ve seen a lot of startups not understand their customers and struggle because they failed to connect.” Marketers will have plenty of opportunities to work on that as new innovations come to market. Within the decade, smart apparel capable of monitoring vital signs, location and even mood could come to market. As companies strive to shift to more demand driven business models, they will look to marketers for guidance on whether and how customers want that data used to enhance their lives.

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How and why to reshape your image

hink Hilton, and what comes to mind. In the ever-competitive world of hospitality, another marketplace where MilBy Michael J. Pallerino lennials are forcing every brand to rethink their offerings, the Hilton name still carries a lot of cache. Think Hilton, and After reviewing historical data from its DoubleTree by Hilton rebranding effort in you think quality, consistency and familiarity. 2011, and conducting proprietary market reWhen it came time to evaluate ways to search, findings showed that the “by Hilton” association results in increased expectations further strengthen its Embassy Suites and around service, guest rooms, comfort, locaHampton brands, the global marketing team at tions and awareness of the brand’s associaHilton Worldwide sought ways to incorporate tion with the Hilton portfolio. As part of its renewed business strategy, Hilton also rethe mark of Hilton’s excellence into the equation. branded other segments across its 12-brand The decision was a simple, but effective stroke portfolio, including Canopy by Hilton and Curio – A Collection by Hilton. of genius – just integrate the Hilton name into Jim Holthouser, executive VP of global the brands. So, with the stroke of a marketer’s brands, says the rebranding campaign of DoubleTree showed marked improvements brush, the new “Embassy Suites by Hilton” across key metrics, such as average daily and “Hampton by Hilton” names and logos are rate (ADR), occupancy and revenue per being rolled out across the world. available room (RevPar). In the end, Hilton’s rebranding initiative, like so many other brands that take the leap, centers on reinforcing the consumer experience. In Hilton’s case, consumers now can confidently associate the Embassy Suites and Hampton brands with the quality and consistency of Hilton Worldwide. This includes increasing consumer familiarity of brand attributes such as opportunities to earn/redeem points and benefits with Hilton HHonors, its awardwinning guest-loyalty program.

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Re-branding Maryann Stump, VP, strategy director at branding agency CBX, says a rebranding doesn’t have to be something new. In fact, many great rebrands are about bringing new meaning to what they’ve been saying all along. “The most important aspect is a strong commitment,” Stump says. “It’s not about having loads of money. It’s about a willingness to make some tough choices. Brands are about trust. Consumers deal with enough change in their lives, so they don’t want their favorite brands to change for no apparent reason. Change for the sake of change can fracture consumers’ trust in a brand.” The steps to rebranding center on some very basic questions, the likes of which vary from brand to brand, but all carry the same premise: What is the business goal you must achieve? What has changed since your last brand refresh? How is your consumer different? Are there new competitors? Are they playing the game in new ways? What trends and cultural shifts are impacting your brand today? The key is in the timing and methodology of your approach. “These are not mutually exclusive,” Stump says. “Method, speed and total commitment should all work together. Small goals yield small results. Only big goals will deliver big results. Big goals can’t be reached without a clear roadmap.”

Change is good If your brand is doing the same things it did on the day you launched, you’re stagnant. Don’t let anybody fool you – change is important. From a few minor adjustments here and there, to a complete overhaul, change is good. One of the most crucial aspects for companies to understand with respect to rebranding or refreshing a heritage brand is


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“Rebranding requires discipline and rigor, but also the energy and excitement to tell the organization’s new story. Getting this right is as much art as it is science.” – Brian Elkins, Senior Brand Strategy Consultant, Heart + Mind Strategies that, intended or not, you’re signaling to your marketplace that something of significance about the business is changing. “Too often, rebranding is undertaken as simply a means to garner attention or underpin a short-term campaign, which can lead to an uptick in engagement in the near term, but will be un-sustained and create risk by disappointing internal and external audiences,” says Brian Elkins, senior brand strategy consultant for Heart + Mind Strategies, a research-based brand and communications consultancy that has worked with brands such as Western Union, Paychex, Royal Cup Coffee, Wynn Resorts, and Constellation Brands, among others. Identifying and defining the catalyst for your change is crucial. Some, but not all of these catalysts may include new leadership or ownership structure, a new or evolved value proposition or positioning, new or enhanced products, experiences, channels or ways for audiences and customers to engage with the brand. And, as often is the case, updating the

articulation of the brand to better align with a combination of these factors. “A successful rebranding campaign requires a coordinated effort across the organization so that the new brand is delivered at every touch point, from senior management to frontline employees and product/service experience,” Elkins says. “Rebranding requires discipline and rigor, but also the energy and excitement to tell the organization’s new story. Getting this right is as much art as it is science. The brands that get it right put their customers and authenticity at the center of their approach.” In a world where everything is changing and the value proposition to today’s customer is constantly evolving, rebranding often is the right move. With technology, nothing is stagnant, which means you have to stay current by examining your core values and consistent strategic branding initiatives. “Rebranding starts with awareness,” says Chris Rosica, president of Rosica Communications and co-founder of Interact Marketing. “You need to take a good, hard look in the mirror and be realistic about how your brand presents itself to your key audiences – whether consumers, shareholders, partners, individuals, the media and anyone else with whom your brand interacts.” Amazon founder Jeff Bezos once said that “branding is what people say about you when you leave the room.” That said, it’s best you make sure you know what that is and address it as you redefine your brand. “Ask yourself if how you define yourself will be relevant two or three years down the line or even beyond,” Rosica says. “A successful rebranding campaign is based on the same principles as a branding campaign: be authentic, be memorable and be consistent.”


-step approach to rebranding Heart + Mind Strategies specializes in brand strategies (positioning, naming and portfolio architecture), and employee brand engagement and consumer insights/planning. Over the years, it has helped refine and refresh strategies by employing the following five-point checklist: No. 1 Define First and foremost, identify and clearly define the catalyst or reason for rebranding. No. 2 Engage Once the case has been made, it’s crucial that leadership not only champions the process, but also plays an active role in building buy-in at every level of the organization. Everybody has something at stake with a successful (re)brand implementation. No. 3 Measure, and then measure again Establishing a benchmark through research and tracking (quarterly or bi-annually) against those metrics post-launch is paramount to sustaining a successful rebrand and providing further rationale for investment in the brand. No. 4 Take stock The excitement of a rebrand endangers the positive brand equity an organization has built over time. One of the most important activities, once measured, is to recognize existing equities to be brought forward and improved, while also identifying baggage you aim to diminish or leave behind. No. 5 Ownership & accountability Establish a brand governance system from the outset. Too often, rebrands lose steam without people and processes to act as brand stewards going forward. Building a cross-functional team not only reinforces engagement, but also helps ensure consistent implementation and sustained success. printForum • July/August 2015



Interview with Michael Klynstra

Trending with ... Marketing guru Michael Klynstra


ichael Klynstra thrives on identifying patterns in chaos and creating simplicity where complexity has taken root. As a marketer with a background in science and the arts, and experience in software delivery, operations and graphic design, Klynstra continues to explore new ways to understand and communicate with his audience. As VP of marketing for Geneca, he specializes in marketing automation, social media, creative direction and brand management. Here are his thoughts on how marketing and IT should work together.

Why is it important for marketers to work closely with IT? The reality is that software is no longer some other company’s gig. Everyone’s customers are hungry for relevant, fast and convenient digital tools to get stuff done – personal and business. That’s why every company must start thinking and acting more like a software company. And not only for customers – your employees and vendors are also looking to technology to improve communication and productivity. Unfortunately, for many organizations, marketing is invisible when it comes to deciding how software tools, apps and even websites should look, feel and operate. Since digital touch is part of your brand experience, it’s critical that marketers combine their talents with IT. Involvement in all things software will probably change the role of marketers forever. But that said, combining our talents with IT will go a long way to improving our technology and the customer experience.

What can marketers do to help build this relationship? First, educate your co-workers about the value marketing can add to product development efforts. Probably more than a few of your IT counterparts think those of us in marketing only care about fonts and design stuff. We must let them know that while we do care about aesthetics, we are totally focused on building competitive products


Marketers can help make sure new products are aligned with the business strategy as a whole and not just a reaction to one client’s need.

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is about more than software development. It’s also about go-to-market and product evolution strategies; branding and interface design; messaging; product and marketing strategy – everything that’s part of a marketer’s skill set. In order for your products to be successful, it’s critical your organization takes this holistic approach to digital transformation and keeps marketing involved every step of the way. With your insight and understanding of business strategy, you can help make one-off products (being developed for just one or two customers) become a key product or service offering. You can add spit, polish and sophistication to any application. More often than not, the delivery side of software development is more focused on the internal workings of a product rather than its outward appearance. So, while that side is confident that the “back end” will work, it is less sure whether the market facing aspects are up to par with other branding efforts. They may be aware of these shortcomings, but not sure how to fix them. This is where marketing steps in.

How will the marketing landscape continue to evolve?

that sell well. While IT is highly skilled within its disciplines, it may not be totally familiar with the larger strategic business issues. Marketers can help make sure new products are aligned with the business strategy as a whole and are not just a reaction to one client’s need. What marketers know about customer personas, the marketplace and the competition is invaluable insight for developing products consistent with overall strategy. Launching new products

Analysts, innovation leaders and market pioneers from virtually every industry continue to prove the business value of customer facing apps. As a result, more companies are taking digital transformation seriously. That said, most marketers are becoming aware of the extensive change that software brings. While we may become more painfully aware of inefficiencies in our current product lines, we are also excited about new ways to connect with customers, and are already eagerly identifying new opportunities to leverage software to better serve them. And just like other kinds of products, software products require product and marketing effort. So, for better or worse, many marketers are going to suddenly find themselves in the business of marketing software products.

Before You


Data you say Survey: Marketers struggle to think ‘data first’ It pays to know – or does it? In the case of data, while marketers widely acknowledge its importance, many still struggle to make it a part of their strategic decision-making process. According to a report by B2B Marketing and Marketscan, 71 percent say they are not getting the most out of their databases. Here’s a look at who’s thinking data:

50 32 %

Data is used sometimes


Data is at the heart of everything they do



We rely more on experience than data



We do not use data at all

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