3 Stories To Make You Think in The Jolt! 11.12.2014

I’ve been busy improving your favorite blog. Starting with the new, streamlined format which is totally optimized for you to read on your choice of mobile devices.

The Jolt! will now come in two flavors. Some weeks there will be longer, more thoughtful posts, and hopefully interviews. Other weeks there will be a snappier, more browsable format drawn from ck Curates. You get it all with your current subscription. You can see both types of article in this weeks post.

Please swing on by ckwrites.com and check out the new ck Curates page. If you’re used to going to the ck Curates site, please reset your bookmarks. That site is going away.

QUESTION for all of you. I am thinking of changing the delivery date from Wednesday afternoon to Saturday morning when the statistics say you have more time to read. What works for you?

Tell you the truth, I was going to lie low until everything was complete, but I posted a few articles to ck Curates this week that made me think that I really wanted to share. These are three of the best stories I’ve come across since I started – let me know what you think.

Agency Process: An Inside Look at Gravitate

All I can say is that there is more here to sink your teeth into then I got in most of the classes I took in graduate school.

James Deer is the head of an up and coming UK app developer GatherContent Ltd. His vision is to put together a series of interviews with other agencies who are willing to share how they work “with the hope of helping you improve yours.” It’s a big idea that a lot of people will benefit from on both sides of the pond.

It’s also a clever marketing plan because GatherContent makes an eponymous product that offer a simple way for people to work with their clients to plan, gather and collaborate on content before the CMS (content management system – the core of a website) is ready. I’ve used it and while it is aimed at web development, it could be put to other uses.

The interview is with Don Elliott, the founder of Gravitate, a 30 person digital marketing and design agency in Vancouver, WA. Don is a long-time veteran of the agency wars. While his focus is digital, huge amounts of the interview are directly applicable to any corporate event agency.

The thing that really got my attention is Don’s laser beam focus on using process as a way to manage his clients. That makes this interview a ‘must-listen’ for event agency execs and account managers, as well as creatives and production managers. It is a system that took years to refine and one that can only be implemented from the top-down. Still there is an enormous amount here that can be applied to most projects.

Consider one of his fundamental tenets:

We don’t present, we pitch.

At Gravitate, every single client meeting is a pitch no matter who attends from the agency. Every single client meeting is a chance to build trust and show value. So intent are they on this, that they will not let their clients pitch their work to internal stakeholders. Bravo – we all have the scars from that well-intentioned bad decision.

The system does everything possible to keep the client focused on their role – identifying problems. They utterly reject any client attempt to solve them. As Don says, in the end “we will of course do what the clients wants. Though that might influence our willingness to work with them again.” Should a client insist on an ill-advised solution:

When the client won’t accept our recommendations, we document it because we know that they will hold us accountable later.

Of course this works because Gravitate is accountable for the results they achieve.

There is all sorts of practical advice on everything from team structure, to overages to building an agency about which Don says:

I’ve learned that you can get by with sub-par work more easily than you can be successful with sub-par client management.

Bingo. Owch. And it being Veterans Day as I write, ‘Roger that.’

BTW this is a 90 minute presentation complete with a blow-by-blow walk through of their tracking document that goes from pitch to delivery.

Read the story

Talking about process provides an easy segue to this next post.

3 Essentials Every Event Marketer Should Be Measuring

This is a very comprehensive look at the current state of measurement in event marketing. It’s written by an old friend and colleague, Pat McClellan, who for many years ran the San Francisco office of Jack Morton Worldwide. Pat is now the CSO for the Opus Agency.

Pat’s premise is one that will be familiar to regular readers.

Event Marketers own some of the most immersive and powerful touchpoints in the customer experience landscape, which puts us under increasing pressure to demonstrate ROI….

No surprise there but where Pat breaks significant new ground is his perspective on bringing Customer Experience Management (CXM) into the measurement discussion. In his opinion too much attention is paid to ROI at the expense of integrating events with CXM. His goal is that events become “part of how a company tracks, oversees and organizes every interaction between a customer and the organization throughout the customer lifecycle.”

The argument goes like this – customer experience is the essence of the brand. A successful/positive experience fills the pipeline in a way that nothing else can.

And the punch line?:

Shift your metrics focus to the customer’s perspective. There’s nothing wrong with “success metrics”, as long as you’re talking about your attendees’ success. What is their Return on Attendance?

Follow the link and get his Slideshare deck as well as a transcript of his presentation.

Read the story

Finally comes the age-old question of how one goes about developing great content. It’s not often that you get something as clear as:

The Emotional Drivers Of B2B And B2C Brands

I often think of B2B and B2C marketing as an oil versus water kind of proposition with the twain never meeting. Someone who works on cereal or yoga tights is not the usual suspect you expect to find flogging rolled steel or the Internet of Things.

The post comes from Branding Strategy Insider, which is owned by The Blake Project, an independently owned, strategic brand consultancy.

It’s a short, pithy article that you can use to develop pitches and creative.

I love how they have gotten to the zeitgeist of the two kinds of selling:

The biggest question for a B2C brand is: how can we best take our customers by surprise?

But the biggest question for a B2B brand is: what are our customers most scared of – and why do we represent the best choice to tackle and alleviate their fears?

Read the story

That’s it for this week. Thanks for your patience. It’s getting better all the time…

AND if you enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends and associates.