Author: George Rafeedie

BMA National Conference: Blog, Tweet, Tweet, Blog

We will be blogging and tweeting from this year’s national Business Marketing Association Conference being held in Chicago this year starting June 10. Probably more tweeting than blogging, but we’ll see how the week goes.


I have been to many national BMA conferences, especially within the last 10 years. It was always exciting when we heard the buzz about more than 100 people attending. But this year it looks like there will be more than 300 people in attendance representing 200+ companies from more than 25 states nationwide. As national conference chair Gary Slack has stated in his e-mails, we are definitely “defying economic trends” and I think it is exciting for not only the BMA and b-to-b marketing, but also for marketing in general. It is proof that there are great things happening by smart people and that we are still willing to invest in idea sharing and networking to improve upon what we are doing in our day-to-day work environments.


Ralph Oliva from Penn State’s Institute for the Study of Business Markets will be setting the stage for the conference starting at noon on Wednesday, June 10.


Keynote and general-session speakers will include:


  • Kendall Collins, chief marketing officer,
  • Patrick Crane, vice president of marketing and advertising, LinkedIn
  • Scott Davis, general manager, Chicago office, Prophet, and author of The Shift (to be published in June 2009)
  • Tom Haas, chief marketing officer, Siemens Corporation
  • Mark Mitten, chief brand officer, Chicago 2016
  • Ralph Oliva, executive director, Institute for the Study of Business Markets
  • Joe Pine, author of The Experience Economy and Authenticity
  • Matt Preschern, vice president of marketing, IBM
  • Al and Laura Ries, co-authors of The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing and War in the Boardroom
  • David Meerman Scott, author of the recently updated The New Rules of Marketing & PR and the just-published World Wide Rave
  • Al Saltiel, vice president of marketing, Navistar
  • Sam Sebastian, director, local and b2b markets, Google
  • Andy Sernovitz, CEO of The Blog Council, founder of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association and author of the just-revised Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking


I will do my best to spread the word to people not in attendance, but check for other blogging and tweeting going on this week. If you want me to keep my eye on anything of particular interest, please let me know. Follow me here or at


George Rafeedie


P.S. Join the Chicago BMA! (I am the local membership chair.)

Final Thoughts on our India Trip

Blue Silver Marketing ConsultancyHere are some final thoughts, but also some summary comments since we want this blog to live for a while for people interested in the reasons we made our trip to India during February 2009.First, BlueSilver Inc. is a marketing consultancy that uses a variety of resources to help develop and execute marketing and marketing communications plans. In today’s economy, agencies and corporations have to be creative with how they develop and execute marketing communications tactics. Organizations must look at all marketing execution scenarios to help sustain their activity to help spur growth.


The main reason we were in India was to visit our creative design production and programming partner, Basil Communications, and introduce a global U.S.-based marketing communications firm to the global capabilities a Basil and BlueSilver partnership has to offer. Mission accomplished. We had a great set of meetings that included meeting our team in Bangalore and reviewing in-depth capabilities in design, production, illustration and programming. We also spent time watching the team in India work in real time with an agency in North America on several projects.


While in India, we also got to tour the country a bit visiting the nation’s capital, Delhi; the former industrial and cultural center of the Indian British empire, Kolkata; and of course, the Silicon Valley of India, Bangalore. We’ve posted comments and photos from each step of our trip and we also posted more frequent Twitter updates at


On a final note on the global creative sourcing front, our advice is to fully explore your options and global capabilities that are out there. Be honest about the challenges that you and your organizations are willing to experience to really give doing things differently for growth a chance. If you want help exploring those challenges, and opportunities the come along with overcoming them, please don’t hesitate to contact Sanjeev Ahuja or George Rafeedie at In the meantime, enjoy the content in this blog. We hope you find it useful.

Home Sweet Home

We had a great trip to India to visit our design production and programming partner, Basil. But it sure is nice to be home and back in Chicago – even though we had to experience a nearly 50 degree difference in temperature.


Over the next day or two, we will be summarizing our trip and will include final thoughts. This blog will then act as an archive of our trip for anyone interested in visiting India, exploring creative global sourcing or is just curious about what Sanjeev and I did in India.


Thanks for your interest and thanks to the great friends, family and business partners in India who made our trip memorable and successful.

Expect Challenges

We are having some great dialogue today with Basil executives and the agency that is visiting from the United States. One hot topic is about potential challenges and obstacles. In short, people get used to working in certain ways. And when looking at any kind of change, many things come into play and get in the way — such as established processes, relationships, personalities and comfort level.


This especially holds true with the whole idea of creative global sourcing and looking at different ways to produce creative work. My simplest answer to people who ask me about potential obstacles to success in this arena is that they should expect challenges. More importantly, your mentality must be that there will be obstacles and “I need to plan on how to overcome them in order to give this new way of doing things a fair shot.”


We often advise agencies on a pilot project with a minimum number of hours attached so that the entire process can be experienced fully. Every step of the process should be a time of open dialogue of what is going right and what is not. Both parties should be dedicated to moving to a second pilot project in order to work out the kinks and develop a working relationship and understanding that lays a groundwork for long-term success. Ideally, that would lead to a longer term engagement with visibility to projects over the course of several months or a year that would benefit all parties involved.

Be Proactive

Agencies need to start exploring global production sources and bring solutions to their clients before they get an e-mail from procurement telling them they must explore global resources, or worse mandate a particular organization to work with off shore.


For Fortune 500 marketers, you also want to stay ahead of procurement and work with them to come up with the right solutions for your team and your agencies.

We Arrive at Basil!

Basil Business Marketing Meeting

We have had a fantastic trip so far, but meeting with our partners at Basil is the main reason for our long journey. It is great to be here and we are looking forward to a productive 24 hours.


They have very cool space in the AVS industrial corridor of Bangalore. They have been at this location for a little over a year and have 50 full time professionals on three floors with room to expand. More on the facilities later.

About Basil

Creative Programming Design AgencySo who is Basil and how does BlueSilver work with their team in Bangalore?
Basil is a creative design production and programming studio that BlueSilver represents in the United States. BlueSilver also uses Basil services for current consulting clients who have various print production and programming needs. The full scope of services through Basil includes a whole suite of global creative services including print design production, illustration work, interactive programming (including Flash development) and data management.


This is an important point. The services Basil provides through BlueSilver are not meant to replace the big ideas or strategic direction coming out of an existing agency relationship or corporate marketing team. Rather, they allow creative and interactive marketing professionals to spend more time thinking about the next big idea and developing original thinking and design, with an eye toward growth. Leaving the production work to Basil.


A few other important points about Basil:


  • Basil was founded by former advertising agency and creative executives.
  • Its staff works on United States and United Kingdom time zones.
  • It has a proven track record of success serving some of the world’s largest brands such as Coca-Cola and Uniliver.
  • Basil has leadership experience working within agency organizations including Y&R, Dentsu, Bozell, Lintas and JWT.


We’ll talk more about Basil as the day progresses and our trip concludes.

Off to Bangalore

It is early Monday morning in India. After a great weekend with Sanjeev’s family and friends in Kolkata, we are now off to Bangalore, or Bengaluru, to meet with our creative design production and programming partner, Basil Communications. We will be in meetings all day Monday with Basil executives and an agency from the United States interested in utilizing global creative resources for design production and illustration needs. A U.S. senior VP of creative services and senior VP of production services will be representing the firm.


In addition to talking in-depth about the U.S. firm’s specific needs, we will be taking a tour of Basil, go over their in-depth capabilities and discuss how a partnership between BlueSilver and Basil works for U.S. clients. We will also be staying late to see first-hand how a Basil account service and design team works seamlessly with a North American agency everyday in the U.S. Eastern Time Zone.


Later that night, we have plans to go to dinner at ITC Windsor Hotel’s Dakshin before retiring for the night at the Oberoi Hotel. We’ll have breakfast with the firm’s representative and Basil on Tuesday morning then off to Delhi to catch our late flight back to United States.