what we think

We don’t think of ourselves as know-it-alls, but we do like sharing our thoughts, experiences and POV from time-to-time. We are in continual learning mode and here is what we think, when we think it.

Media and Agencies are Adjusting

B2B Agency ChicagoAgencies and media companies need to adjust, this article states, to the ever-growing ability of marketers to communicate directly to customers and prospects. Kind of surprising this article is being written in this day and age, and not 10 years ago. We started BlueSilver because things have changed and are ever-evolving. Marketers need resources, both agencies and media outlets, to change with the times.

 

The article has more implications for media companies. Most marketers still need agencies to help them communicate creatively and effectively, even if it is directly with the customers. But they need them to be more efficient and creative on how to deliver both top thinking and execution resources.

 

Here’s a link to the article. BlueSilver is quoted.

 

http://tinyurl.com/ye9s9r8

Thought Leadership YouTube Channel

One of BlueSilver‘s trusted client partnerships is with home healthcare coding company, Daymarck, a leader in remote home health medical coding and software. We play a vital role on Daymarck’s leadership team and initiated an aggressive social media and thought leadership program to spread the word on Daymarck’s and its’ leader’s expertise in the important world of medical coding for the home care industry.

 

One tactic employed was the creation of DaymarckTV on YouTube. In this video, we interviewed a home care leader at the Daymarck booth (major home care trade show – Decision Health Coding Summit) and conducted interviews to get feedback on issues facing the industry and on Daymarck’s offerings.

 

BMA: Day One Recap

BMA Social Media ConferenceThe fine volunteers and staff of the Business Marketing Association are doing a great job recapping the event so far. Here is the link to the official BMA Social Media site at http://www.marketing.org/unlearnlive for links to twitter updates (#bma09), blog postings and official recaps.

 

Here are my quick thoughts.

 

Someone said it best when commenting on the amount of people in attendance (300+) – “This isn’t a marketing recession, this is a marketing resurgence.” There was great buzz all day starting with the staging of the “man in the chair” McGraw Hill ad, to announcing the GD Crain Award winner Jeffrey Hayzlett, that night.

 

Don’t be afraid. That was a theme that was heard loud and clear throughout the day. Don’t be afraid to lose control and try new things as social media tools and tactics become more prevalent in today’s business world.

 

Character counts was something else that popped out loud and clear, especially from IBM. The speaker from IBM quoted Lincoln and said, “Character is the tree, and reputation is the shadow. Concentrate on the tree.” Or something like that.

 

LinkedIn and the growth they’ve achieved still amazes me and their VP of Marketing did a great job ending the day before giving way to cocktails, a great comedian and an awards show.

 

Be sure to visit the link above for more insight and recaps of the day, and follow BlueSilver on twitter at twitter.com/bluesilverinc.

BMA Chapter Leaders Day

What is the value of the national infrastructure? What value do people get from being members rather than just attending events? How do we attract new corporate marketing members and leaders? Should there be a focused effort at attracting “millennials” to BMA and b-to-b marketing.

 

Those were some of the main topics discussed at this year’s Business Marketing Association Chapter Leader Day at the Drake Hotel in Chicago. This session preceded the national conference which kicks-off today, June 10, at noon. (Agenda highlights in previous posts.) Attendees included more than 50 local BMA chapter officers from across the country.

 

I didn’t say much during the sessions yesterday. Was too busy thinking about my next tweet! But here are my quick thoughts and opinions based on my history with the BMA and what I heard yesterday during the sessions and subsequent conversations with leaders.

 

A strong national infrastructure and centralized management makes local chapters stronger. If done properly, and BMA is well on its way to improving its core, a national infrastructure can provide chapters – especially smaller chapters in smaller markets – resources and opportunities for growth that could not be attained alone. A strong national presence also gives local members a sense of belonging to a bigger cause than what they do at work on a daily basis or locally as part of a standalone chapter.

 

Membership has his benefits and national is doing its best to formalize and communicate the great benefits that individuals get by becoming members. Of course there are financial benefits through discounts to events and members-only opportunities. But at the end of the day, membership means that you support a movement and cause that is business-to-business marketing. If you are in the profession and you want to see it grow and thrive and be more respected, then joining and getting involved is a way to support it. That may not be as tangible to some people, but in the long run a strong organization that supports, leads, advocates and helps grow what we do, it becomes tangible over time.

 

A big theme of the incoming national leadership is to attract more corporate marketers to the national board, as well as help local chapters attract more marketers to their boards. On the national level, it is not only recruiting corporate marketers. Rather, it is recruiting board members who have a history and ties to local chapters. And most importantly, are willing to work to help advance the goals of the organization. As was the case in Chicago, you get big time corporate marketing speakers. You get them to join your boards. You get them and their teams active. The rest (agencies, suppliers, academics, students) will follow.

 

Lastly, I love the fact that many chapters are reaching out to youngsters in the profession or still in school and spreading the word about b-to-b marketing and BMA. It should be more of an education/awareness initiative rather than communicating the great things b-to-b has to offer. I have no stats on this, but I would think the majority of marketing and communications jobs out there are b-to-b in some way. But youngsters in undergrad and grad schools are totally focused on reaching consumers. Which is not a bad thing to get into, but and education of the fact that there are differences and there are a group of people and an organization that promotes b-to-b would be valuable in of itself.

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, Salesforce.com
  • 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 marketing.org 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 twitter.com/bluesilverinc.

 

Thanks,
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 twitter.com/bluesilverinc.

 

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 dothingsdifferently@bluesilverinc.com. 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.