The Lost Art of Honest Communications

And Why John Cleese Tickles Our Funny Bone, Every Time

by Francine Carb, President

woman, smiling, trees

I recently attended Kimmel Center lecture by John Cleese. While many of these events are an opportunity to listen to and simply be in the presence of great generals, heads of state, authors, and adventurers, the ‘Master of Silly Walks’ hit the mark with me.

John had quite a few pithy stories and lessons learned to share with the audience. I’ll paraphrase and share them with you, in a business context:

 


1. Stepping out of political correctness, every now and then, allows us to be honest, without being offensive. There’s great freedom to saying what we mean, without worry about repercussions.

Businesses—especially technically- or engineering-oriented businesses—are often paralyzed by the need to get everything exactly right, rather than focus on the audience. Take a step back, speak in the voice of your customer, and you’ll be heard with honesty and integrity.

2. Being creative requires free time and the ability to just play. Being playful produces lots of creative ideas. When’s the last time you allowed yourself to just play? Without fun, I’m afraid we’re already well down the path to become serious bores.

Take some time to allow yourself and your mind to relax. You’ll be amazed with your newfound ability to problem solve or handle a challenging situation. Go ahead and try that ‘out of the box’ idea you’ve been mulling over. It might be just the thing to get out of your comfort zone and move the bar—especially if you are a leader at your company.

3. Telling a joke, with laughter as a result, requires practice and skill. Telling a joke where people can’t stop crying, cackling, and foot stomping requires a gift.

Not everyone is, or should be, an entertainer; however, laughter can get most people to open up and more easily contribute to a conversation. And isn’t opening up a very useful objective of any company-client or boss-employee relationship.


Ready to have some honest communications with your employees, customers, and peers? Contact the marketing professionals at Markitects for more information about our Markitecture workshops and other consulting services for companies that desire growth.

Horst President, Harry Scheid, Advises Clients on What to Consider When Selecting Your Construction Partner

With over 32 years in the business, Harry prides himself on being a community leader, exceptional building provider, and client advocate. As President & CEO of Horst Construction, he provides leadership to Horst’s multi-disciplinary teams throughout all stages of a project—from discussion through ribbon cutting. His creative approach to value engineering, constructibility, and planning is one of the reasons clients come back to Horst time and again.

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Horst Director of Special Services Explains How to Succeed in Senior Living

There’s a reason why residents at Presby’s Inspired Life senior living facility stop the superintendent and tell him what a pleasure it is having the Horst Special Services team working in their living space—and that reason starts with Ryan Null. Ryan learned the ropes early on in his career, having managed a number of complex renovations at the VA Hospital in Virginia. There, he was often renovating a wing, just a few feet away from returning veterans being treated for major injuries.

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My Predictions and Preparing for New Challenges in 2017

A Master at Capturing Space… One Church at a Time

by Francine Carb, President

 

It’s a new year and unlike most of the prior decade, we’ll be facing some unprecedented challenges. Are you ready to take them on? Here are my top 5 business predictions and some prescriptive suggestions to best take advantage of them.

Competition will have a comeback.
There should be no argument that the business climate has been pretty blah for a fairly long period of time. We’ve become complacent and even the most business-savvy of us are used to a bland, if not dreary, competitive environment. That’s going to change this year. With companies upping the ante on investments in capital, people, and technology, you’d better get on your game and start investing in marketing your company. Look to traditional and digital advertising, as well as public relations, to take a jump in 2017.

More businesses will be shopping for your products/services/solutions.
With more competition, and more marketing activity, B2B customers will take shopping very seriously. Price won’t be the major factor either. New ideas, alignment of values, and solid performance will get their attention—while excellent account management and customer service will keep them coming back for more. Look to increased competition for new hires, overall marketing communications, and creative approaches on the rise. Intelligence and creativity will be the most sought after characteristics in companies and people for 2017.

Storytelling will take center stage as the marketing technique of choice.
All businesses have needs. It’s the alignment of these needs with your approach/methodology/culture that will convince new customers to select your company. While experience and skills do matter, storytelling is what will differentiate your company from others. Businesses feel most comfortable when selecting a company who understands their specific needs and has accomplished similar work for similar companies—hence storytelling. Take a hard look at revamping your case studies, testimonials, and presentations to add more engagement. Speak directly to customers to gain the appropriate understanding to become a great raconteur in 2017.

Mobile-friendly is no longer an option.
When is comes to websites, email marketing, and events, it is no longer an option to not be mobile friendly. Google will no longer prioritize your content as important and customers will be less likely to find your information organically. With consumer marketing completely on board, it’s time to ensure that you make a meaningful first impression with B2B customers and prospects alike.

Marketing Automation fees will come down from the stratosphere.
Marketing automation products that are currently sold as upgrades to Salesforce and other CRMs will have to address their exorbitant fee structures in 2017. We all want them; however, we all cannot afford them. 2017 will bring new service offerings and lower fees, so we no longer have to juggle multiple spreadsheets after every marketing outreach campaign—or so I hope.

 

Check back next year for my top 5 business predictions for 2018!

Horst Creates Family Center Vision for State College Alliance Church

Church leaders and their congregations often wonder when it’s the right time to expand or renovate, whether in a small or significant way. For State College Alliance Church in Pennsylvania, the creation of a Family Life Center began in April of 2013 at a special service celebrating the burning of their mortgage.

While a momentous and satisfying accomplishment, it wasn’t long after that, when they asked themselves, “What’s next?” There was no pressure to do anything, but they were aware that any future vision would be a process and likely take a long time to achieve.

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Yeti Another Outstanding Idea From Markitects

Yeti Hopper, Yeti, Cooler, Bag, Nature, Trees, Marketing Efforts, Giveaway

Looking for out of the “icebox” thinking, masterful execution, and double-digit results from your marketing efforts? Look no further than the professionals at Markitects.

From now until December 31, 2016, if you sign up for a Markitecture strategic planning engagement, you will receive a YETI HOPPER 20.

Your Markitecture includes:

  • A half-day workshop
  • Competitive analysis for up to 6 competitors
  • Client interviews with up to 6 customers
  • One hour presentation with 5-10 solid recommendations

For fees and more information contact Francine Carb, President.

Does Your Marketing Firm Make House Calls?

by Francine Carb, President

doctor bag, stethoscope, marketing firm, markitects

 

When Boiron, a world leader in homeopathic medicines, decided to introduce their popular Arnicare® analgesic line to the growing urgent care market, they contacted Markitects. As a long-term client, Boiron knew they could trust our marketing firm to work seamlessly, as an extension of their internal team, to determine how to introduce their products and gain market share.

As a foundation of the campaign, Markitects developed a Clinic Education Program to create brand awareness and educate the market. Our campaign included list development, outbound calls, and in-person visits, supported by sample kits that included informational pamphlets, coupons, product samples, and an easy way for the clinicians to reorder.

The in-person visits were key to getting to know the nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and other medical staff. Our visits were very well received—even the impromptu ones—because so many patients are looking for medicines with no drug interactions or complications, which is particularly important after trauma or surgery to reduce pain, swelling and bruising.

healthcare industry team, group of people, trees, marketing firm

Taking a page from traditional pharmaceutical companies, putting a face with the name of the company and its products, increases trust and provides an opportunity to answer questions. Through those visits, we also verified that chiropractors and physical therapists are underserved by big pharma drug reps and therefore more open to accepting and distributing product samples to their patients.

As a result of our outreach efforts, 15% of the clinics in our target markets (PA, NJ, NY, and DE) accepted our sample kits, compared with an industry average of less than 5%. Our clinic education program gave the clinicians the tools they needed to learn about Boiron, share samples, and recommend Boiron’s homeopathic products to their patients. Our recommendations to expand the program include placing a ‘Boiron rep’ in the field to follow up on the kit placements and expanding our program outside of the Mid-Atlantic Region.

For more information about how our marketing firm can help you to conquer a new or growing market, contact Francine Carb, President.

Human (or Canine) Behavior and Insanity

by Francine Carb, President

My dog Oreo has some crazy facial expressions, so I thought it best that he pose for this issue about insanity. I think we all know the businessperson’s definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result. While we all chuckle a little when we hear that, I’m going to suggest that all of you business people take a good look in the mirror. How many of you send your salespeople out to the same prospects over and over again and wonder why they can’t close a single piece of new business? Or direct your prospects to take a look at your website for more information, yet there’s been nothing added for years? Or ask your marketing department why there are no new leads from the same trade show you’ve been attending over and over again? Now that’s truly insane.

So what is it about human nature that causes this behavior? People don’t like to change. We like to keep things the way they are, stick with the familiar, and don’t rock the boat, by any means. Well that’s OK if you don’t mind going backwards. Because if you don’t move forward, change, and take initiative; by definition, you’re already behind.

What Is Standing In Your Way?

What else hinders progress? Fear of spending money…or more accurately stated, wasting money. So let me get this right, in my example of the salesperson going out to the same prospects over and over again, you’re paying him or her what? At least $80K plus benefits and travel expenses, so over $100K per year—and that’s not a waste of money?

My suggestion is to have the executive team do that function (that of staying in contact with clients)—and likely perform it expertly and better. I’m all for great sales people, but please focus them on NEW business opportunities and closely monitor your pipeline and their progress. What about fear of marketing expenses? True, marketing investments cost money. But what are you losing if your website is not on a responsive platform or if it lacks SEO, and therefore cannot be found by Google—likely quite a few opportunities and the confidence of ‘under 40’ decision makers! So now you’re losing business because the only people who can find your website are those who already know the URL. And how many people would that be?

What if you start a case study marketing program and highlight your successes with storytelling and meaningful content? Of course you’ll need to pay for someone to interview your customers, do the write-ups, design the piece, and custom program it for dissemination. But what might you gain from that? In other words, what’s the ROI? If one case study resulted in 3 meaningful opportunities, would that be worth it? How about 5 or 10 opportunities? In the B2B world, any investment of let’s say $5K that results in three $100,000 opportunities, and one closed piece of business, is quite good—don’t you think? Now multiply that times 10 case studies.

If inertia is frustrating you and your leadership team, contact the professionals at Markitects. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Markitects Leverages Familiar Faces to Differentiate Contract Pharmacy Services

by Francine Carb, President

 

When working with a new client to develop their marketing strategy, we at Markitects are always on the look out for exceptional qualities that make their company stand out. We call these “compelling reasons to buy”, which are both the tangible and emotional reasons a prospect selects that company over other choices.

In the world of institutional pharmacy services, clients such as long-term care facilities, behavior health organizations, and corrections institutions have many choices—both local and national. When we interviewed Contract Pharmacy Services’ clients, we found that accuracy, ‘round the clock service, and the use of advanced technologies to mitigate costs are almost expected.


 

On the other hand, while the term ‘familiar faces’ may sound a little too personal, it’s exactly those qualities—attention to detail and accessibility throughout the organization—that clients point to as reasons they not only select, but stay with Contract Pharmacy Services for many years.

Using this theme, we were able to incorporate messaging and custom photography into a new website, email marketing, and other client communications pieces.

According to Ann Borell, President at Contract Pharmacy Services, “Markitects took the time to fully understand our organization and what motivates our clients. We were really impressed with the creativity they applied to our website, trade show signage, email marketing, and newsletters—using ‘familiar faces’ as the foundation to set the tone and communicate our corporate culture.”

As a result, Contract Pharmacy Services is getting rave reviews—having achieved up to a 34% open rate on their new communications pieces. In addition, others in the industry are paying close attention to an even more formidable competitor.

For more information about how Markitects can help your company define and leverage its most compelling differentiators, contact Francine Carb, President.

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