Imagine that your company is about to launch a new product or service. You’ve invested years and substantial man-hours in product development, but just as you’re about to take it to market, there are differing points of view within your company on the key selling messages. This launch is a key defining moment for your company, and the stakes are high.
Before you move forward with your launch, invest a little time and money with a market research program to clearly understand the buying criteria among your prospects. This will solidify your company’s direction, prioritize your key selling messages in the decision-making process and assist in creating consensus within your management team. Your entire organization will feel more confident that the marketing communications are on point and that the launch will reap the ROI you expect.
When I hung a shingle in front of MCC in 1986, I did so with the objective of creating a uniquely innovative agency. My idea was to create more sophisticated, more effective integrated marketing communications for companies in emerging markets – and I can objectively say that it’s been a success by any measure. More than 31 years later, we continue to execute against this same goal, forging innovative, new paths in advertising, public relations and social media. But recently, our perspective widened. While we’ve continued to provide fresh, new ideas for our clients, we’ve also taken a deeper look at ourselves and asked what we could do to work in even more advanced ways. Normally, we implement these tools behind the scenes in virtually invisible ways that make their presence known only in the results we achieve for clients.
But today, I’m thrilled to announce some much more visible innovations that reflect where MCC is now and what we’re able to do for clients. For starters, we’ve moved into an entirely new office space, in a different building just down the street at 12377 Merit Drive in Dallas. And let me just say that this was no superficial undertaking.
When it comes to continuing education, many executives may be reluctant to invest in conferences and seminars for their employees. This is especially true in industries where continuing education isn’t a requirement. Just because an employee has graduated from college or gotten their master’s degree doesn’t mean that they should stop learning. In fact, professional development has many benefits that can help a company in the long run.
Let’s take a look at the importance of professional development and some best practices to consider in order to glean the most from these career activities for employees.
This month, M/C/C reached a new milestone – our 30th year in marketing communications. In that time, we’ve seen a number of advances. Amongst them, some of the broadest have included the design implications of personal computers, the birth of analytics in marketing and an entire evolution of how people receive information. Those changes are societal though. Everyone has seen the impacts firsthand. The business of advertising and public relations has progressed just as much one or two levels deeper as well, and that’s the part of our sausage-making that outsiders rarely get to see.
Having completed its 21st year, the SXSW Interactive conference has been around almost as long as M/C/C has, and that is impressive. Its hundreds of panel sessions cover a variety of topics from future trends to marketing and branding. For a full-service digital marketing communications agency like ours, this conference is a great source for insights, ideas and inspiration as well as validation for our employees.
Our agency has always been on top of new media, technologies and applications. We have proactive relationships with our clients, and they expect us to continually recommend new ideas and tactics that will improve their efficiencies and increase their ROI.
At M/C/C, we’re always looking for seminars and conferences that add value. Our employees get new ideas, and we pass those onto our clients through enhanced services and/or increased performance.
As I look back on the year 2015, five favorite M/C/C moments come to mind. Here they are.
DFW AMA Marketer of the Year Award We were awarded the 2015 DFW AMA Marketer of the Year honor in the “New Product/Service Launch” category. Our client, ReTrak by Emerge Technologies, created headphones for children branded Animalz. Designed for little ears, the headphones feature volume-limiting technology, fun animal designs and a retractable cord that makes clean up a breeze and tantrums about tangled wires nearly obsolete.
The pressure was on for a new product without brand recognition in a crowded marketplace at the busiest time of the year. Not only did Animalz have little brand recognition, neither did its parent company, so major retailers were concerned about selling the headphones to consumers. In the fall of 2014, the company approached M/C/C about launching its new lovable, retractable headphones. M/C/C’s public relations and creative teams developed a comprehensive integrated blogger outreach and media relations program that would best target the main buyer of the headphones—moms.
M/C/C garnered coverage for Animalz that reached more than 210 million readers/visitors. We secured 79 blog posts, which generated 600,000+ impressions and engaged consumers through almost 7,000 trackable social actions. Media outlets such as The Boston Globe, Newsday and its sister TV station, News 12 Long Island, picked up the Animalz story. M/C/C’s outreach even influenced CNET to include the headphones in a stocking stuffers video segment. Additionally, nearly 30 percent of the blogs and a variety of top tier media sites including CBS News, The Huffington Post and Yahoo featured the product video created by M/C/C.
Overall, Animalz sales increased 1,755 percent with more than half of the sales coming through the three-month blogger and media relations campaign period.
CyrusOne Chooses M/C/C Also in 2015, CyrusOne selected M/C/C for planning and management of the global data center company’s integrated media strategies and implementation. Scott Brueggeman, CMO of CyrusOne, commented that M/C/C was an easy decision because of our track record as well as our experience. He went on to say that M/C/C’s focus on measurable and actionable results gives his organization complete confidence in our ability to help CyrusOne deliver the next successful chapter in the company’s marketing and advertising efforts.
The results have been strong and have continued to grow since our relationship began in July, indicating 2016 should truly be exciting.
Valor Business Solutions was prepared to launch their service offerings in a number of cities. They were going to make a major investment in marketing to promote their services, but there was a tremendous amount of trepidation among their senior management. There were mixed opinions and views about what their messaging should be to the marketplace.
We made the recommendation to Valor’s management that we develop a market research program internally and externally to clearly understand the purchase criteria among their buyers and prospects prior to market launch. This would solidify the company’s direction, prioritize their service offerings in the decision-making process and assist in creating consensus within the management team. Everyone would feel confident that their external communications programs would be on message and on target, while the financial investment would reap a huge return.
The research program was approved and the rest is history. Valor became a very successful company over the next few years and was acquired as a result.
This is one of many examples that demonstrate how significantly market research influences your company’s communications programs and assists in creating consensus within your organization.
While reporters can be great assets to your brand with their non-biased, third-party opinion when you are looking to establish credibility, they can also be like a pack of wolves that tear into your brand and leave you in shreds when an unfortunate incident emerges.
Your brand image matters, whether you’re a part of an established business or in the beginning phases of a start-up company. Your image is what attracts employees and can either make or break your future as a company.
A key component to this is how your company is portrayed by the media. As a C-level
executive, it is your job to successfully communicate to your consumers what your company does, what you can offer them and why they should choose your services over your competition.
Interacting with the media without the right type of training, preferably from an agency, can be detrimental to your personal image as well as your brand.