Utah Innovation Awards
Every Little Bit Helps
Tax Free Asset Protection
Body of Work
Hard Hat Zone
Charming and Rustic
Advertising and Marketing
By the Books
To Sell Is Human
MELCHIOR: We’ve definitely seen our clientele recovering over the last couple of years. In 2008 and 2009, we saw a sharp cut in budgets and spends. But as the economy began to recover here in Utah, we’ve seen an increase in spend. Particularly, we have also seen a transition of budgets with our clients. They’re pulling budgets from direct mail and from traditional media and focusing on the online space where it’s easier to track ROI. Our clients are very ROI based right now. We absolutely have to show them that every dollar they’re spending is showing them results and showing them customers and showing them traffic.
I’m excited to see what happens in the next five years here in Utah. The economy is growing, and we’re experiencing tremendous growth as a company as well because of that.
JONES: Most of our clients are out of state and international. We probably have a 65 percent out-of-state customer base. But we have a very vital, strong Utah customer base as well. We were one of the first interactive agencies specializing in CD ROM offerings. Today, our sweet spot has been in tech, healthcare, travel, tourism, professional services, with a focus on robust technology tools that back up communications objectives for sales, marketing and training.
This is my third recession. We had to get nimble from the get-go. Our agency has never been in that wow-the-budgets-are-really-great space. Budgets have been tight ever since I started the business. What I’m seeing now is very encouraging. We made it through all three of these major financial implosions and are here still to talk about it. And we’ve stayed focused on innovation. I think that’s really helped us.
We’re seeing more and more activity the beginning of this year. 2012 was fine. We continued to be in growth mode again, getting over 2009, but 2013 looks like it’s going to be very, very promising, very active. We’re getting longer-termed commitments and a little bit more easing on budgets.
Some of you jumped into the digital media space early on. You’ve been in it for 10-plus years. How has it affected you? How have you responded?
SNAVELY: The biggest thing that we’ve changed in the way we put our marketing together is our speed to message. Because of the world of 140-characters-or-less, people’s attention span to deep messaging has decreased. So we have really fine-tuned our capability to write messages quickly that can be used in mediums that don’t take a lot of time to respond to. That is one big shift in skill set and work in our team.
Secondly, the financial capability of marketers has had to grow dramatically. The ability to think about linkage to business results in sales—that’s a journey, and I wouldn’t say we’ve solved that equation as an internal marketing team. How does what we do link to sales, to gross margin and ultimately to growing the company’s EBITDA?
In most of my new employees, that skill set is nonexistent. Otherwise, we’re just looking at data all the time with no analytics behind the data, no analysis of business impact. So training that and thinking about that as a marketing leadership team has been a big change.
KNIGHT: The other thing from a digital standpoint is the ability to learn quickly. We often test two different messages. Marketing is an art, but there is some science associated with it as well. Being able to test things and measure them very quickly and to automatically shift the audience to what is working is
where the digital has really made a substantial difference from a marketing discipline perspective.
ROBINSON: First and foremost, you’ve got to be in social media. That’s just an axiom at this point. But one thing we’ve learned is it’s really about quality over quantity. It’s not a matter of, you know, we need to tweet five times a day or three Facebook posts or whatever it may be. It’s really about understanding your target audience and putting out stuff that’s going to be relevant and interesting to them.
For the first few years with social media, we were just tweeting or posting or YouTubing about ourselves. “We do this. This is something new we’ve done. This is who we are.” And that gets old. We made a shift to really leveraging third-party content. Our customers are tech savvy. They’re interested in technology. They’re interested in software. They’re interested in gadgets. We made the shift from just strictly talking about ourselves to talking about other things technology related. And it’s been huge. Our followers have gone up. Our likes and everything went through the roof when we started doing that.
MELCHIOR: Outside of social media, I don’t think there’s been any significant revolutions in the digital space since 2000. Everybody is always talking about the next big thing when it comes to search engine marketing, but it’s proven to be a slow evolution instead of an immediate revolution. We’re always trying to find the next big thing for our clients. In most cases, that comes straight back to social media.