Published by Abby Spung, November 21st, 2014
More than 31,000 colleagues traveled to Washington, DC, to take part in the world’s largest marketplace of ideas and tools for global neuroscience. Among the sea of collaborators, neuroscientists, students and business representatives were my colleague Jane Cirigliano, who heads up our digital department, and me representing our creative team. Not the most obvious place for a graphic designer to be hanging around.
There were over 500 exhibitors in the hall with a constant rotation of poster sessions. As we walked along the back aisle with a former professor of neuroscience turned business owner of a company whose focus is primarily on proteins of interest in the neuroscience field, to the left I saw row after row of companies that are working hard to be noticed.
Booth after booth manned with PhDs turned marketing, sales and portfolio managers, representing products and technology. To the right I saw row after row of posters pinned to boards flanked with academics whose entire world revolves around the information contained on that 36 x 60 laminated sheet of paper. Ideas still in their infancy, bound someday (maybe) for the other side of the aisle, destined to become a cure, treatment or even a mechanisim for tracking and defining a disease, ailment or genetic disorder. A “life-saver” to someone—some, one, human being—like me or my 5-year-old autistic nephew.
Fun fact: As an intern for the Ohio University Libraries at Ohio University in the late 90s I cut my “applied design” teeth on poster sessions for these aspiring scientists, educators and soon-to-be PhDs. They would bring stacks of tables, diagrams, and copy to the media center, where I was interning as a graphic design student, and it was my job to take this stack of information and somehow fit it into that 36 x 60 space. Make it play by the rules but somehow appear unique among others.
At the time, I couldn’t have possibly predicted that my future held a position as creative director within a company whose focus is this life sciences industry. Not me. I was headed to the city to be a designer, working for a huge agency that managed brands like Limited, Coke, or some other household name. While I’ve had those opportunities, the fit was never what I expected. The reward wasn’t there—it wasn’t at all what it was cracked up to be.
But here, at OffWhite, I’ve found a crevice in this gigantic world where, when ideas are seeded and nurtured and cared for properly, they flourish and grow. Our commitment at OffWhite is to finding the ideas that matter most. We nurture them, care for them and see them quietly resolve to the things we really could not survive without.
So as we walked with this gentleman to a quiet place where we could talk and learn more about his business of building proteins and antibodies, I saw how it was – like a flash of light – that I ended up in that very spot at that very time. How I arrived here from the days of the seemingly endless stream of poster sessions that were so “not-design” projects to me. After two days, and many conversations, Jane and I are back in the office now, with a collective of innovative ideas that need fostering, and relationships to build and cultivate that may just be the cause for better quality of life for someone out there.
I love it when life gives you a hint or foreshadows what is yet to come. Rarely can we see it but from hindsight, though when we spot it, it’s our confirmation that we’re right were we belong.
Published by Jane Cirigliano, November 14th, 2014
Most marketing activities are not rocket science when taken individually. However, only running one ad, posting one update to LinkedIn or optimizing your content on one section of your website is not going to yield lasting results. Finding the right combination of marketing activities for your business, and planning for consistency in your message and branding across the mediums you have selected, are what really drive results.
What Do You Need?
Start by considering what your audience will find most helpful. If you have strong customer relationships, ask them what would aid them in making their purchasing decisions. Just because everybody is doing the next big thing doesn't mean that it makes sense for your company, and your customers. Cater your marketing plan around your customers, and you will build stronger customer relationships, increase loyalty and, in turn, grow sales.
Integrating Your Efforts
Once you have determined what you need to accomplish your goals, streamline your efforts. Content from a white paper can be repurposed for a video, a blog series and social posts. Your latest news release can be used for an email marketing campaign and an update to your website. When you know what tools you need, it becomes easier to manage your content across multiple platforms.
Planning for Consistency
When you are connecting with customers through a variety of media, your corporate voice must be consistent. Yes, you need to talk to your customers differently in a corporate brochure than on Twitter, but your overall message should be the same. Deliberately plan your marketing activities so that your customers get to know and recognize "you" as a company.
Results You Can Measure
So, what should you expect from a fully-integrated marketing plan? Here are just a few examples from our client base:
- A 30% increase in leads in the first quarter alone of an integrated traditional and digital program
- A 15% sales increase that was directly attributable to digital campaigns
- Growing from a start-up company to a known competitor within 2 years
If you are ready to take your company to the next level, there is no better time. Contact us today to get started on your 2015 marketing plan.
Published by Bill White , November 6th, 2014
It’s Not What We Do, It’s Why We Do It
I’m not a big fan of quotations. Social media is littered with insightful sayings from friends and connections who feel compelled to sprinkle words of wisdom over my day as if to make me wiser, happier or more productive. Once in a while, however, one of these nuggets hits me the right way at the right time.
The latest is from Simon Sinek. He’s a writer, professional thinker and generator of spoon-fed truisms that blanket the digital netherworld like TS Eliot’s yellow fog that curled once about the house and went to sleep.
Sinek says “People don’t buy what you do. People buy why you do it.”
I’ve heard this before, but like all good truisms Sinek’s continues to ring . . . well . . . true.
At OffWhite we’ve learned that our most rewarding work is for clients who are changing the world with what they do and why they are doing it. They’re often new or emerging growth technology companies. We are incurably curious and often confronted with the next big thing in immunology, cell preservation, pharmacology, crime scene investigations and even cow teat comfort (teats are a big deal, believe me).
What our clients do matters to the world. What ties these projects together is the passion associated with their ideas, together with the successful outcomes that arise from disciplined marketing strategies we help to create.
Here are some examples.
One client developed a better way to freeze biological samples. Not just a better way, but an industry-changing way. They advanced the art. They developed a technology that cuts in half the expense of storing viruses and research samples, thus opening the door to a more efficient model for long-term preservation of priceless specimens critical to drug discovery. Along the way, their passion for change created a market distribution model that broke every rule in the book. And it’s working. Not only is their technology unique, so is their go-to-market program. They’re changing the world because what they save their customers is plowed back into research.
Another client found a way to milk cows without irritating them. Sounds simple, but it’s not. We learned that milking cows is a complex interplay between vacuum, ramp, dwell, release, touch points and milk liner shape. The goal was to reduce somatic cell counts, improve raw milk quality, increase dairy farm profits and make cows very happy. Consider this: There are 56,000 dairy herds in the USA alone – that’s about 10 million cows. Some dairy farms have 40,000 cows that must be milked at least twice a day, sometimes three times. Happy cows, better milk quality. Do the math. This company is changing the world.
Another client on the East Coast develops and manufactures antibodies and assays used for research, virus screening and countless other protocols in clinical, pharmaceutical and biotechnology applications. While the Ebola epidemic is increasing public awareness (and fear) of widespread disease progression, this company’s highly purified products contribute to rapid detection of pathogenic organisms including those that cause infectious diseases as well as cancer and other medical problems. Better research, faster screening, new drugs targeted with more precision. They’re changing the world.
And, one more straight from television’s Crime Scene Investigation (CSI). Our client in Florida has developed a better way to detect fingerprints on a variety of substrates, giving crime fighters a better tool for evidence processing and documentation. As a result, investigators not only can see the ridges that comprise the unique human fingerprint, they can see the pores on the ridges that enhance this unique signature. CSI folks call this “third level” print identification. At OffWhite, we call it analog/digital. Why? Because the final image is a combination of lines (analog) and dots (digital) that push accuracy beyond conventional recognition.This client is helping minimize uncertainty and putting a sophisticated technology in the hands of even the most rural criminal investigating teams. Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do? Our client is changing the world.
We can’t make this stuff up. This is what brings us to work every day. It’s never business as usual where we work; there’s too much at stake, so much to learn, so much to teach.
- Did we have to learn about free-piston Stirling engines and coefficients of performance? Yes, we did.
- Did we have to learn about cow teats and the economics of milk flow? More than you would ever imagine.
- Did we have to learn about primary and secondary antibodies and how they’re manufactured? You betcha, including conjugations and signaling pathways. . .the whole works.
- Did we spend time in a Florida crime lab watching a team of CSI technicians processing evidence from a murder case, fuming prints and viewing images under a variety of wavelengths? Absolutely. After all, we had to explain it when we got back to the office.
As marketers, it’s not what kind of marketing challenges we seek, but why we seek them that makes a difference in our lives. The truth is, we are crazy curious. When we understand something, we can help everyone understand it.
Above all, we're educators. We create information that sells. And that’s where the hard work of marketing begins.
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Offenberger & White, Inc. (OffWhite) is an integrated marketing solutions company based in Marietta, Ohio, USA.
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