Saturday, November 28, 2009

Marketing Engagement has moved

Don't worry, I'm still blogging, just not from here. Start visiting (and subscribing to) the new, improved Marketing Engagement blog over at:

Wondering why I moved? You can find out here.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Keeping in touch - a reminder

I’m a salon hopper. It’s not that I’m not happy with the umpteen places I’ve been too, but none of the salons I’ve visited have ever encouraged me to come back. So the next time I need my hair done I find another salon (I live in an area with hundreds of them) with a new customer discount, book an appointment, get my hair done and repeat the process in another 4-5 months.

What should these salons be doing? At the very least they should be encouraging me to book my next appointment on my way out. And if they haven’t done that, well then hopefully they’ve taken the time to collect some minimal contact information from me so that they can keep in touch while I’m between cuts.

It’s a story that’s all to common, and not just with salons. We’re often so busy trying to win new clients and servicing the ones that are in front of us that we loose sight of the previous clients whom we’ve finished servicing.

Keeping in-touch with past clients should be one of our biggest priorities. Everyone knows the saying it’s harder/more expensive to gain a client than it is to retain an existing one. Yet more often than not we’re so focused on winning the next job that we forget to reach out to established clients that may have another project waiting for us in the wings.

There are a number of simple things we can do – send them the firm’s newsletter, connect with clients on social networks you both participate in, add them to the holiday card list, send out a post-services survey. But more important than those tactics and more personal, keep a list of the important clients – the ones that you want repeat business from – and pick up the phone once a quarter. Give them a call to see how their new office building/home/whatever it is you did for them is working out. Share some news that might be applicable to them, ask to take them out to lunch, anything in order to have a quality conversation. With minimal effort your firm is back in the consideration set next time they’re looking for a designer. And all it cost you was a little bit of your time, and maybe lunch.

I realize I’m not conveying anything new here, but based on a few conversations of late I felt it was a good time for a reminder. So if you’re not already doing it, stop, make a list of past clients and pick up the phone. You’ll be amazed with the results.

Image credit: Flickr user stpiducko

Monday, August 31, 2009

What's your responsibility to your employer?

I was reading an article on-line about Mayor Menino, Shirley Kressel and the Boston Redevelopment Agency. Shirley Kressel, a landscape architect, is a long time voice against the BRA and has been lobbying for its demise, as have the candidates running against Menino in Boston's mayoral race. I have many opinions about the race, the candidates and the issues surrounding them, but I will not share them here. Instead, what I'd like to explore are the individual responsibilities we have to our employers when it comes to political activism, particularly those whose work is primarily in the public sector.

It's reasonable to say that if you owned a design firm that was working with or hoped to secure work with a particular public agency you would not hire a candidate with a history of opposing your client/prospect. It just doesn't make business sense. But what if you hired someone that had no obvious opinions about your clients/prospects, at least not initially, but then began publicly announcing, either through words or actions, that they held disdain for them? As an employer what are your options? Can you ask the employee to abstain from sharing their views on the client and/or prospect, even if it stifles their freedom of speech? Can you fire them if their activism becomes problematic in securing work from the client/prospect, without risking a wrongful termination lawsuit? And from the employee side, do you have an obligation to abstain from becoming involved in a political campaign/cause that has the potential to negatively affect your employer, even if it's something your believe strongly in?

I imagine these questions will become more prevalent with the increasing adoption of social media. Social media gives everybody a (louder) voice while giving more controls to employers wanting to keep tabs on what their employees are up to outside of the office (which in itself brings up another ethics question - should employers keep tabs on employees' personal lives just because the tools are available to do so?).

As information becomes easier to share and get it brings up new questions related to appropriate employer/employee relationships. If your firm starts thinking about them now so that there is a strategy (that's been run through legal) in place your job will be easier when (if) you run into the questions posed above. And if you've already been in any of the above situations and have feedback you'd like to share, I'd love to hear it.

Image credit: Sniderscion on Flickr

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Breaking the rules and transfering from Blogger to Wordpress

Before I started my blog I began reading lots of other blogs to get the lay of the land. I started commenting and engaging with blog authors and I began looking for tips on beginning your own blog. One of those tips, which I am now breaking, is to pick a platform and stick with it - forever. I choose Blogger. It was free, I already had a google account, it had the functionality I was looking for and it had an easy interface that made posting to it a breeze.

Two years later and I no longer think it's the best tool for me. Wordpress is easier to customize, stats are built right in and there's more flexibility to the design and different pieces of content you can add.

So here I am breaking one of the rules. I'm migrating to Wordpress. For the time being I'll keep both blogs going while I get a hang of Wordpress. And I'll think of what to do with the two years of content living at Blogger; let it live there or transfer it to Wordpress one post at a time.

For now you can find me at Blogger and Wordpress, both with the title Marketing Engagement by Valerie Conyngham. It's where I post about everyday marketing ideas that strike me, with a particular bent toward the design industry, as in architectural.

And if you're thinking about breaking any of the rules, I'd say go for it. Remember, technology changes often and our best offensive strike is to be flexible. Live by rules, but not rigidly.

Image credit: Flickr user givepeaceachance

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Free 2009 Calendar - Download September

September's calendar design is inspired by back to school season. It is meant to evoke transition. I choose the color blue for September, not to comment on the blues of leaving summer behind, but rather to play upon the popular uniform color which many of Boston's children don.

Click here to download September from my website.

Print on 5x7 card stock. I use eco-white from Paper Source.