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“Without trust, your relationship does not exist; all you have is a series of transactions,” says Rosa Sheng, architect and senior associate at Bohlin Cywinski Jackson.
Trust is the foundation of any relationship between architect and client, and cultivating trust has huge benefits: repeat clients, patience when challenges arise, and referrals to new clients. But a weak or eroded sense of trust can harm your reputation, cost you future business, and even drive clients toward litigation.
Due to the complex nature of architecture projects, a number of factors can make or break an architect-client relationship. Here are seven tips from architectural experts to help you build and maintain trust.
1. Have an Effective Online Presence.
The first way to build a client’s trust—before you ever meet in person—is with your online presence. An unsubstantial or outdated online presence can be a red flag for prospective clients, so keep your website and professional profiles (including LinkedIn) updated with information about your firm and projects. “How is the client supposed to build trust if they look you up and can’t find anything about you?” Sheng asks.
2. Communicate Well Consistently.
Good communication is the cornerstone of building trust. “We get lost in the design process, and then we forget to communicate what’s happening and how it’s happening in an effective way and on a regular basis,” Sheng says. A regular check-in can bring potential problems to the surface early in the process and show the client you’re fully engaged.
Communicating your design intent to clients in a language your clients can understand is also essential to building trust. Make sure you don’t use “archispeak”—words such as “parti” and “trombe wall.” Architects often assume that clients can read drawings well and share the same technical vocabulary, which is usually not the case.
3. Show Your Vision With BIM.
Using 3D-modeling software like BIM, you can convey design and site-planning concepts via virtual walk-throughs and visualizations, leaving little room for clients to misinterpret your designs. This process also allows you to anticipate conflicts that may come up in construction with more accuracy so you can solve problems and reduce change orders.
“With BIM, you can go in with a wider array of tools and answer questions that would never have come up if you were just looking at 2D plans,” says Philip Noland, design visualization artist and owner of Noland Design Studio. “It brings about new exploration. The questions aren’t glazed over—they’re really looked at.”
For architect Lionel Scharly from Scharly Designer Studio, using BIM visualizations instills trust because clients can see the whole picture. “The more the client has details of the project, the better they understand, the more you accumulate their trust,” he says. “They are the ones paying, but they often don’t have a background in architecture, yet they want to be ‘in the project.”
4. Don’t Overpromise.
One of the most fundamental ways to build trust is to deliver what you’ve committed to doing. “The fear of saying no is rampant in our industry,” Sheng says. It’s especially hard to say no when it’s a down market and architects are starved for work. But in the long run, when you’ve said yes to something you can’t deliver just to get a job, your client will stop trusting you.
To avoid biting off more than you can chew, talk your clients through their project goals to confirm what they want can be done. “If it passes the three-question challenge, then it might be okay,” Sheng says. “Ask about the desired goal in three different ways—with a focus on design, budget, and schedule—to make sure they thought through their idea.”
5. Do Your Homework.
Designing a building entails a lot of moving parts. It’s important that you do your homework on factors such as applicable codes, the properties of materials you want to use, and what things cost. Clients rely on architects to be the experts in many arenas, and by doing your homework, you will convey the correct information and make fewer mistakes. “You definitely have to know what you’re talking about, so when you tell the client something, always double-check that it is accurate,” Sheng says.
6. Be Honest in Setting Expectations.
If you discover a problem, it may be tempting to cave to your client to curry favor. For example, if you learn the project will cost more than the client can afford, it’s important to deliver the message without wavering—even if the client pushes back. “There’s an expectation for an architect to push the boundaries, be innovative, and stretch the dollar, but the architect still needs to be financially responsible,” Sheng says. “Show conviction and maintain integrity in your professional expertise. Trust is built on consistency.”
Clients may also have unrealistic demands to squeeze the budget and schedule, and it’s your job to be honest about what’s feasible. “Sometimes the truth is hard to swallow, and in some cases, we lose out,” Sheng says. “But in the long term, the client realizes that you were right, and the truth prevails.”
Being up front about cost and viability can also prevent you from absorbing costs outside your initial scope, which can negatively impact your profit margin on the project.
7. Offer New and Creative Solutions.
When trust is lost due to a mistake or failed promise, it may take a long time to re-establish it. The best way to regain trust is to acknowledge where you went wrong, apologize, and offer solutions.
A contract BIM manager in the Facilities Management Group at Carolinas HealthCare System, Meghan Ruffo regularly collaborates with architects. For her, defaulting to problem solving within a linear 2D process—design, then engineer, then build—can erode confidence. “The willingness to think about how to solve the problem is important, rather than relying on the traditional approach or what an architect has always done in specific scenarios in the past,” she says.
For Sheng, creative problem solving is particularly important when the stakes are high: “Because construction is such a costly endeavor, costing hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars, it is a huge responsibility for architects to be the steward of that kind of money in the form of a building.”
Source: Redshift by Autodesk / Written By: Taz Khatri
Think beyond “educating the client” to build transformational relationships.
“If only we could educate the client about the true value of architecture,” goes the wistful narrative, “then they would have greater appreciation for architects and what they do.” It is clear to many members of the profession that this painfully slow enlightenment process needs to be accelerated. What if architects used an evidence-based approach to design a better way to transform their client’s thinking? What if these initiatives made use of research on experiential learning? What if more clients engaged in interactive experiences that generate exceptional value?
The shift to transformational experiences
Transformational client-architect experiences are based upon mutually beneficial exchanges of knowledge and aha’s that occur before, during, and after the project. In contrast to fee-driven transactions, these two-way engagements bring out the best in both entities. They are built on empathy and the trusting relationships that develop when the architect and client think through possibilities and constraints together.
“I love my clients,” says Gregory Henriquez, Architect AIBC, FRAIC, managing partner of Henriquez Partners Architects and a leader among a new generation of ethical, activist architects. “We decline one or two project requests a week because we choose our clients. Rather than being reactive, we decided to take control of our careers and surround ourselves with people who have a reciprocal relationship with us. Clients are attracted by our commitment to doing something meaningful and exceptional together. We provide them with a positive experience.”
“Like a lot of architects, I used to be fearful of showing clients my work in progress,” Henriquez continues, “then I experimented with sharing the design as it evolved and discovered to my surprise, the more I did that, the more excited they got about the emerging ideas.”
More architects are taking the initiative to shape project opportunities and the selection process. They are using fresh thinking, meaningful interaction and empathy for clients to be the proverbial firm that has the inside track.
What is empathy-driven marketing?
Empathy is the ability to put yourself “in someone else’s shoes” to understand how they see things. For architects this involves being attuned to a client’s concerns, hopes and fears—both spoken and unspoken. When framing communication and marketing strategies for your firm, an empathy-driven approach can more clearly distinguish you from the many firms that vaguely claim they listen and collaborate. Empathy also means caring enough to interview clients long before they create their selection criteria and being in a position to influence those criteria.
Use empathy to triumph over apathy
When I conduct interviews with clients to understand why they choose one top design firm over another, they tend to talk about the working relationship. For example, they cite “someone who cares about my obsessions as a client, not just their obsessions,” and they praise the architect who “has our best interests at heart,” or the firm that “shows they really care about us.”
Overwhelming research on how people make major buying decisions indicates that emotions rule their choices. Typically, the purchaser’s conscious and unconscious feelings are then justified with logic (such as assigning point scores in the case of public work proposal evaluations).
In other words, an excellent way to build greater appreciation for what architects do is to communicate that you recognize the demands, risks, pressures and primal fears of being a client. Often when spending large sums of money, clients must justify their decisions to others, some are under hostile public scrutiny, and some may even fear losing their job if project planning mistakes are made. Also, clients are frequently asked to quickly digest concepts that may have taken a design team days or weeks to evolve back in the studio. So you can set yourself apart by integrating clients into your design and planning deliberations so that they can proceed with confidence.
Every project begins with a conversation
From my experience, thought leaders in the profession begin the design process with the premise that we must seek first to understand,” says John Stephenson, OAA, MRAIC, partner, FORM Architecture Engineering and current president of the Ontario Association of Architects. “This involves not just passive listening; it requires insightful questions that are ‘designed’ to achieve an exceptional level of understanding before leaping to a hypothesis. It poses design ideas not as solutions, which presume that the architect has all the answers, but as a series of ‘what if’ questions that challenge both designer and client. This quality of interaction brings real craft and greater perceived value to the design that emerges.
Where are you on the empathy spectrum?
A doctor can be dedicated to the medical profession while not appearing to care that much about patients. Likewise, on one extreme of the marketing spectrum we find architects who describe themselves as passionate about architecture without explaining how their passion translates into benefits for a client. Marketing profiles that neglect to mention the client’s role may unintentionally convey a message that clients will be viewed primarily as a means to expand portfolios, win awards and fulfill a need for self-expression.
On the other side of the empathy spectrum we find architects who see a common cause with clients, serving their own agenda as well as client needs, fears, hopes and priorities. These architects build trust and enthusiasm with clients through interactions that demonstrate they truly care.
From the client’s perspective, how can I tell where you fall on this empathy spectrum? Many architect profiles are written in a way that appeals to other architects, rather than speaking to the client as reader. If your clients would truly say you “care about us” this is a crucial differentiator that should be conveyed through all your written and verbal communication.
Caring does not mean compromise
If you practice principle-centred negotiation you know that in order to get what you want, you must first discover what the other person wants. Finding common ground—or agreeing on a common cause—does not need to involve compromise. So when we talk about a client-centric, empathy-driven marketing strategy for architectural services, it does not mean that design quality will be diminished. But it does require asking astute questions that reveal where your interests intersect with your client’s.
Bryan Croeni, AIA, director, B+H Advance Strategy immerses his clients in a rigorous participatory design experience that sparks animated dialogue about what’s truly important and meaningful to stakeholders. This empathy-driven approach has multiple benefits that serve to differentiate the firm. “In addition to enriching the value of our interaction with clients,” Bryan says, “our process saves time by surfacing challenges and opportunities early on in the project. In a rapidly changing, complex planning and design environment, our clients can’t afford to settle for easy conclusions and untested assumptions. Status quo mindsets are destined to yield status quo outcomes, which is risky in an environment of accelerating change.”
In my consulting work I encounter architects who have collaborative process talents that they take for granted. These capabilities, rooted in empathy and appreciation for the high stakes decisions that clients must face, often get masked by standard marketing claims. An empathy-driven approach to marketing can reveal fresh opportunities and strengthen client relationships. To do this, you need to paint a picture of what it feels like to collaborate with your team and the benefits of your unique way of working. How do you develop a deeper understanding of what each client wants their project to achieve?
Rather than rely on well-worn phrases that clients see as norms for the profession—such as years of experience and vague, me-too statements about excellence and innovation—what if you conveyed the quality of client experience and the benefits of that interaction? If empathy is about understanding how clients see things, how do you gain that understanding rather than proceed on the basis of assumptions?
Communicating a higher quality of interaction could encompass:
Describe your consultative approach
In recent years, doctors have added “patient interview skills” to their classroom curriculum. They realize that traditional, paternalistic ways of dispensing their wisdom must be replaced with a consultative approach. Design clients often don’t know what questions they should be asking, in the same sense that you may not know all the questions you should be asking your doctor. Also, clients frequently don’t fully understand their needs until the design process begins to unfold.
How effective are your client interview skills? Architects who establish an outstanding reputation for empathy are more than good listeners. They certainly are not order-takers, because they don’t accept what clients say at face value. They do not say “we will build your vision.” Instead, similar to a good doctor, they know that better questions lead to better answers.
Your ability to respond to what matters most
Enormous amounts of time can be wasted when we jump ahead without asking “what matters?” to clients. Are we making the right assumptions? Are we ruling out the right possibilities?
“We make our thinking process highly visible by involving clients in hands-on working sessions, rather than relying on presentations that require us to convince decision makers, says Tania Bortolotto, OAA, FRAIC, president, Bortolotto. “Our transparent approach allows us to spotlight how we explore project possibilities and creative problem solving. It also helps clients digest complex issues so they feel more confident as we move forward.”
Are you hiding your most valuable client collaboration skills behind a wall of “me-too” claims? Not every architect is interested in delving into these emotional aspects of the business. Yet an empathy-driven strategy will make the value of what you do more obvious to clients, and free you from the commodity services trap.
Source: Canadian Architect / Written By: Sharon Vanderkaay
It’s an age-old debate: direct mail versus email marketing.
Supporters of digital media will say why drain your marketing budget on direct mail campaigns that nobody reads when you can contact your customers using the channels they prefer — television, social media, and mobile?
However, the latest data makes a strong case for printed direct mail. Sure, social media and mobile marketing are on the rise. But that doesn’t mean that customers aren’t responding to direct mail or that this channel is losing its effectiveness. That’s just plain false.
The reality is, direct mail remains a critical part of the mix. So the next time someone tries to tell you direct mail is dead, remember:
1. Direct mail doesn’t require opt-in
Unlike email and text messaging, you don’t have to get a recipient’s permission to send them direct mail. This means, even if a customer doesn’t subscribe or unsubscribes from your email list, you can still get in touch with them. (Which is why it’s always a good idea to get physical addresses from those on your email lists!)
2. Direct mail never stays in a spam filter
"Yes, your message may be picked by someone else," notes Roger Buck, former director of marketing and product development at The Flesh Company. "But the chances are small - and direct mail never has a virus."
3. Direct mail stays effective longer than you think
Direct mail is a bit like a note on the refrigerator door. "We sometimes hear from customers that our mail stays on their desk for weeks," says Andre Palko, president of Technifold USA. "They may not immediately take action, but our brand lingers until they are ready to contact us. An e-mail does not last as well - and is far less striking. "
4. It’s still effective when the target recipient has moved on
“If you send an email to someone who’s no longer at a particular company, it bounces. If you send a postcard, the new person in that job sees it — and you’ve just introduced yourself as a vendor,” says Palko.
5. With direct mail you do not have to fight to get attention
E-mail is effective, but also overwhelming. In 2014, The Radicati Group concluded that the average business customer sends or receives 121 emails per day. In 2018 there are probably 141 in all likelihood.
Larry Bradley, owner of Proforma Sunbelt Graphics, writes: "The overwhelming deluge of e-mail in the office is a solid hurdle for e-mail marketers. It is difficult to distinguish the mess from the real mails, so that a large part of business e-mails is not read at all. By contrast, companies receive much less marketing by mail than ten years ago - a unique advantage for direct mail."
6. Certain offers just won’t get traction by email
There’s a reason businesses are more likely to get lending offers in the mail than they are by email. B2B decision-makers trust direct mail more than email, especially for high value products and services. Mailers can also include a wide variety of trust-building content not possible (or reasonable) to include in email. Yes, you can provide links. But with direct mail, you get that content in front of them in a tangible way right out of the gate.
7. Direct mail can reach high-level decision-makers
There are only so many things you can do to make email look more important. But beyond writing a compelling subject line, most of them look hokey. Direct mail offers options like kits, dimensional mail, and unique packaging options that, by their nature, get past the gatekeepers. (Palko has used everything from metallic envelopes, lunch bags, packing list pouches and prescription bottles to mail letters. “They are not only fun, but they get opened!” he says.) While these mailings may have higher price tags, they can also get near 100% open rates. When you’re trying to reach the C-Suite, that’s worth a lot..
8. Direct mail drives social media and online marketing
Many people believe you don’t need direct mail when you have social media and mobile marketing. What they’re overlooking is how social media and mobile marketing relationships get captured in the first place. Very often, it’s through print. Saying that you only need social and mobile is akin to saying that when you buy a house you only need the upper stories and not the foundation. Without print, getting social and mobile engagements is much more difficult.
Don’t let digital marketers get away with stealing your customers based on false contrasts. Open the discussion about the benefits of direct mail versus email—and when to use each. Be proactive and let direct mail showcase what you can do.
Source: Xerox / Written By: Heidi Tolliver-Walker
1. Interior designers do the same thing as interior architects?
A lot of people are confused by the many different job titles there are in the design industry. However, a very common mistake is to think that interior designers and interior architects do the same job. The reality is that these professions can involve many different things which are more often than not, very far apart. Generally speaking, interior design has more to do with the art of the building, while interior architecture is more concerned with the science behind it.
2. Interior design is all about décor
Interior design involves much more than just a good knowledge of décor. As we’ve mentioned in our previous article on the topic, the practice of interior architecture requires designers to consider pretty much everything to do with the building of an interior space that will affect human habitation, including materials, finishes, electrical requirements, plumbing, lighting, ventilation, ergonomics, and intelligent use of space. Interior designers with training in interior architecture will usually be present at, and have an important say during all stages of the construction process, from the initial plans right through to the finishing touches.
3. Hiring an interior designer is very costly
Depending on the scale of the project, the budget and the time frame you have in mind for finishing it, the price of hiring a professional interior designer can vary dramatically. In most cases, interior designers charge very reasonable fees and the value you get for your money will be worth paying for. If you’re not sure how much your interior design project would cost, you can simply enquire and decide if you are ready to pay for it.
4. Interior designers only work with very expensive materials
As every other professional, interior designers can work with both expensive and cheap materials and products. More importantly, they will work within the limits of the budget and requirements you give them as their client. You have to remember that the price of materials is not always crucial to getting the end result you desire. If you’re working with an experienced interior designer, they should be able to recommend you the best quality products at the most reasonable price there is.
5. You don’t need to have AN education to become an interior designer
There are many people out there that claim that they are interior designers, without having any formal education. However, as explained in some of the other points above, interior design is a very challenging and exciting profession that includes a variety of tasks and requires a great deal of skills and knowledge. The only way you can ensure that you have all these on board when applying for a job, even at an intern level, will be to obtain a formal qualification from a recognised organisation. A career in interior architecture and design can be difficult to get started and an accredited course in the subject will give you a head start by providing you the knowledge, skills, and qualifications you need to succeed.
6. Interior designers make all the decisions for you
Don’t expect that all decisions on an interior design project would be made by the designer you have hired. He or she will have a lot of recommendations on the way ideas can be implemented, but the final decisions will lie with you.
7. Interior designers can’t work with existing structures, materials and objects – they always want to throw everything old away
The truth is that interior designers always work towards achieving the goals in an interior design plan. If this plan involves the stripping of a building to its bare bones they would definitely need to throw everything old away. This is not always necessary and you can keep as much of your old stuff in your new house or space as you want.
8. “I don’t need an interior designer – I can do it on my own”
As we outlined earlier in the article, interior design is a very complex job. You can try and do some of its components on your own, but unless you have the training and understanding of interior design concepts, we think you shouldn’t start any project, small or big without a professional eye. There are so many examples of terrible design decisions that show that it is not worth risking your dream project, if you can leave it to the professionals. At the end of the day, you wouldn’t operate on somebody if you’re weren’t a doctor, right?
9. Interior designers always want to be trendy
Interior designers always strive to be aware of the new trends in their profession. However, they wouldn’t force you to do something on your project if you don’t like it or you think it doesn’t suit your needs. Trends are interesting to follow, but they are not something every interior designer tries to implement in their work.
10. Interior designers don’t need a plan for their projects
Interior designers can’t work without a plan for their project. They need to think about every single detail and plan in appropriate time for it. A good plan means that as a customer you will get an idea on the cost involved as well as the deadline for completion of each stage. Planning is a crucial part of the job of the interior designer.
11. Interior design doesn’t require a lot of time
Interior design projects can take a lot of time and this usually happens because the whole process requires the attention, skills and knowledge of the many other specialists who work with the interior designer. The designer needs to be able to speak everyone else’s language – from the plumber to the conservation officer, to be able to make the project plan work. This doesn’t mean that all interior design projects take years to complete – a complex, but very well organised job on a residential property, for example, can take around five months from start to finish.
12. Interior designers don’t need to work towards a budget
A good plan always comes with a clear idea of the budget the client has for it. There’s no such thing as “open budget” – interior designers should know what is affordable and what is not, because this can help them make some very important decisions. Give your interior designer a budget to work with and leave the magic touch to them!
Source: Id! Blog Written By: The IDI Team
So, what is interior architecture? There has been a debate raging for some time around the terms architecture, interior architecture, interior design, and interior decoration. The discussion centres on the blurring of the lines that define the role and responsibilities of each profession: where does the interior design of a space end and architecture begin, and vice versa?
So, what is interior architecture?
There have been a number of factors over the last few decades that have increased the ambiguity of these titles, including the improvement of interior design education. This has in turn increased the scope of the profession and led many interior designers to becoming more involved with architectural and technical aspects of interior design, and less with the decorative, soft furnishings side.
As a result, many interior design degree courses have been renamed as interior architecture degrees to more accurately reflect what they cover. Courses like this have also shot up in popularity, producing a growing number of architecturally savvy designers, and in turn making it more difficult to differentiate between architecture and interior design.
So what is interior architecture, and perhaps just as importantly, how does it differ from architecture, interior design and interior decoration?
Click HERE to find our more about the differing roles and responsibilities of all of these professions.
Source: Id! Blog Written By: The IDI Team
Marketing is an ever evolving combination of art and science, and today marketing's role is growing in importance. The challenges of producing tangible growth and ROI are two trends that will continue to grow as the business climate becomes more competitive, and the opportunities more fragmented.
Market fragmentation is creating a new frontier in terms of techniques, strategies and reach. As niches become more focused, the concept of a “market-of-one” is becoming the new reality. We have to create a “unique” experience for each prospect to drive them to convert, build trust, and finally act.
Focusing On Customer Experience
These trends deserve your attention as you address the complexities and challenges of marketing in the coming year.
1. The Growing Role of B2B Marketing
This year will see marketing expand beyond its traditional role. Businesses are facing new and unique challenges today, like the shortage of talent, commoditization and increasing competition to name just a few. These are enterprise-wide challenges that will require cross-departmental collaboration to solve, and marketing is in the perfect position to take the lead.
Watch for greater alignment between marketing and HR, sales, and operations. Everything from addressing employer branding strategies to recruit talent, to business development will be calling on marketing to increase value and visibility.
2. Balancing The “Customer Experience”
Probably the biggest trend to watch in the coming year will be the task of focusing on customer experience while still driving growth. Marketers have been focusing on “customer-centric” methods, basing their approach on the lifetime value of a prospect.
This year, the focus will be on adding “customer-focused” techniques of providing relevant experiences across all touch points, to deliver what customers most value. Balancing these two approaches can deliver a more personalized approach that will generate higher revenue, while building stronger brand loyalty.
3. Executive Branding: Thought Leadership
In the past few years the focus of branding (thanks to the Internet, mobile, and social media) has shifted to the individual – both in terms of the customer, as well as the “voice” of the business.
As a result traditional branding and marketing efforts aren't enough. Especially when it comes to B2B marketing. Today, executive branding, or developing thought leadership is growing. Buyers want to know the “why” behind the business and put a face to the operation to build trust. In order to really stand out, executive branding will be the fastest growing trend in B2B marketing in the coming years.
4. Formats, Channels and Mix
As marketing refocuses on thought leadership, the need will arise to refine content and marketing mix as well. As more channels and delivery platforms become available, marketing teams will need to better leverage a broader mix of marketing choices and formats.
For example, video both pre-recorded and live is becoming much more prominent as is live streaming of events. Diversification of content delivery formats includes podcasts, interactive assessments (as in the managed print field) and mobile friendly content. Marketing firms will also see a shift from Twitter and LinkedIn to more non-traditional B2B formats like Facebook and Instagram. Along with this shift will come the reliance on paid opportunities to boost distribution away from organic-only approaches.
5. Artificial Intelligence/ Machine Learning
DRIP Marketing has grown in the past few years, and the "automation" trend will continue as the integration of artificial and machine learning in B2B marketing grows in importance.
According to Forrester Research, “AI will provide business users with access to information and insights before they're available.” By using cognitive interfaces, complex systems and advanced analytics combined with machine learning technology, business decisions in e-commerce, marketing, product management and other areas will be able to happen almost in real time.
6. Experiential Marketing
Imagine being able to give your customers and prospects the opportunity to experience your brand in “real life” or the virtual world. This trend will grow in the coming years, especially in the B2B space. As virtual reality begins to take a greater hold, it will be possible to immerse prospects or customers from anywhere in the world.
A great example in the B2C space is the growing use of virtual reality in luxury home sales. Prospects are able to take an "immersive" tour of properties that have not yet been built. When it comes to B2B, educate yourself about the latest experiential strategies and techniques and how you can integrate them into your marketing strategy so users can “touch," “taste” or “feel” your brand. Internally, experiential marketing is a great opportunity to engage, educate and energize employees.
These are 6 trends to be aware of in the coming year. As marketing continues to become more personalized, the techniques, strategies and channels will continue to evolve. Staying ahead of the trends and technologies that are changing our business will be the key to success moving forward!
Source: Adobe Hubspot Blueleadz Written By: Rob Steffen
Companies are spending thousands of dollars on marketing and advertising in an effort to bring more awareness to their brand or to their message. Many collect or buy data about their target audience which they should be able to turn into tactics to drive responses, but 80% still report that their traffic generation tactics are only slightly or somewhat effective. (brighttalk 2015)
Targeting Your Customers Interests
Getting the audience to see their message is one challenge, but getting them to act on it is an even greater one. Some companies are asking for feedback or promoting the sale of products but rarely do they speak directly of their clients specific wants and or needs.
We believe that you can use your audience data along with your marketing message to create a powerfully unique message for each recipient. By specifically targeting your customers interests and by delivering it through a printed marketing piece, you can increase your response rate roughly 35% and increase brand retention by as much as 70%.
If more people paid attention to your marketing and remember your brand, how much more revenue could you generate?
If this is an interesting topic for you, lets talk. We may be able to assist with your next marketing campaign.
Click HERE to Contact Us »
In a survey conducted by ResearchNow for Adobe, 76 percent of marketers believe marketing has changed more in the last two years than in the previous 50....
Convenience Is the New Currency
Time and money have always been directly correlated, and for the last several years, consumers have been short on both. Even though we’ve made quite a comeback from the dark days of the economic collapse in late 2008, the Great Recession is still fresh on everyone’s mind.
As a reaction to the substandard economy that wrapped up the first decade of the new millennium, buyers have become obsessed with finding unsurpassed value, with competitive sellers bending over backward to come up with new ways to draw in potential customers. Bottom-line pricing, impeccable service, and personalized experiences have all become crucial to staying competitive in the post-recession marketplace, but another customer demand has risen through the ranks, forcing companies to rethink the way they market their products and services.
That demand can be summed up in a single word: CONVENIENCE
Click HERE to Read the Full Article »
Source: Adobe Digital Marketing
We've compiled 101 Data Protection Tips to help you protect your passwords, financial information, and identity online...
Protecting Your Data in 2017
Keeping your passwords, financial, and other personal information safe and protected from outside intruders has long been a priority of businesses, but it's increasingly critical for consumers and individuals to heed data protection advice and use sound practices to keep your sensitive personal information safe and secure.
There's an abundance of information out there for consumers, families, and individuals on protecting passwords, adequately protecting desktop computers, laptops, and mobile devices from hackers, malware, and other threats, and best practices for using the Internet safely. But there's so much information that it's easy to get confused, particularly if you're not tech-savvy.
We've compiled a list of 101 simple, straightforward best practices and tips for keeping your family's personal information private and protecting your devices from threats.
Click HERE to View Dominion Blue's Document Management Services
Click HERE to View the entire list of 101 Data Protection Tips
Table of Contents
Securing Your Devices and Networks
Data Protection Tips for Mobile Devices
Protecting Your Identity
Protecting Your Credit
Protecting Your Data on Social Networking
Protecting Your Data Online
Data Protection Following a Data Breach
Source: Digital Gardian | digitalgardian.com
You're wasting money if you don't have a system in place for digitally storing the millions of pages of documents and files your business produces. Here's the lowdown on digital archiving...
Discover M-Disc the 1000 Year Archive
Businesses in Canada and the United States make more than 1 billion photocopies every day and spend more than $25 billion a year to file, store and retrieve their paper documents. In many cases, records and information systems often represent as much as 50 percent of the total cost of doing business.
With the technologies that are available today, however, it doesn't make good business sense to spend large amounts of capital to store and maintain hard copy information. As with all aspects of a company's business, using technologies that will increase productivity and reduce costs is vital to your profitability and success.
Because of the cost-savings available, many companies are changing their attitudes toward data storage and are looking at innovative ways to handle the flow of data. Today, there are several inventive and cost-effective technologies available that can streamline the processing and storing of hard-copy data, which, in turn, will save you money--money that you can use to improve systems and invest in the future of your business. Let's take a look at one of these new systems.
Defining the Solution
Digital archiving, also known as scan-to-file, is one of the best methods around for processing and storing documents. Simply put, digital archiving is the process of converting paper information to a digital representation of the original document. These highly cost-effective conversions allow information to be stored and accessed easily, enabling companies to save time, storage space, money and resources, and increase their productivity and security.
Over time, digitally storing information will reduce the costs of document storage. It will reduce employee workload associated with filing, retrieving and re-filing paper documents. Additionally, it provides easy access to search, retrieve, read, print and e-mail imaged files.
Digital archiving also allows for expedient file transmission over the internet or an internal network. And it creates a flexible, electronic database of corporate documents, such as financial statements, required regulatory documentation, client and patient files, tax and legal documents--all of which can be password-protected to restrict printing and content extraction.
And there's more good news: The process is simple. Information is scanned and stored on one of a number of forms of media, most often on CD-ROMs (M-Disc is the most secure), but also on hard disks or other file formats. You then store the digital data in a secure location, either onsite or away from your business. The digitally stored information can easily be retrieved by simply loading a CD-ROM or disk onto any computer. The document appears just as it did in its original hard copy form and can be saved to the computer, e-mailed or printed.
Digital archiving enables companies to put unlimited amounts of information onto CDs. Imagine taking 35,000 pages of paper and converting it to three CDs.
If you think digital archiving may be right for your company, here are a few questions to ask your visual communications partner:
How is information scanned? Who does it and how long does it take?
Information can either be hand-scanned or fed into a scanner based on the type of data being scanned. Scanning should be done by a team of professionally trained and certified digital specialists, who know how to scan and archive your important documents. Scanning times will vary based on the amount of information being converted. For example, 1,200 pages can take up to four hours to complete.
Is the information secure while it's being scanned for digital archiving?
Most likely it is, but you need to ensure that the vendor has a dedicated and secure digital archiving imaging area designed with your sensitive documents in mind. Additionally, you need to verify that the information won't be shared with any outside source, and your vendor should return all documents upon completion. In some cases, you and the vendor may determine that the scanning should be done at your location.
Where is the information stored? Will the CDs be given to me to store or will I need to have the vendor to store them in a secure location?
Typically, your vendor should store the information on CDs that will be returned to you for storage.
What format will the digitized documents be in?
At a minimum, documents should be converted to PDF because that's the widely accepted format for digitized information. Additionally, PDF formatting is approved and in use by a host of local, state and federal agencies. However, based on your needs, files can also be created in Word and other industry-specific software.
Click HERE to Learn More About Small and Large Format Scanning
Source: Entrepreneur | entrepreneur.com
There are lots of reasons to use direct mail, and you may have heard many of them. So here are three statistics on the value of direct mail marketing that you may not have heard...
Go Direct for Best Results
1. Direct mail has higher value in persuasion.
According to a recent study by Canada Post and True Impact Marketing, direct mail generates a motivation score that is 20% higher than digital media. The study found this score to be even higher when direct mail creative uses print enhancements (for example, special coatings, dimensionality, and print-to-mobile technologies).
2. Direct mail is easier to understand.
A wide variety of studies confirm that information provided in print is easier for people to understand and process than information provided in digital form. In the case of the True Impact study, direct mail was found to require 21% less cognitive effort. That means your message is absorbed more quickly and effectively.
3. Direct mail results in higher brand recall.
Not only is information in direct mail easier to process, but it is more likely to be retained. True Impact found that brand recall was 70% higher among participants who were exposed to direct mail ads rather than to digital ones.
Need more reasons to love direct mail? Just ask! Click Here » to learn more.
 “A Bias for Action” (Canada Post and True Impact Marketing, July 2015)
VICTORIA BC– The British Columbia Construction Association (BCCA) has published a follow-up to its Innovation Report (February 2016), which revealed BC’s construction sector lags behind other jurisdictions when it comes to innovation. The new report is called “Procuring Innovation” and lays out the case for the sector to recognize the procurement process as the key for driving innovative projects and sector development...
“The culture of lowest bid does not drive innovation in our industry”
“The culture of lowest bid does not drive innovation in our industry,” observes Chris Atchison, President of the BCCA. “Margins are tight and businesses have to operate profitably, yet if we don’t innovate we’re in danger of undermining our collective ability to compete. The sector has to introduce whole-life value to the process.”
The “Procuring Innovation” report acts as a comprehensive overview of the types and methods of procuring construction services, assesses emerging procurement practices being developed elsewhere, and offers recommendations for different approaches based on the unique circumstances of the project.
“We hope readers will gain a new sense of the key role that the approach to procurement plays in setting the foundation for a project,” says report author Helen Goodland of Brantwood Consulting. “There are tremendous benefits to incorporating new technologies, processes and solutions into construction projects, but innovation has to be championed by clients and owners who are committed to achieving the best value for their project.”
The report is intended to offer owners and clients best practice examples, and help architecture, engineering and construction firms set up their competitive response processes, so they can bring their best to projects that push technical and logistical boundaries.
Using mass timber as a case study, the authors demonstrate how the procurement process can be best deployed to accommodate project specific R&D, allow for new technologies and processes, and encourage project team creativity.
A full copy of the Construction Innovation Project Report can be downloaded Here »
Source: British Columbia Construction Association Report Author: Helen Goodland
Design decisions are increasingly directed not by architects but by marketing executives, writes Crystal Bennes...
IS DESIGN [ARCHITECTURE] OR MARKETING
We tend to think of marketing as something of the mind, the 21st-century equivalent of Satan’s whisperings to Eve in the Garden of Eden, rather than as something which has physical form. But of course marketing is often rooted in tangible objects, and nowhere is the relationship between product and advertisement more distempered than in the built environment. We must ask the question, where does architecture end and marketing begin?
Take the housing industry. While the familiar marketing apparatuses of print adverts and occasional video commercials still make an appearance, the primary tricks of the trade are construction hoardings and mocked-up sales showrooms. In most instances, both of these tools themselves require planning permission and effect visible change in the built environment. They are of course pop-ups - here today, gone tomorrow - but when read as a now-requisite extension of many major building projects, these forms take on new power.
For one thing, not all temporary marketing remains temporary. Despite a 1909 circular published by the American Institute of Architects stating that ‘advertising tends to lower the standard of the profession, and is therefore condemned’, Californian property developer Harry Chandler had no such qualms. In 1923, Chandler erected a giant billboard in the hills of LA to market his new housing development: Hollywood. Chandler’s sign has become so famous as a landmark in its own right that we’ve forgotten it was originally a pop-up advertisement. Indeed, in many respects it continues to function as shorthand for a glamorous lifestyle many associate with the Hollywood Hills.
What the example of the Hollywood sign illustrates is the extent to which the construction of new housing has historically gone hand in hand with marketing. In today’s car-centric western USA, large billboards are often found on the edges of motorways or other busy roads. Targeted at domestic buyers, these billboards don’t push an aspirational lifestyle to those sat in their cars, stuck in traffic. ‘If you lived here, you’d be home by now’ exemplifies the US approach. It’s not the aesthetics of luxury, but a shorter commute that seals the deal. Or think of the vogue for Hollywood-esque X-marks-the-spot signage on everything from FAT’s Villa in Hoogvliet to Will Alsop’s Peckham Library: Chandler’s legacy lives on, enfolded within contemporary building design.
"Increasingly, hoardings begin to function as a kind of architectural cross-section - where the Platonic ideal of the interior architecture, as an expression of lifestyle, is made publicly visible on the building’s exterior before it is built..."
Occasionally, entire cities, such as Milton Keynes, and more recently Gurgaon (India’s version of Silicon Valley) have been designed and built with marketing tactics almost as first principles. In Milton Keynes, an initiative to market the project as a ‘city in the trees’ resulted in planning guidelines which stated that no building was to be built taller than the tallest tree, leading to a low-rise mat plan. In Gurgaon, new homes for India’s emerging middle classes are sold on hoardings and billboards which explain why nearly all new housing in the vicinity takes the form of giant, gleaming towers: ‘Let the Skies Sense Your Arrival. Live. Every Moment’, reads a vast poster for the Upton-Hansen Architects-designed Michael Schumacher World Tower, depicting a hovering helicopter about to land. Another boasts ‘360 Degree Living, 100% Privacy’. In Gurgaon, towers have come implicitly to promise privacy and luxury - the lines between the built form of development and its simplistic marketing narratives are blurred.
Of course, such iconography is primarily aimed at the luxury housing market where often the only difference between what is being sold is the marketing itself. Like many goods in the luxury market, brand, perception and desirability are more important (and easier to manipulate) than intrinsic value, something the developers are well aware of. ‘Many residences can pamper you with luxury. Only the rarest few can refresh the soul,’ reads an advertisement for The Cascade, a tower built in Bangalore by Tata Housing, subsidiary of one of India’s largest multi-national conglomerates. What marketing enables there is to turn the architecture inside out, flipping traditional notions of public and private architecture as a sales tool. Increasingly, hoardings begin to function as a kind of architectural cross-section - where the Platonic ideal of the interior architecture, as an expression of lifestyle, is made publicly visible on the building’s exterior before it is built. Marketing showrooms, by contrast, take this inversion of public-private architecture to its logical conclusion by building the ‘lifestyle’ of construction hoardings in physical form. An apt example is the marketing suite of Neo Bankside, the £275m Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners development for the Duke of Westminster’s property company, Grosvenor. A stand-alone two-storey mini tower-cum-marketing suite, it is built using the same cross-bracing and exterior cladding as the development itself. Elsewhere in London, marketing suites for the mid-market have seen the conflation of the showhome with longer-lasting amenities. At the construction site for Bellway Homes’ Pembury Circus development, large arrows on the hoardings lead the way to an oddly shaped, double-height marketing suite and sales showroom. While you might assume that these poorly constructed showrooms finish up on the slag heap of sales-suite history, at Pembury Circus, the marketing suite is billed to be ‘transformed’ into a long-term community centre. Its marketing becoming architecture in the most literal sense.
"While you might assume that these poorly constructed showrooms finish up on the slag heap of sales-suite history, at Pembury Circus, the marketing suite is billed to be ‘transformed’ into a long-term community centre. Its marketing becoming architecture in the most literal sense..."
If marketing suites and showhomes represent selling housing through the cracked lens of lifestyle, we can see the same thing happening elsewhere with the turn to statement architecture by luxury fashion brands and tech companies as a form of brand promotion. That Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim is now synonymous with the regeneration of Bilbao suggests that architecture and marketing were tethered long before the fashion pack caught on. Architecture has always been about creating narratives, which has perhaps made it all too easy to be co-opted by the narrative-weaving of marketing executives.
Consider luxury brand LVMH’s commissioning of a 54-metre-high UNStudio-designed flagship store in Japan, or the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris by Gehry (AR Nov 2014). The brand isn’t interested in a high-quality built environment: rather, LVMH understands how a futuristic architectural aesthetic can be used to peddle expensive perfumes and bags. Similarly, the Neo Bankside suite isn’t about selling the quality of design but a perceived lifestyle through carefully staged interiors perfectly pitched to appeal to the income, race, gender and tastes of the small group identified as target buyers.
Architecture and marketing have blurred into an unproductive muddle, detrimental to all but those who profit from uninformed consumer choices. But if marketing and its highly effective tactics could be harnessed for the good of the urban realm, they might become powerful allies for better cities. This would not be unprecedented: think of Bruno Taut’s utopian exhibition pavilions of the 1920s, which inspired a generation to build in glass - and which doubled as marketing suites for the German steel and glass industries. If we do not recalibrate the balance between commerce and public good, the future of design holds little more than lowest common denominator-driven showhome architecture for all.
Source: The Architectural Review
Getting decent sales results can be challenging. With so many ways to communicate it's not as black and white as it use to be. I mean, 30 years ago all you had to choose from was a traditional sales calls or in-person meeting. Should I call them or knock on their front door.
Then came the internet which opened up a whole new ballgame - email communication - and what a revelation that has been. And now, here we are in 2017 and the channels just keep growing.
The birth of social media has made a great impact on how we communicate and today there are more ways to contact a lead than I can count on my own two hands. There is one in particular that I find very effective, especially when it comes to B2B selling, and that's LinkedIn...
6 Creative Ways to Make Your LinkedIn Message Stand Out
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Source: Hubspot Written By: Michael Pici