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Smartphones. Google. Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. YouTube. They are brands and services that dominate the daily lives of most consumers, and for marketers, they’ve become tools we rely on to reach broader audiences and connect with our peers. It’s hard to imagine that 15 years ago they were but figments of the imaginations of visionaries such as Steve Jobs, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey. October marks the 15th anniversary of Vertical Marketing Network. When Phil Saifer started Vertical Marketing Network in 1996 he could not have imagined the agency would one day be blogging and building social media campaigns (as part of its integrated marketing work) for some of the nation’s leading companies in the toy business, home entertainment, packaged goods, construction products and the casino industry. And yet, here we are. What an adventure it’s been! Yet, when asked to consider some of their top marketing insights and lessons learned over the past decade and a half, many of my Vertical Marketing Network colleagues were surprisingly nostalgic, not necessarily for years past, but for the authentic dialog that is often associated with “simpler” times. However, many acknowledge that by harnessing technologies such as those listed above, modern marketers have been able to redefine the ways we create, communicate and connect. May we continue to do so!
Maybe I’m just blogging out loud, but it seems like time is the best indicator of influence. Today’s technologies are merely extensions of previous trends; tomorrow ‘s successes are rooted in the present.
To honor Vertical Marketing Network’s 15th anniversary, Blogging Out Loud asked agency employees to reflect on their top marketing lessons since 1996. Here are 7 things they had to say:
1. Remarkability — Group Account Director Danielle Conte borrows from marketing guru Seth Godin, who famously said: “The thing that’s gonna decide what gets talked about, what gets done, what gets built is: is it remarkable?” Danielle sees his challenge: “We need to regularly ask ourselves this question.”
2. Sourcing — In our media-saturated world, quality information ranks high with several Vertical Marketing employees as an issue of importance. Word of mouth, says Account Executive Kate Clarkson, is the best way to get your message across. And while these days that happens more often than not with the help of social media, Kate says, “There’s nothing stronger than the opinion of a trusted friend.
3. Reciprocality — The ability of many to work together toward a common goal has long been the secret to success, as Marketing Services Coordinator Paul Domen knows. “Being able to work together with my teammates here at Vertical, I am able to help and be helped in an un-selfish manner.” This not only applies to in-house relationships, but especially ones with clients.
4. Forward Motion — Project Manager Joanne Hilton has witnessed changes in the field and technology from the get-go, and where some may be cautious, she’s learned to embrace inevitable change. “Transition is an electrifying experience,” she shares. We couldn’t agree more.
5. Honoring Basics — Fundamentals can be easier in theory than practice. Account Supervisor Karen Linderman stresses the value of basic communication: “Listen to your customers and prospects and communicate with them in a personal way. They are your best advertising.”
6. See and Scene — “To be a successful marketer, you need to get into the markets and the stores, ” says Account Director Nicco Mouleart, “and meet the target consumers you are going after.” Blogging Out Loud often takes to streets in the name of research. Go out, see and experience the scene.
7. Reflect — Vertical Marketing Network Vice President Diane Solem ponders daily the changes shaping the industry. Her greatest insight is one we offer back to you: With the myriad changes facing the industry and communications as a whole, “is a personal relationship as important as we think? Is viral marketing moving us away from one-on-one marketing?”
Next week, we’ll return with 8 more marketing lessons and insights from the Vertical Marketing Network team. In the meantime, please share your thoughts on the above in the comments below. Ideas, as we often note, are nothing without sharing.