Author : 360 Direct

18Sep
When should you fire your marketing agency?When to FIRE Your Marketing Agency

When to FIRE Your Marketing Agency

Marketing agencies can take a business to the next level. They should help your business grow and achieve goals. You know that, that’s why you hired them to begin with! But if your agency seems to be hindering you more than helping you, it’s time to rethink your relationship with an agency. Using a marketing agency requires a trusting relationship between the company and agency. While a marketing agency may use tactics that are new to your company – after all, you hired them because they are marketing experts and you wanted to expand your efforts! – you should be very involved and feel included in all efforts. Here are some signs you need to look elsewhere.

They are out of touch with your needs.

An agency should be responsive to your needs. While there should be a general plan, it should be flexible within the scope of your working relationship with them. The agency should be flexible enough to adapt to your goals and needs, not using a one-size-fits-all template of services. If you request specific efforts or marketing campaigns, and they refuse to alter or consider other opportunities or strategies, you need someone who better understands your goals.

The materials or services they provide for you should be mutually agreed upon. If an agency is providing materials you don’t need or can’t use, find someone who will create what you need! The assets made for you should work – what good is a website if it doesn’t work the way you need it to? Any reputable agency will be upfront with you if what you are asking is not something they can provide. Even if it is something they cannot provide in house, they should be able to point you in the right direction or let you know the limitations of what you are asking for.

You have no idea what they are doing.

Any agency should be able to give you a schedule of when to expect various tasks to be done, whether that’s a press release, blog, video, website build, sell sheet, or postcard design. If they can’t commit to a timeframe, or if deadlines comes and go and the only thing you get are excuses, it’s time to reconsider. An agency should keep you informed of how projects are coming along, and once deadlines are agreed on they should be met.

While agencies are not employees working in house, where you have the option of strolling to their desk and asking a question, they should be accessible within reason. You should be able to call or send an email and receive a response within a reasonable amount of time, including project updates, answers to questions, or time/cost estimates. If you can’t reach your agency and don’t receive regular contact or updates from them, that is a red flag.

You are worried about losing everything.

If you are unhappy but are sticking around because you don’t have the log in information for your accounts, or because you think you’ll lose your website if you change companies, that’s a surefire reason to leave. That problem does not resolve itself, and it only gets worse with time.

If this is your situation, read your agreement carefully to see who “owns” the website or other creative assets. Unfortunately, there will be few options if your contract states they retain ownership. But that doesn’t mean you should stay with a company who is holding your company’s assets hostage! Look for an agency that gives you complete ownership, and realize that you are going to have to rebuild many assets. Before you tell your current agency you are thinking of leaving, start speaking confidentially to other agencies or coders to determine how long it will take to remake those assets, always ensuring that you will retain ownership once they are complete. They will help you proceed with minimal disruption to your business.

How does your situation stack up?

If any of this sounds familiar, it’s time to revisit your options! Your company deserves better marketing, and you deserve someone you work well with. The company/agency relationship is critical for marketing success. Finding a good fit is essential.

It’s for these reasons and more that 360 Direct doesn’t use long term contracts or retainers – instead we prove our worth every month for you. We also guarantee you retain ownership and access to all your accounts – including your website! After all, this is a relationship, not a hostage situation. We believe in transparency on all levels. You can count on us to be upfront, even if that means we can’t fill your needs. To start a conversation about whether or not we could be the agency for you, contact us!

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15Aug
Your Marketing AgencyWhy Hire a Marketing Agency?

Why Hire a Marketing Agency?

Deciding to use a marketing agency for the first time can feel like a huge leap of faith. In addition to the sizable investment, it can be difficult to relinquish autonomy, even though you will still maintain oversight. Marketing is particularly difficult to outsource, since it has a direct influence over sales and revenue. Ultimately, why should you outsource marketing?

They specialize in marketing.

Often, business leaders say they can’t go with an outside agency because no one knows about their product/company/industry as much as they do. And that is likely true, but that is exactly why you should consider an agency. You are an expert in your product or service, but are you an expert at web-building, SEO, social media, content creation, ad development, PR, and more?

An outside marketing agency brings years of accumulative experience, education, ongoing training, and research in marketing. They know what works and – equally important – what doesn’t. Even if you’ve done marketing internally for years, you can be limited to your company’s past experience. Whereas an agency has the benefit of seeing the trial and errors of many companies over time. They are more in tune with changing marketing trends and buyer behavior. An outside marketing agency brings in fresh ideas and sees your products with new eyes – much like a prospective client will.

There are many specific marketing skills that are easily identifiable, but one point of expertise that is often overlooked is the ability to convey a complicated or new product or service to an uninformed audience. Often a business owner or CEO is so entrenched in their field that educating people who do not yet realize they want your product isn’t high on the radar.

And when it comes to learning the ins and outs of your specific brand and industry, any agency worth their salt will spend the on-boarding process researching and analyzing your company, its competitors, and its client base. Just like your company can talk to many different clients and adapt your service for various applications, marketing agencies apply tried and true marketing principles to your company in applications that make the most sense for your specific goals.

They give the gift of time.

Good marketing isn’t something that can be “squeezed in” when you have time. That leads to sporadic results at best. Most marketing efforts are ongoing and take time to lead a prospective client through the buying process before they becomes a customer. An agency provides the continuity and persistence that leads to steadier revenue streams.

If you are like most business leaders, you likely have a laundry list of things you wish you could do but you don’t have the time. Perhaps you have even postponed a great opportunity because you know you do not have the time to do it right. That’s where a marketing agency comes in. They can complete that to-do list and much more. This frees up your valuable time to do more of what you do best. You’ll have more time to lead other aspects of your company rather than scrambling to throw together ad hoc efforts.

Marketing is much more than tactics! Having a team at your disposal with the sole goal of marketing ensures that all your efforts will be comprehensive, not based on the time restraints that come from running a company. Research, planning, execution, and measuring results all work hand in hand to elevate your brand. Because agencies are purely engaged in marketing efforts, you’ll be much better positioned to take advantage of new opportunities when they arise.

They are the best of both worlds.

Hiring a marketing agency is less expensive than hiring a new employee, and instead of one person’s experience and strengths, you get a whole team.

Even when you have your own dedicated marketing professional or department, it can be useful to bring in an agency for specific projects. Product launches, website redesign, and other new initiatives can overwhelm existing staff with an influx of additional work to be done. Utilizing an agency ensures no marketing responsibilities get forgotten in the midst of a major project. Good marketing agencies work in tandem with your existing staff, always ensuring your branding is consistent. It’s a great way to get an influx of new ideas and the additional staff you need when your staff has a full plate but a new hire is impractical.

Whether you are looking to bolster your existing marketing department or just looking to have someone (anyone!) dedicated to the marketing strategy of the company, a marketing agency has the flexibility to fill short- or long- term needs and tackle projects of all sizes.

Is it time to take the leap?

Marketing agencies can help improve inbound marketing, web design, ROI on current marketing efforts and can lead to more consistent sales, customer retention, and brand recognition. If those are things you want, it may be time to take that leap. Time lost is opportunity lost.

Of course, not all agencies are created equally. Look for ones that are talk with you earnestly about your goals and business pains and then tailor a plan to your unique needs. A good agency has the flexibility to adapt to your circumstances and doesn’t hold your materials and accounts hostage when you want to make changes. But we’ll get into that next time, when we talk about when you should fire your marketing agency.

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29Jun
Why Marketing Design Matters ImageWhy Marketing Design Matters

Why Marketing Design Matters

It’s easy to neglect updating the marketing design in your materials. Many times, companies use the same design for their marketing materials and just plug in updated specs and product information.

Over time, it’s easy to fall into complacency and lose that critical eye towards pieces that have been working for you. After all, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” Many companies are satisfied as long as the information is correct. Unfortunately, that’s not enough! There are a lot of companies competing for your prospective customers’ attention, and with our shrinking attention spans, individuals are becoming accustomed to making snap judgments. Your product information could be saying you are leading your industry, but your marketing materials may be telling a different story.

Print Materials

Most B2B companies understand the continued need for print materials in their marketing mix, but even those marketing staples have evolved to incorporate updated marketing design. People now spend less time than ever digesting what’s in front of them – about seven seconds! Gone are the days when individuals sit and read large chunks of text they are handed or receive in the mail. It’s all about bullet points, sub headers, and an appealing design.

If you are taking your updated information and plugging it into the same brochure, sell sheet, or postcard template your company has been using for years, your materials likely aren’t as effective as they could be. People have complained about the amount of advertising they are exposed to since 1759, and the advertising clutter continues to grow annually. There are two ways to increase your odds of prospective clients paying attention.

  1. Get to the point. Companies have to assume their materials are only given a cursory glance before a reader decides to put it aside or to delve in and read more. Give your readers the information they are looking for as quickly as possible in a straightforward manner. Provide easy options for them to get more in-depth information, should the want it. Your layout should be easy to follow; colors and font should be crisp and clear.
  2. Get creative. How many postcards and flyers do decision makers receive in year? A month? A day? Make sure yours are standing out and not getting lost in the shuffle. This doesn’t mean gimmicky. Some well-placed images, a less common size, or a memorable and fitting cutout or insert could be all it takes.

Even with a robust print material campaign, most prospective clients will check you out online before calling to make an appointment or purchase. Which leads us to…

Websites

Even if you don’t know anything about the technical aspects of websites, you know an outdated website when you use one. It’s hard to navigate, it’s difficult to use on phones, and overall takes a long time to find specific information when you have a question. Companies that continue to have a website that is not “mobile friendly” are immediately creating an unnecessary barrier for prospective clients, since 42% of B2B decision makers use their mobile device for research.

In addition to the mobile friendly aspect, load times and content layout dramatically impact how long a prospective customer stays on your site. In fact, if your load time is more than three seconds, many people could leave your site before ever seeing the content. (Remember that 7 second attention span?) Of course, outdated information is sure to be noticed. As prospective customers gain information on their options, they are sure to check you out online. Make sure they like what they see! Current marketing design practices for websites include ensuring your site is responsive and contains relevant images and videos to further engage prospective clients.

Many companies find themselves stuck with a webmaster who built their site but doesn’t do great updates or are unwilling to keep up with best practices. The task of building a new site can seem daunting and even impossible. That said, it is well worth it to invest in a responsive website that will be easy to update and make changes to in the future. The internet will continue to evolve; if you are already behind, it will only get worse until you make that investment.

Regardless of what industry you are in, the design of your marketing materials matters. Your marketing design is as important as the machinery or materials you use for your products. You wouldn’t go years without considering an update or evaluating best practices, and the same should be said for your marketing efforts.

If you are concerned your marketing materials don’t align with today’s best practices, contact us for a free discovery appointment, where we will evaluate your current materials looking for opportunities – with no commitment from you.

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13Jun
How Businesses Can Find ContentHow Businesses Can Find Content

How Businesses Can Find Content

Savvy businesses understand the need for current, relevant content for their followers. Whether it’s blog posts, email blasts, or social media posts, businesses need content to present to their followers and keep them engaged and interested in the brand. Developing a content strategy, on the other hand, is often easier said than done. The first hurdle is determining what is newsworthy to your followers, and how to find the news within your organization.

You can’t write about everything, every time.

If each email you send looks like a rundown on all the products or services you offer, there’s some room to grow. Anyone can look at your website to get that information! If the information in your emails remains the same, what is the incentive to continue opening the emails and clicking on the content? The same can be said for social media channels. If the information being presented is more like catalog listings, there is little reason to continue to actively follow your organization. That’s not what you want!

These followers have already made the emotional investment to like your page, sign up for your email, or click on your blog. They are asking for deeper engagement. Don’t give them a catalog listing, give them something to dig into! Narrow your focus and provide rich content on a specific product or news item.

How do you find your focus?

Your company likely has several offerings or areas of focus. How do you choose what to focus on? You want to choose what is most relevant to your company and the industry. A newsworthy item could be a new product or service you are introducing. Time sensitive information, like a new award or an upcoming trade show you are attending, is also an example of something you want to ensure your followers hear about.

Of course, you may not have breaking news on a weekly or monthly basis. That doesn’t mean you have nothing to talk about, though! This is a chance to highlight your company’s offerings with content that differentiates you from your competition. Don’t regurgitate information readily available on your website, brochure, or catalog. Add value to your content.

If you have great relationships with your clients, write a case-study that showcases an instance where you really solved a major business pain for them. This kind of piece can require some legwork and elbow grease, but can really move perspective clients. Work with your client and get their permission before embarking on this path. Ensure that you will not share any proprietary information, trade secrets, or other competitive knowledge. Instead, focus on what problem you solve for them. Is their process faster now? Their turnaround time shorter? Are you saving them money, making their products safer?

Are your products doing good in the community? Create a human interest piece by focusing on how your products benefit the community. If your products or services don’t lend themselves to any feel-good stories, what about the rest of your company? If you have any community programs or service projects, let the public know what you are doing!

Lastly, highlight an existing product or service. The key here is to offer more information than what people would be able to read in your brochure or catalog. Companies can use this opportunity to address any common misconceptions, FAQs, or to focus on largely unknown or underutilized features.

When selecting the product or service to highlight, there are a few things to keep in mind.

DO

  • Select an area of your company that you excel in.
  • Choose a line that you want to expand in, and have the capacity to do so.
  • Focus on a product or service with a good ROI for your company.

DON’T

  • Pick a product or service you are discontinuing or trying to get out of. (Unless you are highlighting a sale!)
  • Write about a product or service that you don’t have the capacity to expand in.
  • Highlight something with a poor ROI for your company. If your content drives new business, you want it to be business you want.

Strategize when to release your content.

Once you have content, decide when to release it. Some content is evergreen, but if your product has a cyclical lifestyle, it’s important to think about the timing of your release.

Releasing your content during a high volume time, when your product or service is used the most, will hit followers at a time when they are actively thinking about your product more and experiencing a business pain. You’ll be more likely to grab their attention, but less likely to make an immediate sale, since they will already have providers in place for that cycle. On the other hand, if you have a feel for when your target audience is reassessing their processes and considering new providers, that’s a great time to have deeper engagement with them via a well-thought piece of content.

Quality content is not a continuous sales pitch, regurgitating information from your website, brochure, and catalogs, and you don’t necessarily need to offer sales to get your target audience’s attention. Your content strategy should use what your organization is already doing to generate relevant, engaging content that will keep your followers interested in your company.  360 Direct is a Milwaukee and Chicago Marketing Company.  We can help you execute these strategies!

 

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31May
email marketingEmail Marketing’s Place in a B2B Industry

Email Marketing’s Place in a B2B Industry

Email marketing has been a popular choice for years now, known as an inexpensive option to directly reach consumers. Emails consistently have the highest ROI of all marketing channels. But are they still working? And are they more fit for B2C companies?

The answers are, “Yes, they are still working, and they are just as fit for B2B companies!” In fact, B2B companies have a higher Open Rate and CTR than B2C companies when it comes to email. Let’s take a look at a few reasons your B2B company should employ a robust email marketing campaign.

For one, emails can help establish your business as a forward-thinking thought leader in your industry. Presenting new, helpful information to decision makers will keep you at the top of their mind when they encounter a business pain that needs a solution you already provide.

Second of all, emails have a higher rate of engagement than social media. This could be because people who sign up for your email list are already more engaged in your company than those that click “like” on social media, or it could be because people are in the mindset for reading more and deeper connections when they sit down with their email than when they casually scroll through social media channels. Regardless, emails has proved in multiple studies to be more effective than social media. Not to mention, many of your client and contacts may not be connected to you on social media!

Lastly, emails are a great way to stay in contact with clients and interested parties with long buying cycles. You are well aware that B2B sales are relationship based. Nurture and grow that relationship by providing interesting and relevant information for them in between sales calls.

So now that we’ve covered why B2B companies should send emails, what should be in them?

Email Marketing in a B2B IndustryEmail marketing is a great tool for both B2C and B2B businesses, but those emails are very different in terms of content.

A B2C email typically has a call to make a purchase, but B2B emails are best when they present new information. B2B emails should focus on being educational and informative, encouraging recipients to “Learn More” rather than “Buy More!”

This is a great opportunity for B2B companies to reach decision makers and educate them about problems they may not know about and introduce them to the solutions you provide. Rather than list your products, show them an in-depth case study so they can see how your company can affect change and solve their business pain. It’s also the perfect place to announce new products or services you offer, trade shows you will be attending, and other developments that are relevant to your clients and show that your company is constantly growing and developing.

Even when content is rich, detailed, and informative, don’t bog down the email by making it too lengthy. Post your case study, whitepaper, or product announcement on your website. The email should contain enough information for your recipient to determine if it’s information they want to learn more about, and then provide a link for them to do just that – on the company website, of course.

As with all email marketing campaigns, only send an email when you have something interesting to tell you recipients! For many B2B companies, an email a month is frequent enough. As always, monitoring your results can guide the decision making process for adjusting any marketing campaign to achieve best results.

While there are some differences in B2C and B2B campaigns, there are similarities as well.

Segmenting your audience to get the most pertinent information to your recipients realizes the best results, particularly for larger companies with several focuses. Otherwise, companies run the risk of recipients getting into the mindset that emails from you are not always relevant or helpful.

As always, only use email addresses that people have willingly given and opted-in to receive correspondence and give a clear opt-out option in emails. If your company is getting ready to add email marketing to your marketing mix, ensure recipients are told in their first email what your emails will be used for and how frequently they can expect communication.

Companies that take the time to develop great emails will reap the rewards in better client relationships and a great ROI. If you aren’t currently investing in email marketing, it’s never to late too begin and see how your business benefits.

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16Mar
360 View of ManufacturingThe 360 View of Why Manufacturing Matters

The 360 View of Why Manufacturing Matters

Wisconsin is highly impacted by the manufacturing industry, with many residents employed by manufacturing companies. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “Wisconsin stands out as one of few states where manufacturing has remained the biggest employer” (1). Events such as Manufacturing Matters, which took place in February, is just one example of how manufacturing is regularly highlighted as a significant part of Wisconsin’s economy. 360 Direct also recognizes how important manufacturing is to this area, and strives to serve the manufacturing industry on a daily basis.

This is why manufacturing matters to 360 Direct:

At 360 Direct, we know that the manufacturing industry needs assistance with regards to marketing. As a company in the Greater Milwaukee area, we understand how imperative Wisconsin’s manufacturing sector is to our economy. We also recognize that the Wisconsin manufacturing sector has allowed marketing to sit stagnate with outdated tactics and not engaging the new rules of marketing due to long established regional business relationships and practices that until now, have always seemed to be enough to keep manufacturers growing. Our goal is to help manufacturers become more marketable with current business, prospective business, and the new crop of skilled workers coming out of trade schools and instructional programs, utilizing digital and traditional tools to get there.

When it comes to the manufacturing industry, 360 Direct stands apart from other marketing agencies in regards to how we can help them. Having worked with numerous manufacturing companies before, we have a first hand knowledge and understanding of the industry. 360 Direct also offers education and understanding on strategy and tactical development, to keep our customers in the know. Providing insider knowledge to manufacturers helps them understand why we encourage the use of a specific tactic, which can be just as important as implementing the tactic itself. Additionally, our years of experience in the local manufacturing sector have allowed us to develop tried and tested methods that enhance the reputation and reach of manufacturing companies in Wisconsin. We offer a service that is specifically tooled to help manufacturers profit. Our work is valuable to them because its flexibility generates a custom solution with custom results.

For those not yet ready to work with an agency, 360 Direct does have some quick advice for manufacturing companies considering updating their marketing. First of all, develop strategy before activating tactics. Knowing the what, who, when, where, and why before the how will make activating tactics easier, less stressful, and provide insights into the target audience they may not have known existed. Developing strategy will also help avoid those panic modes of producing a tactic that has poor messaging and may not have been leveraged in the most appropriate of ways. Also, develop a digital presence. This involves becoming active on social media, which has targeted application amongst a wide swath of age groups, and has become increasingly essential for expanding business in growing leads, creating partnerships, and generating one’s own talent pipeline. A digital presence involves having a fully responsive and mobile friendly website that acts as a central hub for any marketing efforts. Not having a website in this day and age incredibly harms a brands reputation, even and especially in “old school” industries like manufacturing. Start with these basic steps and you will be on the right path to improving your marketing.

If you are interested in additional information about growing your manufacturing business, expanding the talent pipeline, and filling the skills gap, contact 360 Direct at 262-289-9210 or fill out our contact form on the contact tab above.

 

Sources:

  1. http://archive.jsonline.com/business/as-us-creates-low-wage-jobs-wisconsin-clings-to-manufacturing-b99348747z1-277269841.html

 

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10Mar
Generation ZWhat’s next – Generation Z – Post Millennial Marketing

What’s next – Generation Z – Post Millennial Marketing

We’ve all heard about Millennials and how to market to them but what comes next? Well it’s Generation Z, also known as the iGeneration, the Founders, or the Plurals1. Anyway you name them, marketers and advertisers are gearing up to monopolize them. In this article, we will discuss who they are and what they will expect from businesses and brands.

Depending on the source, Gen Z’ers are born between 1993, and anywhere up to 2005 to the present day. They make up roughly 25% of the U.S. Population, making them a larger community than the Baby Boomers or Millennials. As Gen Z members are still largely kids and adolescents, many of their adult characteristics are yet to be vetted. Early indications are that they are increasingly self-aware, self-reliant, innovative, and goal-oriented. They also appear to be more pragmatic than their Millennial predecessors, but we’ll have to wait and see if that plays out as they age2. One major difference they have from their predecessors is that they do not remember a time without social media. As a result, they have a tendency to live their lives online and via their smartphones.

A 2014 study Generation Z Goes to College found that Generation Z students self-identify as being loyal, compassionate, thoughtful, open-minded, responsible, and determined. How they see their Generation Z peers is quite different from their own self-identity. They view their peers as competitive, spontaneous, adventuresome, and curious; all characteristics that they do not see readily in themselves.

The future of brands and businesses will depend on the next generation’s habits, characteristics, and goals; and we need to get ahead of the shift or risk the loss of employees and profits. It may be beneficial for companies to magnify their company culture and highlight their employees’ social responsibility. As in the case with Millennials, connecting their jobs to social impact will be a priority for Gen Zs.

Seemiller and Grace’s study of Generation Z revealed trends and behaviors that are influencing Generation Z’s attitudes about life, education and work3.

Here are some of their critical findings about the newer, next generation:

  • They are motivated by making a difference for others and not so much by public recognition.
  • They prefer to “do” rather than “lead” when working in groups
  • As much as they love their technology, they prefer face-to-face communication.
  • They lean left on social issues and center to right on financial issues
  • They use social media, but prefer to share on Instagram or Snapchat and follow on Facebook and Twitter. Although, Facebook is considered to be for “older” people.
  • To learn something new, they “YouTube it” before they “Google it.”
  • They care passionately about issues related to education, employment and racial equality.

These type of consumers stay loyal to the brands they shop, and stick with them throughout their life. In the long term, this is a jackpot for businesses, since they receive long term revenue benefits. They are more accepting of differences and are quick to eliminate those brands that do not foster an inclusive community. They have no expectation to be perfect. Rather than degrading others for their differences, they will be more accepting of natural beauty vs “photoshopped” perfection and won’t be loyal to brands and businesses that adhere to more traditional images. They would rather be unique and real.

Now that we know what makes them tick, how do we advertise and market to them?

To be successful, brands will need to utilize campaigns that embrace differences and remove the branding or logo as the featured image. The goal must be to enhance the personal character of the consumer, not the brand, and allow them to arrange the product or service to create whatever unique image they want to present4.

An example of a brand advertising correctly to the Plurals is Taco Bell. According to an article written by AdAge5, Melissa Friebe, VP-Taco Bell Insights Lab, began asking what it could do for the next generation. “It took some digging, and we found that similar themes are manifesting themselves in different ways.”

“We’re always in beta and trying things out,” said Ms. Friebe. She said that approach resonates with the way young people, who were born into technology, experience things. “[Our consumers] are used to living in this world where people are constantly trying something, seeing if it works and making changes.”

Bottom line is they will be brand loyal. If you reach them now they will stick around for years.


Sources:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation_Z
  2. http://genhq.com/igen-gen-z-generation-z-centennials-info/
  3. http://sigep.org/sigepjournal/meet-generation-z/
  4. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/george-beall/8-key-differences-between_b_12814200.html
  5. http://adage.com/article/cmo-strategy/informed-millennial-misses-brands-retool-gen-z/298641/
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25Jan
railway-1758208_12805 Steps in Creating a Company Culture for All Generations

5 Steps in Creating a Company Culture for All Generations

“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” or “They’re the what’s in it for me generation” are phrases we’ve all heard in the workplace. Typically heard standing around the Keurig (water-cooler is so Gen X) usually followed by an eye roll and grumble from all, “They just don’t get it.”

Troubles can arise from different mind sets and communication styles of employees from different generations. It is crucial to effectively address and levy those differences in values and expectations of each generation in order to create a positive company culture.

Reasonably we can create 5 simple strategies to address these differences as to not disadvantage certain workers or broadly stereotype an individual.

1. Support a Communication Style that Avoids Stereotypes – Adapt an open communication style in the ways each person prefers. Some prefer face-to-face communication. While others foster technology driven communications such as emailing or texting. How they use the internet varies as well through generations1. Allow peers to be curious enough to uncover the truth when conflicts arise instead of going with their initial interpretations.

 

2. Encourage Open Dialogue – Instead of moaning about how each generation in the workplace seems to be so questionable and different, leverage the energy and blend the combined talents and strengths across each group. Take a proactive way of thinking, facilitate mentoring between different aged employees to encourage more cross-generational interaction.

 

3. Learn From One Another – Appreciating and understanding that there is a great deal to learn from each other is an incredible benefit to all. Learn through and from everyone. Each generation has something to contribute and younger can learn from older2. Same as the older can learn from the younger.

 

 

 

4. Exercise Mission-Based Hiring – Hire people who are enthusiastic about their mission. Employers that do often find generational conflict less of an issue. Employees can navigate topics with a better understanding and find more success, because they share a common creed.

 

 

5. Have Clear Expectations – With multiple generations in the workforce, employers have a much larger set of skills and strengths from which to draw. Encourage each generation and each person to operate at their own best level. Accepting and understanding different roles and then designing a process that incorporates each role conveys a trust to its employees. Make sure the emphasis is on what workers are producing and how everyone can contribute to the success of the team.

 

 

 

As Stephen Covey once brilliantly said, “An empowered organization is one in which individuals have the knowledge, skill, desire, and opportunity to personally succeed in a way that leads to collective organizational success.3” Should you need help in building a culture that bridges the generational divide feel free to contact 360 Direct to assess how we can help.


Sources:
1. http://www.pewinternet.org/2010/12/16/generations-2010/
2. http://institutionaldiversityblog.com/how-generational-diversity-can-transform-organizational-culture/
3. https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/s/stephen_covey.html

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19Oct
website design for manufacturersDressing your Website for Success

Dressing your Website for Success

“Dress to impress.” “Dress for success.” “Always look your best.”

There are various sayings such as these that emphasize the importance of looking your absolute best in order to make a positive first impression. Whether it be an important job interview, a romantic date, or your first day of school, a first impression is crucial to how someone thinks of you. Similar to a job interview, your website will make a strong first impression on it’s viewers, but instead of wearing a nice outfit, your website must have an updated layout, theme, and color scheme.

An updated website can mean multiple things to your customers in the manufacturing industry. Most importantly, it means that your company cares about its image and always wants to look its best. If you care about your company, then future customers will see that and want to work with your company. Another bonus to dressing your website for success is that an updated website allows viewers to easily navigate throughout various pages and links. By having easy-to-use navigation features, your potential clients will have a positive experience, wanting them to return to your website, leading to potential business. Lastly, an updated website can ultimately give off the impression to potential clients that you are modern in the manufacturing world and ready to change according to what is the best for your company. Clients want to work with a manufacturing company that is always moving forward.

For more information on how to keep your website current, contact 360 Direct at 262-289-9210 or fill out our contact form here.

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13Oct
video in manufacturingThe Importance of Video in 2016

The Importance of Video in 2016

Why Video?

2016. It’s a digital age and if you don’t keep up with the times then you risk being left behind by the competition. Marketing has long been an important component of successful businesses and that is not going to change this year, however the focus and strategies may be shifting. You may have heard the term “YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world”, and this is nothing but the truth. It processes more than 3 billion monthly searches, attracts 1 billion unique monthly users, and is bigger than Bing, Yahoo, Ask and AOL combined. Yes, you read that correctly, COMBINED. 100 hours of video are uploaded every minute with 6 billion hours viewed every month. In fact if YouTube was a country it would be the third biggest in the world behind China and India. So what am I getting at? In 2016 video content is essential.

So why the focus on video? What benefits does it offer? Well other than the wider reach offered by being accessible by 1 billion monthly YouTube users, there are significant other benefits.

  1. SEO Enhancement 70% of the top 100 search listings are now some form of video content meaning using video is now more important than ever. Search engines are effectively rewarding video users with an increased level of traffic. Increased level of traffic = increased leads. You do the math.
  2. Become More Memorable Everybody has heard the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words”, well video could be worth even more than that. A well constructed video can leave somebody with a bigger impression than a block of text ever could. By reaching out with video you will become more memorable and as a result more likely to capture a viewers business.
  3. Showcase Your Talents Whilst pictures and text can do a good job of explaining your products and services nothing can demonstrate the true qualities quite like a video does. It gives a different dimension and really lets the customer see the full attributes. It is more interactive and exciting and will no doubt end up engaging more prospective customers.

Application in Manufacturing:

The application for video within the manufacturing industry is massive. If a customer can see your workshop skills and machines in action as well as the quality of your work they are all the more likely to go into business with you. On top of this if you make a particularly good video highlighting your qualities it is likely to get many more views online than any one picture would (think athletes highlight reel). It helps people understand the process more and helps to cultivate a relationship with potential customers. By watching your business at work they feel like they already know you.

If you take one thing away from this article, let it be this: video is the future.

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