Monthly Archive: April 2017

Start Building Bridges To Your Customer Communities

Companies turn to Bonehook for our expertise in strategic brand storytelling. What often begins as a simple request for a new website or print campaign evolves during the project, as we apply active listening and begin to hear the true requests. For instance, the client who asks for a new website may actually be seeking better-qualified leads (but not using those exact words).

It’s our job to hear what the real need is and offer the right solutions from there. Once we are able to listen and learn, we establish a framework for the partnership and set the groundwork for success. That’s when the brand invention, realignment, and amplification begins.

One of the challenges that we sometimes face serving small-to-medium sized businesses is the owners and managers prefer to jump right to the construction phase of what we do, skipping the planning and engineering phase altogether.

Clients in this category may see advertising and design shops as “the hired hands” they need to manipulate images and so on. These well-meaning but off-putting clients will try to write the headlines in the meeting, design the piece on the fly, and generally get in the way of the creation of the work we’ve been hired to create.

At Bonehook, our best clients value our thinking and our willingness to dig in and learn their businesses inside and out. That’s what real partnership consists of—knowledge gained through trust earned. What starts as a simple project soon flowers, and new projects are born during the discovery phase. Eventually, the client’s project-based thinking gets put on a shelf. In its place are quarterly planning, editorial calendars, weekly status calls, and the kind of proven routine that generates positive results.

There’s a good reason for applying this structural reality on the business relationship. Successful companies don’t drop in and out on their customers and prospects. To win consistently, they cultivate relationships. Think about your own best relationships and how much time and effort goes into establishing and maintaining them. The same is true for marketing communications. To keep people interested and actively sharing your company’s stories, the flow of material must be constant and compelling.

Companies generally don’t succeed by coming to us with piecemeal requests for prescribed communications pieces. They succeed by showing us their business problems and asking us to help them devise a plan to solve them.

Improve The Integrity of Your Data with Rova

I recently had the chance to speak to Joe Olsen, founder and CEO of Rova. I wore two hats during our chat—editor of and founding partner here at Bonehook.

Rova is a new software platform for client service teams that promises to improve an agency’s ability to track their own pipeline, build out client dashboards and more.

Olsen is a strong advocate for a much more methodical approach to offering and tracking strategic insights. As a former agency principal, he knows first hand how an agency’s creative product can be commoditized in today’s marketplace, where production is often housed separately from strategy and creative visioning.

On the Rova blog, the firm describes 5 Mistakes Growing Agencies Make, including not working the sales pipeline in a profitable manner.

Clients aren’t looking for AOR relationships these days. Why be locked into something with such a varied marketplace of niche players and varying prices? Agencies, especially mid-size and smaller shops, are more and more reliant on a project-to-project existence.

…When agencies engage clients in project one-offs, no one wins. It’s impossible to track and transform meaningful data from a one-off project into deep, actionable insight. The kind of ongoing analytics it takes to ensure what’s working and what’s not to determine next steps. Sell your work and justify your agency’s value with this perspective so you can plan for growth.

Rova positions its software as a bridge to deeper client engagements, where the one-off projects are minimized and the ongoing retainer work for the client is emphasized. To achieve this end, agency owners need to prove that their recommendations are working, and Rova’s tool and training support this mission.

Bonehook has yet to adopt the product, but we may in the future. Olsen says that agencies (who don’t want their work to be commoditized) know they need to do something, but they’re not sure what to do. This we do know…sophisticated tools or not, when applied properly data analytics opens the door to not just more work, but better work. When any agency successfully draws a direct line from bold creative work to greater client profits, they’ve on the high road to newfound respect for themselves and for the way marketing is practiced today. To our mind, marketing is an applied art enriched by science.