A Year in the Life of a Marketing Agency

by | Jan 10, 2020 | Creative

What a year 2019 was for Old Town Media! Since welcoming new team members, growing our team of creatives to 15 and counting, we not only had the opportunity to experience incredible new talent, but we continued to grow as a team and work-family. (Speaking of family, Miles and Val added another little guy to theirs!) Every year seems to get better and better, but 2019 was filled with so many big moments, personal successes and client goals that it truly became our best year yet.

We would not have been able to have the year we did without all of our amazing clients. We celebrated many of their successes and were happy to be the right-hand team when it came to exploring new, innovative and creative strategies to further their brand and marketing presence.

Some of our favorite 2019 projects included:

Trailblazer Broadband Brand Creation & Launch

We worked with the Town of Estes Park to create the brand for their community-owned fiber-optic broadband, Trailblazer Broadband! Branding and messaging, website design, development, marketing collateral, public relations and overall marketing strategy went into the Trailblazer project.

OtterCares 100-Page Booklet Design

We designed a 100-page book for OtterCares which summarized the amazing things they have done for our community over the past 10 years. The book was a surprise and a tribute to the Richardson family, the founders of OtterBox and OtterCares, and we are honored to have had the opportunity to share in this monumental achievement.

Fort Collins Country Club Brand Strategy & Website Design

We partnered with the Fort Collins Country Club on a brand new website when they were in need of one after splitting from their management company, ClubCorp. We decided to rethink their entire brand strategy, launching new visual elements and messaging that focuses on connection and experience. With a homepage video, landing pages for its various amenities and a color-coded and branded signifier for each lifestyle element, we were able to launch the site in just a 4-week window!

These projects stretched our team and talents in ways that we can not express. The relationships we made and the lessons we learned will be with us as we run full force ahead into the new year.

Speaking of learning, we had multiple opportunities to travel all across the country to learn from industry professionals. Our leadership team went to an intensive, 4-day StoryBrand training and Kerrie became an official StoryBrand Certified Guide, while our design team flew out to Los Angeles for the annual Adobe Max conference and our Digital team traveled to Denver for Digital Summit. We brought back new lessons and tools to share with the team, stay tuned as we divulge more over the next few months.

As we wrapped up the year, Miles, our CEO and Co-Founder, said “it’s never been about me. It’s always been about the team.” This is what makes Old Town Media what it is: a team that is dedicated to bottom-line goals, the success of one another and of course, having fun while we are at it.

We are excited to see what 2020 shows us, teaches us and allows us to celebrate. Here’s to another year of Old Town Media!

 

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girl writing funnel on whiteboard

How to Create Your Full-Funnel Marketing Strategy

Whether you’re an owner/operator for your small business or a manager of a multi-location franchise, every business wants to convert its audience to customers. The best way to do that is by creating a full-funnel marketing strategy. When you leverage the entire sales and marketing funnel, from awareness through to nurture, you're not just marketing to your audience, you are guiding them through their entire customer journey. Below are the areas of the marketing funnel that you need in order to create your full-funnel marketing strategy. Step 1: Generate Awareness You want your customers to know about you and your services before they ever need you. By creating awareness, you are giving yourself a competitive advantage. You don’t necessarily think about the mechanics you know until you need one - but you have two or three in mind when you do because you’ve passed them on the road, seen an ad, or had a friend see one! You can create brand awareness through: Digital advertisements Radio advertisement Social media advertisement Public relations and community involvement These efforts will help you build the top of your full-funnel marketing strategy. Step 2: Show Up for Consideration & Conversion At this stage of the process, a potential customer is aware of their own need or want and is doing research on what will best suit their needs. Based on the need, they can be doing this research in a number of ways including: Talking to friends and family Running general google searches Viewing similar products or services Checking reviews online Having the proper SEO and reputation management procedures in place will help your business rank high for these searches. Ways to promote your business in the consideration stage include: Running Google advertisements Targeting keywords in your online content through blogs and optimization Regularly checking and responding to your online reviews Abandoned cart emails with promotional offers Take our work with our client Karrikins Group for example. To build a content strategy that would span the entire sales funnel, we launched a new website focusing on SEO and future content creation, along with a multimedia content distribution model incorporating email marketing, blogging, on and off-page optimization, and social media marketing. You can learn more about that project here. Once the potential customer has done their due diligence and selected your product, they have now converted into a customer in the marketing funnel. Congrats! Step 3: Maintain Customer Loyalty & Advocacy Now that you have the customer, you need to continue to work to keep them and turn them into a loyal customer and peer advocate. Not only will this continue to nurture your current customer relationship, but it will continue to help build your brand through word-of-mouth recommendations to friends and family. Actively engaging with current customers is more than a monthly newsletter, though that is a great place to start. Other ideas for creating lasting customer relationships that help feed your full-funnel marketing strategy include: Targeted digital advertisements to current users or lookalike audiences Welcome campaigns for new users Creating a loyalty program to reward repeat business Email campaigns based on content-type Reminders of upcoming product or service needs based on the product lifecycle It’s important at this stage to nurture your customers to ensure they are getting more from you than just a product or service. They are receiving additional benefits that keep them coming back. Creating a full-funnel marketing strategy is more than knowing you have a product or service your audience needs. It’s about knowing what they are thinking and feeling before or as they are doing it. Put yourself in their shoes and think through what it looks like to get from start to finish. By allowing yourself to understand their sales journey, you will be able to see how you can show up before they know they need you. Looking to build your full-funnel marketing strategy but not sure where to start? We’re here to help! Check out our strategy-first approach to marketing and get in touch with us.
Val in a taco costume

Core Values Make the Difference in Our Culture at OTM

At OTM, the idea that we are committed to our core values is practically an understatement. Our core values are deeply embedded in everything that we do - from the way that our team members interact with one other to how we approach the solutions we provide to our clients. As a leadership team, we truly strive to incorporate these principles into every aspect of what it means to work at OTM, and they make all the difference in how our company operates culturally.What are our core values? Curiosity: We ask questions to understand, learn and apply. Care: We genuinely give a shit, about our work and our teammates. Integrity: We do the right thing, even when no one is looking. Earn It: We work for it, we own it and then we celebrate it. Perseverance: We don't give up because if it were easy, anyone would do it.How did we create our core values? This list is actually our second attempt at crafting a set of core values to guide our company. As a 15-year-old agency, we haven't always known exactly who we were as a team and what kind of company we wanted to be.  Our first set of core values were created around 7 years ago, and while they were nice to have - they never felt quite like the company we wanted to be and that was demonstrated by how little they served to guide us in the day-to-day. We didn't consult them when we hired, we didn't use them to determine what to celebrate, and we certainly didn't terminate employees because of them.  As the founder of OTM, and someone who has worked with a large number of startups, I believe a business requires a certain level of organizational maturity before its leadership can truly express who they are through an accurate set of core values.  If you are a business owner or executive and your current set of core values do not feel right, give it some time and then try to define them again.  We actually defined our current core values through our work with the StratOp strategic operational planning process, facilitated by a client and friend of ours, the amazing Stacey Pearson with Spinnaker Strategy. We are in love with our core values as a company, and they represent each of our team members in such a foundational way that it has resulted in a culture that we also love. Our core values aren't just a bunch of punchy statements on a wall: they are the guideposts for how we hire, how we work together, and how we determine what clients to work with. How we use our core values in our hiring process We use all five core values in the interview questions that we ask our prospective teammates to see if they truly exhibit the OTM way. We do not straight out ask "Are you curious." Instead, we'll ask questions like "What's the last thing you really geeked out on?" or "What's the last book you read?" We'll ask different questions in different ways to really get a feel if the person is going to enjoy the culture at OTM. We do this for every role in addition to asking technical questions so we can weed out those who aren't going to be a cultural fit for us.How we use them in our everyday work life Celebrating with our core values Before COVID required what is now a hybrid-remote workplace, we were all working together in the OTM office in Fort Collins every day. We have a set of 4x6 cards placed on our core value wall that correspond with each core value, and our team is encouraged to hand these cards out to their team members who are going above and beyond in demonstrating these core values. So, for example, if someone went above and beyond to figure out a new tool or process, someone who that process benefits might write a personal thank you on a Curiosity or Earn It core value card and give it to that person.  At the end of the month we would tally up who received the most core value cards and they would get a gift card. Cut to COVID We wanted to keep our culture strong through the high stress and uncertainty of working from home indefinitely, so we did a little research and found a program called HeyTaco. This program integrates right in with Slack and allows you to give people taco emojis  and assign a core value to them. At the end of each month, we tally who received the most tacos for each core value and the 5 winners are announced in our monthly team meeting and awarded a gift card. I have even gone so far as to dress us like a taco:  Performance reviews based on our core values We do reviews/check-ins for each of our team members regularly and the leadership team every quarter at OTM. We follow the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) and we use a program called Ninety to do all of our check-ins. In this system, every quarter, the team member evaluates themselves on how they feel they are exhibiting the core values and the managers do the same. This is a nice pulse check to really examine if there is anything that the individual needs to work on. Part of that check-in is called the People Analyzer and it evaluates the team member with a +, +/-, or a - on each of the core values and on Get It, Want It, has the Capacity to do it. + They exhibit the function most of the time +/- They exhibit the function some of the time - They do not exhibit the function most of the timeAn important note: if you see a (-) anywhere in the lineup, it's either the wrong person or the wrong seat, and your team's culture is undoubtedly feeling the incongruence. Get it: The person truly understands their role, the culture, the systems, the pace, and how the job comes together. Want it: The person genuinely likes the job. They understand the role, and they want to do it based on fair compensation and responsibility. Capacity: Having the time as well as the mental, physical, and emotional capacity to do a job well. Sometimes the job requires a certain level of intellect, skill, knowledge, and emotional intelligence and the person doesn't have that capacity. We've learned that core values make all the difference in how we operate as a team and as an organization, not to mention it's helped us find those perfect team members for OTM.
Long walk up steps

A Change Log: Tracking Success – A Monthly Status Report

We live in a fast-paced world. And with that comes change, both planned and unplanned. Tracking these changes is important to our business growth, but it's also important for us to remember what we've done right. This blog post will discuss how you can keep track of your success by utilizing a monthly status report or "changelog." Building a business from the ground up means you have to build your systems and processes from the ground up. As the organization matures and you begin iterating on existing processes, keeping track of the changes across an organization is virtually impossible. We have SOP's for just about everything in the company but we started to lose perspective on the changes in terms of the quantity, impact and timing. What I wanted was to get a snapshot of the changes in our organization. One afternoon I was reading a Change Log for a tool that we use trying to understand if an issue we'd been experiencing was fixed yet or had been changed. I thought this would be a simple and effective way to track high-level business changes. If software developers had used changelogs for decades to document their systems and platforms, why couldn't we do the same for a business? They're different but similar. I took the idea and started off in a core tool of ours, Notion. I set up an empty page and created a header with the Year-Month at the top. Underneath I created four more sub-headers, Team Changes, Client Changes, Operational Changes and Service Changes. That was it! Our first entry looked like this: 202109 -Team Changes: Dee joined our team as a storyteller, "XXXX" has started maternity leave. -Client Changes: No new clients. -Operational Changes: No operational changes. -Service Changes: Decided to pilot a shift in our subscription services in terms of project configuration, moving them to annual plans After some refinement (and copying over data from our leadership team report) we were able to backfill the first two months of our changelog. To be honest, I'd forgotten about some of the changes we've made over the last few months. It was nice to look back and realize the meaningful and purposeful change we've introduced over just the last 2 months. Moving forward, we will append snippets from our weekly team meetings to this changelog as we go. Since its really a changelog around how the company operates, we'll be sharing this with the full team and keeping it accessible to all within Notion.
Post-it note ideas

When Is It Time to Change Your Most Successful Plans

As a leader, I’ve learned that it is important to always be trying new things. If you are not constantly evolving and changing your approach, then someone else will come along and do it for you. However, this doesn’t mean that we should change everything at once. So how do you know when to change? It's typically easier to create new change but what about changing what was once "right"? In this blog post, I want to share a thought around revisiting your customer journey and KPI metrics and how leaders evaluate past decisions and know when they need to stop doing what has been successful for them and start looking into other ideas or approaches. The first element to focus on is your customer journey and how your customers are interacting with your products or services. Many aspects of your customer journey, defined or undefined, evolve over time for a variety of reasons. A primary driver of change would be technology, but who knows, maybe a pandemic will upend everything you've built. As external factors evolve consumer's lives, you must continually evaluate each stage of the customer journey (i.e.: Awareness, Consideration, Purchase, Retention, Advocacy) is being experienced. Are the tools and tactics you're using inside of each stage still relevant to you AND your customer(s)? Take an hour out of your day and re-walked the customer journey and participated in the process yourself for a moment. Take a look back and 3-4 of your past leads/prospects and do some research around their experience with your organization as it relates to the customer journey. Once we've reviewed our customer journey and realigned it with the customer expectations, metrics are your next stop. We all have metrics and we're not going to cover in this post discerning between vanity and real metrics, but let's spend some time looking at the metrics as they relate to the customer journey. Each stage has metrics nowadays we can track everything from impressions on ads, to engagements within email newsletters, live chats on your website and thats just scratching the start of the customer journey. Now is the time to make sure your metrics are applicable and I'll give an example that we see happening a lot right now. For example, retail storefronts typically count "door-swings" as a KPI. This is a great measurement for the Consideration stage, but what happens when those numbers fall lower and lower but your sales are climbing up and up? Does it mean that you have a hot product? Or that you have targeted better customers? Or does it simply mean that the customers have done more evaluation (consideration) online (typically Awareness) and your customers are self-qualifying themselves? If you make an assumption that it's one of those three scenarios without analyzing the reality, you're making broad assumptions and doubling down on something that is unsubstantiated with data. If so, maybe you should consider adding live-chat functionality and pairing that with your door-swing KPI! So in closing, it is important to remember that you are always a student of your customer. If you're not constantly re-evaluating and learning more about how they interact with your business, then someone else will come along and change the game on you!
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