At Walker Sands we take a holistic approach when it comes to client services, taking care from the beginning to integrate the most viable channels to generate satisfactory results. We started off as a small group of people in 2001, and set our goals high to bring together advanced digital marketing and public relations.
Sixteen years later we’ve successfully infused digital marketing and content campaigns into creative public relations, resulting in an integrated triple threat marketing agency. And it works.
In this latest video from Walker Sands, Mike Santoro, president, and Ellen Hanson, COO, weigh in on how our unique services set us apart from other agencies. Mike explains how we integrate our two strong points, media relations and digital marketing, to effectively create powerful integrated campaigns to generate leads for our clients. In the video Ellen adds that it’s our curiosity for learning about the latest innovations in marketing technology that empowers our work.
From our humble beginnings, to the passion we instill into our work, this video gives a holistic depiction of how we work with our clients to provide the best digital marketing services possible.
Discover why Walker Sands works in the full video here.
I recently had the opportunity to chat with Lauren Gilyard, Walker Sands’ sales manager, to learn more about her role and get her perspective on what she enjoys about working here (and to figure out if she’s a cat or dog person).
As part of the sales team, Lauren is responsible for building out the traditional and digital presence across the full sales cycle. She works across teams to execute projects and has been focusing a lot on the digital side of Walker Sands in the past several months.
Lauren is excited to see the company continue to grow and develop over the next several years! Here’s what she had to say:
1. What is your role at Walker Sands? What is your day to day?
I am the sales manager, so I’m responsible for supporting all things sales-related.
I’ve been focusing a lot on digital lately, specifically with outbound reach. We’re focusing on building awareness for companies that do not know about us, as well as others that might have needs in the future. It is all about getting in front of people so when they do have a need we are included in the conversation. One of my main tasks is to push our digital offerings, especially to prospects who might think of us more along the lines of PR.
2. What is your day-to-day?
It’s very different. Today, I’ve been in a pitch meeting, sent a bunch of prospect emails and looked at prospects. Sometimes it’s prospecting all day or participating in internal meetings or calls.
If there’s one thing we know that works when driving a brand message, it’s storytelling. Storytelling is something we talk a lot about in marketing, and are very aware that the right narrative can take your brand from ho-hum to resonating with an audience of thousands.
In an effort to expand my storytelling skills and knowledge, I will be attending the Storynomics masterclass with acclaimed film and TV project consultant and author of Story, Robert McKee. After years of creative success, he’s taken his storytelling approach and adapted it to a set of teachings to help marketers transform their stories from interruption to entertainment. In addition to the hands on training McKee will provide, Tom Gerace, CEO of Skyword will also be presenting on how to use storified messaging to achieve marketing and brand goals.
I’m looking forward to attending the seminar and embracing the learn part of Walker Sands’ three pillars, learn, support, do. If you care to join me on March 29 in Chicago, register here using code WALKERSANDS.
Last week, a few members of the Walker Sands team visited Catapult, Chicago’s peer-selected tech hub. We were joined by a handful of the current residents to help answer their questions and facilitate insightful conversation around how marketing can help to elevate their brands and reach their company goals.
Our very own John Fairley and Meghan Spork led the conversation and fielded questions surrounding the traditional PR and digital aspects needed for a well-rounded marketing program. The companies attending had diverse backgrounds ranging from law, travel to fintech, which led to interesting perspectives and fun conversations full of lots of new learning.
Here are a few key highlights from our discussion and helpful information for other startups looking to add marketing to their strategy:
- Press Releases – Too often startups issue a press release and think that reporters will come calling. That may have worked 15 years ago, but not anymore. And when operating with a limited budget, it’s important to understand when to issue a release over the wire and when it’s best just to post it on your website. Press releases are a great way to archive your company’s milestones and should live in a newsroom on your site. They’re great for SEO, helping to theme your website and can act as a good resource for you and prospects to reference.
- Social Media – When you’re running a business on limited resources, social media is an effective resource for grassroots marketing. Different platforms attract different audiences, so tailor your posts to who is reading. LinkedIn is a better place to reach VC firms and other possible investors, while Facebook and Twitter are better platforms for reaching your customers or potential new hires.
- Account Based Marketing – It’s the biggest buzz phrase for marketing in 2017 and for good reason! We touched on the psychological factors behind creating personal messages that go beyond your basic mail merge. Before you send out any personalized videos, emails or other content, it’s important to refine your list and target prospects based on their stage in the buyer journey and customize messaging that will resonate with them.
At the end of the discussion, we left the companies with a comprehensive tip sheet to help them integrate marketing into their startups. Here’s a few of key bullets from the sheet to help ramp up your marketing as well:
- Customers – Your initial customers will inject their passion for your product to help fuel vital content and collateral that can be used for promotion. Maintaining these loyal relationships will be crucial in launching your first marketing initiatives.
- Bandwidth and Focus – Forget about the CEO running the business and doing a little marketing on the side. It doesn’t work. Establish a marketing contact. This is your go to person who is focused on marketing and isn’t the founder—they’re fully immersed in the industry and have time to devote to setting up campaigns and looking into returns on your efforts.
- You’ll Need a Story to Get Press – Think critically and creatively. Gather your team together and think of all the possible angles you can take to leverage your brand. Does your founder have a story? Great! Recent product launch? Even better! As long as you have something interesting to share with the press, you’ll have an easier time getting placements.
When we approach planning with our clients for the new year, it’s usually about how we can help grow their companies. We discuss how we can target bigger audiences, execute on more creative campaigns and secure more media placements and leads than we did the prior year.
For marketers, a new year also means an opportunity to grow, learn new skills and refresh your marketing strategy. In the spirit of growth, here are five resolutions that should be on every marketer’s list in 2017:
- Track, measure, repeat: Accurate and consistent tracking are key for gauging the effectiveness of B2B marketing campaigns. Though it can be easy to get caught up in the hustle of a campaign, it’s important to make time to thoughtfully analyze how to move forward. By leveraging analytics, you’ll be able to ensure you’re targeting the right people with the right message while capturing some useful insights for future initiatives.
- Develop better content: Content was king in 2016, and the same will hold true for 2017. This year, marketers should ramp up their digital marketing efforts by integrating relevant SEO keywords into their content. To retain your brand’s status as a thought leader, create an editorial calendar to ensure you’re regularly publishing original content, newsletters and on social media.
- Attend industry webinars and conferences: Though conferences and workshops require travel and professional development budget, they provide marketers with valuable takeaways. Make a case for your presence at industry events, work it into your budget and make the most of every minute you’re there. Check out The CMO Club’s Spring Innovation Summit or the 2017 Marketo Marketing Nation Summit.
- Read a new marketing book: Between hectic work schedules and personal obligations, reading is something many people just don’t make the time for. But setting aside some time each week to read a new marketing book can reinvigorate passion for your job, provide new knowledge and expose you to new industry research. “Hacking Marketing” by Scott Brinker and “Driving Demand: Transforming B2B Marketing to Meet the Needs of the Modern Buyer” by Carlos Hidalgo are two of our go-to books.
- Try new things and think big: To jump start the year, hold a brainstorming session with your team to think of ways you can inject more creativity into your marketing efforts. It’s easy to fall into the same routine of what’s worked in the past, but marketers can avoid this mentality in 2017 by making a daily effort to think more creatively and come up with out-of-the-box ideas for their companies. Technology can also help marketers streamline their efforts — freeing up time for more strategic efforts. With the influx of new marketing software and devices, it’s important that marketers are open to trying new things this year.
While this is by no means an extensive list of the ways you can grow as a marketer, it’s a good place to start thinking about how you want to improve your department in 2017. Write your resolutions down in a spot you see often, and lean on your colleagues or friends to ensure you execute on your goals.
Marketers, what professional resolutions are on your list for 2017? Tweet us @WalkerSands!