When you hire Scribewise or any other marketing agency, there is typically a bit of mystery. Mystery can be fun, but it can also be a bit scary—you’re making a commitment that requires at least a little leap of faith.
What’s going to happen?
Do they understand our industry?
Are they any good at this?
Frankly, when you first hire us, there’s plenty that we don’t know … yet. This post details the formula we follow—60 days of discovery, strategy development and alignment, and brand story refinement and messaging.
Of course, each client has its own unique starting point, so some aspects of this go more quickly for some clients than for others. But we must go through this process sequentially; we know that you’re in a rush and we understand why, but taking a little bit of extra time now will enable us to go much faster in the near future. Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.
We must understand your business and marketing goals, what happens if you achieve them, and what happens if you fall short.
We must pressure test the strategy you’ve created. You’re hiring us for our brains, and it would be unfair if we left them turned off. Our goal is not to tear anything down; it’s to build it up to be better.
If we don’t spend time creating this alignment and getting to know each other, one or both of us are going to make some wrong assumptions.
We must spend time getting to understand your brand story and messaging.
Often, companies turn to us when they’ve maxed out the universe of prospects that are one degree of separation away; now it’s time to grow up and get their messaging where it needs to be so they can fulfill their potential.
Here’s what you can expect to happen in the first 60 days of working with Scribewise.
Step 1: Ramping up fast
When the pixels are still wet on our DocuSigned paperwork, we’re immersing ourselves in your world. We have two priorities when we come out of the gate: We want to understand your business goals, and we want to identify your ideal future customers. By defining both, we can build the strategy that will help you reach the business outcomes you want.
We’ll kick things off by interviewing your team. This interactive half-day meeting should include key stakeholders and voices from across your organization.
Our agenda covers five aspects of the work we’re planning to do together:
- Understanding your business
- Understanding your industry
- Understanding your audience
- Understanding your marketing
- Understanding our partnership
We’ll ask you a series of 53 questions across these five areas, plus a whole heap of follow-up questions; being inquisitive is how we’ll get to understand you best. We like to say that at this point, we don’t have all the answers, but we do have all the questions.
We must come out of this session with the early scent of the path we want to follow. Strategy is often the act of deciding what not to do; it doesn’t mean we’ll never do those things, but we need to begin to sharpen the focus.
Step 2: Diving deeper
After this kickoff, our team will dig into all of this for what we call contextual research—not just competitive research, but fresh eyes seeking a deeper understanding of how the industry operates, what’s important and what we think works and doesn’t.
We’ll ask you for every marketing asset you can think of—pieces you like, pieces you don’t like, things that didn’t work for some (maybe unknown) reason. Here’s a checklist of everything we’d like to see:
- Blog posts
- Webinar recordings
- Sales decks
- Sell sheets
- Marketing plans
- Business plans
- Content calendars
- Trade show calendars
- Brand style guide
- Analytics reports
Step 3: Who else can we talk to?
In a perfect world, we’d like to talk to a couple of customers. We know there’s often sensitivity around letting us talk to them without you in the meeting—we just started working together and you barely know us and what if we screw up your relationship! But we’ve done this before.
Former customers are often even better because they clearly aren’t wearing rose-colored glasses about you anymore. It might be painful, but understanding weaknesses is important too.
Is there anyone else on your team who missed the kickoff session that we can talk to? Industry analysts? Board advisors? Journalists who know you? At this point, more voices are better because it helps us develop the 360-degree view that we need.
Step 4: Mapping out the strategy
We’ve done lots of homework and asked you a bazillion questions. Now we go back to the lab and start figuring out how it all fits together.
Now it’s time for us to deliver to you an actionable marketing strategy. Actionable means it’s feasible, given staff and budget realities.
The calendarized strategy is the roadmap for connecting your messages to your ideal future customers. It details key messages, target audiences, distribution channels and proposed budgets. It takes into account internal realities and external events and trends.
Step 5: The hard work of creating simple messaging
Now that we’ve identified your audience, we need something to tell them. And not just tell them, but move them. Make them sit up and take notice. Grab them by their emotions, make them drop what they’re doing, realize that you’re a company they can trust and spend some precious time thinking about you.
Armed with our newfound understanding of your ideal future customers, we’ll exercise our storytelling muscles to create messaging that aligns your brand and those audiences—employees, influencers, competitors and customers. The goal in creating a brand story is to capture the essence of your firm so that everyone inside and out understands what you are, and what you aren’t.
We consider what you stand for, what the competition is doing and what the customers are yearning for.
We’ll deliver you that attention-grabbing, go-to-market story. The main deliverable here is your brand story—several hundred words intended to create an emotion-driven picture of why your company exists and your place in the marketplace. This brand story is not website copy, a sales deck, a blog post or a commercial … but it should be infused into all of these things.
We’ll surround the brand story with key messages, talking points and market-facing materials that carry the message forward.
Once we have the story, everything else—sales messages, marketing messages, internal communications— flows from it. Everything becomes cohesive. Everything becomes better.
This is the best way to start our relationship with you.
Going slow at the beginning so that we can go fast just a couple of months down the road is better for both you and us because when we have a foundational understanding of who you are and what your ambition is, you’re going to get better work from us … and that’s good for us.