Published by Bobby Schehl, July 31st, 2014
The life science industry is built on structured and often complex messaging. Explaining the latest biotech innovation or cancer research technique can be complicated and exposes the desperate need for creative talent with an analytical mindset.
A Different Type of Designer
As a an early design student at Marietta College, I had no way of knowing I would end up working at OffWhite, yet it seemed destined to happen. During my education, I found that my design talent included two opposing aptitudes: one of structure and organization, the other more abstract and creative. Prior to my internship with OffWhite, I had no idea that these two skill sets could be married together so perfectly to meet the needs of a very specific clientele.
Laroland is a project I completed while studying at Marietta College and is a good example of abstract explanation of complex concepts through design. Laroland is also a project indicative of the work we do here at OffWhite. The goal of this project was to provide fourth grade students at the local elementary school a set of materials that would help demonstrate one of their school subjects in a way that was visually compelling and more exciting than a traditional textbook. Based on my interests, it comes as no surprise that I chose science as the subject. I created a board game named "Laroland" where students would take turns spinning a wheel to determine a question category they would then answer. A whimsical character and color scheme were chosen that visually represented the subject matter for each of the four categories, along with a set of science trivia cards complete with instructional graphics.
Little did I realize how closely this project would serve as a parallel for the type of work I do today at OffWhite. Although the target audience is no longer fourth graders, the goal is the same: represent tangible content in a way that is both abstract and visually appealing. In both cases the subject matter is categorized, calculable, and analytical, yet still requires a special sense of creativity and imagination to engage the intended audience.
Designing and writing for biotech marketing takes a different type of creative mentality, and since our inception, OffWhite has always stood out as a different type of marketing firm. We specialize in organizing complex information into manageable bits that anyone can understand, but we do it with a clean, concise style.
Our goal is to visually express technical content in a way that encompasses the idea of the content without explaining it in an obvious way. We are able to achieve this by utilizing a more creative, abstract understanding of the subject matter. This type of representation, although once removed from the actual content, holds equal importance to the concrete representation.
At OffWhite, our team delivers targeted messages through creative expression across a variety of media. Contact us today to learn how we can help you explain your business.
Published by Jane Cirigliano, July 24th, 2014
Email marketing has been an active part of digital marketing programs since the 1990s. As social media, big data, content marketing, SEO and more join the mix, is email marketing losing its relevancy?
Email marketing is adapting to the times. Email is still a main form of business communication. Everyone has an email account - it is a business necessity. Leveraging email communications to maximize your return on investment is an essential part of any digital marketing program. Here are a few ways you can ensure that your email campaigns are effective.
No email campaign will be effective without a quality list, or better yet, multiple targeted lists. If the emails you are sending are not reaching the right people, or your recipients are not opening or engaging with your message, then you need to look closely at your email strategy and make some adjustments. To learn more about targeted lists, email personalization and cross-channel promotions, see our blog "Get More from Your Email Marketing."
With the ever-changing news feed algorithms on social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook, email messages are more likely to be seen than social messages since they are sent directly to your customers' inboxes. According to a study by McKinsey & Company, email is one of the fastest growing customer acquisition channels, second behind organic search. Emails prompt purchases at almost three times the rate of social media, and the order dollar amounts are 17 percent higher.
According to Lionbridge's 2014 Global Email Survey, 41 percent of recipients open email for the first time on a mobile device. If opened a second time, 70 percent use the same device, but 30 percent choose a different device.
Your messages have to be easily viewed in all screen sizes so the transition between devices is seamless. Responsive email design is being adopted by top brands to ensure that their messages are relevant and easy to understand on any device. And don't forget to send your email readers on to a responsive website so they can continue the experience as they respond to your calls to action.
Analytics and ROI
Based on findings from the Lionbridge survey, nearly 80 percent of marketers admitted to not being able to directly track ROI from email campaigns. So how do they know if their email campaigns are working? A recent Adobe survey indicates that 49 percent of marketers said they "trust their gut" when it comes to deciding where to spend their marketing dollars, email marketing included. That's frightening.
You need to know which marketing activities are driving your leads and sales, and invest accordingly. Analytics can also tell you which content, targeted lists, promotions, etc. are performing the best, helping you improve on what works and increase the ROI of your campaigns.
When done right, email marketing remains one of the top-performing marketing channels. Contact us today for an evaluation of your email marketing program, or to start a new campaign.
Published by Rebecca Miller, July 16th, 2014
Much of the marketing on social media today is focused on B2C interaction. A question that we often are asked by our clients is, "How relevant is social media in today's scientific market?" The answer is, "Very."
Social media marketing can be as powerful for the life science, biomedical and industrial markets when it comes to capturing B2B contacts as it is for many B2C brands. You sell highly technical products and services that provide real benefits to consumers, which means a strong social campaign can increase awareness and consumer desire. Before now, you may have dismissed social media as a passing fad or the realm of B2C marketers promoting retail to teenagers and 20-somethings. If that is the case, you have bought into some of the myths that surround social media.
Myth 1) Social media is a fad.
Social media has been around for a decade and isn't going away anytime soon. In fact, according to Pew Research’s Social Networking Fact Sheet social media usage by adult internet users has grown from 8 percent in 2005 to 73 percent in 2013.
Myth 2) Social media is for B2C marketing only.
B2B customers are people too – people that are very likely to be on social networks. Many B2B businesses have realized this in recent years and have included social media in their marketing mix. Content Marketing Institute reports that more than 90 percent of B2B marketers publish content on LinkedIn. Twitter is a close second at 85 percent.
Myth 3) Social media is for teenagers.
It's taken a while, but adults of all ages are now joining social networks at increasing rates. According to a 2013 Fast Company article, Twitter's fastest growing age demographic is 55-64, which has increased over 79 percent since 2012. For Facebook and Google+, the 45-54 age group has experienced the most growth, increasing by 46 and 56 percent since 2012. Additionally, 2 professionals join LinkedIn every second.
Social media is a marketing tool for the business savvy.
There is a wealth of opportunities for you to reach your target audience through social media. So why not take advantage of it? And unlike other mediums, most social networks have built-in metrics so you can monitor consumer interactions and find out what communications are most effective for your audience.
Before you launch your first social media campaign, make sure you have a strategy laid out and know which metrics actually indicate success. While most social media platforms are free, social media marketing requires a lot of thought, time, creativity, consistency, education and analysis in order to achieve your desired results.
Is your company active on social media? Have you developed and implemented a social media marketing plan? Contact Jane Cirigliano today at 800.606.1610, and we'll get you started.
Published by Nat Miller, July 10th, 2014
Email marketing is a common strategy used in today's digital marketplace. An increasing number of customers are online and regularly checking email, which makes email campaigns highly economical and effective. The function of email marketing within the marketing landscape has not changed substantially over the years, but what has changed are industry best practices in email automation, segmentation and management.
In years past, email marketing meant finding the largest list of email addresses possible and sending the same message and offer to everyone on that list. This practice was inefficient and often resulted in a large number of recipients deleting the emails prior to reading them, because the information did not directly apply to them. Blanket email campaigns do little more than alienate your potential customers and cause you, the sender, to be labeled as “spam.” Dividing your email lists into similar customer segments, then targeting content toward each segment, greatly increases open and interaction rates.
Just like you, today's customers are bombarded with advertisements daily, making them more likely to open emails that not only talk to their specific needs, but also are more personalized. Therefore, beyond determining which of your customer segments gets which message, each of these messages needs to be crafted so that your customers feel that you are talking directly to them, understand their needs and want to help them. These kinds of emails generate more click throughs to your website and can lead to increased sales.
Consumers' increased usage of digital and mobile communication has modified their expectations for email marketing. Simple messages, even with an accompanying graphic, are not enough to move them to action. Consumers, 72% of them according to a 2012 Social Media Today article, want to not only be reached through multiple channels, but also want to join in campaign conversations on the channel of their choice. To meet this need, reinforce your message and acquire leads, your email campaign messaging must provide links back to your website, social networks and more.
In addition, the results from a study by Regalix, a global innovation company, released in March 2014 found that most marketers want email management systems that not only allow automation of email campaigns, but also manage cross-channel campaigns and deliver personalized experiences based on the customers individualized needs. By promoting products or services across channels with correctly targeted content and personalization, you can effectively capitalize on the overlap in potential customer categories and increase sales with minimal effort.
What this Means for You
OffWhite works with you to develop email marketing campaigns specifically targeted to each user group. Through ongoing market research, we are able to develop effective content that not only informs your customers, but drives them to action. We have also developed the Ed.it™2 digital marketing platform that allows users to completely manage every aspect of an email campaign, including list management, link tracking, cross-channel promotion and analytics reporting. You can maximize the results of every email campaign by coupling Ed.it™2 with targeted content that speaks to the pain points of your customers.
To learn more about our email tools and our strategies, contact Jane Cirigliano at 800.606.1610.
Published by Rebecca Miller, July 3rd, 2014
At OffWhite, we're always looking for opportunities to help move the world forward. Recently, one of these opportunities came in the form of a redesign for Samuel R. Cook Safetytown in Marietta, Ohio.
While a children's program like Safetytown and a life science marketing firm like OffWhite may seem unrelated, the truth is this particular project aligned perfectly with our core values and was close, not only to our office, but to our hearts.
Cheryl Cook has embraced the Marietta Rotary Club’s Safetytown project since early 1979 when she became the program’s first educational director. A Rotarian, career educator and principal of Harmar Elementary School (where Safetytown is held), Cheryl continues to oversee expanding educational and administrative responsibilities while staying true to the original concepts of Safetytown as envisioned by her late husband Sam Cook. All of us at OffWhite are grateful to Cheryl, Sam's daughter Colleen, and the Marietta Rotary Club Safetytown Committee for the opportunity to be of service.
The redesign started as a single request from one friend to another over dinner in Harmar Village. It didn’t take long, however, for it to gain momentum and snowball into a full-fledged Marietta community effort, bringing together the skills, knowledge and generosity of OffWhite team members, Marietta students and faculty, the Marietta Rotary Club, Lowe’s of Marietta and many others.
Many of our staff have children that are Safetytown age. They were eager to use their parental insight and creative vision to bring the world to life the way children see it.
When OffWhite Creative Director Abby Spung presented the redesign project to the Rotary Club in May, she nearly choked up as she told them how she had attended “the second ever Safetytown in Marietta” and remembers it fondly. Abby said she was honored to help redesign the buildings that would replace the ones that had been there since she was a “Safetytown kid.”
While the objective of this project was to enhance children's Safetytown experience and education, the project itself was a unique opportunity for Marietta College students to obtain valuable client experience and work with our creative team who served as mentors.
This project was an opportunity to inspire our community, a chance to show them what we are capable of achieving together and not to settle for less. Our team knew that Samuel R. Cook Safetytown was in need of more than the redesign of a few buildings, so we went beyond the initial request and produced a variety of contemporary materials necessary for current and future communication of the program. Our staff challenged Marietta College student design teams to create characters, posters, logos and brochures that would support and bring together Safetytown's new look and get kids excited about learning. In addition to the students work, Marietta College faculty member Fred Jesser produced a documentary of the entire redesign project, which can be viewed below.
Almost two months after the completion of the redesign project, Abby, Steven and I took a stroll down to Harmar Elementary School eager to see if the children and volunteers liked Safetytown’s new look as much as we hoped they would.
Snack time felt like an episode of ‘Kids Say the Darndst Things’ as the children gave their input, “I like them… I like the pet store, because I like pets…They’re good…I like the bank. It has money in it… I like the fire station!”
Much to our delight a fifth year volunteer exclaimed, “Thank you! They look much better.” She also added that her favorite building was Sam’s Cone Shack.
Everyone we spoke to agreed that the children enjoyed the bright, happy buildings and that the buildings were a good incentive for the children to listen and cooperate. We tally that up as a success.
What's one of your favorite success stories? What inspires you? Tell us below.
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Offenberger & White, Inc. (OffWhite) is an integrated marketing solutions company based in Marietta, Ohio, USA.
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