Category Archives: B2B

Survey says …

Do you like taking surveys and quizzes online?  Maybe you want to earn a few bucks.  Maybe you just want to know which Love Actually character is most like you (I’m Natalie … as if I needed a quiz to tell me that)!  It can be fun to tick a box here, rate your feelings, and add a few comments on any given subject.

In fact, you may even get brave enough to participate in more in-depth, in person market research surveys.  When my daughter was small, we had a survey company invite us to participate in an in-person research survey about bathtime habits and products for Johnson & Johnson.  It took less than an hour of our time, and we made $75 talking about what the two year old liked to do in the tub.

One of my newer clients runs a market research consultancy firm, and what they do has always been of great interest to me.  I admit, I’m a fairly opinionated person, but I really like the idea of both performing surveys on others and being invited to give my opinion on new products, commercials, branding strategies, and more.  Do you remember hearing about Neilsen ratings as a kid?  Didn’t you think it would be great fun to be “a Neilsen family”?  How exciting, to control what shows succeed or fail!

Today, all kinds of businesses turn to market research as the best way to gauge public response to their products and marketing efforts before they invest too much time and money.  Though market research surveys can be time consuming, they provide the most helpful insight into what will and won’t sell.  If you have a consumer product to offer, consider getting some feedback before you launch!

Thanksgiving, Day 2: Amazing Clients!

When I first started my job at ImageWorks web design firm in VA last year, I was told that I wouldn’t have much contact with my clients.  Typically, clients would have one main contact at the firm, who would provide them with any information they needed about SEO and marketing (my jobs) as well as web design and graphics work.  It sounded reasonable, and while I knew I would miss interacting with my clients, it seemed like the easiest way for them to have a simple, uniform experience with our agency.

As time has passed, I’ve found myself communicating more and more with my marketing clients.  It wasn’t anything we planned, but that’s just how things work now, and it makes me really happy.

First of all, I work with great people.  They’re cheerful and appreciative, and nine times out of ten, any conversations I have with them involve good humor and good productivity.  Most of the time, their phone calls are a pleasant part of my day.

What’s more, I’m generally not the most social person – I’m actually not at all comfortable in large groups or dealing with strangers – but put me in a position at work where I feel capable and confident, and I really do enjoy the chance to talk to the people for whom I’m working.  It helps me feel inspired to do my best work and produce great results for them, when I feel like we’re connected as human beings.  There’s a sense of ownership, and “we’re all in this together” that can be really motivating.

Finally, I’m grateful for my clients because at the end of the day, I know that they’re trusting me to help their businesses succeed.  That’s a huge amount of faith to put in another person, and I appreciate every ounce of it. I remember this ever day, as I hope I live up to the task!

Business Process Improvement – Learning Something New

One of the things I love about my job in internet marketing is that I am constantly learning something new.  Either I’m watching as tried-and-true tactics change and evolve, or I’m learning about new products or industries from my clients.

Right now, I’m working with (among other things) a software company, a laser tag business, a car wash, an hvac company, and a project management system.  While some of those things are more easily understood than others, I’ve found that the more complex businesses can be equally as interesting.

For example, one of my clients sells process improvement and value stream mapping software.  When I first started working with them, I didn’t know anything at all about their products or who would use them.  Of course, we’d put together a creative brief explaining a lot about the company, but even that was written with a lot of highly technical terms that didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.

As time has gone on, I’ve had the opportunity to do some writing for them, and as part of that, I’ve come to understand a lot more about what it means to improve business processes.  That isn’t something reserved for giant factories or multi-billion-dollar organizations – just about every company can benefit from breaking down the steps they use to complete various duties and finding a way to do those things more efficiently.  The same with value stream mapping – it’s really just a way to break things down and find a way for companies to work faster, smarter, and better.

What has your job taught you lately?

Employee Exit Surveys: Extremely Valuable Tools

I used to work for a blog advertising firm, and while it was an exceptionally small and close-knit company, the CEO used to go through occasional periods of attempting to act like we were bigger than we were.  During one of those phases, he decided to conduct an employee exit interview with  a recent hire who left shortly after taking the position in order to accept a job with a larger company.  She described the entire process as being extremely awkward.  I suppose even after you make plans to move on to greener pastures, it can be difficult to tell your old boss what he did wrong.

However, after that employee left, the exit survey became standard process for everyone who resigned.  Our boss must have found it valuable even if it did make our former-coworkers uncomfortable.

Of course, in larger companies, employee onboarding and exit surveys are standard practice.  They’re usually fairly discrete, and they give both new and former workers the opportunity to share their opinions.  Managers and other leaders can then use that information to implement changes that improve business practices and pave the way for happier, more productive employees.

While answering questions in an employee survey may feel awkward, it’s really important that you be honest.  Companies that conduct these interviews do so because they want to make things better, so you can expect them to take your suggestions and concerns seriously.  Retaining high quality professionals is a huge challenge for businesses, and the insights given by exiting employees are very valuable.

The moral of this story is:  If you’re running a business and you feel like you’re losing good workers, consider asking them for their honest opinions about what your company did right – and wrong.  You may discover room for improvement where you never expected!