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Episode 02: How to Design a Smart Multi-Year Creative B2B Campaign

Kelly Zemcik, Marketing Manager & Chief Communicator
Miles-McClellan Construction​

In this episode, Kelly will share her unique, timely and creative approach to build brand awareness, stay in front of her customers and prospects and create an opportunity for her construction management company to stand out and have some fun at the same time.

Kelly Zemcik is the Marketing Manager at Miles-McClellan Construction, a construction manager/general contractor with offices in Columbus, Ohio, and Charlotte, North Carolina. She’s been growing as a marketer in the A/E/C industry for 11 years and a member of SMPS just as long. Kelly is a one-person marketing department guiding her firm by using best practices and bringing inventive ideas to market.

01:07 Dan Harris: Welcome back loyal listeners and new listeners to the Minds On B2B podcast. Today, I'm thrilled to have our next guest join us. This is also a first for us. We're recording the podcast from the Miles-McClellan Construction Offices in Columbus, Ohio. My guest today is Kelly Zemcik. She's the marketing manager and chief communicator. She is a precision executor, idea generator, and pretty darn creative as you'll hear in this episode. The Miles-McClellan team is making an impact in the construction industry and in their marketing efforts. Enjoy this episode.

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01:42 DH: Alright, welcome Kelly to the show. And to get started, why don't you tell everyone about your role here at Miles-McClellan Construction, and talk a little bit about your efforts in the marketing world.

01:53 Kelly Zemcik: Hey, Dan, thanks for having me today.

01:55 DH: It's a pleasure.

01:56 KZ: My role as Marketing Manager at Miles-McClellan Construction really includes multitasking between business development, marketing and sales responsibilities. When it comes to marketing specifically, it's communicating both internally and externally our brand and our messaging. When it comes to communicating externally, I do have full control and flexibility over our digital channels, which includes our websites, of course our social media platforms and our marketing campaigns.

02:25 DH: Well, it sounds like you're very busy. Multiple roles. I really wanna jump into this idea of campaigns and we've had some conversations in the past about brand campaigns and building awareness and nurturing campaigns, and I'm really excited about this cool video campaign that's very timely. Can you tell us a little bit about the audience that you were trying to reach with these campaigns? 

02:49 KZ: Yes, we work with clients in both the private and public sectors. So when we talk about our clients, we've got two types. We call the one a sophisticated buyer and those are the people who actually understand construction. And then we also work with people that are completely new to building buildings. We have a gamut of understanding and we have to be able to communicate our messaging so that both audiences understand. And we also have our peers and our partners and our industry professionals, those are our architects, engineers, and other industry consultants.

03:23 DH: So, Kelly, with all those audiences, how did you determine that brand awareness was going to be a key focus for you in 2017? 

03:31 KZ: You know it all started back in 2015 when we had a client discovery and we learned that... We have a history in Columbus so of course our clients do know of us, but they said that we weren't there all the time, we weren't consistent and that we weren't showing up. And when we asked how better to communicate with them, they wanted us to communicate either monthly and quarterly with them. And we actually have a content marketing piece called our economic indicators and that was brought up consistently that that was a great way to maintain awareness and communication with them. So going on that and knowing that we did have a piece that was catching attention, we wanted to find another way to stay in front of them while showing our personality and our culture, we really wanted to entertain, engage and educate them.

04:21 DH: Alright, so from 2015, what were the kind of the next steps for you in being able to create something that would educate, entertain and engage? 

04:34 KZ: Throughout 2015 and 2016, we actually went through an internal discovery where we rebranded ourselves. We took the time to understand who we were as we had changed generations to the second generation of leadership. And what came out of that was new messaging, a brand new look. So a brand new look includes new brochures, new graphics, new websites. So, it just timed up perfectly understanding that the clients wanted to see us more and we actually had some new things to say that we needed to launch an awareness campaign.

05:09 DH: I remember, I truly remember that. It was almost an entire year to complete the website, the defining technical excellence that we brought back in. And I even really... I enjoyed the whole process of branding the impact team, right? And I think that led to some really cool things that we're gonna talk about that happened in March. So what happens in March? 

05:32 KZ: Well, everybody knows about March Madness, but what also happens is Miles-McClellan Madness. You see, Miles-McClellan works in two regions. We've got Ohio and then we also have North Carolina. And when you're a marketer, you need to figure out what's gonna work for each region. Well, March Madness being a nationally known basketball tournament actually works for both of my regions. Up here, we've got the Ohio State Buckeyes. And the state of North Carolina, well they are just all basketball. So it really, really became relatable to both regions.

06:07 KZ: So I wanted to capitalize on this hype and the social media of March Madness and to tie it really into our industry and sales. Really construction spending starts in April, so this is right before construction spending happens, being right in front of our clients while they're making their decisions. And we all know basketball is a team sport, we had just rebranded ourselves into Impact Teams, is how we deliver our services. You actually work with a cross-functional team from beginning to end, and let's have some fun on those M's. It's March Madness, it's Miles-McClellan, it's impact team spelled with two M's. So, it just really kinda lined up perfectly.

06:54 DH: Alright, so with all the MMs all over the place, I can't believe you didn't put an M&Ms in there somewhere too, but I get it. So, what was the next step and what did you do to create that brand awareness and start the engagement process? 

07:08 KZ: Yeah, of course, all of these ideas happened in February and March was quickly around the corner, so we really just did a reactive quick release awareness campaign. We got some basketball hoops, over the door basketball hoops, that we logoed and we packaged them up to clients that we were currently working with, and then partners that we wanted to work with, and even some older partners that we hadn't worked with in a while. So, we had targeted groups of people.

07:36 DH: So you had names, you had addresses and you shipped it. And was there anything inside the box that they delivered or you delivered? 

07:45 KZ: Well, we had our flyer which really started to explain some of our messaging, the Impact Teams. So this was like the first touch point as far as delivering our messaging. I gotta be honest, there wasn't really too much of a strategy, we were just trying to stay top of mind with awareness, again being reactive because March was so closely. It was just really seasoning opportunity, give away this logoed item that's big, that people are gonna notice during basketball.

08:14 DH: Yeah, and they'll have a good time at the same time, right? That's fantastic. So, let's talk a little bit about what we learned. So what did you learn during that process? 

08:24 KZ: Yeah, well being reactive and quick to release, we didn't do any internal or external promotion as far as like why we were doing this. We were just delivering these basketball hoops and we did have a call to action and we had two people participate in that call to action, but again there wasn't this... There was awareness, which was the end goal, but we didn't have that engagement. So we need to think how can we engage more. But, in the end, it was very unique. No one else was doing it, it was noticed and this was really technically our first executed campaign, so we now started to begin to gather benchmarks and to be able to measure.

09:09 DH: Fantastic. So, that's 2017 March Madness, and how did it transform or how did it end up becoming a nurture campaign that's consistent? 

09:22 KZ: Honestly, in 2018, I still had basketball hoops. So, we needed to build upon it because we needed to re-purpose and re-use these hoops. So we took it to March Madness 2.0 and really thought about... So we have this awareness with the basketball hoop, but how are we actually going to engage our clients? And just knowing the results of marketing that video has a higher engagement rate because people like to watch instead of read, it's more entertaining, we decided to go that way. It's also gonna make us stand out from the traditional marketing that happens in the construction industry.

10:03 KZ: Video was also a great way to introduce my team. We have this whole idea of our impact teams and how we work with our clients, so this provided an opportunity where I could get some of our PMs and our superintendents and our administrators, their face out in front. Using our internal employees also gave me the opportunity to educate them on marketing. A lot of times they don't really know what's going on, but we all are business development people and we all are marketers and we're all in sales. So, this was actually their first chance to be involved in something fun and creative that aligned with our culture and also our re-branding and our new messaging.

10:46 DH: And that's a great point, Kelly. I think having your team involved does all of those things, right? It keeps them totally informed about what you're doing and it also engages them and, like you said, everybody is in sales. And I like to also say everybody's in marketing and that's a fantastic way to do that. So, video, also a great choice. So let's talk a little bit about what types of video and how you put those videos into market.

11:12 KZ: Sure, we ended up with four videos. We did a hype video, a dunk contest, a free throw, and the big game.

11:22 DH: So Kelly, why four videos? 

11:25 KZ: Four videos because strategically I wanted to be in front of our audience during the entire month of March. So a new video would be released every single week. We used various ways to release these videos. We had internally email signatures that would link to our Facebook account with our videos. We did an email campaign that would go out every Tuesday when the videos would be released on a Thursday promoting that these videos were coming out and to call to action, have them engage and like vote on the best dunk or vote for which team you wanted to win. We also used our social media channels by putting behind the scenes photos in, we came up with player stats and player cards to introduce our people a little bit more. In that way, we were able to use... Incorporate more of our culture, a whole lot of our new messaging, and then, well, re-use these basketball hoops.

[laughter]

12:26 DH: Well, it sounds like you had everything covered, all the bases, and I'd love to understand exactly what kind of results did you get? 

12:33 KZ: We did see increased website traffic, we did see more likes, people liking our Facebook page and comments and likes and re-shares of our posts. More Twitter followers, more engagement on Instagram. We did it through Instagram and Twitter as well. And then also our employees, we were able to reach more people because our employees were sharing, our partners were sharing. And we would get verbal compliments like, "Hey, I saw your video. That was so cool." So we knew people were watching and were listening. So, circling back around to that original goal of awareness, being upfront and seen by our clients, we had just established a new unique way, a new unique campaign that people are actually looking forward to and we're rolling it into March Madness 3.0 here in 2019.

13:24 DH: For your industry, Kelly, that is a very unique concept and idea. So, now I'm kind of curious, can you give us a little teaser on what's coming for this March? 

13:33 KZ: Sure, sure. This march we will be doing more video and incorporating more of our people. Not doing the basketball hoops, we're gonna give away a March Madness survival kit. This will also, again, hit current clients, targeted clients and industry partners. But I guess you're just gonna have to tune in and follow my Facebook.

13:56 DH: Alright, Kelly, thank you so much for joining us on the show today. If someone would like to get in contact with you, what's the best way? 

14:03 KZ: Please connect with me on LinkedIn. Again, my name is Kelly Zemcik. Zemcik is spelled Z-E-M-C-I-K.

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14:13 DH: You heard her listeners. If you'd like to learn more about Kelly and this unique campaign, contact her on LinkedIn at Kelly Zemcik. Also, if you're in need of a construction management company, please check out Miles-McClellan Construction at mmbuildings.com.

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