Moving into 2012

As we ease into 2012, it’s only natural to review what we learned in 2011. What’s the best thing your company did in 2011? Was it for your business? Was it for your client’s? What client did you work the hardest for? What client paid you the most? And, most importantly, do those two answers match?

The best thing WilsonMcGuire Creative did in 2011 was the website for the launch of the restoration of Pinehurst No. 2 (PinehurstNumber2.com) and the print, broadcast and online campaign for 2012. The good news is, Pinehurst is the client that (1) we worked hardest for and (2) paid us the most. So we got THAT part right.

We did some other things right as well. We changed our business model. With online work steadily increasing at the expense of direct mail and collateral, in 2011 we finally restructured our processes, pricing and job codes accordingly. So now we can charge appropriately for all that time we’re spending on content, social media, banner ads, HTML emails, in-stream videos and Google Adwords search campaigns. With all the changes in media, marketing and retail in the past 5 years, if your business model hasn’t changed, it probably should.

We created and launched a new website (http://www.wilsonmcguire.com/) for ourselves. (This is a massive undertaking for an agency because when you make your living doing marketing and websites for others, you rarely find the time to do it well for yourself.) And we wrote, designed and built the whole thing in less than two months! Now we just have to change out the content regularly. All of the sites we build these days allow for the clients to change their content themselves. If your site doesn’t, maybe you need a new one, too.

We sent our artists and writers to a creative conference on interactive design. We were exposed to the best speakers and practices in the field. We picked up a few new tricks. And we all came away newly inspired and invigorated about what we do for a living. Our strategists went to an internet summit as well. It was a little on the dry side. But one speaker, Gary Vaynerchuk (Thank You Economy), gave an hour-long talk on social media that made it all worthwhile. I can’t show you the exact presentation, but THIS ONE he did at another presentation is close. (FF to the 9:30 mark. Warning: explicit language). It’s amazing how a single person can change the mood of an entire summit. We should bear that in mind at the next dull meeting we attend.

We got our Google certification. When you’ve spent as much time and money as we have on Google Search and Display campaigns for the past five years, you might as well get credit for it. So Kathryn got tested and Google approved. And we can now officially claim that Google thinks we know what we’re doing.

We added a couple of new faces to our creative team. Chris Bormann brought some solid design skills and a get-it-done attitude to our team. And Darwin Hadley, a coder and self-proclaimed technology geek, became our official “go to” programmer. By adding Darwin to our already strong rolodex of talented programmers, we’re able to offer clients a consistently high level of quality and service while keeping costs to a minimum.

We created a Google+ page (another day, another business page). And, more importantly, we separated my personal WilsonMcGuire Twitter account (@LWilsonMcGuire) from our WilsonMcGuire company account (@WilsonMcGuire). This provides the double benefit of (1) allowing other WilsonMcGuire team members to tweet for the company and (2) keeping my 19-year-old son and his profane friends’ tweets off our corporate page. (Good idea).

We signed a 3-year contract with The Wyndham Championship (thanks, Mark!). Last year, we re-designed their website (so they can update all the content themselves). They had a great year in 2011 with some of the biggest names in the game participating. And, for the first time, technology allowed us to create digital outdoor boards which changed regularly with updated scores, standings, etc. Who knows what we’ll be able to do by this summer? But with Webb Simpson returning to defend his title, we’re hoping for an even better 2012.

We were hired to conduct a membership survey, photo shoot and branding campaign for Prestonwood Country Club in Cary. The home of the SAS Championship, Prestonwood really is “where Cary comes to play.” And if you live anywhere near the Triad, it’s worth a visit (and a membership). This membership drive was a great success largely because local print ads were supported by a Google Search and Display campaign.

So what did you try in 2011? What will you try in 2012? Every business has to do something. Because when the whole world is moving forward, you can’t afford to stand still.