Got an eye out for an Ad Agency, or MarTech firm to help you grow?

Consider a consultant first…save time & money.

Before hiring an ad agency consider a 60 day session with a Theme/Image Strategist, formerly an ad agency CEO/Creative Director, and experienced with helping over 200 tech vendors.

After 20+ years as CEO/Creative Director of a technology-oriented ad agency I now operate as a Creative Strategist consultant. I help client’s bridge the gap between their corporate growth planning and their digital marketing execution. There’s a growing trend among marketers to cut back on agency fees by bringing initial work, like strategizing and theme/image development in-house, or done by consultants/freelancers…leaving the digital media execution to martech firms.

A separate download on Creative:

Available for instant download is a short white paper on the role of Creativity. On the last page you will find several sources for the development of Effective Creativity.

What my clients have to say…

“Keith is one of those rare breeds of consultants that has always exceeded my expectations.

When we were a small unknown systems integrator his strategy and execution contributed mightily to our being recognized by Systems Integration Magazine as “best in class” .Oak Stevens, past President of KDM Assoc., currently Director, KPMG.

“I recommend Keith to any software or high tech company that wants to improve their reach and stature in the market,

and who wants to spend their marketing dollars to achieve the most bang for their buck.” Gary Rippen, March 24, 2010

“I’d simply like to state that over the three years we worked together it became obvious that Keith is a creative genius …

with a way of assembling complex product presentations that helped J.D. Edwards increase sales by orders of magnitude.” Ed McVaney, former Chairman J.D. Edwards. Since acquired by Oracle.

“One of the original superstars of the technology marketing world….

Cannot begin to tell you the impact this man has had on companies like Pansophic all the way to Platinum technology, inc… The best of the best….”Andrew ‘Flip’ Filipowski, hired Keith to help launch DBMS, Inc.

“Keith helped launch our word of mouth marketing program with great success.

His knowledge, experience and creativity are unique assets to our business.” Wm. Edward Vesely, hired Keith for Marketing Services in 2007

Keith was able to bring that rare blend of vast experience in tech marketing combined with the latest developments

in the fast-changing world of user-driven marketing interactions. Keith is one of my most valuable secret weapons.” Bob Slaker, Director, World Wide Direct Response Marketing, SPSS Inc. Now IBM.

Keith Bates as a Creative Strategist

Whether your media plan is digital or traditional is almost irrelevant…it’s the message that counts…the message of differentiation and persuasion that is built on core intelligence and theme/image standards. This is the world of Big Ideas that Creative Strategists control. Clients see people as consumers first. Creative Strategists see consumers as people first. It’s their job to bring imagination, insight, and intuition to the development of the marketing messages that resonate with prospects…which changes the attitudes that lead to changes in beliefs and behavior. As a Creative Strategist Keith has built award winning sales/marketing plans for hundreds of B2B vendors, tech and non-tech. It has been his ambition all his life to become not only an amazing creative but an amazing businessman also.

And a thought from Mark Winek who share my feelings: “I am a creative leader from the agency side determined not to fiddle while Rome burns. Rome burning being the insane widespread belief that technology – for all the wonderful advantages it brings –can in any way whatsoever replace creativity.”

Remember, It’s The Message, Not The Media, That Generates Sales

Acting as a Freelance CMO, Keith is also delivering Theme/Image Consulting and Freelance Content/Copy Writing

Two Client Success Stories

J.D. Edwards (now Oracle)

Brand challenge: At one point the company suffered from a low profile in the emerging IBM midrange MRP market although it had a broad range of superb software applications. Problem: Wrong USP (Unique Selling Proposition): Steps that were followed: A thorough product study revealed that JDE was offering the market something no one else was, but didn’t realize its significance. At a time when software was sold either off the shelf, or requiring expensive modifications JDE software was designed in such a way that end users could do the mods themselves. Also intense media analysis suggested that vertical business publications were much better suited for their ads than the technology magazines currently being employed. Measurable results: Sales, which had been at a plateau of about $15 million for three years, leaped 400% over the next three years to approximately $60 million. Overview: Ed McVaney, chairman of JDE and I became friends over many years attendance at ADAPSO events. After three years of flat sales (couldn’t get over $15 million) he asked for my help. I discovered they were in all the wrong media (tech pubs vs. end user pubs), their sales force did not relate to–and was disenchanted by–the corporate messaging (solved by inviting their participation in creative assessments), and worst of all, they were not even promoting what the market was screaming for … which JDE had and no else

did (an MRP engine that was programmable by users!). In addition I redesigned the company logo and took over corporate branding. After KBA assumed responsibility for all sales and marketing communications sales jumped approximately from the plateau of $15 million to $30 million the first year, to $45 million the second and $60 million the third. After a few more years they hit $1 billion and ultimately ended up being acquired by Oracle.

IBM

Brand challenge: The initial launch of IBM’s DBMS DB2 fizzled for lack of a focused communications effort. They were competing with other relational DBMS including the powerful Oracle product. Problem: Wrong USP (Unique Selling Proposition): Steps that were followed: After several meetings with IBM at KBA Keith was hired to refine the Marcom strategy. Extracting subtle messages from a McKinsey study that we were handed we positioned them as the only product offering “industrial strength” a concept which was welcomed by the market and caught on quickly because of the existing perception that only hierarchical DBMS offered heavy lifting. KBA was then appointed to work with Wells Rich and Greene, IBM’s ad agency for corporate and software, to develop the creative strategy. Measurable results: As they say “the rest is history”. DB2 is considered today the leading relational DBMS locked in an ongoing duel of giants with Oracle. And while Bates had no access to numbers he was told that his strategy had a positive impact on $8 billion in sales.

For ongoing tips to improve your messaging and strengthen your brand sign up for my blog.

Contact me in Chicago: Phone: 773.205.7992 Leave Message: Email keithbates@kbates.com: For in-depth bio LinkedIn.com