Keith Bates, Consultant/Creative Strategist
Former Ad Agency CEO/Creative Director

Chicago, Illinois   |   BTB Tech Marketing and Consulting/Creative/Growth Accelerator

Keith Bates & Associates, Inc.,

Previous LLC, Walker Bates Public Relations

Northwestern Univ., American Academy of Art


For a detailed look at Keith’s business/schooling/experience background please visit LinkedIn.


►KEITH ENJOYS MARKETING CHALLENGES: Over the years his boutique ad agency (now a CMO On Call Marketing Strategist) has solved the marketing challenges of several hundred technology vendors. He enjoys helping startups and growth companies solve their revenue generating problems.

►NEED TO GENERATE LEADS IN LESS THAN 90 DAYS? Consider my 90 Day Blitz. It’s a multimedia, lead generation activity based on response compression techniques. It is a fully integrated 3 month program that combines digital with traditional to create a sense of event, and increased lead flow.

►THE MEDIA OR THE MESSAGE? Whether your marketing execution is digital or traditional is irrelevant. It’s the message, built by a Creative Strategist, not the media that counts. Strategic messaging needs to be seamlessly integrated across both the digital, social and traditional landscape of marketing media through the application of a Communications Support Plan.

►TRY BEFORE YOU BUY? The best way to test compatibility and creativity is to spend some time brainstorming and working on projects together. It’s not just the results – which is my top priority – it’s also chemistry. Several billion dollar companies have evolved from Bates’ Creative Strategist skills.

►WE’RE STRONG ON BRANDING! Few things endure. Today’s breakthrough product is quickly eclipsed by the next innovation or lost in a sea of clones. That’s why companies that succeed over time build relationships with customers that transcend product. THIS IS BRANDING!


“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

“Keith is an exceptional individual with great insight and impact in viral marketing.”
Melissa Giovagnoli Wilson, Co-author of the book Networlding endorsed by Oprah Winfrey

“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

“When we began the process of investigating word-of-mouth marketing and social media as a method to
bring our message to new prospects, we turned to Keith Bates to provide a jump-start to our own expertise.
As a founding member of WOMMA (Word of Mouth Marketing Association) 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., the leader in predictive
analytics. Now owned by IBM.

“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 as a marketing exec to help launch DBMS, Inc.

“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 helped to put us on the map and contributed
mightily to our being recognized by Systems Integration Magazine as being “best in class” for systems
deployment. Keith brings more than just a “Brain on a stick” to every engagement. He has literally, “Been
there, done that, and is ready to do it again” when it come to helping your company define your marketing
strategy and accelerate your sales.
Oak Stevens, formerly President of KDM Associates, currently Director, KPMG LLP.

“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


In spite of the volatile nature of today’s IT world, where change is the only constant, Keith Bates has demonstrated a unique ability to build long-lasting relationships, many of them going back over twenty years. Presidents and Vice Presidents keep coming back from wherever they are currently hanging their hats for more of the creative skills and marketing savvy offered by Bates.

Shown below is a partial list of past accounts, both B2B and B2C

Information Technology
ABC Technologies
Access Computer Co.
Advanced Systems
Airplan Systems
(System One)
Alliance Group
Applied Learning Corp.
Asyst Technologies
Automation Design
Bakco Data
BCR Enterprises
BlackInk Software
Boeing Computer
Business Modeling
Caelus Inc.
Cambar Software
Capsco Software
Catalyst (Peat Marwick)
Charter Data Services
Chasm Institute
Cimlinc Inc.
Cimnet Systems
Coe-Truman Tech.
Coherent Networks, Inc.
CrossAccess Corp.
Cullinane, John
Delphi Information Sys.
Design Data Systems
Deltak/Applied Learning
DH Dial
Digital Systems House
Discrete Time Systems
Distribution Sciences
Diversified Technologies
Electec Corporation
Emphasys Software
Endeavor Info Sys.
Eolas Technologies
Empower Geographics
Equal Employment
Oppor. Consultants
Exceed Corporation
Excalibur Tech.
Execucom Systems
Ferox Microsystems

Gateway Systems Inc.
GBC/ Gen’l Binding Corp
Gemma International
Group 1 Software
ICE, Inc.
Information Mgmt.Tech.
Innovous Multimedia Inc.
Inn-Room Systems
InterAccess Co.
Intersolv Inc.
ISA Solutions
IsoQuest (SRA)
Jason Software
J. Baker & Associates
JD Edwards & Co
KDM Associates
Ken Orr & Assoc. Inc
Kirchman Corp.
Lakeview Technology
Lawson Associates
LPC/Pitney Bowes
Marketing Info Sys.
Meta Systems
Metrix Inc.
McCabe & Associates
Midwest Visual Equip.
Mobius Mgmnt. Sys.
Mutare Inc.
Napersoft Inc.
Neal Nelson Assoc.
Northwest Gen’l Data
Olympic amis
Output Reporting
Pansophic Systems
Planned Maint. Sys.
Price Waterhouse
Prime Computer
Proxy Message Center
PSC, Inc.
Rand McNally – TDM
Retail Target Marketing
Ricardo North America
RN Act
Robert Routman
Salare Security
Sam Albert Assoc.
SCO (Santa Cruz Org.)
SeNet Corporation

Scientific Info Retrieval
Sentry Publishing Co.
Shaker Computer
Silvon Software
SKK, Inc.
Software AG
Software Corp. Amer.
Software Design
Software Plus
Software Systems Co.
Standard Software
System 5 Inc.
Systems Mgmt. Inc.
Systems & Software
Teleconsultants, Inc.
(People Filter)
Telcorp Inc.
Titan Technologies
ThumbScan Inc.
Thomson Software
Timeworks, Inc.
Transform Logic
Trimark Technologies
Ultra Corporation
Uniq Computer Co.
University Commun.
Value Group
VASCO Data Security
Viasoft Inc.
Wallace Computer
Wheels Inc.
Xpress Software, Inc.
Zink & Katich, Inc.
ZyLAB Corporation
Zenith Data Systems
Industrial &
Consumer Accounts
AAR Corp.
Adventurers Club
Air Finance Intrntnl.
Air Namibia
Airplan Systems
All America Plastics
Allen Aircraft
Allen Airmotive Intrnl.
Allied Electronics
Allied Mills
Bankers Life & Cas.
Bank of Ravenswood
Big Game Safaris
Borg Erickson Corp

Brach’s Candies
Canada North Outfitters
Casa Bella
Condominiums Corp.
Chamberlain Mfg
Colt Industries
Constitution Life Ins.
Consumer Guide Mag.
Continental Bank
Continental Casualty
Crown Marketing Sys.
Detectronic Corp.
Digital Pix
Dormeyer Industries
Edens Plaza Bank
Enesco Imports
Erik A. Lindgren Assoc
Ethiopian Airlines
Explorers World Travel
Falcon International
Girl Scouts of America
Gravity Investments
Hinckley & Schmitt
Humes & Berg Mfg.
Intermountain Invest.
Jeffrey Elevator Co.
Kitchens of Sara Lee
La Costa of Arizona
Lane Banks
Mongerson Gallery
North Community Bank
Peace Corp (U.S.)
Pert Products
Quick-Set Tripods
Ramco International
Safari Club Intern.
Safari Magazine Inc.
Safari Outfitters
South African Airways
Standard Elsmere
Systema, Inc.
The John Volk Co.
Trout & Grouse, LLC
U.S. Action Agency
U.S. Airforce Recruiting
U.S. Army Recruiting
U.S. Army Corp Engineers
U.S. Dept. of Health,
Education and Welfare
U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency
ViaDIRECT Travel
Wildlife World, Inc.
Zenith Electronics


Marketing Strategist

The Marcom Engine, our starting point.

The Marcom Engine is a systems approach to the process of sales and marketing. It evolved from experience gained as a sales/marketing communications consultant to more than 200 B2B marketers over the years and blends the disciplines of Business Process Reengineering (BPR) and Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC). It drives revenue enhancement by reducing the waste and inefficiency of the typical random task approach to communications and consists of six modules: three for planning and three for execution. Today his focus is on Planning.


Improves return on marketing dollars by:

  • Compressing response times to speed up leads, market awareness.
  • Greatly improving message retention and intensity of repetition.
  • Substantially improving message penetration.


The Marcom Engine’s inspiration was simply the problem of waste and inefficiency of the typical random task approach to the sales and marketing communications process. By random task we refer to the common practice of shooting from the hip, of trying first one media, then another, of changing creative horses midstream endlessly while hoping something will be productive but never applying adequate tools for measurement. This problem often goes hand and hand with failure to apply quality control to creative standards…and unimaginative responses to competitive positioning strategies.


Over the past three decades the author spent a great deal of time counseling senior management and marketing executives on developing more effective communications programs. And in the process discovered that executive frustration with the universally poor return on marketing dollars is quite commonly due to a lack of understanding and/or faith in the marketing communications process coupled with the age-old curse of inadequate accountability.

The Marcom Engine evolved from all those years of counsel. It is an application of the underlying principles of both Business Process Reengineering developed by Michael Hammer and James Champy in  their seminal book Reengineering the Corporation; and the equally relevant Integrated Marketing Communications by the book of the same name written by Don Schultz, Stanley Tannenbaum and Robert Lauterborn.

Quite simply it’s a database (repository) and a methodology focused on “Best Practices” and improved business processes to enhance revenue and reduce the dilution of sales and marketing communications dollars.

Specifically it advocates a much greater depth of customer knowledge and involvement than the norm, a unique concept of creative formatting, and the development of a team approach for its implementation. Initially it’s more work than the traditional non-integrated process but it offers benefits that range from simple survival to dramatic growth.

We have the evidence to prove it works! And once both database and team are up to speed you’ll be able to do product launches almost overnight…with major improvements in sales, marketing productivity and profitability.

Creative Strategist

How do you  recognize a Creative Strategist?

This is what to look for.

Because creativity is rearranging existing knowledge, Creative Strategists must be intimately familiar with many different disciplines.

They must possess ONE of the following two sets of personal traits: wholesome, confident, perceptive, charismatic — or– driven, uneasy, remote, sometimes neurotic.

Plus they must possess ALL the following character traits: a tolerance of ambiguity, disorder, tension, and conflict; a desire to create new order from disorder; and an ability to stand fast with personal visions and ideas in the face of group pressure.

Studies indicate that creativity and brilliant intellect do not fit snugly together … creative persons have moderate to high intelligence but not many persons of phenomenally high IQs or memory are highly creative.

Why do we preach integrated marketing communications?

Because repetition of emotion evoking messages is the only known way to assure penetration of the belief clusters that serve as cognitive dissonance filters.

Because message retention is dependent on the use of a variety of input vehicles. And because pictures are far superior to words when it comes to altering the brain chemistry required of both penetration and retention. …so if you’re contemplating a boring visual, or an all copy message you’re in trouble.


Probing the Mystery of Creativity

The Creativity process within our Marcom Engine consists of two key components: core intelligence & theme/image standards. This is the mixing bowl where the ingredients provided by the audit and strategy modules become core intelligence, and are blended with raw creative power to produce THE BIG IDEA (lightning bolt) which is the source of all communications energy and the basis for our theme/image standards.

This module is where the differentiating creativity occurs.

The generally accepted creative process follows these steps. PREPARATION, INCUBATION, ILLUMINATION, ELABORATION, VERIFICATION.

Overpowering, or altering the Belief cluster often referred to as authenticity filters (or the BS factor) represents a serious challenge to the creative mind.

The real target of our efforts is not defined demographically (statistics), or psychographically (lifestyles) or even syncrographically (timing) …the target is the brain…and the challenge is to change attitudes, which in turn change behavior. Attitude changes occur through changes in brain chemistry … so think of yourselves as chemists… working on penetration and retention.

The paradox: The quirky unknown doesn’t stick unless you successfully help your reader relate it to the known.

The four most feared words in marketing communications?

Blue Ocean Positioning

Applying a blue ocean positioning concept.

Where do you begin? The process starts with the Planning module and development of a Communications Support Plan based on a process Keith was introduced to many years ago when he helped IBM launch DB2.

First requirement is an Audit which embraces primary and secondary market research, communications audits both internal and external, and a review of the six paths approach detailed in the book Blue Ocean Strategy.

Second is the Strategy process which includes the messaging, media, and market development check list. It also builds on the Blue Ocean Strategy canvas, reviews their value innovation concept, and considers their four actions framework.

Third is the Creative process which combines Blue Ocean’s Visualizing Strategy with the Trout & Ries Positioning Concepts as well as Keith’s creative skills at mixing core intelligence (extracted from Audit and Strategy) with text and images to develop the BIG IDEA.

And what is blue ocean positioning?

Blue ocean positioning is simply the development and management of a marketing strategy adapted from the Blue Ocean Strategy book. The strategy of the book is designed to reposition an existing company or a newly formed company, utilizing product and pricing changes, into uncontested market space which hopefully makes the competition appear irrelevant.

Keith’s Blue Ocean Positioning however does not advocate product and pricing changes but strives to refocus a company’s positioning within the market they have already defined for themselves. Powerful creative perception creates the critical feeling of differentiation.





Some thoughts from Blue Ocean Strategy…

What consistently separates winners from losers in creating blue ocean companies is their approach to strategy. Successful creators of blue oceans don’t use competition as their benchmarks. Instead they follow a different strategic logic called value innovation which focuses not on beating the competition, but by making them appear non-competitive.


…and from Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind.

Remember, positioning is not what you do to a product, it’s what you do the mind of a prospect. Branding is an element of this proces.


Their are two phases.
A Planning module and an Execution module.

Acting as your company’s Creative Strategist, Keith will develop and manage the Planning phase of your marketing’s Positioning strategy which embraces a marketing audit, an overall Sales/Marketing strategy, and the Communications creative components required to take your message to market.

To capture increasingly savvy customers’ imaginations and wallets, both differentiation and low cost are needed. Blue Ocean Strategy contends that you can’t offer one without the other. However, to stand apart in the world of marketing positioning you need to be creative through value innovation. It’s a challenge, but doable with the right resources. It’s our plan to make your company market space uncontested.

Keith does the Planning,
and assists in coaching the Execution.

Following the Planning Module comes the Execution Module consisting of your Arsenal development, your Messaging deployment tactics, and various Measurement processes. Keith will coordinate these efforts through one of his partner ad agencies or assist by coaching your in-house marketing staff.

For more information on Blue Ocean Positioning,  click here for white paper.


Contact Keith Bates

Keith Bates & Associates, Inc.
4319 N. Lowell Avenue Chicago, IL 60641