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Vanessa Guest Lectures at Emerson College

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I was a guest speaker at Dr. Silvia Hodges Silverstein’s graduate class in Professional Services Marketing yesterday. Silvia asked me to speak on the topic of “Marketing Creative Services”, so I told the story of how I market Clockwork Design Group. It was a really fun experience for me. As I drafted and edited my presentation, it made me reflect on how marketing my business has changed over the twenty years since I founded Clockwork. Gone are the days of sending direct mailers to clients and hiring telemarketing companies to find new prospects. Now we send email blasts, write blogs and post on social media. We spend many hours every week writing complex proposals in response to RFPs. But one of the ways I market Clockwork has stayed pretty much the same since 1994: giving my clients more than they expect. It’s funny, because I never even realized this was a marketing technique until I read about it in a blog post by one of my clients recently.

The students asked great questions such as “how do you price your work?”, “what happens when clients at a firm can’t come to consensus?”, and “how do you make non-creative thinkers understand conceptual ideas?”. Silvia asked me to tell a favorite “lessons learned” story. The first that came to my mind was an unfortunate “design-by-committee” situation. I have learned since then to explain the importance of my role as designer early-on, using the classic anecdote that “a camel is a horse designed by committee”… a camel is functional but not pretty.

Thanks so much to Dr. Silvia Hodges Silverstein for inviting me to speak, I hope the students enjoyed it as much as I did!