Every year, the Building Industry Association of Columbus (BIA) holds their Marketing and Merchandising Excellence Awards (MAME) to highlight the best marketing and sales achievements in the industry.
Every year, we tend to win awards in the categories we enter. This year we entered seven categories, and won eight awards. The additional award was the "Grand Marketing Award," three of which are given by the judge's choice for the best home builder, Realtor, and Associate marketers. Associate members can be any company that is NOT a home builder or Realtor, such as a Columbus website design firm, landscaper, interior designer, woodworking supplier, etc.
For the "Grand Marketing Award, the judge's decisions are based on the cumulative work submitted by all entrants. While there are handful of Columbus web design and other marketing firms who are members of the BIA, the entries by the home builders, Realtors and other associates, enter work done by their respective marketing firms. So the work submitted is reflective of work done by either professional in-house, or hired, marketing firms.
Following is the list of awards we won this year.
If you click on the links below, you'll be taken to an image of the entry with the descriptive copy we submitted along with that entry.
- Most creative website for Rockford Homes
- Best e-newsletter
- Outstanding color ad (Associate) for Schlabach Woodworks
- Best blog experience
- Best Showroom for an Associate ~ 1,000 - 3,999 sq. ft. (for our own office)
- Exceptional Direct Mail Piece/Series of Pieces ~ for Bob Boyd Lincoln Mercury Service Department
- Marketing Director of the Year
- Grand Marketing Award for an Associate
The things we believe make the Rockford Homes' homepage different than other home builders:
- A unique navigation system unlike any other home builder’s website we’ve seen. It extends down to expose sub-sections and you have to see it to appreciate how it works.
- A time-lapse loading of images. Instead of one main image, as most other home builders have, we used a grid of images that load at different times giving the homepage a more interesting sequence when opening for the first time.
- A focus on two main areas, exposed through sliding images. Google Analytics tell us “Neighborhoods” and “Home Floor Plans” are the two main areas people look for on home builder sites. With that in mind, we made those two areas the focus of the above-the-fold design of the homepage.
Are most email newsletters boring? We think so.
Which made it all the more important for us to come up with one that folks actually were willing to read. So we followed three simple rules:
- Don’t make it look like a newsletter. Because most enewsletters = boring. Good design is critical because a visually appealing enewsletter, welcomes the viewer encouraging them to spend their valuable time on something interrupting their daily routine;
- We’re all members of The Short Attention Span Society. So it had to be short. It had to be something you didn’t need to spend more than 30 seconds with, to see what it was about, and
- No one (really) cares about us, they want to know what’s in it for them. So we make sure the email gives them ideas they can use, or educates them about something cool in the world of marketing.
We believe we’ve succeeded in doing that, and have received positive comments about our newsletter, including recipients asking us to help them with their email newsletter.
We believe you have 2 -3 seconds to get someone’s attention in an ad.
Because ads interrupt the reader while they’re doing something else (reading for work/pleasure), you have to make it worth their while to stop and spend a moment with your ad.
So if you don’t have a visual and headline that stops someone long enough to pique their interest, you’re wasting both your client’s and their prospect’s, time.
With the Schlabach Woodworks ad, we had a lot of copy that had to work with the image. So instead of having the image and headline separate, we made them work together by making the headline part of the image. You’ll see we made the type look as if it was painted on the wall in a combination of interesting typefaces. We also Photoshopped in a freestanding weathered sign to accommodate additional information.
(You're looking at one of our blogs, so no need to show a screen shot here!)
To try and make our blog a bit more interesting, we started with the title. Instead calling it something boring like “What’s New,” or “News & Updates” we call it “Extra Credit Reading.”
In addition, we don’t talk about ourselves in the blog. We only share news and commentary about social media and marketing trends. Things we think our audience would also find of interest.
And finally, we keep it short and sweet: No more than 3 short paragraphs so it’s quick to read.
Bottom line is we’re positioning ourselves as knowledgeable observers of social media and marketing trends and issues. And by showing some of our work each month, we also show we’re practitioners of quality marketing and web design. The goal is that it all adds up to Sevell+Sevell being perceived as being experts in our industry.
Our offices/showroom are more for our enjoyment than our client’s, because we’re here way more than they are.
But when they come to visit, or come in for a meeting, we want to show off the cool, creative environment we operate in. Plus, of course, our BIA awards. And Paxil the dog.
The fact that we’re in the cool Arts District (the Short North) of Columbus is also beneficial. It’s almost like a field trip for them coming down to the arts district, where there’s lots of restaurants, independent shops & art galleries.
This series of direct mail pieces done for a Lincoln Mercury dealer’s service department was aimed at getting the attention of their current Mercury and Lincoln owners. The goal was to get them to bring the cars they bought there, as well as any American car to their service department.
The auto mechanics were great sports, and through this series of postcards, the Lincoln Mercury dealer got the response they wanted.
We understand that the recipient of a direct mail piece has to at least hold it in their hands for a few seconds if only to toss it in the trash. But if, in those 2 seconds, there’s something there that catches their attention, they just might reconsider tossing it, and hold onto it. And if they reconsider it, and look at it for more than a few seconds and make it to their “keep” pile, it will have achieved it’s goal of getting noticed!
Our philosophy comes down to a few things:
We're all Members of the Short Attention Span Society!
- We’re all members of the Short Attention Span Society. We’re all doing 100 things, so we’re busy. No one likes to read. And no one has time to spend on extraneous things. So if you don’t get someone’s attention in 3 seconds, you probably won’t get it at all.
- What you make is not what you sell. Home builders build homes, but they don’t always sell the experience. Any home builder who puts a photo of their home as the main visual in an ad, is missing out on making an emotional connection with their audience.
- Stop talking about yourself! One of the most common mistakes in marketing is talking too much about your company, when what everyone really wants to hear is “what’s in it for me?”
I could go on, but I know you get the idea. I like to think we bring new perspectives to our clients, and for those who are willing to take the chance of not following the same mold as most other marketers, we seem to be a good fit. Because we like to tell them: it’s not taking a risk with your marketing is the biggest potential waste of their money, and their prospect’s time.
The BIA awards “Grand Marketing Awards” to the to Home Builder, Realtor, and Associate based on the overall scope of work submitted for the MAME awards.
Usually, it goes to the Home Builder, Realtor, and Associate who has won the most awards during the evening. This year, we were fortunate enough to be selected for the Grand Award for Associates.
We’re proud of our 15+ year relationship with the Columbus BIA. It’s been a beneficial relationship for us. Being in front of marketers for home builders, realtor and other associates (interior designers, industrial-size wood work shops, landscapers, etc.) is a marketing effort unto itself.
The more involved we are, the more interaction we have with potential clients. And over the years, we’ve had the good fortune or working with many of these types of businesses. And we look forward to many more years of being involved with the BIA.