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It was all handshakes, smiles and warm feels when the Savoir Faire team recently visited Durham, NH, to meet our newest clients, HydroComp, Inc.

You may recall that we had an exciting contest earlier this year where one New England company would receive a year free marketing services from us, valued at $75,000. HydroComp was the winner.

HydroComp makes software products for maritime vehicle designers, which are tested and supported by a team of experienced engineers. Maritime designers use these tools to conduct technical calculations to reduce carbon footprints, protect marine mammals and operate efficiently.

Our first Discovery meeting is an extremely important part of breaking ground on a marketing project. Savoir Faire approaches complex marketing challenges, such as a reboot of a company’s marketing program, using a three-step process, which begins with Discovery.

This is where we learn about a company, its business goals and competitors, along with opportunities in the marketplace. From there, a marketing strategy is built and implemented in the next two phases, Build the Machine and Run the Machine. We will get into some in-depth coverage of the latter two steps in future blog posts.

For me, the Discovery process really lays the foundation for our success with a company and its marketing program. The team at HydroComp had asked me to send anything I could ahead of time so they could begin to wrap their heads around the kind of topics we’d cover in our first meeting and get a head start on pulling together information for us.

Getting that head start is a great way to kick off the Discovery process. We have a lot to cover in a short amount of time, going over all the elements that will go into a successful marketing reboot. I led the meeting along with Ben, our SEO expert. Also in attendance for Savoir Faire were our web developer/designer, Janna, and content creator, Corey.

HydroComp was represented by owners/operators, Don and Jill, plus their in-house marketing lead, Liz, and Adam, a mechanical engineer who oversees solutions for customers.

The meeting was wildly productive. We were able to dig into detail on almost all of the issues we hoped to cover. We have one topic left to cover, which we’ll do in an upcoming webinar or screen share. I was really impressed at how engaged the HydroComp team was. One of the things I truly appreciated was no one had their cell phones or laptops out! There was no checking of emails; everyone was at full attention. As you may have experienced yourself, this is not the norm in meetings these days — forget half-day meetings.

As such, I considered this first meeting a honor and privileged introduction to the professionalism and classiness of HydroComp. This is precisely what we hope for from a new client.

It was a fantastic day. Each of us took copious notes with our particular discipline’s filter on. Corey is listening for language and messaging – things the client doesn’t even know they know and are communicating. Janna is already thinking about how things will look and feel and how pages on a new site may be laid out to communicate the story effectively. Ben is listening for insight on how to organize and present information on a new website from a macro level and for keywords and search terms on a micro level. I’m listening for all these things as well as for opportunities the client doesn’t even know they know.

That’s what the Discovery process is all about: What’s low-hanging fruit? What are the big-picture goals? What are the opportunities the client would love to address if only they had the time and bandwidth?

All of this goes into the next step, which will be organizing our notes and extracting the questions that arose during the meeting — and sending HydroComp some more homework based on those questions.

In the meantime, we’re starting to audit all of HydroComp’s existing marketing assets, such as the website, social media and traditional elements like handouts, brochures, etc. For that, we require full administrative access to the back end of the digital infrastructure, to see how it is set up, what’s there now, and what we might have to work with. Don was initially a little hesitant to give us access to everything, as they’ve managed the website on their own for several years, including doing custom PHP programming on their existing WordPress site. He was concerned that we’d start making changes and potentially cause issues with the current site, which is understandable.

I assured he and Jill that this is our standard operating procedure and that we routinely log into client (and prospect) websites to perform this kind of audit without making any changes or causing any issues. The audit we perform at this step helps to inform the functional specifications we’ll develop later in the Discovery process.

Once we’ve been able to do our analysis on HydroComp’s digital infrastructure, then we will connect for the next meeting either online or in person, depending on the needs.

And on a somewhat related note, one more thing I am thrilled about is, with our new office in Manchester, NH, we can invite HydroComp here to dig into the next piece of the puzzle!

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