We’ve felt all along that we have a pretty good gig going here at Projectline, so making the top 10 in Seattle Business Magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For 2014” list not only validates our hunch but shows us we’re really living it. We’ve made the list before, in 2012, but we haven’t made the top ten, let alone placed number seven, till now.
“The only way to prove to yourself that your employees believe you, and that what you are doing is truly meaningful to them, is to hear them actually recognize it to someone else,” says Mike Kichline, our CEO. “That, to me, is why making the top ten stands out. It’s a little bit of validation that is greatly appreciated.”
The “Best Companies to Work For” list recognizes organizations that provide a nurturing, welcoming workplace that makes jobs easier and more enjoyable. Companies can nominate themselves and employees are invited to respond anonymously to a detailed survey about communication, leadership, benefits, corporate culture, and workplace environment.
Seattle Business Magazine works with Seattle’s Gilmore Research Group to compile the data into an initial ranking. Companies are separated into small, midsize, large, and nonprofit categories, and responses are summed and averaged on a scale from 1 to 10 to determine a company’s score in each area. A panel of judges then examines the results to decide the top winners.
Projectline has landed a spot on Inc. magazine’s Build 100 list, which recognizes companies that have increased the number of their employees for five consecutive years. You may be more familiar with the Inc. 500 or 5000 lists, which name the fastest-growing private U.S. companies based on revenue, and Projectline has had the honor of being on those lists too. But the Build 100 award is different for two reasons.
First, Inc. does their own research to find the companies, so Projectline didn’t apply or even know it was in the running. Second, the list measures growth based on head count. Inc. collected data on more than 100,000 mid-sized companies with 85 to 999 employees, and asked how many had increased head count every year from 2007 to 2012. It turned out to be less than 1.5 percent.
Inc. calls the Build 100 companies “America’s strongest and most strategic growth firms,” and they focus on numbers of people rather than sales or revenue figures because they found that, “increased hiring is more predictive of future sustained growth, and that’s what this project is all about.”
Why else is it so important to continue to employ more people?
Last week more than 100 customer engagement professionals attended the Summit on Customer Engagement in Silicon Valley to discuss how to tap into the potential of the “other 90 percent” of their prospective customer references and advocates. The consensus? The path to engaging customers is getting easier, which has generated a few new rules for customer engagement:
Forget the quotas and focus on ROI.
Traditionally customer reference teams have focused on quotas: creating a set number of case studies, garnering a set number of references, and fulfilling a set number of reference requests. Today, it’s more important than ever to create quality content and measure results. Focus on measuring reference influence, how references impact the velocity of the sales cycle, and the success of campaigns using customer stories.
Company, Marketing Musings, News
For the second year in a row, the Inc. Hire Power Awards has recognized Projectline Services as a leading job creator. From January 2012 to August 2013, Projectline created 40 net new jobs in the United States, a 20 percent increase overall.
“It’s great to see so many new faces here in our Seattle offices and see the growth in our Philadelphia and Toronto offices, too,” said Mike Kichline, Projectline Services CEO. “Just this week our team in Philadelphia completed a move into new office space that’s more than twice the size of our old office there. We have a little breathing room now, and space to grow.”
Founded in 2003, Projectline is headquartered in Seattle. In addition to its offices in North America, it has an office in the U.K. The company provides marketing consulting and services to enterprise technology corporations, including Microsoft, SAP, Citrix, and Intel.
Marketing Musings, News
For the sixth year in a row, Projectline Services has been named to the Inc. 5000, which recognizes the fastest growing private companies based in the United States.
“When we first won in 2008, the minimum revenue was just north of $100,000; for this year’s list, the minimum required was $2 million,” noted Mike Kichline, Projectline Services CEO. “We’re proud to be keeping up with such good company.”
Projectline is a Seattle-based B2B marketing services provider that also has offices in London, Toronto, and Philadelphia, which serve enterprise technology companies such as Microsoft, SAP, EMC, Intel, and Citrix.
Last year, Inc. magazine also awarded Projectline the Inc. Hire Power Award, which recognizes private companies creating jobs. Partners Kichline, Anika Lehde, and David Jones founded Projectline in 2003, and they remain the firm’s principal owners. The company now employs more than 200 people and has won a number of workplace awards, including the 2011 Top Small Company Workplaces by Inc. magazine, 100 Best Companies to Work For by Seattle Business Magazine in 2012, and the Seattle Met’s Best Places to Work 2012.
It’s no secret that visual content is the way to your fans and followers’ hearts. Users on Instagram share over 45 million photos each day. Facebook photo posts consistently outrank anything else and Pinterest hit 10 million unique monthly visitors faster than any social network in history. Clearly, humans are wired to love a good story, especially in pictures.
But how to harness that graphic magic for your B2B marketing? Grumpy cat memes and pictures of your dinner don’t exactly work for this audience. If there’s not an obvious visual component to your company, here’s how to find and create one.
Think first about the brand personas you are speaking to. What will they find interesting? Go and find your main characters and milk them for information and anecdotes. Ask them questions to elicit interesting nuggets. What is your company the absolute best at? What do you do that no one else does? How was your company founded and what is unique about your company culture? You’re looking for the stories that make you say, “I never knew that!” If you’re surprised, your audience will be too.
Social media is no longer the fad in marketing, it’s the new normal. The majority of companies have jumped on the social media band-wagon and are using social media to engage their prospects, customers, and fans. Every day millions of companies post content and hold online conversations with their community. Businesses who want to drive business and community satisfaction should consider these guidelines to maximize results.
Where to “set up shop”
The first step to understanding how best to engage your audience is to research your audience to learn who they are and what they are looking for from your brand. The research will provide critical information on how to reach your audience and even which platforms to select for engagement. It is impossible to service your brand well on all social media platforms, so plan to focus your efforts where your audience is spending time, rather than expecting them to come to you.
It is a safe bet to set up accounts on Facebook and Twitter, mainly due to the large number of users. Once your accounts are set up, you can conduct more research by polling and asking questions. It is completely appropriate to ask your fans what kinds of information they would like to receive and what would make them stop following you. Don’t underestimate the information that can be pulled from Facebook Insights, including salary, average number of kids, age, location, and interests. Facebook provides this information to entice you to advertise, but there’s no reason not to use it to your advantage.