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24th Anniversary President & CEO Letter

I want to start off by sincerely thanking everyone associated with Triad over the years – employees, current and former, suppliers, and our clients. Without the efforts of each of you, Triad would have never achieved the longevity it has. I truly understand and appreciate your contribution to the development of Triad.

Given that Triad is about to become 24-years old, this is the 23rd anniversary letter I have written. While it would seem that at some point there is really nothing new to cover, every year seems to bring with it new developments, opportunities and challenges, and advancements.

This 23rd letter is no different. There is a great deal of excitement surrounding the agency, and it feels as if Triad is moving in a strongly positive direction. Since last year, we have added eight new clients, and several more clients will be signing on soon. Our range of B2B marketing services continues to expand, as we have added to the scope and sophistication of our web design and development capabilities, while making significant strides in the depth of our digital services.

Under the direction of David Hospodka, Triad’s creative director, the agency’s creative team is producing marketing materials that underscore the quality of our clients. Additionally, the work being done by David and his team is delivering a quality of work that is providing a strong level of support to our clients’ sales efforts.

On the operational side, Cheryl Roberts has taken on an active role in the day-to-management of work moving through the agency. Based on her years of project management experience while working at EDS, Cheryl brings an added dimension of organization to the operation of the agency.

In late 2017, Triad merged with Sugarek Marketing, and in the process added one of the energy industry’s best marketers, Joe Sugarek. Joe’s range of knowledge of the oil and gas industry is impressive, and his coming on board increases the agency’s B2B marketing expertise.

Every year, when I write the agency’s anniversary letter, I marvel at how very fast the time has passed since that first day, August 4, 1994. On that day, I had a vision of Triad as a premium B2B agency, delivering a broad range of agency services…with professionalism, integrity, and a real willingness to work with our clients as marketing partners. I have since learned that initial vision is actually a journey and not a destination…because as time has passed the bar we set for Triad moves higher.

Running Triad has been one of the real highlights of my life, and I am excited about this next stage in the company’s development. And I look forward to celebrating our 25th anniversary this time next year.

Regards,

Tom Prikryl
President and CEO, Triad B2B Agency

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5 Reasons to Embrace an Outsider Perspective

I was amazed, when in college, by how many of my peers knew what their major would be while in their freshman year! I did decide, but even today I find myself fascinated by so many areas of discipline and enjoy exploring new realms that I joke I have yet to decide what I’ll be “when I grow up.” When you approach new opportunities and possibilities in this way, it is not unusual to experience resistance and skepticism by those who have trained and studied in a specific discipline. I strongly believe the ability and desire to learn new things are paramount to happiness and fulfillment, and contend any organization that embraces this perspective is better off for five main reasons.

“Where all think alike nobody thinks very much.” – Walter Lippman

Reason #1: Shake Things Up a Little

When you are watching a play unfold in front of you – whether football or theatre – you are able to see a wider perspective. The trick is to not approach your fresh perspective as Monday Morning Quarterbacking, but in fact to challenge the way things have always been done with appropriate reverence for foundational principles. Insiders may be too steeped in the organization’s past practices to envision new approaches, and therein lies the outsider’s value.

Reason #2: Excuse for Asking Questions

I cannot tell you how many times I have spoken up to ask a “stupid” question when everyone else acted like they understood … only to discover many people didn’t understand, but were hesitant to unveil their ignorance. When you have been in an environment long enough, it is often viewed as unacceptable to ask a very basic question. When you are an outsider, it is expected. Take advantage of this and ask those questions! By doing so, you are giving others an opportunity to learn something they were supposed to have known all along.

Reason #3: Apply “Foreign” Principles

When I worked for General Motors, the Japanese methods of continuous improvement were embraced – Kaizen means “change for the better.” This constant, continuous improvement is a mindset that can be applied anywhere, at any job.

This works not only for principles and philosophies, but sometimes tools and techniques. What works at a law firm to improve processes may also work at an advertising agency.

Bringing someone on board from another industry or profession is practiced all the time … it’s called Consulting!

Reason #4: Brainstorming

In order to truly brainstorm, everyone must agree there are no bad ideas. This is a tough one, though, when an outsider doesn’t have the same background as most of the team and doesn’t speak the same “language.”

A team that truly embraces brainstorming will encourage participation by EVERYONE … especially those with varied experience.

Mark Strand, captured these feelings in the opening lines of his poem, Keeping Things Whole. “In a field, I am the absence of field. This is always the case. Wherever I am, I am what is missing.”

David Burkus, a Forbes contributor, put it this way:

“As individuals grow in their expertise, their opinions about what won’t work may grow because of past experiences trying similar ideas and failing. Those with enough expertise to generate an idea, but not enough to dismiss it untried, end up testing more ideas and, even though most still fail, every once in awhile they discover an untried idea that leads to disruptive innovation.”

– Why Innovation Needs Outsiders

Reason #5: Identify New Opportunities

I have enjoyed the opportunity to be a “connector” through my exposure to and experience in various industries. For example, a client looking to trademark their branding appreciated the fact I could connect them with an intellectual property attorney. A diverse set of competencies and backgrounds can also provide a unique perspective to identify opportunities to enter new markets, target a different type of client, and develop professional relationships and cooperative agreements.

I guess I will always be an outsider of sorts. I am thankful for the discomfort in order to enjoy the benefits.

– Cheryl Roberts, Operations Manager

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Triad’s Five Guiding Principles

An effective company must have a strong foundation of principles on which it is built, principles that will ultimately define the company.

When we mindfully apply our core principles, we can be assured that we are moving our business in a direction that is aligned with our goals.

We have Five Guiding Principles that form the basis of our company:

  1. The First Guiding Principle is that Our only limits are those we impose on ourselves. These words have become more than a motto for Triad. It is a belief system. We as an organization are focused on pushing through any possibly self-limiting barriers, which will fuel our improvement as a marketing agency.
  2. Our Second Guiding Principle is based on our specialization in B2B marketing. This specialization plays a key role in assuring that we serve as an effective B2B agency for our clients.
  3. The Third Guiding Principle is based on our “client-centric” approach to business. Our team is fully focused on meeting our clients’ marketing needs. Supportive of this principle, we see our success being reflective of our clients’.
  4. Taking a serious, non-frivolous approach to our clients’ marketing efforts is the Fourth Guiding Principle comprising the foundation for Triad. We understand the impact that an effective marketing program can have on the sales success of our clients, and our efforts are directed by that understanding.
  5. The Fifth Guiding Principle, and perhaps the most important of the all, is the belief that the most important job of B2B marketing is supporting the client’s sales effort. Whether it’s selling a company’s brand, a product, a service, or a point of view, the first job of B2B marketing is to sell.

For Triad, identifying our Five Guiding Principles has been a key to our development as a company. The better we define what we are as a company, the better we execute as a service provider to our clients.

However, we fully understand that being fully aligned with company principles will always be a journey, not a destination.  So, every day, we follow our Five Guiding Principles in working to improve on the services we provide our clients as well as the overall operation of our company.

– Tom Prikryl, President & CEO

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Opinions: Well Done Is Better Than Well Said

We’ve all heard, “actions speak louder than words.” So, why do people spend so much time talking about doing and so little time actually doing?

Robert Brault put it best, “the first requirement in taking a step in the right direction is to take a step in some direction.”

Similarly, an old boss of mine emphasized having a “sense of urgency” for getting things done.

It’s one thing to come up with a great idea and talk about it, but putting that idea into action is a whole different issue. Making that idea come to life requires real work. The successful people I’ve known in my career are diverse with a wide range of professional qualities. But, the one characteristic they share is the drive to work and make things happen.

It’s easy to talk a good game and pontificate great theories. But it’s far less effective than making an even mediocre idea work.

To sum it up in the words of Lord Edward Herbert, “the short answer is doing.”

– Tom Prikryl, President & CEO

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5 Quick Tips to Improve Your Press Releases

Follow these quick tips to help your press releases get picked up by the media.

1. Create a Press Release Template

Find or create a template for your press releases. Using a template ensures your press releases look professional, branded, and cohesive. A journalist is more likely to pick up your press release if it looks professional. A press release template will also keep you from forgetting or incorrectly formatting information in your press release.

2. Front Load Important Information

Journalists don’t have time to read your press release word for word at first viewing. Load all the important information in the first paragraph to make it easy. A journalist should be able to answer the quintessential six questions after reading the first paragraph. Make sure you first paragraph answers:

  • Who
  • What
  • When
  • Where
  • Why
  • How

3. Insert Key Stakeholder Quotables

  • Executives
  • Project Leads
  • Excited Customers/Recipients

Providing great quotes up front can give you a leg up on the competition when it comes to press releases. Add quotes from people key to the story, internal and external stakeholders. The easier you make a story to write the more likely a journalist is to pick it up.

4. Provide Valuable Background Info

  • Noteworthy ways the project developed
  • Creative ways the idea was conceived
  • Obstacles that were overcome

In addition to making your press release newsworthy, providing valuable background information can add context and color for journalists. Boring press releases at best make boring news.

5. Make the Information Obvious

Keep your company boilerplate succinct and straightforward. Explain what the company does in plain English so journalists understand. Include a link to the company homepage early in the release so journalists can quickly reference the website. Be sure to provide links to any sources cited in the release. And include instructions how the journalist can obtain hi-res images.

Use these five quick tips to improve your press releases. Have press release tips of your own? Share in the comments. Or, give Triad a call and we can help you plan your next press release for maximum exposure.

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Opinions: Loyalty and Manners in Business Today

Since today is Triad’s 23rd anniversary, I have had the opportunity to connect with many friends and business associates. It is rewarding to talk to people (or least, communicate via email) with whom I have worked in partnership in developing new and better solutions for clients. These connections made me think about the nature of business today, and how in some ways it has become much coarser, and is neither as effective nor as rewarding as it should be. Two areas that I think where these changes are most apparent are found in supplier relationships and in general business manners.

    1. Many companies have now come to view what was once valued “supplier partners” as strictly “vendors,” who are only favored as long as they offer the lowest price. This approach to the people and companies on whom your business may rely is short sighted.

      Loyalty is a two-way street, and it is inevitable that one is going to need one of those “vendors” to come through with a supporting idea, or even a favor. “Vendors” have little motivation, and no obligation, to respond to your need for a favor. A valued partner will stand ready to help you. In addition, working with supplier partners becomes very efficient and effective because each of you understands the other’s company, their needs, and their ways of doing business. Working with someone you understand and know well, and who knows and understands you, is more-often-than-not the route to getting things done in the best possible manner.

    2. Almost every day, I see examples of bad manners and/or lack of consideration in the business world. Here’s some news…YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE RUDE OR DIFFICULT IN ORDER TO BE SUCCESSFUL. Asking for things in a mannerly way is not that difficult (it will not hurt to say “please” periodically), and a sincere “thank you” can go a long way. I know it may seem like a dated concept, but perhaps we should all try to treat others as we would like to be treated.

Think about what I have written here. I know that I will…and try today, tomorrow, and the days going forward to be a better, more mannerly, more considerate business person.

- Tom Prikryl, President & CEO

Opinions: Thoughts on 23 Years with My Thanks

I will never forget the excitement I felt the morning of August 4, 1994, when I unlocked the door and stepped into my first day running Triad Business Marketing. Triad occupied one office in an executive suite, furnished with two side chairs, a desk chair, and a chair box that I was using for a desk. Delivery of the remainder of my furniture was delayed, but it didn’t make a bit of difference. Triad was open for business!

A lot has happened since that day in 1994…a few bad times, mostly good. It has been an unbelievable learning experience, and the learning curve only gets steeper with every year.

As I was thinking about what I should write on this 23rd anniversary, it occurred to me that now would be the right time to thank those who contributed to Triad’s long-term sustainability and success. Clients, fellow workers, and suppliers…Triad would have never thrived (let alone survived) without the support, cooperation, and efforts of these people. I believe the contribution they (and many others) made should be recognized.

I would like to begin with some of Triad’s clients, past and present, who have contributed to our success: Dan Eckermann, Joey Berry, Lou McDuffy, Don Vogelsang (deceased), Lance Vogelsang, Bill Toelke, Bob Carrell, Janna Critcher, Jeff Schiefelbein, Todd Grzych, Carlos Kenda, Bruce Marion, James Peden, Greg Wolfe, Brooke Verinder, Jay Grissom, Adam Maclay, Corey Koewler, Rob Copeland, Mike Ward, Chris FitzGerald, Gary Heisterkamp, Ben Rookey, Allen Dunkleman, Malinda Preather, Kazu Toyama, Ryan Bonner, Rod Alavi, Randy Rape, Rocco DiRago, Polo Gutierrez, Whitney Bouterie, Kenny Wood, Frank Mullins, Bruce Suggs, Jim Garaghty, Stan Burson, Dennis Wolf, Marty Mauer, and so many more.

An agency must also be able to count on its suppliers, and some that immediately come to mind are Ron Higgins, Charlie Cookson, Tina Vulgaris, Keith Bates, Lynn Felhauer, James Andrews, Patty Taylor, Bob Tucker, Rick Rodriguez, Scott Light, and Russ Jolly. Again, there are many more people than I can ever hope to cover.

Finally, the foundation of Triad has been its employees, many of whom have dedicated their time and talents to making this a great B2B agency. I would like to mention every employee who has worked at Triad, but this space won’t allow for it. However, a few Triad employees I would like to mention are Susan Worthington and Rhonda Anderson (Triad’s first two employees), Liza Garza, Joy Jennings, Annette Spanhel, Gary Bradbury, Bill Prikryl (deceased), Julie Gardner, Waynette Ray, Casey Fleming, Kristen Lee, Jason McCain, James Ware, Steve Cunningham, Teresa Edwords, Alan Cooper, Mark Watson, Lance Rinker, Cheryl Roberts, and Jacob Harman.

While Triad has put 23 years in the books, this is not the end. In fact, it is just the beginning. As we move into our 24th year, we are energized by new developments within the agency and the vision we have for our future. We were a better agency in year 23 than we were in year 22, and you can count on next year’s edition of Triad being the best ever. At Triad, we believe that the only limitations are those we place on ourselves. And trust me…self-imposed limitations will never be on this agency’s agenda.

Thank you to everyone – from clients, to suppliers, to employees – for making Triad – A B2B Agency™ a thriving enterprise and a force in B2B marketing.

Looking ahead to the future,

- Tom Prikryl, President & CEO

Brand awareness in business marketing

Awareness Matters In Business Marketing

For all sales and business marketing people…sometimes we forget the implications associated with our companies’ level of market awareness. I would like for you to consider this fact…if your market awareness among potential buying influences is 45%, that means 55% of the people who could possibly buy from your company don’t even know it exists. And if they don’t know your company, they are certainly not going to buy from you. 

Think about it…in this scenario, your company is turning its back on 55% of the people who might possibly buy from it. What is your company’s level of market awareness? Can you afford to ignore a large number of potential customers? What are your thoughts…please contact me at tp@triadb2bagency, and let me know what you think. 

– Tom Prikryl, President and CEO, Triad – A B2B Agency.