"We called in Dana about three years into the process of launching our asset management capability. We wanted to draw on her market knowledge and experience to evaluate the validity of what we were doing and then recommend how we should go about doing a better job of positioning and selling it. We had done a lot of work ourselves and we thought it was pretty good, but we were not as successful as we wanted.
"The research process was very intense, very interactive. She concluded that what we had to offer was superior to what was out in the marketplace and then showed us how to get the story out there in a more effective way. We shifted the emphasis from how our product could meet client needs to demonstrating how we have served and benefited our existing clients. That got a lot of interest. Of course, that's probably the most tangible benefit, what you see at the end. But the process itself is also valuable.
"As you're going through it, I think that someone asking you questions, pointing out to you what the benefits truly are for a client, helping you identify the issues and stumbling blocks - it's all very, very helpful. A lot of times you can be too close, which can cause you to overlook things."
"I was at Mellon Equity prior to joining Mellon Institutional and worked with Dana to build sales momentum for the firm. Mellon Equity was a very good manager - excellent 12-year track record, excellent research, excellent client service - but had never been sales- or marketing-oriented.
"I knew of Dana's firm by reputation and had researched all the marketing communications consultants out there. What most impressed me about her work was that she seemed to craft a truly distinctive positioning for each client. I couldn't detect any underlying patterns. That level of insight and ability was exactly what I was looking for, someone who understood the marketplace and how to take a story and craft it with a light hand.
"We managed about $4.5 billion in assets and had 15 employees when I joined Mellon Equity. When I moved four-and-a-half years later to Mellon Institutional, we managed about $20 billion with 60 employees. There is no question in my mind that the work we did with Dana was a pivotal factor in that achievement."
"The Dakin team began with a positioning audit to find out where we were in the minds of our clients. Out of this came a significant breakthrough in that they identified the fact that our services are most highly valued by clients well out there on the sophistication curve.
"That insight brought much greater focus over the subsequent months in terms of where we spent our time in attempting to cross-sell our products. They also recommended we move toward a more consultative approach in marketing and client service, bringing our technical staff much more into the process.
"As a result, in the last year we have become increasingly successful in addressing the profile of the sophisticated client. Our client base in that group has expanded by more than 20 per cent and our contacts within client firms have grown by about 500 per cent. We've also added significant backbone to our cross-selling efforts and increased our pricing power.
"This has all been a fairly dramatic change for our culture. Of course, some people had initially resisted the idea of bringing in an expert from the outside and it's a work in progress getting everybody on the same page. But as time goes by, I hear more and more people incorporating Dakin's major findings into their own thinking. It's an amazing move forward."
"The involvement of Dana's group in developing our image was very
important to us. My colleagues and I all had differing tastes andopinions,
and they guided us toward clarity and consensus. It was then natural for
them to develop our logo and other key materials, including a brochure
that explained our philosophy and decision
"Dana and her team - I should also say that I admire the people
she works with - know our business and are mindful of the conservatism
of the audience. But their strength is that they will think outside the
box. They worked with us to develop a unique image for the firm, which
we have been able to reinforce over the years with very little change
in our positioning. The materials they developed never
"When we were launching the firm, my partner Marlis Fritz knew from her previous marketing experience that we needed a simple, accurate, compelling description of our investment process. She guided me and our other two partners through the process of defining ourselves, forcing us to simplify our ideas and think through their consequences until the foundations of our approach became clear.
"That was a wonderful learning experience, so we were sympathetic when she suggested that we bring in Dana's firm to help us go beyond our own point of view and evolve our understanding of how clients and consultants would view us.
"Of course there were challenges. One of them was to expose the marketplace to a sense of the firm as a whole, quite distinct from my personal identity. Another, which is always ongoing to some extent, was to enhance credibility for a pure expert system approach in which we do not override any of our models' recommendations. Instead, we constantly refine the models to the point where we have more confidence in the models than in our ability to tweak them.
"Dana's work at that important point was extremely beneficial. She opened new insights for us and helped us articulate our ideas."
"There are two things in this industry that differentiate a top-tier firm from a median firm. The first is superior investing and information. The second is superior client service and communications.
"From the inception of GlobeFlex five years ago, Dana's firm has brought a completely customized and very creative approach to assist us in communicating effectively. We have worked with her on a retainer basis in every aspect of the business - corporate identity, positioning, repositioning, new product launches, brochures, white papers, client and consultant research. It has been a very important relationship for us.
"There's actually a humorous story behind how we selected Dana, which we did prior to founding the firm. For some time, I had been saving other managers' brochures that I thought were really innovative and clever, knowing we'd need a good marketing resource for our launch. Altogether, there were seven of them and as it turned out they had all been done by Dana's firm! So it was not a difficult decision."
"The message Dana succeeded in giving us at Plexus was that we should build on the cachet and name recognition we have in the marketplace as consultants, and create products that people can buy easily, instead of having to get involved in a full consultative relationship. This was not what we had been thinking about on our own and it caused us to stop and rethink.
"That was the third time I've worked with Dana's firm. The other
"Dana was really quite instrumental in the early stages of our development when Posit was our only product. What I wanted to do was broaden the perception of ITG among our client base so we didn't limit ourselves in any way. She and her creative team helped move us from a position of being identified only as the people that ran Posit to being seen as a full-service firm employing technology to assist in every aspect of the transaction process.
"She was an extremely quick study in terms of understanding our field and the work was very knowledgeable, very imaginative."
"The key to effective marketing is planning. If you're going to
try to do
"When I got here to run marketing I decided to bring in Dana, whom I had worked with at my previous job at Instinet. I wanted her to develop a marketing plan that would build name recognition for ITG as a firm. We went on to do that exceptionally well, very quickly, using the whole gamut - advertising, direct mail, brochures.
"For those people who want you to quantify the value of marketing
"Having a strong marketing strategy in place has played a vital
role in our company. We had a marketing consulting firm that understood
our company, where it came from, its personality. They also had a realistic
view of the budget. Then they were able to come back with a plan that
included great ideas across all types of marketing. That's what helps
you lay a strong foundation for future growth."