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Choose Your Own Marketing Adventure: Nick Westergaard on Producing Visual Content and Overcoming a Creative Block

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Here at MarketingProfs, we’re hard at work pulling together the final agenda for our B2B Forum 2013 this fall. We couldn’t do it without the insight of a select group of trailblazers in the B2B marketing space. Some of those advisers we are highlighting here, in a series of interviews centered around this year’s B2B Forum theme, “Marketing is full of choices.”




Now through the event kickoff in October, we’ll occasionally feature those Q&As on the Daily Fix, so you’ll get plenty of tips and insights about the adventure known as B2B marketing.


Our Q&A guest today from the B2B Forum 2013 is Nick Westergaard. Nick is a brand-driven strategist, speaker, and writer. He is the founder of Brand Driven Digital, the social media and digital marketing unit of the Westergaard agency, where he is vice president and a second-generation principle. He has written for MarketingProfs, 12 Most, and The Gazette’s Business 380, where he is a monthly columnist. His thoughts on social media and marketing have been featured in such news sources as US News & World Report, Entrepreneur magazine, Mashable, American Express OPEN Forum, and The Des Moines Register. He’s also the author of the eBooks Google+ 101 and Instagram for Brands, and co-host of The Work Talk Show podcast.

1. How has your marketing changed this year?


It's gotten a whole lot more visual. I think that's the case across the board both in terms of shifts in the social networks with big visual updates from Facebook and Google+ as well as the type of content we create as brands. Beyond complex infographics or even simple memes, we're starting to see these bits of visual micro-content in the form of Vine videos and even simple stats or facts shared as a simple and easy-to-share JPG. If we live in an increasingly info-snacking culture, we all need to leave out visual snacks.

2. What challenge have you faced lately, and how did you choose to resolve it?


I think that the basic challenges of measurement and ROI have evolved just as social media has evolved. Now the focus is not simply on the metrics around the channel but rather the business case for the channel itself. One of the biggest ways we address this is by backing up most of our execution work to a point of strategy first. The old Peter Drucker saying is, "You can't manage what you don't measure." I kind of think the inverse is true as well in that you can't measure what you don't manage. If your strategic business objectives aren't clearly defined first, none of your metrics will align with anything meaningful for your business. Strategy first.

3. How do you break through a creative block?


Get up and move! Sometimes, I've had projects that I just can't start for whatever reason. To break this block, I've had a lot of success by simply changing my location---packing up and heading to a coffee shop. This refocuses my thinking and my energy, and gives the task a finite window of time to happen in.

4.    Which ‘Princess Bride’ character do you most relate to?


And now we arrive at the toughest question of all, right? I want to say Inigo Montoya as he's played by Mandy Patinkin. But Inigo does have an incredible passion and persistence behind accomplishing his own life objective (even though it's revenge), which I can identify with (not the revenge---not most days, at least). Plus, he also follows the old school adage of message repetition ("Hello, my name is…"). As marketers, I think we'd all like to THINK of ourselves as Miracle Max. "You rush a miracle man, you get rotten miracles."


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Veronica Maria Jarski is the Opinions editor and a senior writer at MarketingProfs.

Twitter: @Veronica_Jarski

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