January 23, 2012

Andrew Elvish Brings Tailored Marketing Services to M&S with Atelier ID (Part One)

Name: Andrew Elvish
Title: President & Lead Strategist
Company: Atelier ID
Home Base: Montreal, QC
Twitter: @AtelierID
Web: http://www.atelier-id.ca
Pets: an abnormally intelligent pug with an addiction to off-track betting
Quirks: a strong desire to stamp out the use of the phrase “At the end of the day” – it must be stopped!
Contact Info: aelvish@atelier-id.ca

DTP: You’ve recently started Atelier ID, tell us about the company and your services.
AE: Atelier ID is a company dedicated to the creation of powerful and intelligent brand and identity campaigns.  The word atelier means “workshop” and like a workshop our company brings together the right team to address our clients’ needs and draws on a select group of like-minded publicists, designers, analysts and web technologists.  We bring our clients the skills and robustness of senior marketing expertise without the overhead and long-term commitment of fully staffing a marketing department.  I like to think of Atelier ID as a marketing-team-for-hire.

What makes us most unique is our knowledge and experience in a very targeted and challenging market: modeling & simulation software technology.  There are very few marketing and design firms that can fully understand the complexity, demands and challenges of this particular market, and even fewer who can produce exciting, interesting and compelling brand and identity projects for their M&S customers.
DTP: How is Atelier ID different from an agency? What can clients expect from your team?

AE: Atelier ID is founded in a strong business-oriented approach to servicing the needs of our clients.  Having worked in-house for several software companies over the past 15 years, most recently as the Vice President of Marketing for Presagis, I have found that traditional marketing and PR agencies often do not have the time or desire to fully understand the specific demands and drivers of markets like M&S.  Thus, my teams and I often decided to assemble our own teams of designers, PR experts, analysts and web technology specialists.  Teams that are specifically appropriate to our business needs and strategic goals.  Many companies can benefit from this type of specific approach to marketing and communications, but do not have the in-house expertise, connections, budget, or bandwidth to build such a team.  Seeing this need in the market was a key driver for the formation of Atelier ID – we bring strong domain-specific knowledge and the resources to build and execute world-class marketing campaigns for our clients.  Campaigns that align to our customer’s strategic vision and product roadmap and deliver results for both the business and its investors.

Probably the biggest difference between an agency and us is that we don’t have an army of Vice Presidents that get trotted out in front of the client, only to be replaced on signing with an 18 year-old intern.  We are a small team of dedicated marketers, designers, PR executives, writers and web specialists, and we don’t take on a vast number of clients.  Thus, clients can expect to receive a high-level of attention and service at every stage of their project – even after the project is delivered.  Combine that with the low overhead of a small team of individuals, and our clients get a powerful team of hand-chosen experts, focused on our client’s business, for a fraction of the cost of a traditional PR or marketing agency.
DTP: In your experience how is marketing in the M&S community different from other industries (ex. Consumer or enterprise technologies)?

AE: The M&S industry is an exciting realm – especially for companies willing to take a bold stance in the marketing and publicity of their products.  My feeling is that many M&S companies – especially COTS software companies – shied away from focused marketing and public relations, as their business models were often based on tight service-oriented relationships with one or two major clients.  However, over the past ten years a greater level of industry consolidation has been taking effect and smaller companies are being combined into larger companies.  As companies grow it is not as practical, or profitable, to maintain a service-only style organization and there is an increasing need to diversify the client-base, geography, and product offering.  As this shift takes place, companies are finding that targeted marketing and publicity are key tools to helping them speak to their customers while at the same time providing and effective platform for differentiating their product offering from their competitor’s.  Thus, the companies that take an early and strong lead in building awareness around their brand and identity stand to reap greater rewards in the increasingly competitive M&S software market.

One of the key differences about the M&S market grows out of the fact that it hasn’t had need to market itself as vigorously as a consumer technology, nor even as hard as other business to business technologies.  As a result there has been a traditional reticence towards publicizing or marketing one’s technologies – indeed, many customers in this market demand a high level of discretion from their software vendors due to the sensitive nature of the projects that they are undertaking.  While this is completely understandable and part of the unique characteristic of the M&S market, many companies err too far on the side of caution and often let great opportunities to communicate pass them by.  There is a strong sense of community in the M&S market, and even amongst competitors there is a camaraderie, so the desire to know more about one another, about successes and innovations, ideas and opinions is certainly there.  At this year’s I/ITSEC you can see how much the industry has changed in a few short years – only two years ago it was considered almost comical to leverage Twitter and LinkedIn to promote your company at the show, and now we are seeing even the most reserved companies tweeting and re-tweeting each other’s news.  So, yes, M&S is conservative by nature and by necessity, this is a fact, but what we are seeing is that companies who can take an intelligent, measured and strategic approach to marketing and public relations can gain a real competitive advantage – and this is what excites me about the M&S market.


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