Type: B2B Marketing / Public Relations / Account Service
Created for: The Able Few
Objective: Help turn this development studio into a full-suite digital engineering and startup incubation studio
I started at The Able Few in a dual role, managing accounts and client service, and acting as marketing manager specializing in B2B connections and new business. Able was going through a transition. They started the company with most of their projects coming from marketing agencies, being brought in as a contractor when the agency’s digital team needed some extra know-how. In 2012, they started to take on their own clients, and moved more towards the path of becoming an independent application developer and startup incubator. They needed a change of strategy as their online message was still stuck in this “assistance” mode when it needed to be switched to a “innovator” message. We did this by sharing our knowledge and using tactics that brought us up as equals in the St. Louis agency scene.
We became the source of knowledge for Ruby-On-Rails development in St. Louis by showing our expertise through multiple channels, and supported the development community in St. Louis. We took charge of various developmental groups in St. Louis, including Ruby Group, Java Script Group, and Code Till Dawn. We held bi-weekly meetings at our office, usually with a featured speaker, and got headhunters to provide the food and drinks. We would record the speaker presentations when we could, edit and share them on our own site and through the groups own social networks. To show our experience outside of St. Louis, we partnered with the creators of the tools that we used. A lot of the applications we used to develop and test our builds came from companies started in similar circumstances. Knowing they were looking for content to share on their networks, we collaborated with these companies. For example, we needed a way to automatically test in multiple browsers, and found a solution in Sauce Labs. We did a quick write up on how we solved this problem using their tool, and shared it on our blog, their blog, and to all of their followers, cross promoting through all channels.
Guest Post: The Able Few and Qettlhup for Using GruntJS with Sauce Labs.
Image is also important in the St. Louis area, and we wanted to plant ourselves as an independent entity, as opposed to a contractor to agencies in St. Louis. Part of this was accomplished with a move to our own space in Midtown, and we took full advantage of the buzz from this move. We followed the standard strategies, including updates on remodeling and throwing events, but we also had a little fun with it too. We moved into an old photo studio, with a giant blue screen. We, being developers, had no use for the screen, but its something we wanted to keep around. We started a Tumblr called “The Blue Screen Wall of Shame”, where visitors to the office would “be strongly persuaded” take a picture in front of the screen, and we’d post the easily-editable photo online. People would submit the edited photos to the tumblr, and do their best to one-up each other. It took off, especially when we had agency owners and creative teams come in, as their personal teams were waiting for the chance to embarrass them. During our open house, we even did “Live-Shaming”, showing posts on our projector to the crowd.