With extensive experience working in the water industry, and dedicated to marketing communications since 2000, Beth Boeh created BB Communications Group in 2012, a marketing communications agency serving the water and wastewater industry. 2020 brought about many changes to how companies connect with their clients. An expert in communications strategy, Beth Boeh gives us some insights from her work with the water sector.
Question: How do you think communication in the water sector has evolved in recent years?
Answer: I’m aging myself here, but I remember when it was really exciting to create an interactive CD-ROM product catalogue! In this decade, of course, communication has changed dramatically with digital platforms and especially social media; we now communicate to the world in an instant. In 2020, our digital and video communication skyrocketed as more traditional, in-person methods of reaching our audience have been restricted by the COVID pandemic.
Q: Why do you think it is important to communicate about water?
A: Because water is so deeply necessary for life, it unites us. From the moment we wake up, water is part of every living person’s day, even if many of us don’t give it a thought. Understanding water – and technologies and services that impact the availability, accessibility, and health of water - is an important part of our shared human experience.
Q: What are the most challenging aspects of communicating about the work of the water industry?
While water is a common, universal, and precious resource, it’s also a very large topic with many nuances. That can make communicating a challenge; getting your messages to the right audience – by topic, application, and region – can be difficult. Experience and strong connections help.
Q: Could you highlight one of your organization’s communication success stories?
A: Well, 2020 saw many of our clients pivoting quickly to reach their audiences in new, especially digital, ways. With additional pressures related to tightening budgets across all sectors and locations, clients quickly ramped up their social media presence. One success story has been our own, actually! I started BBCG in 2012 when I realized that the work I loved – managing marketing communications strategy for water-focused companies – was a critical asset to every water management company…but to varying degrees. Larger companies already have a full staff of inside marketing professionals, but need content developed. Many more small companies need to impact sales before they can hire a marketing team… but they also need marketing to tell the story to impact sales. For years, BBCG’s own marketing was strictly word of mouth and a simple website. In 2020, however, with the addition of some amazingly creative and strategic minds to our team, we really began to follow our own advice: investing in our marketing. With a carefully planned and implemented strategy of LinkedIn marketing, brand building, collateral development, and video marketing, we have dramatically impacted our sales funnel and added some exciting new clients. Our revenue is up 28% over 2019, our social connections increased by 300%, and the number of requests for proposals has increased eight-fold over the last year. We have become one of our own best-case studies, once we were intentional with our time - time limitations have always been the biggest barrier to focusing on our own brand and marketing – and made the commitment to do for ourselves what we had been doing for our clients.
Q: Who or what organization inspires you when it comes to ways of communicating?
A: Jim Lauria has changed the way our industry communicates. He’s made writing in this industry so much more interesting, vulnerable, and personal with his blogging.