Microsoft business manager achieves his goals by hiring proactive marketing team

It’s nearly impossible to get strategic work done when you’re buried in tactics. Unsurprisingly, one of the biggest reasons Yesler clients hire agencies is to help them scale: to take over tactical projects while consulting with clients on how that work fits within the strategy of the entire program. That’s the kind of partnership we’ve built with Mike Borth, Director of Business Management in the Worldwide Marketing & Operations team at Microsoft.

What started as editing and formatting presentation decks evolved, through work sessions and a flexible, consultative approach, into creating modular, plug-and-play presentations and coordinating training and awareness for one of Mike’s strategic initiatives: a business application productivity suite.

 

Background

Yesler started working with Mike in 2017 on ad hoc creative support (revising content and cleaning up the design) for some presentation decks that led to more—and more strategic—projects as the Yesler team took on various tasks and challenges that came up in regular meetings.

“I came in with a PowerPoint deck that I’d built and said, ‘Here’s what I'm trying to improve.’ They didn't know exactly what I wanted to do, and I didn't quite know how to do it. But as I talked, they listened, and we worked through it until we succeeded.”

MIKE BORTH

Director of Business Management, Worldwide Marketing & Operations, Microsoft

Strategy

We wanted to provide a neutral space for Mike to brainstorm and get an outside perspective on new ideas, and for us to consider his ideas in a holistic and strategic way.

Clients who pick an agency to act as an extended team need a flexible, free-form engagement to handle diverse and sometimes unpredictable workloads. These projects can be difficult to manage contractually from the agency side because of the need to estimate and account for the time and type of work completed. If the agency takes the time to scope each project or raises a flag at every change, this increases total scope and burn. Over the years, we’ve found that assigning a dedicated project team with the expertise to handle what would be the core and most frequent work helps keeps costs within scope and lessens red-tape frustrations.

So, we designated a project team, knowing we could call in additional internal expertise as needs evolved. Then we set up weekly remote meetings and monthly in-person working sessions. The Yesler team treated these interactions as a chance to be proactive. Based on what Mike would mention during a working session, the team often began strategizing a solution to run by him the next time we’d meet. Then based on his feedback, we tabled, refined, or continued our approach.

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Solution

Mike’s initial request was for us to refine some of his internal, executive-level “walking deck” presentations by editing copy and updating the templates. After assessing Mike’s program needs and working on the presentations, we assigned a designated team.

When working on Mike’s documents, we started with a creative director, editor, and designer based on the request to reformat documents. As we dug into the work, we saw a chance to get more strategic than copyediting and creating blank templates. As needed, we called in another designer, but the main changes were to the scope so that we could:

Restructure the information design to accommodate three levels of executive presentation. We revised existing documents, then updated templates for future presentations, arranging the slides in each section from the least to the most detailed so presenters can easily customize the amount of information they include for each level.

Help define common terms (like “tool,” “service,” and “solution”), and identify standard fields for basic team information (like mission statements, goals, and so on), for uniform comparisons, communication, and performance measurement.

Design templates for a uniform look and feel. For these we established a custom iconography to enhance communication. There weren’t enough available design assets to illustrate all the various teams’ activities, so one of our designers created icons to visually represent roles and services. Each one corresponds to a word, like “marketing,” “operations,” or “excellence,” so teams can identify themselves visually by combining the relevant symbols that correspond to their names.

When Mike mentioned a new internal application he was developing, we were thrilled to help him drive adoption and awareness. He wanted to centralize and update existing training materials, and as we dug into this work we suggested that he also make some training videos as a simple, user-friendly learning option. For internal communications, we helped him narrow down which groups and roles should be informed and crafted customized rollout messaging (with more detailed information for potential solution users and shorter, more high-level content for managers and above). Many of these messages had the training videos embedded in them.

How we did it

Research & Strategy

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Creative & Content Development

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Marketing automation & operations

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Results

With Mike’s trust and generous approach to collaboration, Yesler took on more challenges and offered new insights and solutions. Together, we’ve built:

A simplified process for building walking decks for various internal audiences. Content strategy and creation of modular communication components, like iconography and templates, make it easier for executives to create decks that have consistent messaging and design.

A standardized way for executives to collect, measure, and present team information and concepts.

Flexible marketing support and insights from an extended team with the breadth of B2B experience—and the holistic approach—he needs.

New and updated awareness and training materials for the launch of an internal tool.

Mike concludes, “We have a longstanding relationship with Yesler, which we’ll continue into the future.”

“Yesler helps make my job easier—I’m super happy with the quality of the work. They free up hours that I would otherwise spend doing things that are not in my skill set. Using them as an extended marketing team helps me be more strategic, to focus on the things that only I can do.”

MIKE BORTH

Director of Business Management, Worldwide Marketing & Operations, Microsoft

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