Seventh “M”


What are the results of the marketing campaign, in terms of effectiveness and sales.

Effectiveness: “do people like it, do they remember it, understand it?”1

Sales: are more people calling, coming in, buying?

Below are some ideas that can be used to track effectiveness and/or sales. Try them out and see what works best for your business.


Internet billboardOne of the advantages of using digital marketing is that it’s fairly easy to track. With online ad metrics, Google analytics, trackable emails, immediate feedback from text marketing, etc. you can see how many clicks ads are getting, how many people are responding, traffic generated to websites, how many new ‘likes’ are acquired on Facebook, etc.

Options for digital marketing vary widely, and include everything from website landing pages, to Google and Facebook ads, to geo-fencing. The last of these examples, geo-fencing, uses the global positioning system (GPS) or radio frequency identification (RFID) to trigger a response when someone with a smart phone enters the “fenced” area. For example, if you want to market a sports bar, you may choose to geo-fence local stadiums or sporting goods stores. Or, other sports bars. When people with smart phones go to these venues, they’ll be sent a coupon, or will be served ads online in their browsers (the response will depend on what you choose) about the sports bar. Obviously there are benefits to being able to track how many people see your ad or coupon—and take action.

Family watching television/tv and using laptop and tabletDigital marketing is fairly inexpensive but highly competitive, and research shows that more traditional forms of media are still out-performing most digital in earning customers’ trust and action.2

Although branded websites and online consumer opinions come up highest on the list of types of advertising that people trust, Television is a strong contender in the trust category, and is third—behind recommendations and online consumer opinions—when it comes to taking action on an ad. So, how do you measure the effectiveness of traditional media?

Here are some possibilities:

  • Set up a phone number (800#) that’s unique to each media that you’re using. Then count the calls coming into that number, and document the results of the calls.
  • Use a unique landing page url for each media, and track how many people go to that page A landing page is a page that’s part of the company website but that most often is not part of the main navigation. The person coming to the site would type in the page’s website address, which is listed in the ad, whether it’s TV, radio, newspaper, direct mail, etc.
  • Every time someone new calls or comes in, ask them how they heard about you. Train employees to ask and have a tracking system set up that they can easily use, even something as simple as a notebook and a pen. Or, set up an excel sheet on a computer.
  • Use coupons that people can bring in for a special offer.
  • Use a code on TV and Radio that people can mention for a special offer.

There are many ways to track offline media advertising. Remember McDonald’s campaign for the Big Mac? “Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions – on a sesame seed bun.”3 Why not develop your own slogan or jingle that customers can recite or sing to get a deal, or something free? Be creative, make it fun, and you’ll build excitement with your new tracking tool! [check out an original version of the Big Mac slogan from the ’70s, and a more current from 2013]

Hotline red telephone

And, measure sales. Track phone calls, contacts, inquiries and purchases before a campaign, during, and after. Many times, people don’t take action until late in a campaign or after it’s done. They need to hear or see it several times to become familiar with it, trust it, and remember it. These numbers will give you a good picture of whether it’s working.

One more thing: Advertising and marketing take resources. It can take money, time, know-how, or a combination of all three. Look at what your budget will allow. It can be a tough decision to make, and you may wonder, can we afford it? Put down the numbers. Compare what’s happening now in sales to where you want to be. Then ask, can we afford not to advertise?





Inspiration found in Israel and Jordan

When 2010 started, Israel and Jordan were not on my radar. I was bebopping along, running my freelance design business and had just started teaching visual communications classes at ITT Tech. I found that teaching caused me to refresh my knowledge in my field, which in turn improved my work and ultimately was good for my clients. And it was incredible to see the growth in the students as we moved through the quarter. Earlier, I had started working on “The Artists Way” which called for writing and introspection. During this time I wrote about the desire to travel, and visited places of inspiration like the John Michael Kohler Arts Museum and the Green Bay Botanical Garden to bring more creativity and visual stimulation to my work. Then came the communication that sparked the most amazing experience.

Dinner in Israel

Christina Trombley, who is the Director at the UW-Green Bay Small Business Development Center, sent me an email, asking whether I’d be interested in becoming a mentor in the Young Entrepreneur’s Program (YEP). Jay Harris, International Projects Coordinator, was instrumental in making this entrepreneur program possible. It was an opportunity for 10 young entrepreneurs from Israel and Jordan to come to – yes – Green Bay, Wisconsin and learn about operating a small business. Along with classes ranging from marketing, to business planning, to finances, each woman was to be matched with an entrepreneur, serving as a mentor, in her field. The mentors would meet with the mentees while they were in Green Bay, discussing business, sharing experiences, guiding and introducing them to other business experts. Then, for two weeks in the summer, a group of educators and business people, including the mentors, were to travel from Green Bay to Israel and Jordan to meet once again with the young entrepreneurs.

Inspiration. I don’t know what answered that quest more strongly — the small business classes presented by our University of Wisconsin – Green Bay guides, visits to the small business centers, educational facilities, and museums in both Israel and Jordan, or entering and touring the sites of ancient civilizations in both countries.

Maribeth at Masada
Jerusalem Mosaic

At Avni Institute of Art and Design in Jaffa, Nirit Vulfson, the Israeli graphic designer who I am mentoring, and I saw many amazing ideas in the gallery by the students to improve the design of  the three-dimensional and two-dimensional environments we live in. Our group from Green Bay met members of the small business centers in cities like Be’er Shiva and learned how they are nurturing the growth of businesses, and how important small business is to their economy, as it is here in the United States. We walked on the streets of Tel Aviv and Jaffa, where old and lovely buildings meet new and architecturally stunning. And in the streets of Jerusalem, we were enveloped by the spirits and spirituality of  descendents of three of the major religions of the world whose feet have touched those cobblestones from thousands of years ago to today.

Near the Wadi Rum
The Treasury at Petra

The trip that touched me most in Jordan was the one to the women’s small business initiative, where the director and staff helped women expand their home industries — like cheese making, olive preserving, sewing — into small businesses that would bring extra income into their homes and help their families. And in contrast, in the city of Amman, we attended Rotary and Chamber events that included owners and employees of larger existing businesses. The angular exteriors of the city’s buildings held lavish and lovely interiors of chandeliers and marble, or modern, metropolitan-style designs. In Jerash, we were able to walk in the ruts in cobblestone roads that were made by Roman carts long ago. Columns lining the roads were a proud mix of Greek and Roman styles, showing some of the different civilizations who lived in this city. At Petra, we walked through canyons of intensely colored rock, with hints of civilization, that opened almost suddenly onto the stunning Treasury of Petra carved into an entire wall of rock in front of us. We saw and touched ancient symbols carved into rocks in the Wadi Rum. And a night in that desert revealed a vast array of stars overhead, that were dimmed only by the brilliant light of the moon.

The marvel of the cities and the countryside in Israel and Jordan don’t even touch the inspiration and wonder gained from the people we met, and most of all from the ten young women we mentor. In our conversations, in what we taught each other, in what we shared from the heart, cultural walls were removed and we became friends and family. And we realized that we all want the same things in this world. Peace. Prosperity. Freedom to live, work and use our talents, help to support our families, each in our own manner.

What does this mean for you my friend?  It means I am refreshed. I am seeing the world with new eyes and have returned to my artistic roots, led there by the young entrepreneurs. The sights and knowledge gained from my travels have entered into my work. And this paves the way to making new connections for you and your business. I look forward to working with you.

I am grateful for the nine other mentors I met, worked with, and shared so much with during this experience, for the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay educators and professionals who taught us, traveled with us, laughed with us, and for the 10 Israeli and Jordanian entrepreneurs who opened their professional, personal and cultural lives to us. They have changed my life and outlook and I carry them with me always. 2010 was so full of new growth and adventure, it just makes me wonder — what will 2011 bring?

– Maribeth

Wishing you prosperity and good connections in 2011 and — Shalom, Salam, Peace.

To learn more about the young entrepreneurs program, see the links on the right.

Combining fun and loving care in one brand

watermarkHow does one show loving care, fun and professionalism all in one brand identity? That is what Paul and Jolene Moran, who were building a new assisted living facility with a resort-style theme, needed answered.

They built their first facility almost twenty years ago, when Jolene’s grandmother needed a place to live. Not finding anything that felt like home with the loving care they wanted for Jolene’s grandmother, Paul and Jolene decided to build their own facility. Now, they were venturing into a new building style, with added fun, and a future in franchising.

I set out to answer the above question and undertake Century Oaks, Inc. new look and image.

Because the art needs to illustrate the story, I begin at the beginning of that story, by meeting with the client and learning, absorbing who they are, where their business is, and where they want to go. And when working with a writer, the written story becomes an integral part of the design development. In this case, the writer, Judy Keneklis, wrote an outline of the main points with headlines and subheads, a solid, creative base to move forward from. The art and the copy work together to develop the image.

Color says so much visually and psychologically that as shapes and ideas were swirling in my head, I began analyzing color palettes. For added impact, I choose colors based on their meanings. For the first color palette, I put together shades of brown, gold, green and orange. Here are the meanings:

Brown: wholesome; steadfast; simplicity; friendly; dependability; health

Gold: cheerful; joyous; richness

Green: growth; renewal; balance; stability; harmony; health

Orange: energy; warmth; stimulant of emotions and appetite

color palette 1
The first palette contains four warm, earthy colors

These four colors also work obviously well with the name Century Oaks. Next, I sought a color palette that had meaning tied in with the combination of the colors. To give the image a current look, I started with the Pantone 2010 color of the year (Turquoise) and then chose the color combination most suited to the meaning of what Century Oaks is all about. This combination and its meaning are:

Turquoise, gold, bright purple and deep tan: innovative; spontaneous; practical; trustful; insightful; calming

Color palette 2
This palette is fun and friendly

Next came combining the colors with photos and shapes to continue the emotional feel. Soft yet fun swirls gave the shapes lively movement, and photos of people, close up, were used to bring the viewer into the picture. At first, these were two different ideas, but because the client loved them both, the two styles were melded to be used in conjunction with one another. See the two initial layouts below:

Century Oaks ads

Century Oaks logoFor the logo, I combined the botanical movement of the designs with an oak leaf and acorn. This logo is slightly reminiscent of a wax stamp on an envelope, making what it represents a bit of personal treasure. The green is the same green used in the first color palette above, and the brown is a darker brown to allow it to stand out and remain legible in 2-color uses.

In the ad layouts above, one design is soft and warm, full of love and caring, the other is fun and spirited. In some instances, the styles are used separately, however the ads were changed for continuity and branding, with both styles using the same fonts, the same composition of photos, the same overall layout, and the gold used in each palette is the same. In the next piece, I combined both styles to give the viewer a complete “picture”  of what Century Oaks is all about. This brochure wraps the viewer as closely into the Century Oaks experience as  a 2-dimensional piece possibly can.

Brochure, closed
Here is the brochure "closed", ready to be opened

Brochure, openThis overall image is being used throughout Century Oaks’ print pieces, will be used in their web site, and even the radio spots contain the same feel. The writing for the pieces was handled beautifully by Judy Keneklis of Keneklis Business Writing, and she truly tells the story of the care and commitment that Century Oaks has for their residents — along with their ability to keep fun in life! I’m thankful for Judy’s collaboration and for the input from Paul and Jolene. If you’d like to see the new building for yourself, head on down to Oshkosh on Saturday, June 12, from 11-4, or Sunday, June 13 from 10-2 for a tour. Bring your appetite because there will be free food, and fun for the family. And, you could win a TV!

Picture Perfect

Are you putting together a flyer for your business, but somehow the photos aren’t quite right? It can be tricky to get photos to look professional and attractive in your layout. Here are some tips that can help you.

  • When placing photos into your document, if they need to be resized, click on the photo, hold down the shift key, and drag a corner of the photo to make it smaller. This allows the photo to change size proportionately, so you don’t get a “squished” or “stretched” look.

  • Photos can be resized smaller in dimension without worrying about losing too much image quality, however sizing a photo “up” can create a dotty look, because the program is trying to “fill in” information that isn’t there. Therefore, only make your photos smaller in a document. If you need a larger photo, and the original file isn’t large enough, retake the photo for the best printed quality. Compare the quality in the resized photos below:

  • Check the resolution of your photos and use high resolution — 300 dpi — for print, and low resolution — 72 dpi — for email or web. Print requires the higher resolution to print smooth colors for definition, while monitors can use low resolution to display vibrant photos. Low resolution photos also download faster so that your web pages load more quickly, and are much more likely to pass through email than high resolution images.
  • If you do a lot of work with photos, consider using image editing software. Adobe Photoshop is a professional quality image editor that you can purchase and use to color correct, add lighting, enhance photos with artistic filters, and do much more with. If you use a PC and only occasionally work with photos, or are working with your personal photo collection, you may want to consider Microsoft’s Window’s Live Photo Gallery.

Now you’re ready to wrap the type around your photos and complete your layout. These little tips will help it to appear clean, crisp and visually appealing.

    Maribeth Conard is owner of Conard Creative Group LLC, a small design house with a lot of muscle. She has been in advertising design since 1991 and has won awards for her graphic design and fine art pieces.

Create a more polished image

So, you’ve been doing business and have some printed pieces: a brochure, a business card, an ad. Maybe even a web site. But nothing seems to be working together. It’s time to create a more polished image.
Here are some points to be aware of when developing your image:

  • Photos draw the most visual attention.
  • Photos of children, babies and puppies are the most compelling.
  • Fonts need to be kept to a minimum and different fonts should complement each other – for example, a flowing script headline with a traditional serif font.
  • Headlines can use decorative or traditional serif/sans serif fonts.
  • Body copy needs to use legible fonts, usually traditional serif/sans serif fonts.
  • Color sets the mood. Colors mean different things, for example, yellow denotes joy, red- passion, blue-stability. Choose a color palate and use it across the board.
  • Be sure the image works with your logo. Don’t have a logo? Hire someone to develop one.

Finally, put together a style book, one that shows correct logo usage, your palate of colors, fonts, and some sample layouts with copy. Make sure everyone who is working on your company communications gets a copy, and uses it.

What if you don’t have an in-house marketing department with designers and writers? Hire professionals. There are small companies and freelancers who specialize in copy writing, marketing, graphic design, photography, web site development, video and radio spots. It will be an investment, but will pay off in the long-run, giving your company polished, professional and effective communication tools.

Maribeth Conard is owner of Conard Creative Group LLC, a small design house with a lot of muscle. She has been in advertising design since 1991 and has won awards for her graphic design and fine art pieces.

On Logo Design

On Logo Design

Why design a logo? A logo is a symbolic representation of your company. It’s instant recognition of your company in print, in ads, on web sites. Consistently brand your company with your logo and your company’s name will automatically leap to mind when people see your logo (think of the golden arches).

A logo also helps to establish credibility. Its use gives your company a professional appearance. It differentiates you from other similar companies, or companies with similar names. It needs to be unique, and not like any other logo. (See Bullet-Proof Logos: Creating Great Designs Which Avoid Legal Problems by David E. Carter)

The cost of your logo will vary with who is designing it for you. There can be a dramatic difference in what an on-line logo factory, a freelance designer, and a full-service agency will charge for logo creation. Which you choose will depend on your budget and desired outcome. There is a lot to be said for meeting face-to-face, so that the final art reflects your personality and that of your company. It will be important for your designer to research the competition, what are they using, what shapes, what colors? How is your company different? How can all of your company be represented in one small symbol? The final effort will need to be used consistently throughout your literature and communication pieces.

Points to consider:

  • Keep it simple. Simplicity of line will allow it to be used easily across a spectrum of media, from business cards to promotional pens and mugs. It will also be more readily scaleable, fitting the usage from very small (the pens) to very large (billboards).
  • Color for printing. One-to-two colors work best for print, keeping print costs down. Generally, it’s best to design the initial logo in black, and add color later. If it works in black, it will work in color.
  • Color choice. If there is a color your company already uses predominantly, whether in communications or interior design, consider using this in your logo. But also consider changing color, based on what works well in your industry. People relate to colors differently, for example, warm colors increase appetite, cool colors are calming. To learn more about the psychology of color, check out Pantone’s article, The Psychology of Color.
  • Consistency. Set up a style guide for the use of your logo. What exactly does it look like, what specific colors and fonts are used in it, how are graphics and fonts combined for a horizontal version? A vertical version? Or will there be one version? What colors can the logo be printed in, in a one-color piece, two-color, four-color? How does it look reversed out of color or black?
  • Have your designer create logos for the different uses you need: fax, web, business card, etc. in Mac and PC formats.

Should we change our logo? One rule-of-thumb is that when a company has used a logo for five or more years, it’s an established brand and is best left alone. Think of the brands that have been around for years – Coca Cola, Arm & Hammer – the high recognition of these logos precludes them being changed. That said, updating your logo can give you a fresh image, and a reason to do a press release. If your brand is established in peoples’ minds, if they recognize you by your logo, then it’s best to tweak your logo and give it a mild face lift. Be wary of fads. Today’s grunge font may date your logo tomorrow. Keep it timeless, and again, simple.

Visual Branding to Bring Unity to Your Image

Start with an idea…

I’m listening to Leo Kottke as I write this. Each piece is different. Yet it’s all guitar (OK, except for a few crickets). It’s all (almost) music without words. Every note is his. Kottke’s style is distinct. There is no mistaking his music. It has a common feel to it, a common “thought”. That is branding.

To brand visually, it takes an idea first. What is the idea that the company wants to communicate to the audience? VISA’s new ad campaign starts a conversation with the customer about life. What does life take? The print, billboard and video portions of the campaign all carry out this thought. The look and feel of the mediums is similar, and it’s obvious in the print – same font, same font and logo placement, large photo. The “thought” rather than put into a lot of words, is communicated visually through photos. Words clarify it, or maybe I should say start the process. Yet an effective ad may also have more copy, but carry the same thought and feel.

It’s important to bring unity, visually, to a campaign, so that the customer recognizes it as yours. Yet is it necessary to have every ad look the same? In Cutting Edge Advertising by Jim Aitchison, Guido Heffels says “Everything you create for the brand should be driven by the same thought, the same idea. A few constant design elements may be helpful for a major brand to build up global presence, but if that’s all you’ve got, you will end up with a series of ads, not a campaign.”

Use similar elements – font, color, logo (of course) – to bring continuity to all of your visual marketing. But also vary the creative enough to capture the interest of the customer. You are creating a dialog with the customer, and good dialog means variety and inflection, and shuns monotony. In presenting a campaign, it’s the thought that counts.