By April 01, 2016

We’re a small agency and a pretty great place to work. When employees come they stay quite a few years. Needless to say, we don’t hire very often. But we’re hiring now—we’re looking for a designer. Even though I haven’t had to hire a lot, in my 23 years of business I’ve done a lot of interviewing. Through it all I’ve developed strong opinions about how I know I’m…

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By March 09, 2016

Four years ago I designed a poster that I was honored to have published in the highly respected Communication Arts design annual. Called Cupid’s Crossbow, it was a deeply personal image I created for a local ArtCrank exhibition. I had come through a rough patch and the cycling community in Des Moines had been loving and generous. I was extremely grateful. The image showed a bike from above—the form…

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By February 23, 2016

With very few exceptions, I don’t work for publicly traded companies. Or companies held by venture capital firms. Or companies built to flip. That means most large corporations, including the Fortune 500 and most high-tech darlings, are off my radar. Why would I do that? Those companies have the largest budgets. They often have high aesthetic, and they understand the need for effective marketing and communications. Because with very…

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By January 13, 2016

I am a shameless multi-tasker. I like to hit the gym, but if I’m not doing something besides burning calories, I feel like I’m wasting time. My solution: podcasts! Here are four of my favorites for turning treadmill time into research time. Marketing Profs This is a go-to blog resource for me as well, but it’s their podcasts that I use for treadmill time. Listen online, or download the…

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By December 10, 2015

There is a seemingly endless stream of “experts” out there, spouting wisdom about the best tactics to boost social media reach, improve SEO, focus retargeting efforts, and a multitude of other topics. Here’s how I cut through the static and still keep up-to-the-minute on digital marketing trends. WebProNews This curated news site is especially good for following social media announcements—critical considering the growing number of social media platforms out…

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By November 23, 2015

It’s hard to feel motivated to work during a holiday week. Browse Sally’s favorite design blogs to feel somewhat productive AND keep your mind engaged. The Passable Designer Designers take our craft and ourselves very seriously. With tongue firmly in cheek, this blog shines a light on how ridiculous we can sound. Design Observer If we take ourselves seriously, this blog is a contributing factor. This sophisticated and well-written…

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By November 03, 2015

Cut the cost of operations. While cutting costs is often the first tactic many companies turn to when they see profits slipping, it is, in fact, one of the most problematic. The message cuts send is not of growth, but retraction. Communications must be managed carefully to avoid creating a “wait-and-see” attitude among customers that can ultimately stall sales. So, how do you trim expenses without affecting the top…

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By October 13, 2015

Charge more for your services. If all else remains the same, raising prices is an obvious method of increasing the bottom line. But since price is often a factor in buying decisions, all things rarely will remain the same when you decide to raise prices. The key to raising prices successfully is to communicate increased value. That means raising prices creates a communication issue Find a pricing strategy that…

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By August 01, 2015

The second way to grow your business: Get your clients to buy more or more often. For this growth model you’ll be talking to your existing customer base. That necessitates that you A) know your customers. And B) are able to reach out to them directly in as many ways as possible. I’m always surprised by the number of our clients who don’t have an up-to-date database of customers….

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How marketing benefits the four ways to grow
By July 01, 2015

You’ve probably heard it before, but there are only four ways to organically grow a business: Get more (good) clients. Get your clients to buy more. (More frequent or larger purchases) Charge more for your services. Cut the cost of operations. In the next series of four blogs, I’ll look at how marketing is an essential part of each of those ways to grow.   The first way to…

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