Tips for Optimizing Your Marketing Strategies

The best marketing strategies are relative to your target audience, resources, and marketing goals. What works for one business may not work well for yours. How do you differentiate and identify the strategies that work best for your business? Here are a few tips to point you in the right direction:

  1. Prioritize Your Target Audience

Determining who your target audience is universally seen as one of the most important factors in your marketing strategy. You need to understand your audience so you can build marketing plans around their needs, preferences, and expectations. Ask your customers questions to help you acquire useful information for client retention, content creation, social media, and more. There are many strategies to consider but make sure your approach is crafted for your target audience.

  1. Repurpose Content

Ignoring your old content can be detrimental to your marketing. Keeping old and outdated content on your website is akin to forgetting about embarrassing photos you’ve been tagged in on social media. Even if you’ve forgotten about them, people can still find them and create an impression about you. Therefore, it’s prudent to balance your marketing initiatives by updating and repurposing old content instead of just creating new content.

  1. Build a Story Around Your Products or Services

People are exposed to an increasing number of promotional messages daily, which makes it difficult to effectively capture their attention and even more difficult to get those conversions. Consumers are quick to filter out and ignore advertisements. This makes captivating stories crucial for reaching and engaging your target consumers. When launching a new product or marketing existing services, remember what matters to your customer. Focus on how your product or service provides a solution for their need(s). Craft your story to incorporate your unique selling proposition to set you apart from the competition.

  1. Consider Rebranding

Trends change, innovations revolutionize, and marketplaces evolve. If you are struggling to attract new leads and market the unique qualities of your product or services, you may benefit from polishing and updating your brand image. Consider revamping everything from your business name and logo to promo videos and social media campaigns, or simply updating your business card or website with new icons and colors that better appeal to your target consumers. Reshaping your brand can increase lead-generation and help you build a thriving community that boosts brand awareness.

  1. Document and Review Your Marketing Strategies

Marketing is an investment. Document your sales process, define clear metrics for measuring success, and revisit your marketing strategies throughout the year. Unforeseen circumstances such as a change in the market or new social media trends can make your marketing strategy ineffective. Experiment and evolve your tactics to stay ahead of the game.

Still have questions about your marketing efforts? Contact us today!

Print Design Terms You Should Know

In the design world, there are many terms and phrases that get thrown around but are important to know and understand. If you’ve ever worked with a designer or printer, it may seem like they’re speaking a foreign language. Don’t worry. We’ve put together a short list of important terms to know to ensure your projects are printed as intended.

Bleed – The bleed is any design element that extends past the edge of the paper, typically measuring 0.125 inches past the trim area of the printed document.

Crop Marks – Crop Marks (also called Cut or Tic Marks) are lines near the edges of a printed document used to indicate where the printer should make cuts to the final piece. 

CMYK – CMYK is a color format that is used for printing. It stands for the combination of ink colors most commonly used in 4-color process or digital printing: Cyan (blue), Magenta, Yellow, and Black (represented by the “K”). Print documents are always printed in CMYK and must be converted from other color formats to CMYK before printing (unless using Pantone Colors).

Finish – The Finish refers to the feel and texture or surface quality of the paper used for the printed piece. There are many different types of paper with different finishes, such as matte, embossed, or glossy.

FPO – FPO stands for “For Placement Only” and is used to designate a design element as temporary while it is still being determined or finalized.

Pantone Colors – Pantone colors, or PMS (Pantone Color Matching System), is a color format used for consistency across print and digital material. It’s a set of universal colors that every printer in the world can replicate.

PPI and DPI – PPI stands for “Pixels Per Inch” and DPI for “Dots Per Inch.” They both indicate the resolution of an image and can be used interchangeably. 72ppi is the standard measurement for the optimal resolution for a computer screen while 300ppi is the standard measurement for the optimal resolution for printed images. Images in a printed document should be 300ppi to avoid looking blurry and pixelated when printed.

Proof – A Proof represents the final design, typically in PDF format, and is used for review purposes to identify any design or content issues before the document is printed. Once a proof is approved, further changes cannot be made.

Resolution – Resolution is the amount of detail or sharpness an image has. The higher the resolution, the better quality the image will appear. Low resolution images will appear blurry or pixelated.

RGB – RGB stands for Red, Green and Blue and is used for digital purposes. RGB makes up all the color combinations that can be seen on a computer screen. If an RGB document is to be printed, the color mode must be converted to CMYK in Photoshop or another image editing software.

Saddle Stitching – Saddle stitching is the process of folding a document’s spreads in half, with staples or stitching in the middle. This requires the final page count to be divisible by 4.

Spreads – A spread represents a pair of facing pages side by side on a single sheet of paper in a printed document, such as a brochure or magazine.

Trim Marks – Trim Marks indicate the size of the printed piece in its final state, after any excess edges have been cut way.

Knowing these basic terms will help you ensure your projects are printed as desired. Contact us today and we’ll be happy to answer any questions or provide help with your design needs.

Stock Photos

Picking the Right Stock Photo for Your Project

Images tell a story to bring your project to life. The stock imagery you use should reflect your brand’s voice, style, messaging, and target audience.

We make sure you use the right image for the right purpose. Stock photos for your website banners may not be ideal for your Case Studies or PowerPoint presentations. For instance, your website banners should be text-friendly if you want to add text on top of the image. Text-friendly images have sufficient space to allow copy to be easily read and won’t obscure the main focus of the image.

As a creative agency, we notice that many non-designers often struggle with providing effective input and feedback when deciding on stock imagery. You are the expert in your services or products and can provide specific details about your business to help your designer find the ideal image for your project.

Let your designer know if there is a particular look and feel or mood you want to achieve with images. Is there a certain theme or general idea that you want to follow? When communicating with your designer, indicate a mood or feeling such as calm, relaxing, innovative, confident, reliable, traditional, or modern. This will help to guide your designer and identify possible images to start with. Remember, a designer can always modify a photo to fit your message or brand. Designers can add filters, crop out objects, mesh multiple images, and other modifications in Photoshop.

When it’s difficult to articulate the desired direction, it’s always helpful to provide examples of images you do and don’t like. If you don’t like a particular stock image, tell your designer why you don’t like it. Here are some of the most popular sites for stock imagery:

Premium Stock Images:

  • iStock ( – Offers millions of exclusive, royalty-free, stock photos.
  • Shutterstock ( – Search millions of royalty-free stock photos, vector files, and videos.
  • GettyImages ( – Find high-resolution royalty-free images, vector art, video clips, and stock music.
  • Adobe Stock ( – License, access, and manage high quality, royalty-free images directly within Photoshop CC, InDesign CC, Illustrator CC, and other Adobe apps.

Free Stock Images:

  • Unsplash ( – Beautiful high-quality photos you can use for free for any project, including commercial use. No attribution required.
  • Pexels ( – Free stock photos you can use anywhere. Free for commercial use with no attribution required.
  • ( – High quality and high-resolution images free to use for all purposes without attribution.
  • Burst ( – A free stock photo platform that provides thousands of high-resolution, royalty-free images.

Ready to get started on your next design project? Contact us today and we’ll be happy to help with any photo usage or creative suggestions.

The Benefits of Hiring a Creative Agency

Whether you’re looking to design a product brochure, create an informational flyer, develop a PowerPoint presentation, rebrand your website, or execute a custom marketing campaign, a creative agency can help you reach your target customer in an easy and impactful way.

Creative agencies offer access to top-level experts in graphic design and marketing specialists who have devoted their careers to the trade and have a wealth of knowledge and experience with various types of clients and business needs. A creative agency will provide an objective viewpoint in planning and executing a wide variety of marketing projects that allows them to identify potential solutions and opportunities where you may not.

Hiring and training dedicated employees can be costly and may not be ideal for your needs. The best thing about having the support of a creative agency is that they are there to assist only when you need them. A creative agency will free your team to work on important projects in their top functional areas, allowing you to make the most of your marketing budget.

Enlisting a creative agency can increase your brand recognition and help you achieve higher growth rates for your business. Let the creative agency handle the heavy work, so you and your team can focus on what you do best.

Fortify Your Relationships with Value and Authenticity

Whether you work remotely or in the office, the ability to connect well with others is an essential skill. When done effectively, creating authentic relationships allows business to run smoothly. There are a variety of methods to ensure this process is approached in a beneficial way for both parties.

Before meeting: Approach from a place of generosity. While it’s easy to seek out connections because of what the other person can do for you, it’s crucial to have the opposite mindset when building professional relationships. Find something of value you can bring to the other person. Do your due diligence and find their personal, professional, or philanthropic pursuits. Connect them to a potential client or someone who might help leverage their business. Everyone has special interests and it usually doesn’t require much digging to uncover.

While meeting: Instead of starting a conversation by asking for help, pitch an idea or summarize your work experience and lead by asking open-ended questions. Then, sit back and actively listen. Rather than talking about your own interests and what you want, the goal is to get to know the other person as much as possible. Demonstrate you are listening by contributing input when appropriate, but allow the other person to chat as much as they’d like.

We all have an innate ability to sense when someone is putting on a facade, slathering on compliments, or coming from a place of insecurity. When you are present, encouraging, and poised, the other person will feel comfortable as well. Take note of anything they speak about passionately and follow up with thoughtful questions. The conversation will be invigorating and memorable rather than draining or interminable.

After meeting: Follow up and follow through. Sending a handwritten thank you note is a highly effective way to build rapport. Reference something that stood out to you from the conversation; It’s a compliment to know your words stuck with someone. Remember, coming from a place of authenticity is one of the most important aspects of building relationships.

Become the type of person you’d like to meet. Deliver substance and add value as much as possible. Allow others to feel heard and convey appreciation. Being generous with your time, attention, and listening skills will go a long way in cultivating your relationships.

Acknowledge people’s efforts
Thank people
Forget about title and status
Create a foundation
Leverage your relationships with networking
Collaboration is contagious

Quick Writing Tips to Make It Look Like You Know What You’re Doing

Writing is one of the most widely used methods of communication, yet many still find it to be among the most challenging. We constantly participate in various forms of writing: website copy, creative briefs, sales collateral, or even simple, day-to-day emails. Chances are you don’t have the interest or time to take professional writing courses or read the AP Stylebook, so here are a few tips to hone your writing skills with minimal effort.

State key information first.
See what I did there? Like you, people are busy and don’t usually read the entire piece. You’ll attract more readers if you include the most important information in the first paragraph. It’s a common misconception that background information needs to come first to set the stage and validate what’s coming next. Explain background details after you capture the reader’s attention, and they’ll be more inclined to keep reading.

Keep it short.
Wordiness lacks focus. Readers often lack patience and get lost in the details. Delete words that aren’t absolutely essential and don’t presume more information is better. For example, my journalism teacher taught us to remove all instances of “that” which weren’t critical. Try it. You’ll be shocked at how over-used that word is, and even more shocked by how few sentences actually need it.

Use the active voice.
It’s more clear and concise than the passive voice. Make the subject directly perform the action to get your point across. “Tom mailed the letter” is much more effective and succinct than “The letter was mailed by Tom.”

Know your audience.
This is crucial. You wouldn’t talk to your manager the same way you would to your 10-year-old niece—so don’t make that mistake in your writing. Before you start writing, ask yourself these audience-centric questions:

  1. Who is the primary audience?
  2. Do I have multiple audiences to address?
  3. How knowledgeable is my audience about the subject?
  4. What platform am I writing for?

For example, you don’t want to make your readers feel inept by speaking in jargon if most aren’t familiar with industry terms. But you also don’t want to define every term if your audience already knows them, since your readers will most likely get bored and move on.

Make time to proofread.
Proofreading is an absolute must for even the most experienced writers. You may not need to proofread every email you send, but if your writing has a large audience, will be published, printed, or live online or in various forms of media, you must not skip this step. In fact, not only should you proofread yourself, but you should ideally have at least one other set of eyes on it. Refer to my previous blog entry titled “Tips for Better Proofreading” for ways to improve your editing skills.

For more tips and insights, follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Consistent Image, San Diego, La Jolla, California, Marketing, Graphic Design, Copywriting, Technical Writing

Morning Jolt: The Pros and Cons of Coffee Addiction

I love coffee. I can’t hide it. My daily obsession started back in college: staying up late, hammering out English papers up against pressing deadlines, trying to keep my eyes open as I studied for exams. For the longest time I hated the smell of it. Growing up I never understood my grandmother’s fondness for Folgers every morning and iced mocha drinks at Starbucks and the Border’s café.

Continue reading → Morning Jolt: The Pros and Cons of Coffee Addiction

Consistent Image, San Diego, La Jolla, California, Marketing, Graphic Design, Copywriting, Technical Writing

Spacing Out

When I was younger, I often wrote longhand using pen and paper, and avoided computers for as long as I could. The first computer I ever owned was a hand-me-down Compaq given to me as a birthday gift by my uncle, a tech savant who has a basement that looks like some long forgotten storage bunker in an abandoned Microsoft factory. For some reason he has multiple computer monitors, HP printers, cords, cables, motherboards, diskettes, and more surge guards than the Home Depot.

Continue reading → Spacing Out

Whistle While You Work

One of the most challenging obstacles in the working world is procrastination. Meeting deadlines and assisting co-workers with daily projects can normally help obliterate any spells of lassitude or laziness, but sometimes getting started on a project—or just knowing where to begin in the first place—can be the toughest part (three to five cups of coffee every morning can supply an extra dose of adrenalized motivation, or just an onslaught of heartburn). Establishing everyday routines and communication with colleagues are both useful ways of finding a diligent groove, but in my years of partaking in this great big nine-to-five experiment, I’ve found that the best expediter to those slow-moving, languid mornings is music.

Continue reading → Whistle While You Work

The Curious Case of the Serial Comma

First introduced by the Oxford University Press, the Oxford Comma (better known as the Serial Comma) is used before the word “and” in a list. British English does not use the Oxford comma, though it certainly has a clear purpose in helping to define the separate items mentioned in a list while eliminating confusion. My belief is that the serial comma should be used consistently, even if it doesn’t seem required by the sentence or list. Also known better to Patriots fans and New Englanders as the Harvard Comma, a majority of popular U.S. style guides advise to always use the comma, chiefly for the sake of clarity. Continue reading → The Curious Case of the Serial Comma