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Preparation: Still the Key to Success

Preparation is defined as the action or process of making or being ready for use or consideration. That seems pretty straight-forward doesn’t it? Well, it does; and if I sat you down and asked for the 5 keys to successfully executing a marketing plan it’s likely the word preparation would be one of the 5 things you said as an answer. The problem is that while most people can identify what it takes to be successful they often have difficult executing what they’ve identified, and nothing is overlooked more than preparation, sometimes to the effect of irreversible harm.

A while back a client of mine, a recent startup, left me an urgent message saying they needed help creating a marketing brochure that could be designed, printed and out-the-door in 48 hours. When I returned the call I was told how they had finally arranged a meeting with a potential client they had been chasing for a few months, one that would be their first major client. The meeting went perfectly until the potential client asked if they had any literature on the company, which they did not.  Now, luckily for them, we were able to create a fantastic brochure and they went on to sign the potential client. However, not adequately preparing for that meeting could have cost them that client and, potentially, their entire business.

It is imperative that someone be responsible for forecasting what a businesses target market will expect from the company that they choose to buy  a product or service from. Doing this job requires communicating with current clients to understand their needs and perceptions, being observant about the current state of your target market, researching the competition and much more. When done correctly, a business will almost always be prepared in advance for anything a client might ask or expect, whether that is company literature, an appropriate brand mark or even a sufficient answer to a question about the product.

Never take the chance that what you have is good enough in business. Just because you made a great first impression doesn’t mean that the marketing stops, in fact it’s just beginning. You should constantly be assessing your marketing efforts, both towards potential clients and also current clients, and looking for ways to improve. Going above and beyond only helps, never hurts.

So, I’m issuing a challenge. When you finish reading this article, I want you to do two things:

1. Think about a marketing problem your company has faced in the past. How was it solved? Could you have prepared for that problem before it happened?

2. Find a gap in your marketing efforts that exists today. I promise you that at least one exists. Once you’ve identified that gap, start making the preparations for how to fill it.

Doing these two exercises will help you begin to identify potential problems before they happen.  And once you’ve learned to do that, you’ll find yourself prepared to always be one step ahead of your clients expectations. In other words, you’ll be prepared to succeed.


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From the World of Music

The other day someone suggested a music video to me. I honestly can’t remember the last time that happened. It’s been years since I watched a music video, especially for quality design elements. With a friendly smile I agreed that I’d take a look, expecting not to be impressed or even entertained. Well, I was wrong. The video suggested to me was for the song “Without You” by David Guetta featuring Usher. Directed by Liam Harrison, the video not only captures the feel of the upbeat and catchy song, but is an excellent example of good design. So, I tip my cap to Mr. Harrison in praise of his video and encourage everyone reading to click the play button below.

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The Brand Touchpoints List

Nearly every point of contact your company has with someone is a potential opportunity to impress. Advertising does not stop when the 30 second TV spot ends or when someone sets aside your direct mailing piece. The job of creating and managing a brand identity is never truly finished. A company image should constantly be monitored in everything that is put in front of both clients and employees.

Below is a short list of some of the brand touchpoints for readers to keep. Some, like advertising, will be obvious while others, like voicemails,  may seem trivial and unimportant. The take away reminder is that any of these can be the final blow in either successfully signing a new client or turning them away from your company.


Brand Touchpoints

  • Advertising
  • Telephone
  • Social Media
  • Trade Shows
  • Networking
  • Signage
  • Blogs
  • Word of Mouth
  • Direct Mail
  • Public Relations
  • Websites
  • Newsletters
  • Publications
  • Packaging
  • Emails
  • Voicemails
  • Proposals
  • Speeches
  • Employees
  • Products
  • Services
  • Billboards
  • Business Cards
  • Web Banners
  • Exhibits
  • Letterheads
  • Vehicles

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Director’s Notes: Helping Those Who Help Others

One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is having the opportunity to help those that are focused on helping others.  Recently, Matt Snively, Director of Technology and Development for Trinity West Crisis Dispatch, contacted me about designing a commemorative patch for the organizations efforts in Queensland, Australia.

For those that are not familiar with the organization, Trinity West Crisis Dispatch (TWCD) is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people who have experienced a disaster. Their goal is to provide relief  to those most affected, aid in the recovery process and rebuild lives and homes in devastated areas.

In January of this year, the town of Toowoomba, located in the Queensland province, came under heavy flooding, costing the lives of 35 people and causing an estimated  $ 30 billion dollars in damages. TWCD was fast to respond ; travelling to the area on January 24th to assist in the recovery effort.

In creating a patch to honor those involved in the recovery efforts there were a couple of important factors that had to be considered:

First, the tragic nature of the trip dicatated a level of respect for those  affected. Additionally , the trip had also been dedicated to the memory of one of the organization members mother, who had recently passed away. That portion of the design was achieved through careful selection of color and arrangement of the chosen design elements. Second, it was important that elements of both Queensland and TWCD were included in the design. To achieve this, I included elements of the TWCD logo as well as elements from the Queensland flag.

The Produced Badge

It was a great priviledge to work on this patch for TWCD.

If you would like to know more about TWCD and their trip to Queensland, please visit their website at I encourage you to donate to assist their heroic efforts and, if possible, donate your time.

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