Being Responsible When It’s Not Your Responsibility



Recently a client shared a story with me. They had ran an ad with another company and the other company accidentally inverted some digits in their phone number. The client signed off on the proof without realizing it. They didn’t think it was something they needed to worry about because they had ran the ad before. When the mistake was discovered later the company told my client they weren’t liable because the client approved the ad.

While that is technically right, it is also so wrong.

Clients should feel that their vendors are looking out for them, proactively working to not make mistakes and fixing any if they do. They need to feel their vendors have their backs.

Before we run an ad for a client we check every single phone number and website, every single time we run the ad for them, even if it is the same ad we have always run for them. Some might ask “why would you waste your time doing that when your clients have already approved their ads?” We don’t view it as a waste of time. We are in business to help our clients grow. We help do that by looking out for them, even though we don’t technically need to. We’re responsible when we don’t need to be because it’s the best thing to do for our client and because it’s right thing to do.


Contributed by Jodie Hook.


More is not better, but too little is worse!

A Lesson from Goldilocks and the Three Bears…


As I have talked to business owners over the last 14 years who have adopted a do-it-yourself mentality to marketing their business, I have often heard, “My mailing campaign didn’t work!”  What I often find from them is that they have done their own mailing campaign of 100 or 200 mailers of some type, to a list of prospective homeowners that they’ve narrowly targeted, based on the direction of a friend, family member, or “marketing expert” at their networking group.  They’re surprised that they get no response, or one or two lukewarm prospects.

The reality is that zero, one or two responses from a mailing of say 200 homeowners, is not actually bad at all, it’s just not enough.  How does that make any sense?  In fact it’s quite excellent for a cold campaign at 1% response rate.  The problem is expectations.  One or two lead calls for a home improvement company is not enough to keep a sales staff gainfully employed, and cash flow healthy.  10 or 20 leads would be more like it – right?  50 qualified leads even better!

Most direct response fails I believe, because business owners find the least expensive Cost per Thousand Impressions (CPM) advertising vehicles and blast their message out to mailboxes attached to dwellings of all types.  The result is lots of “activity” and a disproportionately low level of sales for the activity expended.

Worse yet, with all the sophisticated demographic, psychographic, and geographic targeting techniques – some businesses take the extreme opposite approach by disqualifying too many good prospects and focusing too narrowly on a list that has no chance of being successful, based on too many assumptions.

Well what if there was a way to target your entire population of qualified and select prospective homeowners (The Mass Affluent) and received full service marketing consulting and design based on years of experience and proven track record… and laser-focus that message into the home for one-tenth the cost of a postage stamp?

What I have found is that if we mail 1000 times the circulation of the earlier example, at one-tenth the cost, but mail that to the Mass Affluent Homeowners, we get the desired result our business owners are looking for.  They get qualified leads, enough to be impressed, that close at a high percentage, and have a strong ticket average.  The result is a strong Return on Investment (ROI) for the advertiser, with laser-focused effort, and a fraction of the sales staff!

More is not better, but too little is worse!


Contributed by Anthony R. Sucato,

Retired Engineer

President RSVP Publications of Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio

“Direct Marketing to the Affluent”


Sales People: Learn More About Your Product Than Your Company Taught You


When you were being educated about the value and benefits of the product that you would be selling, did you learn everything there is to know about the product?  Most likely, no.  It’s not that your company withheld information about your product, it’s just that even they probably don’t know all of the uses, benefits, or value of their own product.  So how do you find out this information?  Ask your customers.

Your customers can tell you things about your product (good and bad) that will help you in the sales process and make you more prepared to overcome the challenges of selling your product.  But you have to ask them.  They’re not likely to volunteer this information just because you sell the product, but they would be happy to share their experiences with you.  It gives them a feeling of authority with your brand.

Here’s an example:  WD-40 was developed as a lubricant (water displacement) for machinery parts.  It solved a common problem for many industries.  It was later revealed  in Reader’s Digest that there are many additional uses for WD-40 beyond lubrication.   Their customers were the ones that figured out these uses, most likely out of necessity to solve unforeseen problems, and applied WD-40 to solve the issue.  One of those uses was for roach extermination.  I highly doubt that the inventors of WD-40 knew, or invented WD-40 with roach extermination in mind.  But, they never would have known this without the feedback from their customers.

What can your product do that you’re not aware of?  You don’t have to brainstorm new solutions for your product to solve, just ask your customers.  Use the feedback provided by your customers in your discussions with new prospects.  You’ll find that it will make those prospects more engaged and receptive to your product helping solve their issues too.  It’s worked for me.

Actively ask your customers how they use your product and you might be surprised what they tell you.   The other thing that might surprise you is that you might get invited to lunch with the CEO more often, too.

Contributed by Jeff Vice.


Thoughts from a graphic designer….



What is a font?

A font is the collection of characters.


What is a typeface?

The design for a set of characters.


A typeface is not font. A font is not a typeface.


Confused yet?


The term font is often used as a synonym for typefaces, which is not technically correct. For most people who are not in the design world, they only think of about fonts when choosing one in Microsoft Word. The two terms frequently cause some confusion to those unfamiliar with the difference.


Typeface = a type family’s design

Think of a typeface as a set of characters of the same design. A typeface is the ‘design’ of the design of the alphabet, the shape of the letters that make up the typestyle. Typefaces describe the overall look of the characters.


Font = one member of a type family

A font, on the other hand, is traditionally defined as a complete character set within a typeface, often of a particular size and style. Fonts are also specific computer files that contain all the characters and glyphs within a typeface.


A typeface is like a jukebox while font is the tunes inside.


ITC Bodoni


Contributed by Caitlin Tuohy.

Goal Setting for Home, Life & Work

What impact can goal setting have on your business and your life this year?

A year ago we tasked our staff with not only setting business goals but also share something at our first staff meeting of the year that they’re shooting for in their personal life.  We followed the SMART formula:  SMARTgoals

The goals were varied – some focused on weight loss, financial success, household projects, getting your first place, and even making and honoring time commitments with family. The experience of sharing weekly updates on progress has been eye-opening.  To speak that goal out loud each week and be accountable to taking one step closer to that goal led many to accomplishing their mission.

For 2014 we introduced our “personal best boards.”  It’s a simple two-sided acrylic picture frame.  On the front are our business benchmarks and stretch goals.  On the back is visual representation of our individual goals – usually a collage of related or motivational pictures.

I’m so proud on the progress of our team!!! Just four months into the year many have accomplished their first goal and had to create a new goal for 2014.  We have a fitter, happier success focused staff.  They encourage and praise one another, and even look for opportunities to help them accomplish their personal goals.

“If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy and inspires your hopes.” –Andrew Carnegie

Experts will tell you to speak your goal out loud like a mantra.  Visualize yourself completing your goal and how you will feel.  Walking a mile begins with putting 1 foot in front of the other…

Reaching the goal is a combination of small but important steps.  Be honest with yourself.  Are your goals written down? Are they just dreams or do they have deadlines? What actions are you taking today to make this your best year yet?

Contributed by Heather Craaybeek.


Congratulations RSVP Winners!

Congratulations to all our survey winners! We hope you all enjoy your gift cards.
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For your chance to win, enter at or fill out the survey card you receive in the mail!