By: lstark Posted: March 10, 2017
JMS Marketing has always been client-focused, specializing in B2B strategic communications to help organizations grow their businesses. As we continue to market to and for a variety of audiences in many industries, we can now not only bring fresh perspectives to communications campaigns but also effectively meet 100 percent of our customer base’s diversity requirements.
JMS recently received word that the company had been certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise by the Chicago Certification Committee. This regional certifying group is a partner of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) and guides applicants through an extensive certification process and on-site visit to ensure all requirements are met and maintained. By including women-owned businesses among their suppliers, corporations and government agencies also demonstrate their commitment to fostering diversity and the continued development of their supplier diversity programs.
Jean Marie Saidler, JMS president and co-owner, was eager to share the news with the team and clients, as it reinforces the company’s goal of continuing to enhance the ways clients are supported beyond individual projects. This certification is yet another step in JMS’ evolution to help clients achieve long-term success.
By: lstark Posted: February 8, 2017
Good ‘ol PowerPoint. It can be your best friend, offering support and making your team look good when meeting with customers. But if it’s not living up to its potential, PowerPoint can also drag down any presentation.
JMS Marketing has worked with clients to develop many PowerPoint templates and presentations, and there are best practices we try to follow to make sure these presentations shine for—but not outshine—our clients. We’ve decided to gather internal strategies and take a peek at what others are doing to share some tips and tricks with you. Next time you’re developing a new presentation, keep these things in mind.
A template sets the tone
For any new presentation, we always recommend developing a template—or a few—that represents your brand. While built-in themes may work on some occasions, most viewers can easily spot it, and it most often says nothing about who you are, what you do or the value you can bring to the customer.
Instead, create a theme unique to your business to help customers identify with your brand from the start of the presentation and carry a seamless impression all the way through. By using the same template or a series of templates that all fit within your brand guidelines, customers will begin to identify with your team or company in a similar way no matter who prepares, delivers or follows up on the presentation itself.
Less is more when it comes to copy
Don’t get me wrong; at JMS, we love to write and the power of words! But when it comes to PowerPoint, copy can make or break a presentation. We’ve all sat in on a presentation where the entire slide—every slide—is full of long sentences all the way down the screen. And we all either enjoyed the midday nap or used a great deal of energy to stick it out and likely, not remember most of it anyway.
A good rule of thumb is to stick to only five or six lines of copy with minimal content on each. Phrases tend to work better than sentences, as the presenter can fill in the details. Keep in mind that a viewer is also a listener, so they are required to process both what you say and what you show. The key is to make sure that what you show complements, not takes away from, what you say.
While you’re at it, don’t be afraid to include content sans (without) bullets. While bullets are often the standard and can help organize information, without them, copy can sometimes add an extra visual element. To help organize your content, think about leaving the audience with one idea per slide. Most groups would rather see 20 compelling slides they can remember rather than 10 slides too heavy with information.
Fonts DO matter
Presentations are meant to help make a visual statement, but there is a clear line when it comes to fonts. Choose a typeface that is legible, often sans sarif fonts (those without tails on the ends of letters; this font, for example is sans sarif), and make sure to choose a color that is easily viewed against your background (keep this in mind when developing your initial theme and avoid backgrounds with many varying colors!).
Size and weight are important too. Less copy will make it easier to ensure your content is large enough to read. Depending on your background, bolding your text may make all the difference. While copy does not need to completely fill the page, it should be just as easily read in the back of the room as the front.
Leave the rainbows outside
One creative way to draw attention to an important word or phrase is to use a contrasting color for that copy. Using a bright color in between white words will make the idea pop. But the trick is finding the balance. Stick to only two colors from your color scheme (three if really necessary) in your content and try to ensure the images or graphics in the rest of the slide also complement one another. Tones may vary, especially when using colorful images, but set a goal for only five obvious colors on each slide and be sure
Make an impact—one impact
Have you seen those PowerPoint slides that are jam-packed with not copy but photos? The intent may be good, varying copy with visuals, but visuals should make a statement and leave the viewer feeling the way you want them to feel. Consider selecting one image that has a larger impact on its own. Or use visuals to increase the emotional connection to a key statistic or piece of information rather than simply listing numbers.
These types of slides can also pair well with varying presentation styles. Any speaker can speak to an image or visual piece of information. But more importantly, a practiced speaker may consider altering the rate at which they speak, leave a pause or emphasize a certain piece of information for additional impact. Your customers didn’t sign up to experience the next new action flick, but since B2B decisions are much more emotional than B2C, it’s okay to go one step further to convey the important role your team can play for them.
Make the distractions purposeful
One PowerPoint feature that receives much debate is the use of transitions between slides. Our advice is to keep the transitions minimal or similar between slides to let your content shine. Content builds; where copy appears one line, word or section at a time after a click; on slides can even be valuable if you want to control when viewers received certain information. Other “distractions” can also be meaningful.
JMS routinely advocates for using supporting content such as videos, sound clips, creative imagery, graphics, short stories or other tools to enhance the visual appeal of your content. Choose a small number of key supporting pieces for optimal impact and make sure they tie clearly to the information you are presenting (extra tip: if you don’t have internet access, do a quick Google search for free websites that can pull videos from YouTube to embed in your presentations!).
No matter your business, presentations are likely a part of your sales cycle. Content is always important, but be sure to consider how all aspects of your presentation will affect your customers. Feel free to contact us to learn more about new features from PowerPoint and how a carefully developed presentation can support your business!
By: lstark Posted: October 28, 2016
Our very own Brandon Couture recently completed a unique project, adding the title of published illustrator to his resume. Brandon grew up in a tight-knit neighborhood, so when one neighbor decided to honor the upcoming arrival her granddaughter with her own story, it was a natural fit to have him develop illustrations.
Brandon spent time with the author, Chris Danzi, discussing how the family had long anticipated the baby’s arrival and how she imagined the story being depicted. Then he got to work bringing the story to life. Brandon spent countless hours developing illustrations that showcased the emotions of the characters, accurately represented the family it featured and had a consistent, playful feel that all readers would enjoy.
Brandon handed over the illustrations to the layout team and was finally able to see the finished product late this summer. Waiting for Emma tells the story of the author’s daughter and son-in-law on their long but rewarding journey to have their first child. And for those with a soft spot for the furry family members, the book also honors their beloved dog who is featured in nearly all illustrations.
Truly a labor of love, Danzi is grateful to have this special gift to share with her family and now has a second book idea in mind. Be on the lookout for Brandon’s next great set of illustrations and if you’re lucky, he may let you have his autograph before he’s really famous!
By: erobak Posted: August 31, 2016
Each year, as summer comes to a close and students head back to campus, JMS must also say goodbye to our favorite students, the interns. This year we were fortunate to have Ewa Robak as our marketing administrative intern. We enjoyed giving her the opportunity to experience the behind the scenes, real world of marketing. We invite you to read about Ewa’s experiences interning with JMS Marketing. Goodbye Ewa! We will miss you.
-Jean Marie Saidler, President
My name is Ewa Robak and I am currently in the College of Business at Marquette University, working toward a major in Marketing and International Business, with a minor in Spanish. This summer I discovered that in today’s competitive world, it’s difficult to obtain an interview for an internship, especially after just one year of college. I am fortunate that the JMS Marketing family welcomed me with open arms this summer to learn about marketing and to grow as a professional in the business world. Owners, Jean Marie and Keith, were great for giving me this opportunity and trusting me to assist with various projects for their clients. Every day was a true learning experience, helping me to acquire the skills necessary for a successful, well-rounded marketing job. My main tasks at JMS included: assisting in the creation of a career fair campaign, maintaining social media pages, composing copy for ads, writing press releases, and assisting in proofing final projects for a variety of clients. These projects gave me the opportunity to anticipate how different clients will want to present themselves and learn what a marketing team does to make sure a plan is successful and how to judge if goals are met.
This summer, I learned about the many tactics and tools related to the ever-complex world of marketing and I was fortunate to do so with an experienced team of marketing experts. When it came to strategy, Lisa and Mike showed me what it really means to plan and implement projects. Their responsibilities encompass just about everything related to marketing other than graphic design. They work with clients to manage websites, social media pages and various other projects; they also review and analyze data, and provide overall recommendations for marketing plans. In doing so, they are able to target what works best to make sure clients achieve their goals. It’s a complex, yet very rewarding job. I was also in the presence of some amazing graphic designers: Trish, Brad and Brandon. Although the job of a marketing strategist is very important, the graphic designers made it all come to life. Their creative brains find clever ways to word headlines and slogans, figure out eye-catching placements, and do great things with layout and copy for websites and print materials. I quickly realized that one department could not be successful without the other and that collaboration is key for a successful marketing agency.
JMS helps many clients from different industries fulfill their marketing needs. The wide variety of clients kept my mind active and taught me what works best in appealing to a wide range of business’ and consumers. To best understand a client’s goals and objectives, JMS used more than just email and phone conversations. They included regularly scheduled meetings with the clients as standard protocol to develop a lasting relationship. Because of the diversity among their clients, the meetings help JMS to better understand the client’s workplace culture and stay focused on who they are as a business and what they are trying to achieve.
When I was first assigned tasks for different clients, I was not aware that I would have to use different approaches to present topics. With the help of my colleagues, I became acquainted with the brands and audiences I would be addressing and came to the realization that B2B (Business to Business) is quite different than B2C (Business to Consumer). My main tasks centered primarily on social media and I learned that even when using a minimal amount of characters when writing, each company had a different culture that needed to be understood prior to doing so. Each client and each project had different demographics, keywords, images and media outlets. For a utility company powered by diversity, stewardship and safety, we presented content that showcased these pillars of the business. Photos and graphics were also carefully crafted to support this content. On the flipside, an industrial business client required a more focused, technical approach with their marketing. Colorful charts depicting informative data, along with the direct features and benefits of their equipment proved to be the solution that drove the message forward for them. In all cases, I learned to keep steady focus on maintaining a clear, consistent message and that each business presents a different sense of self.
One of the major projects I worked on during my time at JMS was assisting in a career fair campaign for a client. Being a college student, I had a lot of ideas about career fairs after seeing them first hand at college. When presenting my ideas to the company, I learned that despite my best efforts in crafting “the perfect campaign”, I still received questions that stumped me. Thankfully my research and study of the client’s industry helped to alleviate the lump in my throat and gave me the ability to answer difficult questions with confidence. I also realized that creating a trusting relationship with clients is important in order to achieve full collaboration on projects and that tone, language and understanding one’s role in a presentation is vital for success. Helping to put together the campaign, as well as being a part of the presentation, was a great experience that will help me in future presentations and project outlines.
This upcoming semester I will be taking my first marketing college course and am very excited to see the topics that I learned during my internship come up in class. Having an internship allowed me to realize what marketing truly is, as opposed to any preconceived ideas I may have had about it being a luxurious career with lots of travel and client meetings. Coming out of the internship, I learned that before that point, comes lots of prep work and time invested to gain those types of clients. Even after learning that my dream job may not be as laid back as I had imagined, I definitely still want to continue interning and getting a diverse view of different genres of marketing. I still have many questions as to where exactly I see myself working, but there are also many answers that the experience has provided me with. I am happy to have had the help of such a great group of mentors to guide me through work and life learning experiences. I am excited to continue to learn new things as I continue my education in school and in the real world.
By: bcouture Posted: July 18, 2016
Pokémon are back and they have taken over the entire world, literally. Nintendo and Niantic Labs have released Pokémon Go, an augmented reality (AR) game where players explore the real world to find and catch Pokémon through an app on their phones. The huge success of the game has shocked everyone by jumping to the top of the app charts, bringing in millions of dollars from in app purchases, and passing Tinder and Twitter in number of users. It has taken over social media threads and headlined the national news in less than a week. What made Pokémon Go such a huge overnight success? What can be learned about branding and marketing from the game? And who to choose as a starting Pokémon? Bulbasaur, Squirtle, or Charmander? (Charmander, duh)
The biggest key to the game’s success has been millennials who grew up in the 1990’s playing the original Game Boy games, collecting the trading cards, and watching the cartoon before school every morning. Pokémon was a huge franchise in the late 90’s and early 2000’s and now everyone who grew up during Poké-mania is jumping at the chance to catch Pokémon in real life. The game is also very popular among kids today since the franchise has expanded since the late 90’s giving it a huge cross-generational audience.
The success of Pokémon Go is rooted in the branding and popularity Nintendo built in the late 90’s. Thanks to their success back then, they’ve been able to recapture that audience, build on their already gigantic brand, and effectively create Poké-mania 2.0. Not that everyone has the benefit of capitalizing on the kind of prior success that Pokémon had, but Pokémon Go shows what building such a strong brand can do presently and the benefits it can have even over a decade later.
Pokémon Go is a two-fold example of marketing success. In addition to the strong brand presence that has been cultivated over the past 20 years, the game is a potential marketing gold mine for small local businesses and large box stores alike. Because the game centers around places, there is a lot of opportunity to use tools within the app to draw Pokémon and Players to your business.
Companies are offering everything from discounted food prices to free wifi and charging stations to encourage future Pokémasters to stop in. Potential consumers are choosing how they spend their time, where they are eating, working out, buying clothes, etc, in order to be closer to locations that have Pokémon. ‘Lures’ which are used to attract Pokémon (thus potential consumers!) to certain locations are available for purchase. Sponsorships are not yet available, but rumor has it that it’s only a matter of time. For a price, companies will most likely be able to make their business’ Pokéstops or Gyms. In the near future, it’s not unreasonable to think that entire marketing campaigns will be developed centered around Pokémon Go sponsorships.
Companies are also taking to social media to take advantage of the new craze. Whether it’s passing along tips about what types of Pokémon are nearby, offering discounts to Pokémon hunters, or creating Pokémon-themed fare, many businesses have very quickly recognized the opportunities this new craze offers. Click here to see a few of the businesses that have taken this approach.
It’s incredible how successful Pokémon Go has been and there is a lot to take away to apply to one’s own branding and marketing strategies. How long will the craze last? Only time will tell, which is all the more reason to use this tool to its fullest as quickly as possible.