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Details + Service = Satisfaction May 4, 2014

Posted by Jack Macholl in Brand building, Brand personality, Communications, Customer Service, Marketing Planning, Uncategorized.
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There is much debate today about the value of social media tools like Twitter. Certainly there is no shortage of opinions being shared in real-time, 24-7, so smart organizations are monitoring their activity and protecting their brand image with vigor. The example below clipped from my e-mail is based on a Twitter post I placed online after having a few closets done in my new home.

The Container Store is one organization that clearly works hard at education for in-store employees and field installation experts (elfa System shelving). They are attentive to the details, phoning you to explain why a product is on back-order, sincerely displaying concern for any (albeit minor) inconvenience and circling back after a purchase to ensure customer satisfaction. Additional detail coverage includes little things, like installation people cleaning up, putting shoe covers on to protect your home’s interior, explaining what they are doing and offering helpful suggestions takes detail attentiveness to the value-add level. After four months of working with a general contractor who didn’t get this concept, I’d say The Container Store could make additional fee income teaching companies how attention to the details equates to client satisfaction and a long-term (profitable) relationships.

Jack Macholl @jackmacholl I love the follow-up service from the Container Store. There is a genuine concern for product delivery and satisfaction. – 01 May The Container Store @ContainerStore Follow Follow @jackmacholl That’s great to hear! Great service is #WhatWeStandFor 12:42 AM – 03 May 14 Reply to @ContainerStore Retweet Favorite


A Good Problem to Have January 31, 2014

Posted by Jack Macholl in Brand building, Brand personality, Branding, Image, Marketing, Marketing Planning, Sales, Site visibility, Uncategorized.
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I once heard a business owner say that having too much business is a good problem to have. Lately, I have encountered several situations where it is very difficult to secure a quote for services (particularly in the building/renovation trades). Not returning phone messages and leaving requests for quotes unattended in an e-mail box presents a poor image for the company, creating an instant sense of doubt in the consumer’s mind.


Leads to Customers

Today there are many  tactical articles written about ways to increase web site traffic, generate sales leads and make the phones ring. Perhaps a more urgent need would be helping business owners find proven response methods to convert estimate requests in-hand and also acquiring the human talent to meet existing market demand.

What lead conversion and staffing models work in your field?

Small Business Saturday November 24, 2012

Posted by Jack Macholl in Brand building, Brand personality, Communications, Corporate Social Responsibility, Marketing, Sales, Uncategorized.
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After participating in the Edison Park Turkey Trot here in my Chicago neighborhood, a woman handed me a flyer for her brand new start-up business Fair Trade Gifts (6700 N. Northwest Hwy. Chicago, IL 60631).

She was one of many people with booths hawking merchandise, handing out cards and flyers. What made this lady stand out was her “elevator pitch.” In just a few well chosen words she described the fair labor and sustainable practices her goods are made within. Likely no marketing budget, no Search Engine Optimization or PR campaign- a start-up using old-school techniques to capture a few seconds of your attention.

This entrepreneur represents what President Obama calls “Main Street America.” She is opening a small business in what was an abandoned coffee shop that crashed along with many other small businesses back in 2010.

The bombardment and overkill of Black Friday, Cyber Monday, etc. is upon us. It might be time to step back, stop by the local merchant, hear their story and help some people trying to live their dream around the corner.

Academic Outreach December 15, 2011

Posted by Jack Macholl in Brand building, Brand personality, Branding, Corporate Social Responsibility, Donor Development, Marketing Planning, non-profit, Philanthropy.
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Graduate Students Giving and Learning

In these times of chronic bad news, cutbacks and political fighting a positive movement has begun with my  graduate Integrated Marketing Communication students at Roosevelt University. In lieu of a Masters thesis, students in Roosevelt’s IMC program work on a complete marketing campaign for an actual company.

This year instead of working on an assignment with a corporate partner, we “adopted” a not-for-profit organization WINGS (Women In Need of Growing Stronger). This group located in the northwest suburbs of Chicago provides emergency services, sheltered living, legal help, employment training, child care and job search services for abused women and children.

WINGS creates a large percentage of its operating fund via three resale stores in suburban Chicagoland. Two student teams worked on integrated marketing campaigns designed to raise awareness of WINGS brand, its mission and the wide selection of quality, brand name merchandise available in their shops.

A formal client “pitch” that emulates a “real world” agency new business presentation was delivered to members of WINGS leadership team. An array of low-cost, high-impact creative concepts and “guerilla” tactics- events, advertising and social media approaches to build brand and drive store traffic were delivered for consideration.

In addition to creating a plan book  and numerous cost-effective tactical ideas, the students delivered more. Many were so moved by the trials and cutbacks WINGS leadership has been required to make for survival, they opened their own wallets to help. Members of both teams donated bags of “wish list” items and donated clothing that will help meet the daily needs of the women and children served.

The talent and generosity shown renewed my faith and hope that better days are ahead in spite of the madness we see and hear on cable news each day.

The essence of guerilla marketing is action– these talented and generous leaders of the future did just that-they delivered.

To learn more about WINGS and the meaningful work they do, visit


small Business Saturday November 26, 2011

Posted by Jack Macholl in Brand building, Marketing Planning, Referral marketing.
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Today we all have an opportunity to put some organized focus on supporting local merchants in the neighborhood. Small Business Saturday is more of a statement than anything, but hopefully it will build an awareness of all the things you (likely) need are nearby; being sold by a neighbor trying to carve out a living as a small business owner. The Edison Park Chamber located in my Chicago neighborhood is distributing a punch-card, offering a premium for visiting multiple merchants in the area . This is 101 marketing, (not expensive) merchants working together to gut through challenging times is just what we need to stimulate store traffic. http://www.edisonpark.com/

So today I started with breakfast at Mac’s Cafe, a classic old diner that was remarkably busy. It’s on to some small merchants for a few Christmas gifts.

Ready to join me?

Marketing Communication Objectives October 6, 2011

Posted by Jack Macholl in Brand building, Branding, Marketing, Marketing Planning.
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After a presentation I gave the other day a few folks stopped by and asked me to expand on a couple of thoughts regarding the marketing planning process.  Since we’re all overloaded these days, a little review never hurts.

It’s important to remember that objectives are measurable and are really designed to make people accountable for results. To be brief, marketing communication objectives typically solve the following :

  1. Driving “action” or traffic to a physical location or website
  2. Promoting product or service trial
  3. Establishing general awareness of a business or non-profit group
  4. Establishing or regaining trust
Once you have that element of the plan established you are then on to the Communication Strategy portion of the plan that’s worthy of a post in and of itself.
Hopefully you found this helpful. Please feel free to share with colleagues  or people in your networking groups as a helpful refresher.
Enjoy the day.

At the cross roads...

A Guest Interview with Tina Roper August 1, 2011

Posted by Jack Macholl in Brand building, Brand personality, Branding, Communications, Interactive Marketing, Referral marketing, Site visibility.
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In today’s post I wanted to do something different, sharing some of the “behind the scenes” strategy and client interaction steps we employ at Wisdom Bridge Marketing.  The following interview with Tina Roper an expert web designer and internet strategist who recently worked with me on a client assignment provides a  perspective on creating “momentum” for web sites, enjoy.

 Tina Bower Roper

 Special Interview with Tina Roper Web Designer & Internet Marketer 

Tina as you know we recently completed the redesign of the website for Graceland Prairie Dental http://www.drbarrydds.com/   in Des Plaines Illinois. One of the unique differentiators of the practice is the sedation dentistry credentials that Dr. Joseph Barry, DDS holds. Knowing this was one of the key points the  client wanted to convey to the marketplace, how did you approach the website updates?

Dr. Barry had been a client previously at Wisdom Bridge Marketing, both for traditional marketing collateral and for a website presence. When he returned as a client just a few months ago, I was happy to hear of his expanding practice. The addition of new dentists and staff, change to the business name and the new sedation dentistry credentials conveyed to me a one word design concept: momentum.

But how do you translate a one word idea like “momentum” into an effective website update?

When Dr. Barry first became a client, he needed a professional yet basic presence. By “basic”, I don’t mean “plain”; no client wants to think that they are getting something ordinary just because they are just getting started on the internet. Rather, by “basic” I mean what was needed initially was to communicate services and contact information at a minimum. This was accomplished, as was a clean design that was friendly and inviting.

When a client returns for website updates, sometimes they want a complete design overhaul, sometimes they want a refresh. In the case of Dr. Barry’s return, he and his staff provided a clear outline for a refresh to announce the new practice name Graceland Prairie Dental. This included adding new content to the site: a new company logo (which was created as traditional marketing collateral, then translated an internet format and incorporated into the website design concept), new copy, promotional coupons and photos and bios for each of the staff members. The refresh achieved the “momentum” concept: a build-out of their website presence that increased the volume and – most importantly – the quality of information on their site.

Since the practice is also growing with the addition of Doctors Swanson and Cox, what was your goal to convey the practice expansion while maintaining the “small neighborhood friendliness” they deliver?

Any time a client decides to refresh their marketing collateral or update their website, they are subliminally telling existing and potential customers that they are paying attention and willing to change. In my opinion, there is nothing better that a neighborhood-based business can do than to show its willingness to grow and adapt as changes are occurring in the community around them. That flexibility can translate in to word-of-mouth referrals that can ripple far beyond the neighborhood. Leads are invaluable in any business, whether that business is transitioning through an expansion or not. Changes to your branding or messaging makes customers (and competitors) take notice. In today’s economy, you can’t afford to go unnoticed. Therefore, you can’t afford to have an outdated website.

By choosing not only to update their site, but also to add photos of real and friendly faces, Graceland Prairie Dentals says to their community “We’re approachable”. And let’s face it, everyone wants to feel comfortable when they go to the dentist’s office! Their strategy to use staff photos instead of stock photos was a good decision from a website design perspective. A business should take advantage of any and all opportunities to make themselves accessible to their customers. To do so builds rapport, and good rapport means happy customers that will return with their business in the future.

When you thought about site visibility and how to help the practice secure some favorable search positioning, what was the approach taken?

To be effective at building a website, a designer must go beyond coding metadata keywords behind the scenes. They have to also be skilled at ensuring quality content management. This means knowing how to present copy that is descriptive enough to get the point across, yet concise enough to get picked up by the search engines. Infusing keywords outside of the metatags and into the copy, page titles and descriptions is essential. This placement and balance is the skill of a seasoned website designer, and not a setup that just anyone can achieve in a WYSIWYG website editor. And because search engine crawl methods and keyword criteria are changing all the time, a good website moderator will be informed about those changes and know exactly how to flex with them to achieve the maximum results for their website clients. Know who you are hiring, and know that investing in someone who has those capabilities can mean return dividends to your business.

If you’d like to discuss momentum and visibility for your web site just drop me a note :


“Old -Fashioned” Interactive Marketing July 5, 2011

Posted by Jack Macholl in Brand building, Brand personality, Branding, Communications, Event marketing, Image, Interactive Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Planning, Sales.
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Old-fashioned Interaction

While attending Summerfest, the wonderful music festival staged on Milwaukee’s Lake Michigan shoreline, I happened upon a Dyson tent where they were demonstrating their new Air Multiplier bladeless fans. The displays were arranged so there was constant eye-catching movement, action including a beach ball being propelled from fan to fan without harm.

What struck me was the “old-fashioned” product demonstration and genuine interaction between the Dyson event staff and the fest attendees. When we talk about Interactive Marketing in today’s terminology, we’re of course referring to the exchange of information (usually online-but not always) about a customer’s preferences, comments or past purchases and sharing relevant  product information and hopefully achieving a brand connection.

Without a doubt online, database driven marketing communications tools are brilliant solutions for connecting people and establishing meaningful relationships; but when you are demonstrating a breakthrough product a little hands -on product interaction never hurts.

How are you interacting with clients or prospects? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

The Resurgence of Coupons June 1, 2011

Posted by Jack Macholl in Brand building, Communications, Couponing, Marketing Planning, Sales.
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Coupons back in fashion

Couponing the ritual that many believed was only practiced by “tightwads” or “penny pinchers” has taken on a whole new meaning and audience in challenging economic times. Today’s Mashable news item about Google’s new Google Offers scheduled to launch in the Portland test market, indicates how big and ultra competitive money-saving offers have become.

Groupon has become the leading player in the “deal of the day” space and when Google was unable to purchase them last year, they are launching a competitive offering of their own – the old if you can’t buy ’em, beat ’em at their own game strategy.

The reality TV lineup also includes the new hit show Extreme Couponing on The Learning Channel (TLC); a show that now has hundreds of thousands of viewers attempting to emulate the free goods “stockpiling” of featured “extreme couponers” on the broadcast.

So why aren’t more businesses preparing and sharing their own coupon offers, using database and competitive intelligence to build compelling reasons  for prospects or existing customers to try a new product or service? It appears the thinking has changed here in the “new world” -so the opportunity to build a customer base is a just few clips away.

Book Review-Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead April 25, 2011

Posted by Jack Macholl in Brand building, Brand personality, Branding, Communications, Corporate Social Responsibility, Music marketing, Referral marketing.
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This 2010 book by David Meerman Scott and Brian Halligan offers some great insights on what it takes to become an iconic brand. I selected this book largely out of curiosity regarding the title. As only a casual Grateful Dead fan, I now have a new appreciation of how the band defied the “best practices” of music marketing in the 60’s and beyond.  Through a spirit of generosity (long before it ever became a social media buzz term) the Dead bent all the rules and created huge revenue streams from a community of fans.

Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead also offers a series of “call out” points that encapsulate how the band made money while giving many things away for free along the way.  The authors also point out the importance of social responsibility and how the Grateful Dead ultimately created the Rex Foundation to give back by financially supporting human services, the arts and environmental causes.

At just a tad over 150 pages, this is a brief, yet powerful read.