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Verve Marketing Group announces that it has received the Outstanding Achievement WebAward from the Web Marketing Association for its design and development of Thomas Nelson’s Bible website.

The WebAward is the premier website competition for web developers and advertising agencies. The competition judges all aspects of a website, with particular emphasis on the creativity, functionality, and overall interactive experience. Entries are judged and scored on design, innovation, content, technology, interactivity, copywriting, and ease of use. Sites scoring above 86% of the total possible are awarded the Outstanding Achievement WebAward.

Judges for Verve’s site design commented that the “design is very comforting and pleasing for the user… the content on the site is very strong and compelling as well.”

“A key goal for us was to elevate the Thomas Nelson Bibles brand and translation subbrands, as well as to create a user-friendly way for consumers to narrow down and find the right Bible from the 1,000 or so on the site,” noted Joan Begitschke, Chief Marketing Strategist at Verve Marketing Group. “Jerri Helms at HCCP came to us with the vision of creating a site that would bring all Nelson Bible translations and individual Bible product sites under one umbrella website,” she continues.

“From a technical standpoint, we had somewhat competing needs,” noted Joe Edakkunnathu, Director of Web Delivery at Verve. “We needed the site to automatically pull weekly product updates from Nelson’s Onix feed – and it was also important to have an easy to use backend for the large and frequently updated blog section of the site,” says Joe. “Creating a custom site in the WordPress platform was the best solution in this case.”

Web design and development firms compete globally within 95 industry categories in the annual WebAward competition. The Thomas Nelson Bibles site won in the Publishing category.

Learn more about the website.

Verve Marketing Group has received two awards for website design in the 23rd Annual Communicator Awards sponsored by the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts. The agency won the Communicator Award of Distinction for the National Garden Bureau website. It also received the Communicator Award of Distinction for the book website The Undoing of Saint Silvanus by author Beth Moore, published by Tyndale Momentum.

About the Communicator Awards:
The Communicator Awards is the leading international creative awards program honoring creative excellence for communication professionals. Founded over two decades ago, The Communicator Awards is an annual competition honoring the best in advertising, corporate communications, public relations and identity work for print, video, interactive and audio. Over 6,000 entries were received for the 2017 Communicator Awards.

The Communicator Awards are judged and overseen by the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts (AIVA), a 600+ member organization of leading professionals from various disciplines of the visual arts dedicated to embracing progress and the evolving nature of traditional and interactive media.

Learn more about the National Garden Bureau website >
Learn more about The Undoing of Saint Silvanus website>

Verve Marketing Group announced that it has been awarded Outstanding Achievement in Internet Advertising in the 2017 Internet Advertising Competition (IAC) Award for design of the All-America Selections (AAS) website. AAS is a non-profit organization that judges new varieties of plants that are released each year. The organization is looked to by horticulturists and serious gardeners as the stamp of approval of reliable varieties of flowers and vegetables. The new site designed by Verve revealed a new brand look and contains a robust search function for finding AAS winners going back to 1933.

The IAC Awards honor the individuals and organizations responsible for driving excellence in online advertising across 96 industries and a range of formats. Winners of the IAC Awards are selected based on criteria including creativity, innovation, impact, design, copywriting, and use of the medium.

The annual IAC Awards competition is sponsored by the Web Marketing Association, an international organization of marketing, advertising, public relations, and web design professionals who share a passion for improving the quality of advertising, marketing and website development.

Learn more about the site >

2016-marcom-gold-award-Verve-Marketing-GroupCHICAGO, IL – Verve Marketing Group is pleased to announce it has been named a Marcom Gold Award winner in the 2016 International MarCom Awards competition. The agency garnered the award for design and development of the Wheaton College From the Heart, For the Kingdom capital campaign website.

“Verve brought our concept to life with a site that’s both beautiful and practical,” commented Deb Keiser, Campaign Marketing Strategist for Wheaton College. “It looks great, plus it drives traffic through to action. Our internal team is thrilled.”

The MarCom Awards is one of the oldest, largest and most prestigious creative competitions in the world. The competition is sponsored and judged by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals (AMCP). The Gold Award is presented to those entries judged to exceed a high standard of excellence and whose work serves as a benchmark for the industry.

Learn more about the site >

Verve Marketing Group announced that it has been awarded the top category honor in the 2016 Internet Advertising Competition for creation of the NIV Zondervan Study Bible website.

IAC16_Best_IconThe IAC Awards honor the individuals and organizations responsible for driving excellence in online advertising across 96 industries and a range of formats. Entries are eligible to be recognized at tiered award levels with top awards going to the single, best entry in each category. The awards give organizations the opportunity to set themselves apart in the highly competitive online advertising environment. Winners of the IAC Awards are selected based on criteria including creativity, innovation, impact, design, copywriting, and use of the medium.

“The IAC Awards recognize the best achievements in online advertising and it’s an honor to be recognized with this top award for excellence,” said Joan Begitschke, Chief Marketing Strategist for Verve Marketing Group.

The annual IAC Awards competition is sponsored by the Web Marketing Association, an international organization of marketing, advertising, public relations, and web design professionals who share a passion for improving the quality of advertising, marketing and website development.

Learn more about the site >

Verve Marketing Group has been selected for the 2015 Best of Oak Brook Award in the Marketing Agency category by the Oak Brook Award Program.
 
Each year, the Oak Brook Award Program identifies companies that have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. Companies are selected for the award based on various sources of information gathered both internally by the Oak Brook Award Program and data provided by third parties. The annual awards program honors the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Oak Brook area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.
 
About the Oak Brook Award Program
The Oak Brook Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses. The organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Their mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.
 
See the entire press release

Verve Marketing Group is pleased to announce that it has been awarded the top category award in the Internet Advertising Awards (IAC) competition for the NIV Bible Website.

The annual IAC Awards competition is sponsored by the Web Marketing Association, an international organization of marketing, advertising, public relations, and web design professionals who share a passion for improving the quality of advertising, marketing and web site development.

The competition recognizes the best online advertising in 96 industries. Entries go head to head within each category and are judged on seven key criteria: creativity, innovation, impact, design, copywritingVerve Marketing Group Best Faith-Based Website IAC Awards 2015, use of the medium, and memorability.

“We are thrilled to have won the top award in the category,” says Joan Begitschke, Chief Marketing Strategist at Verve Marketing Group, “and so grateful to get to work with the folks at Zondervan helping promote the NIV.”

“Being recognized by the Web Marketing Association as having the best faith-based website in 2015 is truly indicative of the impact we want the NIV’s website to have on its visitors,” said Jerri Helms, Senior Director for Bible Digital Marketing for Zondervan. “Verve Marketing Group was able to take our vision and create a cross-functional resource that told the NIV’s story in the most innovative way.”

Judges for the IAC Awards competition represent some of the best the internet advertising community has to offer including representatives from Arc Worldwide, Campbell-Ewald, Digitas, EuroRSCG 4D, Google, Razorfish, TMP Worldwide, Wunderman / Y&R, and others.

See Winners page on Web Marketing Association website.

CHICAGO, September 15, 2014. Verve Marketing Group is pleased to announce that it has been awarded the Standard of Excellence Award in the Financial Services category for the corporate website of CapTrust, an investment consulting firm located in Holland, Michigan.

The annual competition held by the Web Marketing Association the sets the standard of excellence for website development. Judging takes place in 96 industry categories. Each site goes head-to-head with other sites in their category. The best are recognized with a WebAward which helps interactive professionals promote themselves, their companies, and their best work to the outside world. Entries are judged on seven criteria – design, innovation, content, technology, interactivity, copywriting, and ease of use.

Learn more about the site

Verve Marketing Group is pleased to announce it has been named a Gold Award winner in the 2014 International Hermes Creative Awards competition. The agency garnered the award in the Business to Consumer Website category for design and development of the Faithgirlz Website for client Zonderkidz, a division of HarperCollins Christian Publishing.
 
“We’re honored to be named a Gold Award recipient, said Joan Begitschke, Principal at Verve. “This was a wonderful opportunity to create a new brand experience for Faithgirlz. And fun to create a more complex and robust WordPress site,” said Begitschke.
 
“Verve captured the Faithgirlz brand experience and exceeded our expectations in creating a place where tween girls can enjoy the “beauty of believing,” said Chriscynethia Floyd, VP of Marketing at HarperCollins Christian Publishing. “We are updating new content on this site on an almost weekly basis and our team has appreciated the ease of use of the backend.”
 
The Hermes Creative Awards is an international competition for creative professionals involved in the concept, writing, and design of emerging and traditional media. The award is administered by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals (AMCP). This year’s competition received about 5,500 entries from throughout the United States and several other countries.

See Faithgirlz Website.

 

SethGugeblog

This is the last in a 3-part series of posts based on interviews with Seth Guge.

Q: What are the big communications trends you see happening right now – key trends or elements in being successful?

SG: Both mobile and social media are going to continue to grow. I think things evolve depending on the generations. What continues to happen is that younger people like something and that’s where the trend goes. In music, as much as people don’t like the new music that comes out and the young generation does, the music comes and it stays forever. It defines the generations.

I see social media as being being part of that. Social media comes in and a lot of us who are older in years don’t understand why someone would want to do things a certain way and the younger generation embraces it and likes it. Then we find that’s how the world starts to move regardless of people liking it or not.

Websites were an example when they first came out. Folks didn’t understand why you would need it, spend time doing it, and then they found out you absolutely need to have a website. I see that happening with social media now. You have to figure out how to use the various social media channels because that’s where your audience is spending time. In some way that will be a vital part of your business.

It’s also interesting to understand how sharing thoughts is affecting the generations. Not only they are embracing it, but certain generations are using it to persuade. How is it affecting the younger generation? Is it doing different things to them in terms of psychology – making them more secure or more insecure; what kind of emotions and impact does it actually make in their lives in terms of doing things differently?

It is interesting to think about the psychology behind the media we deal with, understanding how we embrace and push the technology forward, but also how the technology actually changes us.

Q: What do you see as the biggest developments happening during the next couple of years?

SG: I think it will continue to be location-based analysis and the understanding of what messaging I’m getting when and where. Google glasses gives you a device that allows you to be plugged in, see a projection in your glasses and get messaging – data on the fly instantly.

A lot of it is who I am and that database behind me that someone can access to know where I am at what time. Am I moving fast through a location, am I in a certain store? What’s near me? Is another person I know near me? Or another person with similar interests to mine? Is this someone I’d like to meet?

The next step is plugging into what my hopes, dreams and desires are and whether people around me can help support that in some way. Is it the car I’m looking for that happens to be in a dealership I’m driving by? That will be the next big step.

Q: How do you get to know a new client so you can understand their vision, purpose and needs?

SG: Often it’s like investigating or being a detective. There’s always some interesting psychology at play as well. It’s like listening to someone to talk and discerning what they think their problem really is and starting to get inside their heads in terms of, is what they’re saying what they really need?

Sometimes a client totally understands what they need to push the brand forward and they have it all figured out. Other times, they have no idea and are trying to figure it out. Or they think they know what they need to do and it’s actually not what they need.

Sometimes it’s pulling in the research and listening and from there discerning the situation and the solution.

See part one and part two of our interview with Seth.

shutterstock_133849196-1

Here are four simple and often-overlooked tools that provide a foundation for understanding how your site is being used and for making more informed decisions for search engine optimization.
 

Google Analytics

This free online service from The Big G allows you to measure traffic and visitor behavior quite easily. It’s got tons of advanced sections for slicing and dicing whatever you might need to know. Some of the most important metrics are:
 
Audience – How many visitors over any period of time are visiting your site? This allows you to see where things are at before and after any marketing activities.
 
Traffic Sources – Where does a visitor come from? Did he or she type in your site url directly or have it bookmarked? Or did the visitor come from a search engine, from your social media or any other type of marketing source? You can easily find those numbers here.
 
Search > Organic Keywords – This is where you can find out what keywords visitors use to arrive at your site. Before an SEO campaign, it is typical that many of the keywords are your brand name. As an SEO campaign progresses, broader keywords that you target around your product or service should generally get into the top ten. There is the dreaded “(not provided),” which is often one of the top keywords listed here which Google has hidden in recent years. Their rationale is that these are visitors who are not logged into Google services but who performed a search, then came to your site. So depending on your niche, this could be a significant number of visitors who do not show any data. A small workaround is provided below under Google Webmaster Tools!
 
Demographics – Get to know your visitors by country, state and city. An added bonus from a recent addition to Google Analytics is being able to see visitors in real time. This is especially cool to see for sites with a high number of visitors. You can see people visiting your site in real time and even switch to Google Earth Mode (see pic) and travel around the world as users open up your web pages.
 

Google Webmaster Tools

This is another free feature from Google and it may have some more technical aspects that may not be of interest to you. However, the key to this is that GWMT give you the ability to see “what’s under the hood” from a search engine perspective in case there might be something wrong. A few things here that are of interest here:
 
Search Traffic > Search Queries – This is a good place to find some additional search terms that gave visibility and clicks to your site with a nice graph of such over a period of time. Some of the click data doesn’t always match up to what you see in Google Analytics, but it is good to see another perspective of user behavior.
 
Remember the dreaded “(not provided)” part of the Google Analytics Organic Keywords section? Well this is a great work-around to help fill out what might be included in the “(not provided).” Be sure that your GA and GWMT accounts are created with the same Gmail ID, then in GA, link to the GWMT profile by going to Traffic Sources > Search Engine Optimization, then hit the button that says “Set up Webmaster Tools data sharing.” Between these two areas, you should have a more comprehensive set of keywords that resulted in traffic.
 
Google Index > Content Keywords – At a high level, this is how Google’s search spider views your website by tagging certain patterns of keywords on your website. If you don’t have a lot going on here that represents what you do, well, it’s time to start writing!
 
Search Appearance > HTML Improvements – Here we get a little bit deeper into the technical aspects of a website. It’s best to have no errors, which are typically duplicated title and meta tags, but a few won’t hurt you. If you see errors in the triple-digits, it’s time to do something about it.
 
Crawl > Sitemaps – This is where you can submit a specially formatted document called a sitemap.xml to search engine spiders. This file lists all of the sections of your site, such as a homepage, main sections, blog posts, etc. and sets priorities for which it should check back. Many common content management systems, such as WordPress, have plugins that you can get to generate, update and ping search spiders on a change in new content on your site.
 
You can additionally do this through a free site called XML Sitemaps where you can get one created for free if your site is less than 500 pages. The final sitemap.xml should be then uploaded or placed at the root level of your domain so it looks like this www.yourdomainname.com/sitemap.xml, then submitted via this section of GWMT. Once submitted, this area will show how many of your pages have been submitted to Google, and later, it will show you if there are any errors you might need to correct.
 

Google’s Keyword Tool

This tool was originally meant for doing research for paid advertising on Google, but it is an invaluable tool giving you insight on both keyword ideas as well as keyword demand on Google itself. This is extremely insightful information because you may find that what you think people are searching for may not be what they are really searching for. Using this data can help you understand, at a high-level, how to reference certain terms in the content, title and meta tags on your website.

Tip: Be sure to check “Exact,” which means giving you the count only for people searching for that exact keyword phrase. That’s the difference between “Mexican restaurant” and “the worst Mexican restaurant.” Obviously, you would only want to know how often the first one is searched explicitly.

SpyFu

This is the only non-Google tool on this list and the only one that requires a paid membership to see full data, but it’s really helpful even in it’s free form. SpyFu lets you type in a url of a competitor and see whether they are or have been doing paid Adwords campaigns and which organic keywords that they are top-ranked for.
 
They limit the results to only the top few in the free version, but it’s a great tool to quickly gauge whether your offline competitors are online competitors or not. Conversely, you can type in a keyword phrase and see who the top websites targeting that keyword so you can easily find new competitors.
 
These four tools will help you understand the landscape of your website, its traffic, its keywords and demand. Understanding the data behind your website is immensely helpful for decision-making for marketing communications, website redesigns or search engine optimization.

field
 
This is the second in a series of blog posts based on interviews with Seth. Today he shares his thoughts about the world of design.
 

Q: Why is design critical to branding and marketing efforts?

SG: At some point there was a breakthrough in the business world in understanding how important design is. Obviously, it was around forever but just since about the mid- to late nineties the breakthrough hit. It was probably associated with what Apple did with the iMac and what Target did with their advertising and branding. People looking at some of these companies were really embracing the creative side of business. At that time, the world started to realize how important design and creativity are in the marketplace in order to sell products. It was always there and people understood that, but around that time I think people really started to embrace it.
 

Q: Steve Jobs famously said that design is not just about how it looks, but also about how it works. How does the way products work fit into design?

SG: People sometimes pigeonhole designers as people who just want to make it look good. But the reality is that designers are taught from day one that form should follow function. I think it’s a preconceived notion that creatives just want it to look good or be cool, but most of the time creatives understand what the objective is and what the strategy is and execution of that idea comes in second to facilitate what the client is trying to do. Most of the time creative individuals are adamant to make sure it’s working well before it looks cool.
 

Q: From a design perspective, what is key to creating a strong brand?

SG: Every situation is different. Sometimes it’s about the way images, photography is used. Or, it can be as simple as the color the company is using. What I like is being able to sit back and see patterns. When you look down from an airplane, grids, sometimes you see grids and structure and sometimes it’s chaos down there. Sometimes the chaos is in the manmade pieces and the structure is in the natural pieces – and vice versa.
 
If you’re standing in a field, you’re right next to everything. You can see a long way but you’re looking out from the weeds. When you’re up high, you look down and can see the whole thing from a new perspective. You get a better sense of how things are working.
 
I like to do that – step back and look at everything – color, taglines, strategies, vision – and come up with things you might not have gotten to because you already thought you had it figured out. It might have started out as executing. But when you can come in with something bigger and broader, you can oftentimes make it beyond what a client imagined was possible.
 

Q: With everything constantly evolving and changing, how do you adapt design to accommodate?

SG: One of the biggest changes is making sure with the design that the visual will flow well on all those screens. Fifteen years ago, it was all about print or digital and digital was probably on a computer screen. Then it started to happen on your phone and then on tablets. Within the last five years or so, we’ve had to understand that we need all these devices to work in harmony. Can you actually do one thing that is going to work well on all those devices?
 
All the devices are different sizes and are smaller, so responsiveness has been a critical issue in constantly making sure things are working well. In the same way, we as creatives need to be thinking in different dimensions. As we think about an idea, how is it going to work on a computer screen and then on your phone? How can we leverage the same idea in a completely different environment? Thinking about all the pieces is one of the keys to success.
 
Watch for the Part 3 in the series with Seth, where he talks about trends and executing with excellence. Read Part 1 of the interview series.

SethGuge
 
Seth joined Verve as Creative Director in 2010. His career has included design leadership roles at Arc Worldwide/Leo Burnett, Euro RSCG, and Burrell Communications where he brought his creative talents to brands such Target Stores, McDonald’s, Starbucks, Verizon, and Proctor & Gamble. Recognition for Seth’s work spans both the digital and print worlds including best-in-class design accolades by Amazon.com for the Crest Whitestrips online storefront pages and being featured in Print Magazine for the design of Michael Jordan’s book, For the Love of the Game. Seth holds a B.A. in Visual Communications from Judson University and was one of forty design leaders selected for Harvard Business School’s Business Perspectives for Design Leaders program. This is the first in a series of blog posts based on interviews with Seth.
 

Q: Seth, tell us about your background and when you first recognized your love of art.

SG: I grew up in the Fox Valley area of Illinois and have lived there all my life. I’m the oldest of eight kids and my father was an artist – a wood sculptor, and my mother wrote poetry. My parents also collected antiques and art seemed to be around me all the time.
 
My interest in art began when I started drawing. My parents understood my natural ability, along with being part of an atmosphere that already had art in it. Some of it was my ability and some was part of the woodwork of the house. My parents started art lessons for me through an after-school program. A lot of kids were going home and playing baseball, while my parents once or twice a week drove me to a lady’s house where, with one or two other kids, we did various things, including oil painting.
 

Q: How has your interest in art and design evolved over time?

SG: When I was young and I drew and painted, I thought I would make money drawing and painting. Then I went off to college, took photography classes and wanted to be a photographer. I took illustration classes and wanted to be an illustrator, then graphic design classes.
 
As I started to do internships in the graphic design industry, I realized it didn’t necessarily mean I must be the person who took the photos or drew the pictures. I had the ability to manage all aspects of the projects, finding the photographers and other team members and being able to control the whole creative process, looking at design, photography, communication, stepping out into the marketing as well, the strategy behind the project.
 

Q: You’ve worked on some big brands like Target, McDonald’s and Starbucks. What was something that surprised you as you worked on those projects and what lessons did you learn as a result?

SG: I saw that working on bigger brands doesn’t necessarily mean bigger budgets. It was kind of surprising that we still needed to stay within parameters. What you think might be a big budget project can be small budget and it can be (more…)

marketing communication mix With less and less available time -– and budgets that need to stretch to do more -– choosing the right mix for optimal impact is more important than ever. Marketers are finding it increasingly difficult to keep up with constantly emerging strategies and better ways of executing. And while technology has certainly allowed us to become more efficient, sound decision making in choosing the right things in the first place still remain.
 

No Such Thing As One-Size-Fits-All

Products are different, audiences are different, and budgets are different. So advice that seems to be a one-size-fits-all solution for marketing communications should raise a red flag no matter how tempting. Still, even experienced marketers can get caught up in the promise of a potential magic bullet combination of media or a “must-do” tactic given limited time.

 
So remind yourself and trust your gut – inbound is not the only correct way to market products. Online marketing tactics, to the exclusion of everything else, are not the only media vehicles that should be used for every product and campaign. Off-page SEO is not always the best use of budget for a new website and will depend on total budget, objectives, and competition.
 
Our philosophy is to start with what you are trying to accomplish and draw from the full tool box of strategies and tactics to move your business forward. There’s no perfect strategy or magic solution, but a sound strategy implemented well will move good products and services forward.
 

Back to Basics:

Use Media That Your Audience Uses

You want to go where your audience is. If your audience is under 40 and likely active on social media, then it may make sense to develop a solid content strategy plan and execute it through appropriate channels. If not, hold your ground on disproportionately spending time posting on a “must-do” channel.
 
Watching the news, it may feel like “everyone” is on Twitter for example, but a survey by Pew Research (Dec. 2012) indicates that just 16% of online adults are active Twitter users. Perhaps your target audience of donors with average age 55+ are not going to highly value building their relationship with your non-profit by getting updates by following you on Twitter.
 
One interesting fact to note is that marketers themselves are disproportionately active on social media, so the need to separate personal experience from the media usage of our target audiences is especially important in this area.
 

Use What Makes Sense for Your Product

The nature of products and services themselves should be taken into account. Let’s take marketing in the book publishing industry as an example. Releases of “key” book titles by large trade book publishers typically receive a promotional push over a relatively short period of about three months. The marketing communications mix for best-selling non-fiction titles will likely rely heavily on PR with media-worthy authors pitched to discuss the topic of their books. Authors themselves often supplement publisher efforts through social media, blogging about the topic, and generally getting the word out about their books.
 
By nature, books are creations that are uniquely individual, written by authors who wish to put into the public space their own unique perspective and experience. The product lends itself to blogging (they’re writers) and interaction on the topics themselves spur interest and potential sales.
 

Use What’s Appropriate for Your Customer Relationship

Growing a brand is a process of getting more and more people to become aware of it and become increasingly loyal advocates. Potential customers find out about the brand, some try it out, some find it a wonderful experience they want to have again, and increasingly there will be more who move to become all-out loyal advocates. The concept of dating to marriage is a great analogy for the brand experience. I highly recommend the book Married to the Brand by William McEwen, Gallup Press if this interests you.
 
So think of your audience as on a continuum with one end represented by those who aren’t even aware of your brand, through to those still learning and experiencing it, to those who are totally on board.
 
With this in mind, of course not everyone should be communicated with the same way. For those “kicking the tires,” inbound strategies are especially appropriate. Social media marketing and in some cases, highly targeted advertising (paid communications) are going to be more core components to audiences who are in the early stages of getting to know you.
 
On the other end, one-to-one communications such as email and even direct mail allow you to have relevant communications with customers who already have shown an interest in your brand. In the case of email, opt-in is the law(!) so only interested subscribers will be getting your communications. This relatively low-cost tactic also allows for micro-targeting based on interests, demographics, and past purchase behavior.
 
Organizations with long-standing customer relationships going back to direct mail days have transitioned over to digital email and enewsletters over the past ten years. Using a one-two punch of both tactics also often makes sense.
 

Be Encouraged!

Of course none of these factors stands alone and some will be more important than others. But taking that extra few minutes to think again about what makes sense before doing the same old mix -– or getting on the band wagon of the must-do new tactic -– is worth your time!
 
There is a beauty, art, and science in creating an effective mix. And while the world will continue to offer new opportunities to communicate better and cheaper, sound decision making will always go back to the basics.
 
And last — no matter what strategies and tactics you end up using, good execution makes the real difference. What you communicate matters as much as where you communicate! But now we have a bigger, fun toolbox of options to employ. Enjoy!
 
Joan Begitschke is Marketing and Brand Strategist at Verve Marketing Group in Chicago. Follow Joan on Twitter @jbegits and find her on Google+.

Last week, there was brute-force login attack targeted at WordPress websites, a popular publishing platform. An estimatead 17% of sites worldwide use the platform and its popularity makes it a constant subject of attempts to exploit vulnerabilities.
 
This particular case is a brute force attempt at a Denial of Service (DoS) attack. In particular, if you have “admin” as your username, change it and make you’re using a strong password.  Do not use common passwords like “admin“ or “password123.”  Create a strong password with a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols (like % or #).  It’s also good practice in general, to keep your version and plugins (more…)