You are currently browsing Angie McEldowney, Account Executive’s articles.

Long before I joined the VantagePoint team, a bug crawled out from between the cushions on a couch in the middle of our art department during a daily traffic meeting. This one bug surprised the unsuspecting account executive who sat on the couch that morning—who, in turn, forever dubbed this couch, “the bug couch.”

I’ve never actually seen a bug descend from this couch, yet I still call it “the bug couch” like my colleagues and carefully eyeball the cushions before taking a seat. And last week, when a new account coordinator joined our team, what did we do? Warned her of the bug couch, of course!

My point? This otherwise clean, well-structured, comfortable couch had one bug many months ago, and its personal brand may never fully recover.

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In today’s economy, it’s only natural to be looking for areas in your marketing budget to cut costs or reallocate. And with printing often being a significant expense for many marketing initiatives, it can seem like an easy decision to go with the cheapest printer and a house stock. After all, it’s just paper and ink, right?

Not so fast! A less-than-professional print job can send the wrong message to your customers, and you don’t want your high-quality ideas or products to be dismissed because your brochure looks amateur. There are so many opportunities to improve your direct mail, collateral or other printed pieces with some careful thought about how you want to print it.

For example, we recently concepted a Christmas card for a client, and instead of just turning over artwork with no thought to production, our recommendation included printing with silver ink on Neenah Paper Inc.’s “Starwhite” Flash Pearl paper (a white stock with a shimmery pearl effect) — a combination that screamed holiday cheer.

The paper and printing process you choose can also help enhance your message. For example, if you’re working on a piece to share your sustainability story, an uncoated, recycled paper with soy-based inks makes a lot more sense than a glossy house stock. Or, if you’re marketing a product known for its strength and durability, why not engage your audience with a non-tearable synthetic paper?

Upgrades like these don’t always need to cost a lot of money. Many marketing agencies employ production services specialists who can provide recommendations and guidance, or a quality printer should have knowledgeable reps on staff to help you understand what options are available.

So, before you send your next piece off to the printer, stop to think about the production possibilities. There’s a whole world to explore full of colored, textured papers; shimmery and metallic inks; glosses and coatings; embossing and debossing; variable content and customization; and many other interesting materials and processes. Have some fun, and good luck!

One of the benefits of living in Upstate South Carolina is that beach trips can be taken on a whim and over a weekend. And as anyone who has driven to the beach knows, the closer you get, the more billboards there are vying for your attention.

I’m always amazed by the one that never fails to catch my eye. It’s not for a beautiful beach resort. It’s not for the newest restaurant or tourist destination. It’s not for anything I would expect to catch my eye on a trip to the coast. It’s this:

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One of the first things that attracted me to the marketing and advertising profession was a ketchup bottle. Sound weird? It’s true—before picking a major and packing up for college, I was walking through a grocery store and some Heinz ketchup labels caught my eye.

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