The PR-fect Date

Remember the good ‘ole days when you could pop over to the library on a Wednesday night with your friends and get asked on a date for that Saturday night? You’d go, get to know the person and have a good time (or not have a good time, and never have to see them again). There was no “Googling” or “Facebook stalking” the person – you’d just go on a date. Eventually, you’d meet “the one,” get married, and live happily ever after… or something to that effect.

Okay, so I don’t remember those days. But I’ve heard that’s how it shook out back then – at least that’s how it went in the stories my mother would tell.

Unfortunately, dating in this generation isn’t as simple. First dates are more like job interviews, and as a result can be extremely intimidating.

Granted, they do have their benefits. In fact, they are ideal for prepping for the PR world. Let me show you (more…)

Relevant Marketing Part 2: Know Your Target Market

Denise Stoppleworth – President – IRONCLAD Marketing

Denise Stoppleworth

We established in our first entry that tough economic times call – not for cuts in marketing – but for a more strategic and calculated investment in those marketing dollars. Essentially, to be successful, you must be relevant. Sounds simple enough right? But how do we build relevant marketing. This entry is designed to explore the very first step: Understanding your audience.

You may all say you already understand your audience and know who they are. Check. Accomplished. Move on. But not so fast! Before you stop reading this entry and move on to other things, pause for a moment to consider not the high level picture, but the details. Don’t use a 6 inch brush to paint your market. Drill down and understand not only who they are but also the details about them. Below is a small sampling of the simple questions you should ask yourself: (more…)

Setting The Pace For Marketing Success

There seem to be a lot of runners trotting around the streets of Fargo these days.  Most look a little pained, pretty exhausted. Several have water tied to their belt like there’s a chance of ending up in a desert.

What’s the deal?  The majority of these runners have been busting their butts – literally– to be in stride for the Fargo Marathon. The 8th annual, that is. So let’s see – 8 years, 26.2 miles, thousands of people… that’s a ton of miles.

In 2005, the Fargo Marathon became a venue for 707 marathon runners to sweat, bleed, and blister through a 26.2-mile jaunt. About 1,700 additional runners participated in other race events for a total of more than 2,400 people in the first official year. Race planners were thrilled with the turnout and believed it would be the largest attendance in the history of the Fargo Marathon.

They can look back now and laugh. Fargo Marathon events broke the 20,000 participant mark in 2010 – fitting hand-in-hand with the theme that year: 20 x 10 – 20,000 runners by 2010. But the 20,000 mark didn’t hold a record for long. Over 23,000 runners gathered to participate in last year’s event, and 25,000 are expected this year. Wow!

Obviously this event has set a good pace and won’t be hitting a wall anytime soon. So how did this annual event create such a stampede? It seems to have been a recipe for success from the beginning. My opinion – it’s all about passion. Combine insanely passionate people with a beefy challenge, and you’re set up for success. The same can be said with the construction industry – our clients (more…)

Relevant Marketing Part 1: A Wise Investment Is Only The Beginning

Denise Stoppleworth – President – IRONCLAD Marketing

Denise Stoppleworth

As marketers and businesspeople, we like to think we’re in charge of our own destiny. Okay, let’s be honest, it’s part of human nature. No matter who or where we are, we like to think of controlling our destiny. We plan. We forecast. We evaluate and reevaluate. Ultimately, we expect things to work out as planned. But if we’ve learned anything in the last several years, it’s that we need to plan for the unexpected. There are many things beyond our control. The true “control” comes in how we choose to respond.

This week, I attended the APWA Snow Conference in Milwaukee. It was painfully clear to manufacturers in the snow industry that there is an element of their destiny well beyond their control –  Weather! With the record warm temperatures and low precipitation this year, manufacturers and service providers in that market received an unexpected jolt back to that painful reality. Adding to that difficult awakening was the failed forecasts of everything from the Farmers Almanac to forecaster after forecaster who predicted record snowfall and an incredibly harsh winter.- Consider this: We went from a winter last year in which 49 out of 50 states received snow, to this year where virtually no state had snow of any significance. And with uncertainty in what next year’s weather may hold, it requires making some basic business decisions on faith. (more…)

Know Why I Ride My Bike?

Denise Stoppleworth – President – IRONCLAD Marketing

Denise Stoppleworth

“Hey, know why I ride my bike?” A boy of about five yelled this to me last night as I was on my walk with my iPod listening to Kenny Chesney. His bushy brown hair stuck out from beneath his helmet, which made his face look round and his cheeks pink. I smiled and yelled over the sound of the music in my ears, “Nope.” “Because I can get where I am going really fast! See, I’m already at my friends house.”
I had to chuckle to myself. You see, I had passed this boy playing on his driveway during my initial lap through the neighborhood. Upon seeing me walk by again and realizing I hadn’t made it home, I’m sure he asked himself, “Why is she still walking?” and wanted to introduce me to a “better “ way of achieving my objective. The only problem was, he didn’t realize that my objective was different than his. It wasn’t about speed in reaching a destination. It was about physical exercise.

I couldn’t help but think about how many times this happens in marketing. There is no (more…)

All That Can Be Done – With Only One

Denise Stoppleworth – President – IRONCLAD Marketing

Denise Stoppleworth

“I am only one. But I AM one. I cannot do everything. But I CAN do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can.”  – Edward Hale

The power of one has been demonstrated many times, but I never tire of hearing the stories and meeting those heroic people who have the courage, the integrity and the honor to change lives. And sometimes you meet them in the most unexpected places…like the AGG1 show.

I’ve always loved the equipment industry because it’s filled with remarkable people. In my 16 plus years in the industry, I’ve made many friends and learned from so many brilliant and inspiring individuals. Perhaps no lesson more moving than the day I met Neil and Jennifer Hise of CEMCO, Inc., a manufacturer of vertical shaft impact crushers. A client introduced us at the AGG1 Show a few weeks ago, and I took an immediate liking to this pair. In fact, when I returned from the show, I teased my husband by saying I had fallen in love with another guy! Kevin only laughed. But what is not to love with Neil.

In our brief conversation, I discovered Neil was a pilot. That was interesting enough. But the conversation then took a turn (more…)

To Do And Not To Do – Lessons From Dunder Mifflin

Ah, The Office. Easily one of my favorite shows. Just ask Denise – actually, don’t. Several of us at IRONCLAD quote the show like it’s second nature — not even realizing we’re doing it. Add to that, the frequent reference to certain episodes and all the inside jokes tied to it and we tend to drive Denise nuts. But in my years of faithfully watching The Office, I’ve found some real business lessons to be learned from the characters. So I’d like to share – and then I promise Denise, no more Office around the office for at least a week.

Dwight – Proof That Passion Pays Off
As ridiculous his antics or bizarre his methods, Dwight continues to be the top salesman in the office. And why? He loves his job. Not just that, he’s hopelessly devoted to it. Day and night, rain or shine, holidays and weekends, Dwight is there to provide top-notch, personal service for clients — something Dunder Mifflin (more…)

Social Network Showdown – Facebook Pages vs. Google+ Pages

Mitchell Wagner – Art Director – IRONCLAD Marketing

Mitchell Wagner

Google+ brand pages have been available for almost two months. You may be considering getting your company on board or wondering whether it’s going to be another failed attempt at social media by Google (remember Google Wave and Goolge Buzz? No? Don’t feel bad-you’re not alone). 

Your immediate reaction may be “isn’t this just another Facebook?” While there is some truth to that, as they have many similar features, Google has found some areas that can outshine Facebook — for the moment anyway. Adding another social network might be the last thing on your mind right now, but whether or not you are thinking of creating a company page, it is important to at least spend some time browsing around Google+ to become familiar with its features. It is better to be prepared to make the switch if needed rather than starting from scratch.

You can bet Facebook (more…)

Everything I Need To Know About Marketing I Learned From Christmas Programs

Denise Stoppleworth – President – IRONCLAD Marketing

Denise Stoppleworth

Okay, we’ve all read that famous poem about everything you needed to know about life was learned in Kindergarten. True and poignant. Got me thinking. There are so many crossovers in life where basic rules and lesson apply.

I recently directed the Christmas program at my church. Trust me, working with 40-plus kids under the age of 13 to pull off a meaningful program is about as far from my normal day-to-day life as you can get (though I do often accuse Mitch and Kevin of acting like children!). But, in the process of practice and directing, I found myself conveying messages that aren’t uncommon to what I tell clients and staff on a frequent basis.

So here are the marketing lessons (more…)

Is There Mutiny In The Ranks? Perhaps. Then Again, Maybe Not…

Denise Stoppleworth – President – IRONCLAD Marketing

Denise Stoppleworth

Last year, I “suggested” everyone write a Thanksgiving blog. (Those of you who know me, know that suggest may be a “mild” term for it.) Everyone – even the designers traditionally opposed to copy – found a way to communicate those things for which they are thankful. If you recall, Mitch’s blog entry was quite clever. Check it out. This year however, Mitch put his foot down and said, “No Thanksgiving mandate.” Every once in a while, Mitch has to win a battle, so I gave him this one. No suggestion. No prompting. Not even a polite request was made. But you see what happened? They (the Thanksgiving blog entries) still appeared. They came without mandate, begging or prompting. Perhaps because none of us can let this time of year pass by without being grateful.

I too can’t help but express my gratitude. I know I’m truly blessed – with a wonderful husband, three great kids, good health, strong faith and a myriad of personal blessings that leave me filled with gratitude no matter what challenges arise. But it’s even more than that. I feel (more…)