Marketing 101

Creative Director Todd Palmer of Virtual Farm Creative, Inc. offers marketing tips and advice.


Marketing's New Language — From the Four P's to the Four R's

Consumers have become turned off to PUSH marketing as they are bombarded with as many as 3000 messages hitting them every day. The company saying how great they are in a display ad doesn't cut into all of the other marketing noise out there. Besides, consumers trust each other more than someone trying to sell them something. It's a highly connected marketplace.

Quintet of Tips for Better Banners — Getting the Clicks

Adages don't become old unless they have more than a modicum of honest to goodness, time-tested truth at their core. The old adage that you never get a second chance to make a first impression is no exception and it’s especially true and especially true in business. The best offerings, the best pricing, the best presentations can all be undone by a disastrous or even lackluster first impression.

Is Green Marketing Dying on the Vine?

Believe it or not, environmentalism has been tied to marketing since the middle part of the 1970s. America’s economy was the undisputed champion of the universe and the advertising industry was steamrolling messages into the hearts and minds of a fairly recently captive audience when rumors of an oil shortage created a whole new wave of emotional marketing messages.

The Internet Is Not Fair— Get Over It and Get Creative!

Dearth isn’t a word you hear used very much. More often than not people say, “there’s not enough of” something to describe something of which there is not enough. However, dearth is much more negative and final and is a much better way to describe the current reality of Internet domain names.

Excellent Service Equals Excellent Marketing— Make Damage Control Part of Your Core Competency

In the advertising industry, if you’re a photographer on location, you can expect cloud cover. If you’re an account executive, you can expect the client to demand the job a day early. If you’re an art director, you can expect designers to inject unwanted style on deadline. If you’re a multimedia director, you can expect code conflict just before you compile an application. If you’re a production manager, you can expect just about every other thing throughout your workday to go wrong…

When Bigger Isn't Better — Getting Small Ads to Effectively Work for You

Small business owners in and around the Route 422 Corridor have multiple reasons for not running full-page ads in every publication that touches their target markets. Chief among them is usually budget, but there are other reasons that decision makers throughout the region might opt for smaller formatted display advertisements. Perhaps they’re testing a campaign, testing a publication or testing display advertising in general. Maybe they’re stretching their reach in multiple publications or opting for better frequency.

Requesting Excellence for Your Enterprise — Make Their Proposals Part of Your Plan!

My firm gets the call almost weekly — "Hello, my company needs a website and some revised marketing materials. Can you tell me how much it will cost?"

Clearly these inquiring minds are just kicking tires — not to mention diverting resources away from current client work. Unlike an automobile, your company’s marketing isn’t a commodity making answering those questions nearly impossible. Whn potential clients are ready to get serious about their company’s marketing campaigns they formally invite vendors to formally respond.

No News Is Not Good News — Use Multi-Function Newsletters to Educate, Promote and Sell

One of our clients was battling some brand confusion in the national press. It seems that another, very similarly named, entity was in the media’s hot seat with issues that include corruption and bankruptcy. The fear was that consumers would equate, by virtue of name similarity, our client with the misfortunes of this national time bomb.

This really puts to the test the notion that ‘any press is good press,’ but, when the dust settled, we still believe that the recognition our client received was mostly positive and beneficial to their business.

Every Business Tells a Story — Your Customers Want What You've Got

In one form or another VFC develops a newsletter for just about all of our clients.

It could be an annual collection of content developed for an annual report, a monthly printed piece or a periodic graphical email but they all understand one thing— staying in front of potential customers leads to business growth.

In fact, one consumer-focused client of ours just decided to send out shorter, weekly email newsletters to a growing list of potential customers. As they put it, “when the time comes for them to make a choice, we want to be on their minds.”

Top Secret Tip— Making Yourself Available for Marketing Success

"Catch a man a fish, and you can sell it to him. Teach a man to fish, and you ruin a wonderful business opportunity." – Karl Marx

We were recently asked to contribute some content to a trade publication by one of our clients who are a regional leader in their industry. This client so appreciated one of VFC's standard offerings that he wanted us to expose its virtues so that others could benefit from setting up a similar resource.

A Little Secret

Tough Times Demand a Smarter Marketing Strategy — Is Your Business Using Cost Effective Email Marketing?

Everyone hates telemarketers. So much so, that, in 2003 the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) created the National Do Not Call Registry. Similarly, mailboxes up and down the Route 422 corridor are bursting with mail that people don't want. Now, in the digital age, fortunes are being made by proposing the elimination of stuff we don't want in our email inbox.

What's a direct marketer to do?

The Million Dollar Idea — New and Old Promotions to Pilfer

In the early fifties a long forgotten television executive wearing a super thin tie had an epiphany that would spark a groundbreaking promotional idea. Legend has it that New York City affiliate WWOR first exploited the concept of the Million Dollar Movie to promote the television broadcasts of cinematic efforts that had a production cost of a million dollars or more which was a big budget in ‘50s and ‘60s.

Status Update: Todd is Writing About Social Network Marketing Right in Front of Their Faces

Face it, you either have a lot of friends that use Facebook or you have a lot of friends on Facebook because you're a part of the revolution. Either way, there's no denying that Facebook has successfully swept through every part of the nation, collecting users from every social, ideological, economic, religious and political stripe.

If You Build It, Will They Come? Optimize Your Mousetrap to Catch More Mice

A client once asked my opinion of advertising in the commercial phone book. You know the pages by their color and their once ubiquitous and meaningful tag line... but, these days, people whose fingers used to do the walking are choosing to let their mice do the searching.

I asked him back, “Where do you go to find a [insert business category here]?”

Not-For-Profit Marketing — Think Big With Micro Philanthropy

Odds are that a decent percentage of the readers of this column are directly involved in the direction of a not-for-profit organization. I know this because a decent percentage of our clients are non-profits and an even higher percentage are involved as board members or volunteers to non-profits while excelling in their commercial pursuits at the same time.

Targets Getting Tougher to Touch? Blast Away With Effective Emails

In and around the Route 422 Corridor, higher fuel prices are affecting everything from production to postage, making direct mail less desirable every day. What's a company gotta do to reach the consumer?

Well, you could advertise in well-read, well-distributed and extremely affordable vehicles like the Route 422 Business Advisor. At the same time, you could also devote more of your Route 422 company's resources to embracing the future of targeted touching.

Greenwashing — Be Honest in Your Ecomarketing

Wired Magazine features, each month, a fun little feature called “Jargon Watch.” In that interesting editorial the enterprising writers of the leading-edge technology journal scour the ever-changing global lexicon for new terms that are being invented to define and describe our lives. The new terms – actual words, actually being used – are most often pulled from the high-tech scene or the continually shrinking global culture. More and more though, new terms and phrases are popping up to clarify our relationship with the reality of climate change.

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Group contributors


  • David Green's picture
  • Sarah Magrino's picture
  • Todd Palmer's picture


  • Bill Haley's picture