Posted by & in category Internet Marketing.

By this point, everyone knows (or should at lease recognize) internet marketing tools such as Pay Per Click advertisements, Website Optimization, Blogging, and so forth. However, few are familiar with one of the ”newer” tools, known as Affiliate Marketing or Affiliate Program Marketing.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is an online advertising channel in which advertisers (online merchants that sell products or services) pay publishers (independent parties that promote the products or services of an advertiser on their Web site) only for results, such as a visitor making a purchase or filling out a form, rather than paying simply to reach a particular audience. For example, our agency has recently teamed up with a number of advertisers and brands of products that we frequently use or that we feel would be beneficial for our visitors. You can check them out in the ”Sharp Recommends” section on the right navigational bar. And since you’re there, check a few of them out by clicking on them. Sometimes the offers that appear for these vendors are a much better bargain than you could find elsewhere.

Personally, when I started using affiliates for some of our clients, I found if VERY tedious to keep track of each individual program, login and username for these programs, and which client’s site they were going to be used on. Then when I was trying to find a better solution, the clouds parted and the Affiliate Sun God shined through. As any good marketer would, a company called Commission Junction recognized this “hole” in the marketplace and developed a website (Click HERE to take a gander) to make management of Affiliate Programs simple as pie. On their website, advertisers can create a login and choose from thousands of vendors (with big names including Banana Republic, Xerox, Wall Street Journal, etc.). From your login page, you can track the performance of each, every site they are placed on, and view all of the vendor’s advertising options including keyword ads, text ads, banner ads and more.

Commission Junction has truly made my life easier and I would recommend the site to any marketer that wants to dabble in the Affiliate Marketing Pond. Kudos to them. Now remember, if you know you are in need of a specific product from one of our affiliates, make sure to come back to our site and purchase it through here. All proceeds are going right back into the maximization of this blog so we can continue to offer relevant, quality (or at least we think so) material for our bloggers and bloggettes.

Posted by & in category Design That Sells.

A few weeks ago, my Father, a 56 year old entrepreneur, asked if I could throw together a brand identity and some marketing materials for his most recent endeavor: a small sandwich/concession/ice cream shop. After due conceptualization, research, and a few hours tinkering around in InDesign (I am not exactly “trained” as a graphic designer), I developed three logo concepts for him to review and incorporated each into a complementary, basic tri-fold menu. When I presented him the fruits of my labor, the only thing he said in response was “I hate those menus and I don’t know why.”

Great. Not only was this project pro-bono; I had to play the ever-so-familiar guessing game of “what do I do now?” You know; you’ve been there. So, I changed my focus and asked myself “what would he be looking for as a consumer?” I wanted to know why he made that face before even reading the copy of the menu. While doing a little research, I came accross a very interesting empirical study regarding the instantaneous impact of typeface aesthetics on a consumer’s perception and emotional response which can be found HERE. Within the results of this study, I discovered the answer I was looking for. The participants of the study consisted of mainly hospital employees or students between the ages of 21 to 40 years (all within my age bracket and below my fathers). After exposing these participants to a number of typefaces, they found that “Georgia” font (the font I used in the menu) is congruent with the trait words practical, formal, and assertive, while Arial (my dad’s prefernce) is congruent with the trait words stable, conformist, and unimaginative.

Hmm. Does this make baby boomers more conformists or unimaginative when it comes to typeface? I won’t go that far but I will say this: there is definitely an underlying, distinct difference between generations and typeface/graphic design.

Posted by & in category Marketing Musings.

A while back, I read about Philly-based agency Gyro Worldwide changing their name to Quaker City Mercantile due to the fact they believe they “are a hybrid of 19th century mercantilism and 21st century brand artistry.” Wow. But today I read these “artists” are crafting something else – BEER and RUM!

We all know the ad industry as a whole is suffering from spending cuts, general client malaise about the economy and the unwritten rule that marketing is always the first thing to go. But I think these guys are onto something.

They have a series of books, they’re producing films, they have their own brand of rum – Sailor Jerry – and now they’re making beer. The agency took a major stake in New England’s Narragansett Brewery. Of course being an ad agency, they have produced their own campaign including print collateral, surfboard and airplane banners, radio, TV and a line of apparel.

My first thought was “BRILLIANT! Our creative sessions could quadruple in fun and we can pay the vendors in beer!” Then, my thoughts shifted to who would actually want to work on the agency side versus playing with hops and sugarcane. Although it is summer and this sounds like a great way to diversify, I think we’ll just stick to reinventing the agency with shifting client needs. I’d be happy to discuss this over a cold one with you.