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Select Imaging Blog - What's on our mind?

Blog Archive

Top Five Ways to Work Less and Enjoy Life More

Everything today is about "more": more money, more time, more pressure, and ultimately, more stress. However, does this rat-race life leave you feeling flat and defeated and constantly chasing an ideal you're no longer sure exists? If this sounds like you, it's probably time to downshift and find ways to work less and truly enjoy your life more. Working less sounds like a scary prospect, but once you see how achievable it is and how much peace it will return to your life, you will be sold!

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Personalization Matters: Why Going the Extra Mile is Always Worth It

When people talk about the decline of "mom and pop" businesses in favor of the giant, national retailers, one of the things they bring up is that it's hard to find a store that you can walk into these days where the person behind the counter actually takes the time to learn your name. You can't walk into a national brand and expect someone to go "Hey, Phil - how did that new garden hose you bought last week work out for you? I've been thinking about you, and I thought you might like this other new product, too."

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3 Easy Time Management Tips: How to Create More Hours in a Day

The one natural resource there never seems to be enough of is time. There are only so many hours in a day. You don't need to wish that tomorrow will suddenly be a 35-hour day to get all of your work done. Instead, you need to start using a few small, yet critical, time management tips today to work smarter, not harder, with the hours that you DO have available to you. Here are three tips to get you started.

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The Importance of Appreciation For Morale

As a hard worker, you want to be appreciated. This is simply human nature. We all want to feel our hard work is noticed and appreciated. After all, it only seems fair to be at least appreciated for giving your blood, sweat, and tears to make a profit for your employer. As an employer, you need to understand the importance appreciation has when it comes to the morale of your workplace. Appreciation is a huge aspect of a healthy, thriving workplace environment.

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"Take It From Me"- Why Testimonials Are So Effective

Marketing is all about giving your customers the information they need to make an informed purchasing decision. Everything you do - from the copy you craft to the images you choose - is built around that simple purpose in mind.

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The Long-Term Benefits of Making Leisure Time a Priority

Listening to the waves as they cascade against the sand, feeling the warm breeze against your face, understanding that all is right with the world, at least for that moment, that is what vacation is for most people. Perhaps you would trade the ocean waves for the sound of an eagle soaring through resplendent mountaintops covered in evergreens or snowcaps. The idea, though, is that you are away from your everyday world. You stop clocking in. You aren’t dealing with the stress that encompasses so much of your everyday existence. You are on vacation.

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Veterans Use the Internet to Expand Skill Set and Boost Income
As a war veteran, Shane Thomason knows firsthand what it feels like to experience victory in battle. After being home for nearly ten years from the Iraqi War, Thomason now spends his time giving back to the community and expanding his occupational skill set via the internet. Owning more than 250 websites, including RandomVeteran.com, Thomason enjoys working from home and has found much success in being able to sell unique t-shirts and other novelty items online. 
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The “Foot in the Door” Technique

Nobody questions the value of getting “a foot in the door.” We all strive at one point or another to get a foot in the door with an employer, an institution of higher learning, or even a romantic relationship.

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Why You Should Never Cut Corners in the World of Print Marketing

In business, to say that you should make every dollar count is an understatement. When dealing with uncertain economic times, budgeting decisions matter a great deal. Improving your profit margins and increasing your bottom line is always a top priority, which is why the instinct to try to cut corners to save a few dollars here and there is a natural one.


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A Leadership Ethics Lesson Courtesy of a Leeson

Although ethical behavior in business is often touted, it can be hard to attain in practice. That’s because ethical behavior has to be practiced by every individual, every day. It’s not the sort of thing that can be decided upon and implemented en masse. Leaders are often under particular pressure to be practical over ethical. The reasoning is often because hard decisions require frequent compromise, and ethics often come across as black-and-white perspectives that don’t match the reality facing a decision-maker.

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AR, VR, and Other Ways to Use Technology in a Print Campaign

From the affordable headsets that take users into another setting or world via virtual reality to games like Pokémon Go and even children’s coloring pages, technology is impacting the way we live and seek out entertainment. It may seem like virtual or augmented reality is firmly fixed in the digital world (and therefore of no interest to those who create and use printed pieces), but a surprising amount of technology can be incorporated into printed media.

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What You Need to Know About Color in Design

In a recent study conducted by KissMetrics.com, visual appearance and color ranked more important to consumers than just about everything else when viewing marketing materials. In fact, ninety-three percent of people who responded to the survey said that visual appearance (which color is a part of) was the most important factor they used when making a purchasing decision. Only six percent said texture, while on percent placed a heavy value on sound and smell.

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Business Cards: Why They're Still an Important Marketing Tool in the Digital World

With all of the talk about the importance of properly marketing your product or service, it's important not to overlook the most valuable commodity of all: yourself. As much as that beautiful-looking flyer attracts the right type of attention for your product, a business card is designed to do the same for both your professional image and your career as a whole.

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Avoid These Common Print Marketing Mistakes for Visually Compelling Content

Compelling images are the perfect way to attract attention and create an emotional connection with your customers and prospects. Avoid these common mistakes as you design newer and richer content moving forward.


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Learning to Listen: The Hard Way

In the 70s, Italian aid worker Ernesto Serelli learned to listen to clients the hard way. His amusing tale of how he "helped" a village in Africa grow tomatoes, only to see the harvest consumed in a single night by the local hippos, is a powerful and popular TED talk. While you won’t want to miss this dynamic speaker, some key takeaways are outlined below:

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Make Customer Loyalty a Bigger Part of Your Marketing Efforts

In the early days of your business, the goal of your marketing program was essentially a singular one: you tried to get your product or service in front of as many eyes as you possibly could. Once you've established yourself, however, it's time to switch gears a little.

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Don't Fear Your Marketing Competitors. Learn From Them

Regardless of the products you're trying to market, the audience you're trying to cater to, or the industry you happen to be operating in, all businesses face competition. This is just a fact of life. But it's important to realize that a competitor isn't just another company that is trying to go after the same pool of customers that you are. Competitors are invaluable learning opportunities that are just waiting to be taken advantage of, provided you approach things from the right angle.

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Leadership Sometimes Means Showing You're Human

Mary Barra, the CEO of General Motors, has seen her share of tough times. She took on the CEO mantle as one of the first female company leaders in the auto industry, only to get slapped with a faulty auto ignition switch recall.


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April Fools' Day and the Art of Humor Marketing

Did you enjoy some April Fools' Day marketing jokes this year? Make no mistake about it: coming from a business, April Fools' Day jokes are every bit as much an art as they are a science. It's an opportunity to inject a breath of fresh air into your marketing efforts, as the day is one that has quickly become synonymous with pranks and practical jokes. If you do it properly, adding humor to your marketing campaigns can also be an excellent conversation starter - it's a unique way to add new members to your audience and engage with existing ones at the same time.

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How to Take the Lessons Learned in Online Marketing and Apply Them to the World of Print
Print marketing isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Over the last few years, people are coming to the realization that digital and print isn't an "either/or" scenario. Many use one to supplement and compliment the other to great effect. Despite this, people still tend to think of them as two different mediums, thinking you have different rules that you use online than those that you follow in print.
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It's Okay to go Niche: How One Unusual Brand is Turning Trash into Specialty Surf Bags

Sometimes, we stumble across an answer to a problem that we did not know existed. Alec and Aric Avedissian are solving two problems at once with their business Rareform. Rareform's customers get durable, one-of-a-kind surfbags while the company helps reroute some of the thousands of pounds of billboard material that is discarded in the U.S. every day.

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Never Be Afraid to Take on the Big Boys

Something strange is happening on the yogurt shelves: the most popular yogurt is not from a big maker like Dannon or Yoplait. It's a product from a small, 12-year-old upstart from New York. In March, Bloomberg wrote that Chobani had overtaken Yoplait to become the most popular yogurt in the U.S. The story of how this independent took on the big brands and won has lessons for all of us.

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3 Tips for More Emotional Print Marketing Collateral

Despite what you may believe, most people don't rely on information when it comes to making a purchase. While people do love to do research in advance of parting with their hard-earned money, they rely much more heavily on emotions to guide their decisions. Therefore, it stands to reason that if you want to motivate someone to take action, you should work hard to inject as much raw emotion into your print marketing collateral as possible. Luckily, there are a few key tips you can start using today to accomplish exactly that.


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Packaging as a Marketing Tool: Because Innovation Waits for No One

Marketing is all about relationships. You're not just selling to someone; you're informing them. You're providing them a service that extends beyond the literal product or service that you're selling and into the realm of education. People want to make informed decisions, and a properly executed marketing campaign plays a role in that. To that end, it's important to talk about an essential element of marketing that far too many people tend to overlook: product packaging.

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The Best Marketing Solves a Problem

Diamonds are a girl's best friend, right? Unfortunately, not always. After learning about some of the poor working conditions and high levels of violence associated with most diamonds on the market, many girls (and guys) have decided that a conventional diamond is not the ideal expression of their love.

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To Grow or Not to Grow; That is the Question

Booster Juice started off in 1999 as a one-store operation with a lot of questions about whether it would burn out as a fad. Their product was a juice smoothie (a fruit, vegetable, or plant-based drink shake). However, by 2016, Booster Juice had over 330 stores across Canada, and they are now looking at entering the U.S. market for even more expansion. How did this company go from one small outfit to a mega corporation franchise, and what did Booster Juice's management do right to maintain growth successfully?

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Using the Senses to Your Advantage With Print

It's well established that print and digital marketing are two entirely different beasts that each require their own unique approaches to reaching their intended audience.

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Why Print Marketers Excel At Resonating With an Audience

Any solid relationship, regardless of the type you're talking about, has the core foundation of intimacy in common. This is true whether you're talking about your relationship with your significant other, your relationship with your best friend, or even the relationship between yourself and your favorite brand. If any relationship is going to be successful, it must have that basis of close familiarity or friendship, a warm confidence upon which everything else is built.

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The Conduit Theory in Practice - Speaker Willie Brown

Willie Brown, the former speaker of the California Assembly, never intended to have a political career when he was born. Brown was raised in a backwater town named Mineola, Texas, in 1934, a time when Texas and the South were not particularly conducive to the career dreams of African Americans. To find a better path, his family packed Brown on a train from Texas all the way to California.

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Learn to Protect Yourself From the Inside

Kingdoms have fallen, and wars have been lost because of betrayal. Although we all desire to foster an atmosphere of trust and dependence on one another within our companies, it would be foolish to underestimate the internal risks with reports and employees in this digital age.

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The Major Qualities That Separate B2B and B2C Marketing Collateral

When it comes to any marketing, the importance of taking the time to understand your audience cannot be overstated enough. Marketing is all about communication, and how can you expect to properly open up a conversation with someone if you don't bother to learn the same language? This is especially true regarding both B2B and B2C marketing collateral, which aren't as different as you might think.

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Print Marketing: Never Underestimate the Value of Letting Someone Unplug

Technology is all around us. As recently as ten or fifteen years ago, computers weren't quite the ever-present part of our lives that they are today. They were usually reserved for when you got home from a hard day at work or school and not something you used all day every day. Flash forward to today, where 77% of adults in the United States own a smartphone according to Pew Research - a device that's literally more powerful than the combined computing that NASA used to send men to the moon in the 1960s.

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Spring Cleaning Tips For The Office

When you think about it, you spend more time at your office than in your own home, not counting sleeping hours of course. Consequently, the atmosphere of your office, whether it be neat or disorganized, will greatly affect you and your employees in a myriad of ways. Therefore, learning how to keep your office clean is important. Before getting to the cleaning tips, though, let's look at why a clean office is imperative.

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A City Built 900 Years Ago Can Teach Us a Business Lesson Today

Between the years 800 A.D. and 1130 A.D. something amazing happened in northwestern New Mexico. Without wagons or horses, no metal tools, and before the arrival of Columbus in 1492 or prairie tribes regularly migrated across the plains, a city existed in a place called Chaco Canyon.

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What You Need to Know About Facebook's New Mix Modeling Portal
We've written extensively in the past about how when it comes to digital and print marketing, you're not looking at an either/or proposition. Often, businesses of all sizes are finding great success embracing the best of both worlds - reaching out to the customers who are most receptive to print channels via traditional methods and using digital resources when they're most appropriate. We've even written about how you can take the lessons learned online and use them to make your print strategies even stronger.
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Different By Design: 6 Tips for Adopting The Principles Of Disruption and Improving Your Marketing Strategy
Less than a decade ago, one of the world's largest transport networks was simply an imaginative flicker in the minds of two men trying to hail a taxi on a cold Paris night. After failing to snag a car, the two men came up with an idea of an on-demand taxi service at the touch of a button. What began on a snowy evening in France quickly turned into an app to request luxury sedans in a tiny handful of the world's most cosmopolitan cities.
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Why You Can Never Nurture Your Leads TOO Much
If you think that you can comfortably stop nurturing your leads as soon as they make that ever-important sale, you're only seeing one small part of a much larger and more important picture. The fact of the matter is that you can NEVER nurture your leads too much for a variety of important reasons.
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How to Combine Your Passion and Profession to Make Your Life Purposeful
You have likely heard the adage, "Choose a profession you love, and you'll never work a day in your life." Although the thought of this has merit, sometimes, if a person's passion isn't something they can easily transform into a money-making endeavor, it can be a little unrealistic. Thankfully, there is more than one way to combine your passion with your profession to create a purposeful life.
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How QR Codes Can Add to the Print Experience: Best Practices You Need to Know
For years, marketers have been looking for better ways to achieve cross-media marketing. In other words, they've been searching for solutions that let them enjoy the benefits of both print and digital channels. Many have turned to QR codes to do precisely that. By including a QR code on a piece of print marketing, you can deliver the same message in the same way, but with a mechanism that varies depending on the preferences of the user.
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Are You Measuring Marketing Success Based on these Core Metrics?
The ultimate success of your marketing campaigns comes down to a whole lot more than just how many total sales you've made, or how much revenue you're bringing in each year. Remember, that one small move in one part of your campaign will have a ripple effect that adjusts everything around it. If you want to see how your campaigns are doing, there are a few core metrics you can employ that will tell you exactly that.
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Making Sense of Paper Coating: How it Affects Your Efforts and What You Need to Know
A lot has been written about the effectiveness of print marketing versus digital marketing - so much so, that we're not going to get into it here. It's safe to say that both have their fair share of advantages and when used effectively, can compliment one another very nicely. There is one major benefit that print marketers have that their digital brethren don't share - the paper itself.
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Three Brothers and Success
In a town with lots of industries and choices of careers, three brothers grew up and began to pursue their paths in work. Based on their father's wisdom and teachings, they all decided they wanted to work in a field that would eventually let them start their own businesses.
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New Year's Resolutions for Your Small Business
It is a tradition of sorts to make resolutions for the New Year, such as losing weight or eating healthier. Some people also include resolutions that impact their family's future, such as resolving to plan two family vacations this year. However, most resolutions are quickly forgotten as people fall into their habitual way of living.
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The Amazing Power of Peer Pressure in Groups
How one deals with peer pressure and compensates for it will dictate how capable of a decision-maker he or she can be. While it would be easy to assume things are top-down, dictatorial, in reality, our decision-making is often an interactive, communal function, so influence matters tremendously.
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Visual Marketing Content Trends to Prepare For in 2017
The new year often brings with it a time of unabashed change. Regarding visual marketing content, this seems to happen like clockwork every January as a legion of marketing professionals re-ignite their search for the "next big thing" to attract the attention of their target audience. If you want to make sure your 2017 begins as strong as it possibly can, there are some key visual marketing content trends that you need to be aware of.
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Cover Versus Text: What Paper Thickness Means For You
If you've ever stepped foot into a print shop or ordered a print job online, you've most likely been faced with what can be a daunting question: What kind of paper do you want? Then, that feeling of panic sets in, much like when you're faced with the paper or plastic question in the checkout line. Your mind races to quickly analyze "the most eco-friendly option" while the customers behind you silently judge you.
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How to Put Apps and Social Media to Work for You as a Business
Running a successful business today means putting social media to work for your company. Regardless of industry, a strong social media presence allows you to maximize your reach, while at the same time generate sales from other sources aside from local consumers.
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Qualities That Brands With Longevity Share
In the world of business, there is perhaps no commodity more precious than longevity. Getting a brand up and off the ground is one thing - keeping it around for the long-term is something else entirely. Creating longevity will rely in large part on your marketing, although this is only one small part of a much greater whole.
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2017 Price Change Information: USPS Marketing Mail and What You Need to Know
A new year always brings with it a variety of different changes, and it seems that 2017 will be no exception, as far as the United States Postal Service is concerned. Anyone who relies on the USPS for their direct mail marketing activities would do well to sit up and take notice, especially with regards to the price change information and other news that has recently been announced.

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Overcoming the Getting Started Obstacle Course
Collette Divitto was born with Down syndrome, but she hasn't let that stand in the way of doing what she wants with her life. As a passionate baker, Collette sought opportunities to work in that field and earn a living. However, every place she applied told her that she was not a good fit. Instead of giving up, she formulated her own cookie recipe and went into business for herself.
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Content Marketing Best Practices to Double Down on in 2017
Marketing is an industry that is constantly changing, especially since technology does the same. If you think back to what your day looked like even five years ago, it will likely have little resemblance to the work you've already done today, or how you're doing it. Despite that, there are still some best practices that are as powerful today as they ever were as far as content marketing is concerned.
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What's in a Name? The Value of Sponsorship as a Branding and Marketing Opportunity
In the world of marketing, you're essentially always on the lookout for new and innovative opportunities to raise awareness about the brand that you represent. It isn't just about getting the word out about a new product or service; it's also about reminding people that you're there, that you've always been there, and that you're always going to be there.
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3 Emotions That Go Along with Operating Your Own Business
Many emotions go along with owning your own company. From the excitement of opening your doors the first time to dealing with chaos in the office, running your business will be enjoyable sometimes and cause much frustration other times.

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A Creative Life Improves Creative Buying Processes
Incorporating creativity into the buying process means human experience should play a core role. Businesses prefer to partner with businesses they can relate to; ones they have a common goal with. This is why the human experience should always be shared when creating or redefining a company's brand.
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The Power of A/B Testing: The Difference Small Changes Can Make for Your Marketing
Marketing is a decision-based world. At any given moment, you've got a variety of options floating in front of you. Which of those two headlines should you use in your next e-mail? Which of those three font choices looks the best on your print flyer? Which of the three graphics will ultimately reflect your brand in the best way?
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Business Lessons from a Dog
Business lessons can be found everywhere we look in life. One of the best ways to learn is by simply looking at the world in a new way. Dogs look at the world differently than we do and often have a very simple outlook. If you want to learn more about business, these are some of the lessons your dog is trying to teach you.

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Using the Holiday Season to Your Advantage in Your Marketing
When it comes to marketing success, the importance of a timely, relevant campaign cannot be overstated enough. You see this all the time with major brands - some big event is going on somewhere in the world like the Super Bowl and marketers rush to be the first to integrate it into their campaigns. As the cheery holiday season rolls around yet again, you're presented with the perfect opportunity to do exactly that - at least until the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve.
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Content Marketing Is More Powerful Than Ever
At its core, content marketing is the idea that by creating and distributing high-quality content that is relevant to your products, your services or your brand, you can more easily attract and even retain people who are interested in what you're selling. If you sell stereo equipment and write a quality blog post about what to look for in a new home theater, you're more likely to attract new customers by combining that blog with the sales flyer you sent them in the mail.
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5 Ballet Business Lessons You Should Make a Point to Learn
Business has quite a few things in common with ballet. Ballet is just as demanding as business, although in other ways. To succeed as a ballet dancer, one must put in a lot of hours of practice. To succeed in business, one must put in a lot of hours of work. For both, plans and dances must be executed in a precise way or the result will not be ideal.
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How to Court the Younger Generation: Creating the Future of Your Business by Marketing to Millennials Today
In the world of marketing, there's a natural instinct to go after certain segments of the population when marketing because those are the ones that spend the most money. That may be good for short-term gains, but any business worth its salt will always be thinking about the future. And regardless of the industry, the future can be summed up in one beautiful little word: millennials.
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Sometimes Fresh Eyes Brings a Memorable Camel
We often say that children look at the world through fresh eyes. Spending time with a child can give you a new perspective on life and how you view the world. While experience is an excellent teacher, fresh eyes can see the tried and true in a way that you may not have considered before. How can you adapt the fresh eyes concept into your business?
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A Business Perspective on Apple's Latest MacBook Event
If you're interested in the tech world at all, you're no doubt aware that Apple recently announced the 2016 MacBook Pro - something the company is calling "the best laptop ever made." Indeed, it's a unit with a technical specification sheet that can't help but impress. Objectively, it likely will go down in history as the best laptop the company has released to date. However, some users are suggesting that Apple may be losing the balance between "user experience" and "marketing" in a way that is a bit unfavorable to their end goals. 
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Warning: Are You Accidentally Shattering Your Brand Continuity?
At its core, brand continuity is the idea that all communication channels between your brand and your customers (live chat, email, phone calls, etc.) should all look and feel like they're coming from the same place. It's the idea that you should strive to give your customers an experience that is as consistent as possible, regardless of how they choose to make contact with you.
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Moving On Is Not Giving Up
No business professional in history has ever had a perfect record. Though you only set goals for you and your team with the absolute best of intentions, sometimes you may find yourself coming up short. Everyone from our parents to our teachers to our mentors has told us over and over again to "never give up, never surrender," when sometimes, you have to do exactly that.
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Online Marketing With A Little Friendly Competition
Sometimes it takes a little friendly competition to get your customers engaged. That's why it's so common to see freebies, giveaways, and contests posted online and in retail stores. The trick, of course, is finding a contest that your customers are interested in winning. You know your customers best. Selecting a contest to run can be fun for everyone, especially if you can find a way to get your employees excited, too.
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Why It's Time To Start Paying Attention To Instagram
When it comes to social media marketing, there are a lot of people who will tell you that there are only two names that you have to concern yourself with: Facebook and Twitter. While the power of these two services as marketing channels is undeniably important, to say that you should ONLY focus on these two platforms is making a grave mistake - particularly concerning where we're headed.
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A Simple Business Lesson From the Presidential Election
The 2016 Presidential Election is quickly approaching and, once again, it offers a real "teachable moment" in our nation's history. Instead of focusing on all of the negativity that seems to be surrounding the United States political system, take a decidedly "glass half full" approach instead.
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The Powerful Influence Of Coffee
Does it ever seem as if you can't move another step forward without your favorite drink in hand? Coffee fuels many a creative mind in any industry. Whether you are an early morning coffee drinker or need a cup mid-afternoon to reboot your sluggish mind, coffee culture does pair with many of the best developments in business.
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What's in a Leaf?
If you enjoy watching the leaves float down during the fall season, you probably already know that just like snowflakes, each tree's leaves are individual and unique. Unlike snowflakes, though, leaves can tell you from which tree they came, and fortunately, there are many resources available to you for identifying trees by their leaves.
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Tips for Nurturing Existing Sales Leads
While bringing new leads into your business is always important, sometimes it's not the "be all, end all" solution to your bottom line. Remember that according to most statistics, an incredible 90% of new prospects are merely in the "browsing" stage of their relationship with your company - meaning that they're not quite ready to buy.
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Applying Life Lessons to Small Business
Parents to teenagers and young adults know that there are some lessons that only living life can bring us. Life lessons learned through living life are valuable, and they are hard to teach to teenagers because teens think they have the answers to everything. However, experience can offer up gems of information about what is truly important in life and how to enjoy each moment as it comes.
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Don't Make the Internet Angry: Important Considerations About Using Social Media as a Marketing Platform
As a sheer marketing platform, social media brings with it a host of advantages that can't be ignored. According to one recent study, there will be 2.5 billion unique users worldwide on social media networks by as soon as 2018. Right now, social media sites like Twitter and Facebook have the potential to effortlessly connect you with approximately 70% of the United States population.
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Goals are Not Just for Sports
In school and at work, we are often told to create goals and to strive to reach them. After all, achieving our goals is a measure of success and a method of how to pursue our dreams. Goals are a big part of managing marketing and sales in most companies, and they are the markers of who is producing and who is not.
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The Art of the Pivot
No matter what business you're talking about, most companies usually begin life in the same way: with an idea. You wake up one morning, have an idea for a product or service that you're sure will be the "next big thing," and you get to work.
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Failure Is an Opportunity: The Positives That You Can Learn From a Good Day Gone Wrong
Nobody ever plans on failure. When you wake up in the morning, ready to start another rough day at the office, you don't think to yourself "Oh boy, I really can't wait to screw up that big project today." Failure is something that tends to happen, despite the best of intentions.
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A Personal Touch Makes a Difference
Marketing is becoming increasingly personalized with the technology available to create templates for customization. More companies are looking for ways to personalize schwag, brochures, and online communications. It is easy to understand why customers love personalization because it means that they are getting noticed, and they can see their name in print or graphics.
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4 Stubborn Business Myths
Entrepreneurs know that owning a small business takes dedication, passion, and hours of concentrated work. You may run into obstacles that test your business and your perseverance, obstacles that are norms in the world of business which each entrepreneur must learn to navigate. However, there are some obstacles that you may be facing without realizing it. Those barriers are stubborn business myths that just won't go away because people believe them, even though they aren't true.
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Once Upon a Time
Storytelling is a time-honored tradition which began before humanity had the ability to create long-lasting printed documents. The first stories were a way of passing on an oral tradition and history of various cultures around the world. There is still a storytelling tradition in many cultures, although as communities spread out, storytelling has moved to written, printed, and now digital methods of recording the tales.
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Create An Environment That High-Value Employees Want To Work In
If you tasked most business leaders with sitting down and making a list of their struggles, attracting high-value employees would more than likely fall close to the top. Finding those versatile, well-rounded, and driven candidates is one thing - getting them to come aboard is something else entirely.
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Triumph Over Adversity
Many of the most successful leaders in the world have been people who have triumphed over adversity. This list of individuals includes celebrities, world leaders, and business people. Notable figures include Nelson Mandela who spent 27 years in prison before finally becoming President in South Africa and Steve Jobs who was fired from his own company.
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Busy is a State of Mind; How to Stay Productive When You're the Boss
From a certain perspective, employees have it relatively easy. They don't have a choice regarding what type of work they're doing or when they're doing it. Productivity is dictated not only by the company they work for but by the people they answer to. If they don't have a spark of creative inspiration on their way to work one morning, that's just too bad - the work needs to be done no matter what. This can be incredibly motivating from a certain perspective.
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Moving Beyond Just Increasing Productivity
Thanks largely to the fact that there is a lot of work to be done and only so many hours in a day to do it, many business owners tend to think of raising productivity as their primary objective at any given time. Unfortunately, this isn't really the case - it only appears to be on the surface.
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Using Science to Make Business Decisions
Many small business owners base decisions on their gut feelings which are comprised of their intuition and experience. However, using gut feelings to make business decisions may not be the best decision-making technique. Many companies are now using analytics and science to make judgment calls. With modern electronics and online tracking, analytics are often available to gather metrics on a myriad of topics.
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Assumptions are Bad for Business
Most of us create a framework for our world through assumptions about how the world works. Our assumptions are based on past experiences and what we have been taught. However, in today's mobile-friendly world, assumptions can be dangerous. At the very least, relying on our assumptions can lead to losing business.
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3 Tips to Communicate with All Types of Clients
When it comes to reaching your audience, a lot comes down to communicating with them in the language they will understand. We can learn a lot from Julia, a Pasadena ten-year-old. Julia is deaf; her new puppy, Walter, is as well. But, the two have found the ability to communicate with one another with ease.
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The Art of Reflection in Business
At its core, reflection in the world of business is an attempt to take some of the critical experiences that you've had in the not-too-distant past and force you to think about them in a meaningful way. It's an attempt to take both successes and missed opportunities and dive deeper than you may be used to.
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The Courage of Success
Setting goals to drive revenues and profits is part of doing business. We all strive to be successful in business and in life. When we are young, we look for careers that will make us successful to get the things we want such as a beautiful house, cars, and money. Most people define success as the ultimate goal.
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Protect Your Business While On the Move
Even if you're not working for an organization that requires you to travel on a regular basis, there is still a high likelihood that you will work from home at some point during your week. Giving people the ability to work remotely not only increases worker productivity but also drives efficiency, lowers stress, reduces employee turnover, and more.
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Managing Change Effectively
There is no question that people do not like change (https://hbr.org/2012/09/ten-reasons-people-resist-chang). Although some people can adjust more readily than others, it is inherent in our nature that managing change on any level is difficult. 
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Travel Tips for the Tech-Savvy Professional
For many professionals, finding themselves on the road (or on an airplane) has quickly become a way of life. With more and more jobs requiring extensive travel regardless of industry, staying productive while away from the office has become of paramount importance. 
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Out of the Mouths of Babes
Customer service is sometimes the part of the job that we dread due to the range of customer complaints that ensue. However, if we look at customer service as an opportunity, we can create a lot of positive energy from it. While not all stories are as entertaining as this one, the fact that the customer service response became a boon for the company is evident.
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The Art of the Learning Opportunity: How to Recover From a Public Relations Nightmare
Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind when operating a business in today's digital age is that EVERY interaction you have with a customer, regardless of how private you think it may be, is a public relations disaster waiting to happen. The internet has brought us together as a society like never before, and this brings with it both its positives and its negatives for organizations everywhere.
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What A 9-year-old Reporter Can Teach Us About Perseverance
Nine-year-old Hilde Lysiak is the brains behind Orange Street News, which bills itself as the only newspaper dedicated to Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania. When she broke the story of a murder in her neighborhood hours before professional news outlets, she received some backlash from online commenters. Because of her young age, some people said that she should focus on "cute" stories. One even went so far as to say that she should report on "tea parties and dolls."
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Know When to Hold 'em and When to Fold 'em
"You've got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, know when to run." This iconic hook from the song "The Gambler" is about more than just playing cards. It's also a metaphor for many circumstances that we encounter in life and business. Knowing when to end a dead-end job or a toxic relationship is critical to maintaining a happy life.
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Inspiring Company Cultures: A Great Place to Work
How often do you dread coming to work in the morning? Even for business owners who love what they do, sometimes getting out of bed and coming to work can be a chore. Putting a priority on developing a company culture that inspires your employees to have fun at work can help take the dreariness out of the everyday mundane.
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Ways to Recharge for Successful Entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurs are a different lot. It takes a certain type of person to hang out there on the edge and take calculated (and sometimes not so calculated) risks.  The rush of adrenaline that keeps tycoons in the sweet spot of success can wear a person out, though.  The hard-charging, always-ready attitude is a unique quality that has its own set of rules when it comes to taking a little downtime without losing precious time and opportunities.  The following are excellent strategies for how to recharge for moguls of business.
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There Are No Pointless Meetings, Only Wasted Opportunities
If you ask any business professional what they dread on their calendar the most, many of them would tell you the same thing: all of those pointless meetings. You'd be hard pressed to find someone who hasn't been pulled away from their desk at the most inopportune time, only to sit in a room and hear people convey information that they either already knew or that they didn't need to know in the first place.
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Taking Over: Tips for Becoming a Team Leader for an Already Established Group
Building a team is an inherently personal proposition, regardless of the industry in which you're operating. These are people that you've hand-selected based on their unique strengths to come together to form a complete whole. When everyone is firing on all cylinders, a well-designed team is more than just a tool - it's a reflection of yourself, of the type of work you do, and of the quality of the product you're about to deliver.
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5 Psychological Triggers To Convert Prospects To Clients
Any marketer worth anything will tell you that the key to increasing sales is to use A/B testing to determine which sales tactic is more successful than another. If you're not familiar with it, A/B testing (sometimes called split testing) is comparing two versions of something to see which one performs better. With that in mind, have you ever wondered why some tactics are more successful than others?
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Know Your Limits: Why Boundaries Are So Important When Becoming a Team Leader
One of the key things that all successful team leaders find a way to overcome is the simple human need to be liked. When you've finally risen in the ranks and find yourself in a position of authority, it's natural to want everyone to see you as "the cool boss" or "the friendly boss." While this is absolutely recommended to a certain extent and it's a whole lot better for productivity than barking orders and becoming the boss that everyone hates, you still need to know your limits.
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Is Your Office a Gossip Shop?
Let's face it - we all have our quirks. Part of working with others is the opportunity to develop collaborative working relationships.  Other people's habits and behaviors affect us when we are in a shared environment.  In many instances, these are the people that we interact with for the majority of our days.  As a natural result, friendships form as trust and respect are gained from our day-in and day-out interactions.  You may have experienced this in your own company.  And then, one day... BOOM! Like a bolt of lightening, an employee begins to engage in storytelling that looks and smells an awful lot like gossip.
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Managing Employees Who Are Working Remotely: Bringing Your Team Together, Even When They're a World Apart
Modern technology has ushered in a bold, new era in terms of employee productivity. Case in point: thanks to not only cloud computing but mobile technology,  almost ANY employee can become a remote worker if they truly desire. Employees can be just as productive at a coffee shop as they could from their desk in the office, which has meant big things for businesses in all industries.
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Sharing the Challenge Means Sharing the Victory: The Two-Way Street of Team Leadership
Many people work their entire lives to achieve a leadership role within an organization. They've put in their time, tirelessly working their way up through the ranks and then, it finally happens: they're trusted enough to be given the responsibility of bringing a team together for the benefit of a business's long-term goals.
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As a Leader, Helping Your Employees Grow is One of Your Most Important Jobs
As a leader within your organization, it's understandable to feel like the list of things you have to look over gets longer and longer all the time. While you're being pulled in so many different directions, it can be easy to forget about one of your most important jobs of all: doing everything in your power to make sure that your employees are getting better and stronger with each passing day.
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Using Customer Data to Create a More Powerful Customer Experience
Make no mistake: the data revolution is upon us and has, perhaps, affected no industry more than the wonderful world of marketing. Your average marketer now has access to huge volumes of information about who their customers are, how they're behaving, what their thoughts are on certain issues and more - all of which can quickly prove overwhelming. It's important to look at the big data phenomenon for what it is, however: an opportunity.
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Mutual Respect: The Secret Ingredient When It Comes to Managing Employees
Many business leaders are still operating under the mistaken impression that the key ingredient to managing employees involves learning how to delegate responsibility. So long as you tell the right people to complete the right tasks, your business should pretty much run itself, right?
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4 Trends Affecting Small Businesses This Year
Business owners tend to spend a lot of time searching the magic oracle (a.k.a. the internet) for answers to business growth questions.  How do I get new customers? How do I get existing customers to come back? Why doesn't my cat like me?
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Crafting Your Brand to Communicate Your Unique Sales Proposition
Simply being the best is no longer the key to improving your bottom line. Not only is it a somewhat nebulous concept that isn't easily quantifiable, it's become more the status quo than anything else. Everyone selling something claims to be the best. Have you ever seen someone claim to be "second-best" in their marketing?
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Assembling the Team: How to Get the Right People Into the Right Roles in Your Business
One of the most important things to do BEFORE you start assembling a team to work on a particular project for your business is to gain a better understanding of your options. In particular, you'll want to take a long, hard look at each employee and see what they bring to the table in a way that nobody else quite matches.
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When it Comes to Your Marketing Goals, Don't Forget About Consumer Education
Whenever you begin to execute a marketing campaign, you're usually trying to service a few key goals at the same time. One of your top priorities is most likely brand awareness - you don't just want to get the word out about a product or service, but you're also trying to position your company as an authority on a particular topic. You may also want to help inform your target audience about the product in question.
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Realize the Amazing Power of Your Blog: Blogging and Social Media
Digital marketing, it's pretty simple, right? Draft up 500+ words of amazingly educational and entertaining content, upload it onto your blog, maybe sprinkle on a little SEO magic and you're good...right? Well, let's just put it this way: if you have teenagers, they're rolling their eyes at you. If you have dogs, they're staring at you with that head-cocked-to-the-side look they give you when you're missing the obvious.
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Innovation: What Living Outside the Box Really Means in Terms of Your Career
Gone are the days where to really make an impact in your career, you had to prove yourself to be the best little worker bee out there. While having a strong work ethic and the determination to accomplish any task that you're given are always important regardless of the business you're talking about, they have been superseded in recent years by something much more important: innovation.
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Handling Negative Online Reviews Like a Pro
Online reviews can make or break a business.  More and more often, customers are turning to sites like Yelp, Google, and Facebook to get an unbiased view of every business they use.
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Outsourcing Employee Training - When does it make Sense?
When you first started your company, you likely had some vision of what the customer experience would look like.  Depending on your market, it could have looked something like the highly polished Front Desk staff of New York's Plaza Hotel, or maybe the sarcastically surly wait staff of San Diego's Dick's Last Resort.  Whatever the market, you definitely wanted to create a distinctive customer experience. 
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Not All Mailing Lists Are Created Equal - Maximizing Your Return With Mailing List Savvy
It's ironic, really. The lists that we struggle to be removed from are also the same lists our companies strive to obtain. The truth is, for many businesses, targeted mailing lists are the bread and butter of their marketing efforts.  Being able to create niche-marketing materials and then putting those materials into the right hands is essential to a company's survival.

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Super-Charge Your Sales Force With Highly Effective Print Sales Collateral
Converting prospects into clients is often a difficult and expensive process.  Sales reps can spend weeks, months, even years trying to get a prospective client converted into a buyer.  A large part of that process involves face time between the sales rep and the prospect in an attempt to forge a relationship built on trust.  Seldom does that face-to-face meeting end in a solid sale.
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Why Continuing Education is the Key to Career Advancement in More Ways Than One
When many people reach a career milestone - be it getting a job with that great new company or even starting their own business - they often leave the concept of education behind. After all, they've already had a huge amount of schooling up to this point and they've succeeded in accomplishing what they set out to, so it probably isn't even necessary anymore, right?
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The Power of Leadership: Bringing Out the Best From Introverted Employees
As a business leader, one of the core requirements of your job is to make sure that you're bringing out the absolute best in your team at all times. Every employee working under you not only needs to excel on their own terms but must also be contributing towards the larger whole at the same time. Having quiet, introverted employees can certainly make this difficult, but therein lies the challenge.
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Lowered Postal Rates Mean Now is the Best Time to Give Direct Mail a Try
To say that most small businesses have something of a love/hate relationship with the United States Postal Service is an understatement. USPS is one of those necessary things to get a wide range of direct and print mail marketing materials out into the world. With a decade of increasing prices chipping away at return on investment little by little, it's no wonder many organizations started to skimp on direct mail spending in favor of other "cheaper" solutions in the interim. 
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Succeed in Business Without Undue Stress: Lessons From a Sailor
Whether you've been in business for 40 years, or you are a startup waiting for the perfect time to enter the marketplace, you want to know how to succeed in the fast-paced world of capturing market share. Let's see how your business can benefit from the lessons learned in the daily life of a salty sailor.
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Understanding What's Really Going on at the Post Office
If you had a tough time during the Great Recession of the last few years, you are in the same boat with many, including the United States Postal Service. With computers, e-mail, and the rise of similar types of technology, total mail volume was already on the decline - and then, the most troubling economic times in decades hit. All types of mail volume dropped dramatically in a short period of time. 
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The Future of Search Rankings: What Companies Like Google Are Going to Focus on Next
Starting in 2011, Google has made a series of regular updates to its search algorithm to determine exactly how sites appear in a results page for a particular string. Gone are the days where the site with the highest volume of relevant keywords "won." Panda penalized spam-filled sites that offered little in the way of actual content in favor of valuable information that actually satisfied a particular search.
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Demystifying Marketing on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
With the existing and ever-remerging social media outlets available to us, the confusion as to how to use them can sometimes make us wish for the days when only local newspaper ads and the yellow pages were used for getting our name out there. Before you throw your hands up and invest in a sandwich sign board, let's break down the mysteries that surround the three most popular social media platforms you can use successfully to grow your business.
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Successful Secrets to Achieving Your Business Goals
Do you ever wonder how some people just seem to rock at getting things accomplished, while others seem to dream big but never really get anywhere? It's not luck and it's no accident. Successful entrepreneurs know the secret to setting goals and making their dreams come true - they know about SMART goal setting.
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Marketing Automation: What You Need to Know
"Marketing automation" is more than just a buzzword - it is a very real practice that is empowering marketers around the world to accomplish more than ever in a shorter amount of time. At its core, marketing automation is a term used to describe a set of software, technologies, and other platforms that automate marketing on certain channels.
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Pull Back the Curtain: Providing a Backstage Glimpse of Your Company
One of the primary objectives of any marketing campaign you run has nothing to do with selling your product or service. While these will always be important, equally necessary is your ability to sell yourself as a company. People want to know more about the people who work in your business and the values and ideals that you have. They want to be able to look at you as an authority. Pulling back the curtain and providing a "backstage" glimpse into your product or service is one of the single, best ways to accomplish both of these things at the same time.

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Creating an Editorial Calendar: The Foundation of Your Content Marketing Strategy
According to a recent survey conducted by Gleanster Research, managing the overall content creation process was the single biggest challenge that most medium- and large-sized companies faced on a daily basis. To make matters worse, 36 percent of respondents indicated that they were missing deadlines on a regular basis, significantly derailing their efforts as a result.
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Turning Failure Into Success - Stories of Famous Achievers and Their Failures
Every entrepreneur, and I do mean every, has had a taste of failure at one time or another. The slam-dunk business idea that landed flat.  The star product that fizzled out.  It happens more often than you really hear about, but to those individuals that it's happening to, the "failures" can be seriously disheartening. If you're feeling a bit down about a business venture that didn't go as you planned, don't lose hope. Countless well-known and successful individuals have achieved their dreams despite multiple setbacks.  Their stories are sure to inspire you.
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Tips for Getting Maximum Mileage Out of Your Marketing Content
Too many marketers look at the content they're creating as "one and done." You spend a huge amount of money designing the right print mailer, send it to all of the relevant people on your list, and then never think about it again, right?
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What Are These New Facebook Reactions and What Do They Mean for My Business?
A few months ago, Mark Zuckerberg treated his staff to a movie night.  The film...Pixar's Inside Out.  The Facebook staff watched in confused amazement wondering who these emotions were and more importantly, where is the big, blue and white like-button thumb? A few individuals voiced what everyone else was thinking...wouldn't it be swell if Facebook allowed people to have more than one possible emotional reaction to the things they see and read?
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Time Management for Entrepreneurs: Stop Killing Time and Start Investing Time
At the end of each day, do you take stock of what you've done and feel as though you were constantly busy, but you can't for the life of you figure out how your time was spent? As days turn into weeks and weeks into months...we often feel exhausted, but with no real accomplishments to show for our efforts.
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Anticipation is Your Friend: The Art of Teasing a Product or Service Before a Proper Launch
All of your print marketing materials should be designed to evoke an emotional response. Most of the time when you're marketing a product or service, your goal is to convince people to spend money on what it is that you have to offer AFTER the fact. This is time consuming and isn't always successful, especially in a crowded sea of competitors. But what if there was a way for you to start your print marketing momentum well in advance of the actual product or service's release?
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What Mountain Biking Can Teach You About Business Strategy
If you've ever been on a mountain bike and felt the exhilaration of barreling down some well-worn single-track, you've likely also felt the pain of crashing headfirst into a tree. You might've sat there dazed, thinking, "what went wrong?" while you picked the leaves out of your helmet.  You were trying so hard to avoid hitting that tree.  How could you have hit it?  The answer is really kind of crazy.
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How Social Media Changes Everything in Terms of Customer Engagement
Customer engagement has always been one of the primary contributing factors when it comes to strengthening a brand or growing a business, but this is especially true in an era where social media rules the day.
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Typography and Your Brand: How the Way Your Message Looks Affects the Way It Feels
As a marketer, a huge amount of your time is spent crafting the perfect message to really grab hold of the attention of your target audience in a way that they will be unable to break away from. The words that you're using are so important that many people fail to pay enough attention to another element that is just as necessary: typography. Simply put, the way that your message looks can ultimately affect everything from the way the reader digests it to how it is interpreted in a number of different ways.
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Pro-Tips For Rocking Your Next Trade Show
If you've ever worked a boring booth at a trade show, you've most likely been the victim of the "avoiders." Those passers-by who liken you to Medusa and refuse to look your way for fear of being turned to stone.  You notice them by the way they engage actively with booth 1145, take a quick glance at your booth with that lonely poster and brochure, and then, hurriedly walk past you with their eyes carefully averted. After enough of these avoiders, you may start to wish you had some of those smiley-faced, squishy stress-balls to throw at them.
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Print Marketing - What Was Once Old is Now New Again
Recently, a prospective client said they wanted to get customers' attention through non-traditional marketing using printed products. Who knew that in 2016, the printed word would be considered "non-traditional?" Non-traditional? We're saying this about a medium that was developed back in the 1400's by Johannes Gutenberg! While Webster's (of dictionary fame) mind might be little blown by this reference, when you think about it, it actually makes a lot of sense.
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Google's New Cohort Analysis
If you are already heavily into online marketing analytics, this may rapidly become one of your more valuable marketing analysis tools. If you are a newbie to marketing analysis and are not yet familiar with Google's new tool, here is some help in understanding what it is all about.
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Endurance Can Make All the Difference
Entrepreneur and author Matthew Paulson has characterized entrepreneurship as an endurance sport. It is true that sometimes if you see you are on the wrong track, the best course of action is to abandon the original plan and start in a new direction. However more times than not, just sticking with it can often make all the difference between success and failure, winning and losing.
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Employee Engagement: The Most Important Aspect of Your Business You're Not Paying Enough Attention To
As a marketing professional, one of the core qualities that drives success in nearly everything that you do ultimately comes down to creativity. The employees that you've hired have to be free to let their creative juices run wild, turning in the types of materials that establish a direct link with your target audience in bold and innovative ways on a daily basis.
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The Power of You: Keeping Things Personal in Business
In the world of business, one of the most powerful assets that you have is the deep, emotional, and very real connection that you're capable of making with the people around you. It doesn't matter if you're talking to a prospect or a client or a superior or someone in between, and it certainly makes no difference what industry you're operating in - this connection is everything.
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Email Marketing: Is it Right for Your Small Business?
Marketing through email has been around for quite a while now. It is basically the online version of a direct mail letter--the electronic counterpart to postal letters, fliers, and brochures that have been used and are still being used so successfully. Combining your print marketing with your email marketing just makes sense. 
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From Puce to Cerulean - What Your Brand Colors Say to Your Customers
Do you ever wonder why so many fast food restaurants use red in their logos? Or why so many hospitals and healthcare organizations use the color blue in their logos? This phenomenon is hardly random. Psychologists have spent years studying colors’ effect on human behavior, and you can be sure that the results are worth understanding when you’re choosing your brand’s colors.
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Brand Awareness: Becoming Another Kleenex
In today's world of marketing, if you are not marketing online, you are missing a very big boat. Marketing is now a science with logistics and parameters that were largely unheard of just a few years ago. However, that is not the case with the notion of brand awareness. 
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Remaining Competitive in Business by Attracting Top Talent to Your Organization
Make no mistake about it: one of the biggest keys that you have regarding remaining competitive in a crowded marketplace isn't the work that you're doing, per say. It's the people who are doing the work in the first place. By attracting top tier talent to your business, you affect the entire enterprise from the top down in a number of positive ways.
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The Importance of Making Sure That Your Employees Actually Like Each Other
Make no mistake about it: a business is more important than any one person. A successful business is truly the sum of its parts. It's a collection of people all working together to form a cohesive whole, helping the business as an entity move forward into the future and accomplish the goals that it has outlined for itself at the same time. Finding the right people to fill the right positions is one important step towards achieving this environment, but it is exactly that – one part.
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Judging a Book by it's Cover - How People Choose Products Based on Packaging
Kids and cats seem to have this well figured out. We’ve all seen or experienced first-hand the joy that kids and cats take in taking an “ordinary box” and making that product packaging into the most exciting plaything of all time. What they are instinctively telling us, without truly understanding for themselves, is this: if the packaging sparks the imagination, it almost doesn’t matter what’s inside.
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Get Your Business Headed in the Right Direction in 2016
The new year is a time of many things. Oftentimes, people look at it as a way to get a "fresh start" in their personal lives and work towards the goals they may have lost sight of in the previous year. The same concept can hold true for the world of business, but only if you approach things from the right angle.
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Sensitivity to People's Needs
Doing business involves a product or service and a buyer and seller. In large part, it also involves the formation of relationships. The fact that some of them are quite temporary does not diminish the importance of these buyer-seller relationships. The objective, of course, is to limit the number of temporary relationships and increase those that are ongoing. Repeat customers are intrinsically valuable for the success of a business.
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Data Security in 2016 and Beyond: What Your Business NEEDS To Be Prepared For
We now live in an era where the vast majority of our personal and professional lives are playing out on the Internet. This is particularly true in terms of business, where cloud-based collaboration tools and hosting providers make it easier than ever to access our mission-critical documents from any location on the planet provided you have an active Web connection at the time. Because of the increased amount of faith that we're putting into the digital realm, data security is of the utmost importance. There are a few key issues regarding data security that your business NEEDS to be prepared for moving forward.

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The Evolution of Sales: How the Landscape Has Changed
Depending on whom you are selling to, and how, the nature of the sales process has changed since the birth and incredible growth of the Internet. However, with all of the changes in how we communicate with digital connectivity, some things have not changed much at all. Sales are still sales. It is the targeting of sales that has changed more than anything else.
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Adaptation: The Happy Accident
One of the strange paradoxes of scientific discovery is that no matter how plodding and careful science is about most developments, some of the most astounding discoveries have occurred purely by accident. The most famous of these was the discovery of penicillin.
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Emotion in Print Marketing: What it Means and How to Do It Properly
In some ways, the most important goal of any piece of print marketing isn't merely to act as an educational tool for your target audience. While conveying the message of what your product or service does and why they need it is integral to the success of your campaign, it is only one small part of a much larger goal. One of the major keys to success in advertising involves evoking an emotional response from people...
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Getting Out of Your Own Way
Starting a business is a bold step, not one for the timid. The list of excuses used to avoid the dangers of launching a business are many and varied, but they all resonate with the same timidity. Fear of failure is probably the most common thread among all of the excuses holding us back. It takes courage to take the plunge, and a prospective entrepreneur must be willing to take some chances or they will definitely getting in their own way.
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Is Your Message Being Diluted in Your Marketing Materials?
When it comes to the marketing materials that you're putting out into the world, there is nothing more important than the factor at the heart of it all: your message. Ultimately, the best-looking print mailer, poster, or other material in the world won't mean a thing if you don't have the clear, concise message in the center of it to back it up.
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How to Create and Amplify Desire in Your Marketing Materials
If your marketing campaign is all about telling a story (and make no mistake, it most certainly is), the most important quality that story can have is a sense of desire. When you really stop to think about it, marketing is similar to almost every other medium in that regard. If your story took the form of a movie, desire would be the need for your audience to stay right where they were and not even think about getting up for popcorn.
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Individualism in Thought and Action: Is it always a good thing?
Certainly, a strong sense of individualism is a valuable asset to possess. Free market capitalism is based in large part on the ability to be both clever enough and individualistic enough to see a need and meet that need in a way that no one else has done before. 
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Rule-Breaker or Not: Which Type of Leader are You?
“Following all the rules leaves a completed checklist. Following your heart achieves a completed you.” This quote by author Ray A. Davis may be a bit of an oversimplification, but it carries some significance, too. Some people are attracted to breaking rules and live their lives accordingly. They are typically acknowledged as either highly successful people or scoundrels. But in any case, they are people who choose their own paths instead of following the well-beaten trails of life. Many times they are revered as leaders. However, not everyone is cut out for rule breaking.
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Bridge the Gap to a Successful Resolution
In its simplest context, a bridge is a solution for getting from point A to point B. The best bridge is one that accomplishes that task with the least amount of difficulty. But bridges, even the metaphorical symbolic ones, come in all shapes and sizes.
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Avoid These Common Print Marketing Mistakes
We tend to talk a great deal about all of the things that you should do in your print marketing campaign for maximum effectiveness. You always want to make sure that your message is clear and concise, for example, and make sure that your pages are designed in a way where you can naturally control the flow of how people are taking in your important information. As a change of pace, we thought it would be fun to talk about some of the things you SHOULDN'T do if you want to unlock the maximum value of your campaign.
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Daring to be Innovative
Ideas that turn the conversation on its head producing an altered perception are clearly among the most interesting. Nobel Prize winning playwright George Bernard Shaw perhaps related this concept best when he said, "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
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Buyer Personas: What They Are, Why You Need Them, and What Should You Do About It
In marketing, one of the most important terms that you need to keep in mind at all times is "focus." In order to run a successfully executed campaign, you need to remove as much of the superfluous noise from your materials as possible and boil it down to the core essentials.
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Resilience: Withstand the Hardship
One of the more important characteristics of a successful business is resilience. Without resilience, a business that suffers any setback is far more vulnerable to hardship or even complete collapse. In fact, failures frequently precede success in many people's efforts in business or otherwise. Just look at some of these examples.

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Inspiration from Acts of Courage
As American actor and social icon John Wayne said, "Courage is being scared to death …and saddling up anyway." Observed acts of courage are nourishing to the spirit and inspiring to all of us. In business, this is just as true and important as it is anywhere else. 
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Put Your Core Values on Display Through Marketing
The core values that you've dictated for your business play an important role in just about every decision that you make. What many people fail to realize is that they need to play an important role in your marketing, too. Marketing isn't just about communicating what services you provide or what products you offer, but what type of business you represent.
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Creative Examples of What You Can Do With a Well-Placed QR Code
In today's world, one of the single best opportunities that you have to leverage the power of both digital and print campaigns at the same time is with a well-placed QR code. Short for "quick response code," a QR code operates on the same basic concept as a barcode, but can be used to accomplish a host of different things given the circumstances. If your goal is to use QR codes in your print campaigns creatively (as you should be), there are a few key avenues you can choose to pursue. 
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The Innocence of Children
Remember when you were a little kid; how the world seemed different than it does now? A big part of that difference was defined by your innocence as a child. As adults, we look back on childhood innocence with older, more mature eyes, and when we do, we see something almost magical in contrast to our work-a-day world of adult living. What is it that makes childlike innocence so attractive and ultimately inspiring?
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Constructive Criticism: Why Direct Customer Feedback is Better Than Surveys and How It Can Help Propel Your Business Forward
Constructive criticism is always important, regardless of the type of business you're running. It's one of the single best ways to not only identify areas where you and your team truly excel, but more importantly, identify things that you could be doing better that you might not be otherwise unaware of. The key word in this phrase, however, is "constructive." You need to be able to glean something valuable from what your customers are trying to tell you. To do that, you really need to consider the source.
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From Dreaming to Succeeding
Norman Vincent Peale's famous book, "The Power of Positive Thinking," may not have been the first such motivational book, but it certainly achieved fame as one of the most popular and enduring testaments to a positive attitude. As Peale put it, "Change your thoughts and you change your world."
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Signs That It May Be Time to Change Your Brand
As you enter the world of business, you're told time and again that your brand is essentially everything. It's the first encounter that most customers have with your organization and it's your connection to those people, particularly when it comes to establishing the type of meaningful and long-lasting relationship you need to survive. While all of this and more is definitely true, there is one important thing that your brand is NOT: immortal. 
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Mistakes as Vehicles to Success
Accidents and mistakes have given us many advantages that otherwise might have never come about. In fact, experimental accidents have been responsible for many of our scientific and medical advances over the past few centuries. The business world has also learned to take mistakes and failures to heart as learning experiences rather than obstacles. Our mistakes can be viewed as stepping stones to future successes.
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Guest Blogging: Fully Understanding This Marketing Best Practice
Running a marketing blog as a part of a marketing campaign is practically a requirement in today's modern world - particularly as Google changes the very foundation of what SEO stands for on a regular basis. One of the many things that Google looks for when ranking sites is how frequently they're updated. A steady stream of fresh, trustworthy and high quality content will always rank higher than a page updated once a year.
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Learning True Humility
True humility comes from a rejection of its opposites (pridefulness and arrogance), along with nurturing of acceptance, listening instead of speaking, and focusing more on another person than on yourself. That meaning was expressed beautifully by the ancient philosopher Confucius, with:
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Tips for Mastering Multi-Channel Communications in Your Campaigns
You can essentially boil down the goal of any marketing campaign to one impossibly simple core concept: you're trying to connect to your target audience and communicate a message in the most natural and organic way possible. In today's modern environment, marketers tend to fall into two distinct camps: those who are sticking to the tried-and-true print technique and those who see digital as the way of the future. 
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Expressions of Appreciation
“Feeling grateful or appreciative of someone or something in your life actually attracts more of the things that you appreciate and value into your life.”
– Dr. Christiane Northrup

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Staying Relevant in a Social World Means Embracing All It Has to Offer
Despite the fact that we're well into the 21st century at this point, there are many businesses that are truly afraid of addressing exactly what that entails for whatever reason. It is not uncommon to meet a marketer that is still relying on the tried-but-true techniques of yesteryear, while at the same time turning a cold shoulder to the advancements of the last decade: namely, the social media-centric society in which we now live.
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Individuality: Use Your Voice to Emphasize What Makes You Special in a Crowded Marketplace
When you begin to create marketing materials and send them out into the world, one of the most important aspects to focus on is your voice. You can describe "voice" in marketing in many ways - from the word choices that you use to the feeling that you're trying to unlock in your target audience. Even if you're operating in a crowded marketplace and competition is incredibly stiff, we believe that your voice is one of the best opportunities that you have to emphasize what really makes you special to your readers.
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How Introverts Thrive in Quiet
When we picture successful people, we tend to lean toward the extroverts -- those who speak up more, get noticed more, and interact with others more than their introverted peers. But introverts have much to offer beneath their quieter demeanor, and they are more than wallflowers. They are not necessarily even shy.

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The Value of Understanding Motivation in Marketing
Have you ever lost an entire afternoon diving into an incredible book? Despite the numerous decades that have passed since the publication of countless works of classic literature, people still manage to lose themselves in the words. They imagine themselves as a part of the plot-- trying to understand the characters and their motivations. They root for their favorite hero or heroine while cringing every time that famed nemesis appears. 
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Backlinks: An Online Handshake
When you speak with SEO professionals, you may hear them talk about the importance of backlinks. Backlinks are when another site links to your site. These links are important because not only do they help drive traffic to your website, but they are a sign to Google that your site provides information that people appreciate and view as worth linking to.

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Overcoming Negativity
Positive energy is something each of us benefits from in several ways. It helps generate positive feelings within us, but it also transfers to the people we come in contact with. A smile can make a significant difference to someone who happens to need one at just the right moment. But what happens when you cultivate negativity, instead?
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Building Anticipation for a New Product or Service Through Marketing
Marketing materials that you put out into the world aren't just a great way to introduce a new product or service to your target audience. If done properly, they can also be an invaluable way to create a huge amount of buzz and anticipation surrounding an upcoming product or service launch.
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Finding the Recipe for Successful Marketing
When you are creating a marketing campaign, you will similarly need to follow a recipe. The difference is that you will need to develop the recipe yourself. You know that you need a variety of different ingredients, such as direct mail, social media, online content, and paid advertising. You then need to mix these different techniques together to engage your intended audience and create the perfect recipe.
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How to Create a Successful Marketing Event for Your Business
If you truly want to draw attention to your business and potentially attract a whole new variety of customers, there are few better ways to accomplish this than with a great marketing event. Regardless of the type of industry that you're in, a marketing event is a great way to get a hold of some people who wouldn't normally have your business on their radar. To accomplish this, however, you need to keep a few key things in mind.

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The Return of the 90's Sitcom
For anyone who grew up watching the popular 90’s sitcoms, the past few years have been particularly exciting. It seems as though now is a popular time for studios and actors to bring back some of the shows in the form of spin-offs.
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Wearable Devices: A New Frontier in Marketing Opportunity
Though the Apple Watch has only been available to the public for a few short months, make no mistake: wearable technology is here to stay. Not only are these devices a bold, new way to impact the lives of consumers in terms of both productivity and monitoring their health, it also represents an incredible, new marketing opportunity that cannot be ignored. 
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Finding Your Way in School and in Business
Imagine for a moment you're the new kid at school. You arrive on the first day and take a few deep breaths before entering. Around you, kids are happily chatting and comparing notes from their summer breaks. From the rockers to the geeks, each and every group seeks to have a strong representation at the school. Each social group seems to have established its own social hierarchy, and everyone knows exactly where they fit and what role they play within the school community.

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The Quest for Quality Content in the Marketing World: Why the Need Isn't Going Away and is Only Getting Bigger
If you have any type of Internet presence for your business at all, the chances are high you're always searching for relevant, high-quality content to put out into the world on a regular basis. Quality content accomplishes a number of different goals.
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Measure Performance and See Success
If you've ever participated in a fantasy team, you've also been exposed to the importance of statistics and performance metrics. This fun game can provide you with incredible insight you can use to improve your marketing efforts. Here are just a few lessons you can learn from fantasy sports teams that can be transferred to marketing.
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The Millennials: How to Use Print to Capture the Attention of the Technology-Driven Generation
Officially, a person is a millennial if they reached young adulthood sometime around the year 2000. Also commonly referred to as Generation Y, these are people who are just now becoming the age where they matter most -- at least as far as marketing demographics are concerned. They're starting to break out on their own, live their own lives, and spend a great deal of money. Historically, they've also been the most difficult to market to for one simple reason: technology.
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Rebranding: What It Is, How You Can Do It, and What It Can Do For You
Even the strongest brands eventually go through some type of an identity crisis. Maybe the audience you've been targeting for all these years no longer needs the product or service you offer. Maybe you suffered a bit of a setback from a public relations perspective and are looking for a way to start fresh. Rebranding involves a whole lot more than just putting a new coat of paint on an old house -- it's about getting rid of the old so you can make way for the new in the freshest and most impressive ways possible.
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Ways to Ensure Everyone Has their Favorite Type of Content
Your customers often have different tastes and preferences. When planning your marketing, you must remain considerate of your customers and recognize that it's possible for different customers to have different content tastes.
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Writing Thank You Cards and Keywords
Remember as a child, sitting at the kitchen table, writing thank you notes following the holidays or your birthday? The adults in your life likely had high standards for these notes as well. They wanted to see notes that expressed your gratitude and showed just how much you appreciated the gift. Those extra sentences about how you planned to use those gifts were always important as well
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What a Guerrilla Marketing Campaign Looks Like Today
For small business owners, guerrilla marketing tactics have long been one of the best ways to get noticed in a crowded marketplace without breaking the proverbial piggy bank. The term "guerrilla," in this instance, refers to a small team of professionals who are using unconventional or irregular tactics in their marketing campaigns, especially when compared to what larger organizations are doing.
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What Mom and Pop Shops Can Teach Us About Customers and Relationships
The importance of building relationships with customers remains incredibly important, no matter what your company's size may be. To help you successfully accomplish this, let's take a look back at what helped those old mom and pop shops stay in business and thrive.
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Ways to Increase Your Foot Traffic at Your Convention Booth
Conventions are and always will be one of the best ways to grow your brand, build your reputation, and generate new leads and opportunities moving forward. Regardless of the type of industry you currently operate in, you won't have to look hard to find a convention that fits your needs.
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The Unseen Lessons Our Teachers Taught Us
When first exploring the power of buyer personas, it's natural to worry about the extra work and effort needed to complete the process. Fortunately, these fears are not unjustified. While it's true you'll need to have an intimate understanding of potential customers and what they seek from brands like yours, the investment is completely worth it and can lead to tremendous growth for your company. Here's why...

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Do You Want to Drive James Bond's Car?
From the famous Aston Martin to the Bentley of Casino Royale, the cars of James Bond are famous enough to warrant their own Wikipedia page. Many fans who flock to the James Bond movies love salivating over these gorgeous cars and the incredible gadgets they are often outfitted with to make them even more spectacular.
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Now is the time to grow or start your blog.

Articles and statistics touting the benefits of blogging are ubiquitous. You know you probably should be blogging, but how and what you should write about plague even the most seasoned marketers.  Like many things, getting started blogging can be the hardest part. Use our 11 suggestions to keep your blog going on a regular basis. Read more.

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Creating In-Store Signs Your Customers Can't Help But Notice
Remember, just because someone is already in your store doesn't mean the marketing machine can take the afternoon off. When it comes to designing the types of in-store signs your customers can't help but notice, there are a few key things you'll need to keep in mind.
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Trade Shows Are One Opportunity You Just Can't Afford to Pass Up
Like any business, you probably use a wide range of marketing materials in an attempt to spread your message far and wide. Even though you rely heavily on the print techniques that have worked so well in the past, you've probably also branched out into the wonderful world of social media and digital marketing. But one marketing opportunity remains largely untapped by many businesses. That opportunity is the trade show, which brings with it a wide range of opportunities you can't ignore.
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Maintaining a Balanced Marketing Diet
We all have favorite foods. If you're like most people, your favorite food is probably not the healthiest, either. Some people have a weakness for pies, while others prefer brownies, cakes, or even just rich and delicious pasta. No matter how much we may like one particular food, however, we all know we need to limit our intake of it. No one can survive on just one single type of food.
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Perform a Website Audit
Many website owners take the Ron Popeil approach with “set it and forget it” and while that may work for roasting chickens, it is a terrible web strategy. If it has been awhile since you reviewed your own website, summertime is an ideal time to do it. Read on to see 8 things to look for when you are doing a website audit.
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Marketing Lessons From Movie Trailers
If you want to see a clear-cut example of the power of marketing in action, look no further than the trailers released into cinemas each weekend for the latest Hollywood blockbusters. Nowadays, many feature films cost hundreds of millions of dollars to make, so a trailer needs to fire on every last cylinder in order to help that film succeed.
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The Re-Branding of Curious George
Many people are unaware of the origins of Curious George. For the youngsters who love the books and TV show today, George is just an adorable little monkey who happens to live with a man in a yellow hat. The children watch as George gets himself into all kinds of trouble, learning along with him how to problem solve.
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Print Marketing Techniques that Have Stood the Test of Time
In marketing, everyone's always looking for the "next big thing." Whatever your business, you're probably looking for that bold, new method no one else has thought of before to connect with your target audience in a new and meaningful way. Yet even with all of today's shiny, new marketing channels and techniques, some classic print marketing ideas are just as relevant today as they were way back when. What's more, they're also a great way to inject your modern campaign with some old-school flair.

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What Captain Kirk Teaches Us About Business
Even among those who haven't followed the Star Trek franchise, Captain Kirk and William Shatner (the actor who played him) are household names. Whether you're a lifelong Trekkie or only know the character's name in passing, here are six Captain Kirk/William Shatner quotes we found particularly inspiring for marketing and business professionals.

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On the horizon: Advertising on Instagram
With a community of 300 million and growing, Instagram is one of the world’s largest social platforms. To date, Instagram has remained fairly advertisement free. When Facebook purchased Instagram back in 2012, they slowly rolled out selected ads from widely known brands, but advertising for small/medium businesses has been unavailable. In a recent new release, Instagram announced that in the coming months it will open up advertising to businesses of all sizes.
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The Four Key Steps to Successful Branding Today, Tomorrow, and Beyond
Here's a marketing truth that bears repeating: Your brand is one of the most powerful weapons you have in your quest not only to attract the widest possible audience, but to differentiate yourself from the competition in a meaningful way. While the type of brand you're trying to build may vary as your company grows and evolves, the steps you'll use to create and cultivate that brand won't. Here are four key steps to successful branding that are just as useful today as they will be tomorrow, a year from now, and beyond.
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Monet and Picasso: There's Room for You, Too
If you're talented in your industry and have the skills needed to show genuine expertise, you can also find your place within your market. No industry or market is so crowded it can't make room for you. To reach this desired summit, you need to prepare.
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The Power of Personalization
Print marketing is still one of the best and most effective ways to connect with your target audience and create brand awareness on a large scale. For starters, print marketing is tangible -- you're giving a person something they can hold in their hands and, more importantly, something they can pass along to a friend or family member. 

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Learning to Dream Again
Children dream uninhibitedly. They dream about things the rest of us find unobtainable. Too often, we think about all the obstacles in our way and allow our minds to entertain the "what ifs," rather than the "why nots." As we mature, our goals need to be more realistic for our skills and abilities, but that doesn't mean we have to stop reaching for the stars.
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Hopping Aboard the Bandwagon
The bandwagon effect is nothing new. Scientists have been amazed for decades by the propensity for people to follow the lead of others. It seems to dominate our lives in so many ways! We become more likely to buy products our friends buy, and we even find ourselves ascribing to the opinions and beliefs of those around us.
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Ever Wondered Just How Effective a Call to Action Really Is?
While it's true the larger goal of your marketing efforts involves spreading the word about the products or services you sell, this isn't the only thing you're trying to accomplish. Gently guiding your customers through the various stages of the sales funnel, from the moment they begin looking for a solution to the moment they choose to do business with you, is arguably even more important.
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Integrating Social Media and Print: Leveraging the Best of Both Worlds to Your Advantage
It's certainly no secret that social media is increasingly becoming one of the single most important tools to connect with your target audience in the most meaningful ways possible. After all, sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more have hundreds of millions of unique users who are actively engaged in social activities on a daily basis. It would be a shame to let such a valuable resource go to waste.
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50 + 2 Improperly Used Words in Writing
Using the wrong words in business communications can be more than just embarrassing, it can damage your credibility and could even be a cause for rejection of your proposal. The way we speak and the way we communicate in the written word, are frequently different. Below you’ll find 52 frequently misused and abused words in business writing. Most you are likely aware of, but some may surprise you.
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Predictive Analytics: One of the Keys to Direct Mail Marketing Success in 2015 and Beyond
Direct mail marketing is still one of the best and most efficient ways to connect to your target audience, even in this social-media-centric world. But that doesn't mean you need to eschew technology altogether. Case in point: predictive analytics are quickly becoming not just a recommendation, but a requirement for anyone running a direct mail campaign.
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Lessons from Vacation Planning
It was almost the end of senior year at the university. Four close friends -- Sarah, Maria, Andrea, and Kaitlin -- were preparing to celebrate the momentous achievement of earning a degree. To make their upcoming graduation even sweeter, each had found employment that would begin a few weeks after they received their diploma. These girls had plenty to celebrate.
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Online Reviews: How to Learn from the Good and the Bad
Constructive criticism is one of the most powerful tools available to businesses of all types today. After all, who better to tell you how you're really doing than the people you're supposed to be pleasing in the first place? Thanks to the Internet and the scores of online review sites that have cropped up over the years, you don't have to look very far anymore for someone's honest opinion of a product or service, especially now that everyone has an equal voice in the proceedings.
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What analytics reports should I be looking at?
We talk to a lot of clients and prospects about what is working for their business and what is not. When it comes to their online presence, we can fairly objectively evaluate their success level by looking at a few key reports on Google Analytics. If you aren’t currently using an analytics program to evaluate your own website, we would strongly suggest you add some as soon as possible. Google Analytics is free and provides a comprehensive overview of who is looking at your site, how they found your site, what they did once they were on your site and more. While Google isn’t the only game in town, it is one of the largest. 
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What Children's Dolls Can Teach Us About Marketing
As adults, many of us watch children playing with their dolls with a detached amusement, occasionally jumping into the game. The next time you watch a child with their dolls, however, you should stop to think about how much this active imagination is actually teaching you. If you listen closely, you can learn a bit about how to use buyer personas to grow your business.
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4 Mistakes You Could Be Making With Your Offline Marketing
Do you think offline marketing is obsolete? It isn't...not by a long shot. In fact, you need to pay just as close attention to your offline marketing as you do to your online marketing in order to achieve success.
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New Lessons from Seventh Grade Physics
Like the students in this class, most of us enjoy a little friendly competition. When we desire the reward, we become much more interested in the subject matter at hand. The same principles apply to marketing and branding. Customers love competition, and it can be an excellent way to keep people engaged with your brand.
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Resizing images for use on the web
Most photographs taken with a phone or digital camera are well over 1 MB (megabyte) in size. While 1MB isn’t extraordinary in size and likely wouldn’t take too long to download on a high speed connection, having an image that large on your site is typically unnecessary.  An image that is a MB (or 1024 kilobytes) can typically be resized using an image editing program to be much smaller, usually less than 100kb when done properly. Resizing your images before you load them on to your website will keep the site loading quickly and keep the quality of your images in tact as the browser won’t have to resize or reshape the image to fit the location.
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Using Instagram to Market Your Business
Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms right now. As such, it's the perfect showcase for your business. With so many people using Instagram, you need to stand out to make an impact with your audience and gain new, devoted followers. This means thinking outside the box. Here are four extraordinary ways to use Instagram to boost your company's success.
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Confusing Directions and Confusing Advertisements
Driving somewhere new always comes with a certain level of stress. Even with GPS, there are worries about getting lost, ending up in the wrong location, or otherwise having a bad experience. When someone gives you directions, whether you enter them into your GPS or they get scribbled down on a notepad, you expect them to be clear and direct and help you get where you need to go. 
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Understanding How Consumers' Brains Think
Interestingly, the part of the brain most responsible for making buying decisions isn't the part that thinks logically. We make the majority of our decisions using what is commonly referred to as the "reptilian brain." This part of the brain is programmed for survival. It's perpetually evaluating choices based on the least possible harm to itself. Even when it's deciding whether or not to buy a product from you, it's performing a cost/benefit analysis. 

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Why Customer Service is One of Your Most Important Marketing Channels
When you think about all the different marketing channels you have at your disposal, they're really all working toward the same goals, though in different ways. Each one helps to spread the word about your brand -- or at least about a specific product or service you provide. Each channel also helps create new ways to interact with your customers in an intimate and meaningful way.
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How Social Media Can Help With Market Research
Social media (and the Internet in general) has come to dominate nearly half the globe. Customers use the Internet to communicate and connect with each other and the brands they want to do business with. These customers are telling you what you need to know about the needs of your intended audience. Here are a few ways you can put social media to work for you.
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Tips for effective networking
Face to face networking events are often a necessary part of life as a business professional. They let you meet like-minded individuals, make important business connections and get your foot in the door of potential clients.  Here are a few things you can do to make your next networking event a success. 
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Building Brand Awareness Requires a Consistent Brand Experience
Building brand awareness is one of the cornerstones of successful marketing. People need to see you as the trusted leader you know you are. Every message you put out into the world -- from flyers to advertisements to the content on your website -- must reinforce that core ideal. The goal is to create a consistent brand experience across every marketing channel.
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Google's Mobile Friendly Update - What it means for your business
Google has been rolling out lots of changes to apps, Google Play and the presentation of mobile search engine results all in preparation for a larger algorithm release that is scheduled to be released on or around April 21st.  As we learned from past Google algorithm changes (Penguin and Panda), these updates can greatly impact where your site ranks in the search engine results pages (SERPs)
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Building a House, Building a Marketing Campaign
Most of us will never build anything more elaborate than a bird house. That doesn't mean, however, that the steps involved in building a house cannot teach us anything. Even just planning how one might begin to build a house can teach us something about how to succeed in marketing a company.
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Business Lessons You Can Learn From Film and Television
Inspiration can come from many places. While it's always important to look toward successful leaders to see what you can do to better yourself and your organization, you can also find tips in the most unlikely of places, including film and television.
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Transparency and Authenticity: Two Keys to Marketing Success
Trust is essential to success in today's business world. It's not enough to offer a terrific product or service. You need to back that offering with the type of high-quality brand experience people won't find anywhere else. Doing so doesn't just create customers -- it creates advocates.
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How to Convince Customers You're Worthy of Their Loyalty
Did you know that 71 percent of customers have stopped using a company because of the poor customer service they received? Did you also know that the average value of a lost customer is $243? Poor customer experiences cost companies money and seriously hurt the bottom line. No company can afford to just throw away $243 per person.
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How Does Pinterest Fit into Your Business's Success?
Is your business on Pinterest? If not, it should be. Pinterest can have a huge impact on your company's success. Here are three ways you can use Pinterest to your best advantage to gain more customers and increase profits:
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Local Marketing: The Biggest Weapon in A Mobile and Social World
Engaging with customers has always been the name of the game in marketing. Thanks to the Internet, target audiences are increasingly spread out. That isn't to say the Internet hasn't been a benefit to marketers. It unquestionably has.
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Planning a Meal, Planning a Marketing Campaign
Planning a successful integrated marketing campaign is a lot like planning a successful feast. Just as choosing various dishes that complement each other helps to create a memorable meal, using a variety of marketing platforms to create a single campaign will help to capture the story of your brand. 
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How to Handle Customer Complaints Effectively
Few aspects of running a business can be more frustrating -- or more expected -- than customer complaints. It's impossible for even the most successful companies to please every customer every time. Knowing how to handle customer complaints effectively and professionally can improve brand reputation and turn a disgruntled customer around.
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What Gardening Can Teach You About Marketing
Spring is in the air, and people everywhere are starting to think about their gardens for the year. While gardening might not seem to have much to do with business, in reality, it has several lessons it can teach us about running a successful marketing campaign. Here are four to keep in mind as you prepare your yard this year.
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Take the Time to Get Positive Customer Reviews
If you're like most business owners, you love seeing positive reviews come through your virtual door, but you don't really go out looking for them. After all, how many customers actually respond to solicitations for reviews? Is it really worth the effort?
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Hitching a Ride on the Bandwagon
Like the white wedding dress, your company can benefit from the bandwagon effect. You might never make your product an inherent part of the national culture, but you will be able to increase sales and conversions by capitalizing on the 'me, too!' phenomenon.
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4 Ways To Boost Your Email Success Rates
Email can be a powerful tool for reaching potential customers. After all, about 91 percent of customers have an email address they check at least one time per day. It's a consistently reliable way for getting in touch with people who might be interested in what your company has to offer.
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Translating a Study Abroad Experience Into Business Success
Studying abroad is a popular and honored tradition for many students as they go through college. If you had the opportunity to do so, you likely reveled in the opportunity to immerse yourself in a new culture. But while you were busy learning about new cultures, you were also learning some valuable insight about business. You just might not have realized it. Here are three lessons you learned about being successful in business while you were studying abroad.

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Mastering Business Strategy at the Chess Board
While most people are familiar with the intense challenge chess provides the brain, you might not realize how much it can teach you about marketing and running a business. Two key lessons involve pragmatism and playing the "long game."
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How Engaging Are Your Sign-up Forms?
Take a moment to think about the forms you ask your visitors to fill out and submit when they visit your website or come to your store. These forms help convert those individuals from anonymous visitors to active leads you can contact regularly. To make that happen, you want people to feel encouraged to leave you with their name and information so you can remember them.
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Keep Your Existing Customers Around By Improving Engagement
If you're like many business professionals, you know that half the battle of growing your business is getting existing customers to stick around. When you provide your customers with outstanding customer service, some incredible things happen:
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Blogging Can Be a Fantastic Promotion Tool Across Platforms
Building a successful blog is an excellent way to integrate your marketing campaigns across several platforms. Here are a few ways to use your blog to promote your business regardless of medium.

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Instilling School Spirit at Your Company
Just like the college student who loves their school so much they broadcast it to anyone who asks their opinion, employees who feel respected and appreciated help to broadcast a positive image of the company and can increase customer satisfaction rates.
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Marketing Lessons from Iconic Rock Bands
Few entities can inspire the kind of loyalty rock bands do. Think about performers like the Rolling Stones, the Grateful Dead, and Phish, to name just a few. Groups like these have entertained generations of audiences and encouraged strong followings among their most devoted fans. Sure, their music plays a large part in building and maintaining a fan base, but so, too, does great marketing.
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How Much Value Are You Providing Customers Online?
Consumers today want answers and help navigating your industry. Like a student seeking help in a school subject, these customers aren't going to stick around someone who just tells them general information they already know. To convert your customers, you need to be the helpful authority.
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High School Loyalty and Brand Community
There's something about high school that inspires loyalty for decades after graduation. For an outsider looking in, it can be difficult to understand why people care so much about their past high school experiences. Whether it's journeying hundreds of miles for a high school reunion or feeling offended when someone insults the old sports hero, high school loyalties run deep for many people.
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The Importance of Reputation Management
Companies used to be able to control a large portion of their message through advertising. Now, thanks to digital media, online reviews, and customers doing their own research, creating and maintaining a positive image requires much more subtlety and work.
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What Relay Teams Can Teach Us About Teamwork
Relay teams typically consist of four of the most highly skilled runners at a particular distance. But skill alone isn't enough. The teams must practice together to get their timing and execution just right. It takes a great deal of teamwork to win a relay event.

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Back to Basics: The 'Why' in Creating Valuable Content
When it comes to producing valuable content, countless marketing and business professionals will tell you that you 'should,' but not many delve into the 'why.'
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What a Symphony Orchestra Can Teach Us About Harmony and Marketing
An orchestra brings harmony to life. Its beauty comes from the different sections -- woodwinds, percussion, strings, and brass -- working together to create something spectacular. If just one person or one section is out of tune or out of line, the entire piece can fall flat. The same is true in your marketing.
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The Role of Gamification in Marketing
Improving visitor engagement on your website, through social media, and in person can help boost brand loyalty and build relationships that lead to sales. Gamification is a growing trend in making that happen. The process works by encouraging prospects to interact with your brand through various games and competitions.
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5 Ways to Increase Visitor Engagement in 2015
As you prepare your marketing plans for the year, one of your chief priorities should be website visitor engagement. As engagement increases, so do brand loyalty and conversions. Engagement helps page visitors begin to build a relationship with your brand. This in turn helps to increase their trust in what you have to say and makes them more likely to end up buying from you. Here are a handful of changes you can make to greatly enhance your visitor engagement and see measurable changes in 2015.
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Business Lessons from Willy Wonka
For us in the business world, the story of Willy Wonka and his chocolate factory is much more valuable than mere entertainment. It can teach us many lessons about successfully running a company. Here are just a few that every business owner should note.
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Keeping Your Resolutions in Life and in Marketing
With the new year upon us, it's time again to consider resolutions for the coming year. Unfortunately, most of us have a far easier time making resolutions than keeping them. Genuine lifestyle changes are difficult to achieve. If you're planning to make radical shifts in your daily life, consider the following:
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What Preschoolers Can Teach Us About Marketing
Anyone who's ever spent time with preschoolers in a classroom knows just how amazingly active the place can get. Children at this age are immensely curious about the world around them and work to absorb every bit of information they can. In their learning process, they not only start to understand their own situations, but also gain the tools needed to teach the rest of us some important lessons about marketing and running a business. 
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The Rise of Big Data and Its Growing Importance in Marketing
Big data has made quite an entrance into the world of marketing. Though it's largely been the playground of big brand names, many marketing professionals predict it will soon become an important piece of the marketing puzzle for companies of all sizes. 
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Taking Your Keywords to the Next Level
Keywords can be fantastic tools for attracting attention from potential customers. They help search engines 'tune into' your content and better match your pages to the queries people enter. Unfortunately, many companies use keywords at a very rudimentary level, failing to capitalize on what this simple optimization technique can do. Here are four ways you can easily improve the keywords you use on your website to bring in more visitors and increase your brand's visibility.
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Marketing Lessons from Shel Silverstein
Shel Silverstein has taught generations of children lessons about life from his books of fun and goofy poems. People of all ages can appreciate his wit and what he has to say. As adults, it's easy to forget all those valuable words, but Shel Silverstein also has a number of lessons he can teach us about business and life. Here are four quotes from the famous poet that we should never forget as we begin to build and grow our businesses.
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3 Key Marketing Trends to Add to Your Strategy for the New Year
As you look back on your past year's marketing and start developing plans for the year ahead, now is the perfect time to review some of the expected trends for 2015, so you can begin incorporating them into your campaigns. Here are three trends to consider.

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What Politicians Can Teach Us About Audiences
Successful politicians are master marketers. They construct narratives, brand stories, and reputations, and they work to inspire loyalty and admiration. But one of their most intriguing campaign techniques is the art of tailoring their message to the audience they're trying to reach.

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5 Tips for Developing Content That Will Resonate With Your Audience
When developing content for your website and marketing materials, you want to create pieces that will resonate with your audience. This will encourage them to read what you've produced, share it on social media and with friends, and -- most importantly -- remember what you said. Strong content will enhance brand loyalty and improve the success of your entire marketing campaign. Here are five tips to help you create more meaningful content.
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What We Can Learn From Children Learning to Play Together
Imagine a preschool classroom filled with three- and four-year-old kids, each eager to play with a certain toy firetruck. The disagreements over whose turn it is quickly draw the attention of the teacher, who is immediately inundated with different versions of the story. According to one student...
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5 Metrics You Should Measure in Every Marketing Campaign
Measuring your marketing campaigns is the best way to determine the success of your efforts. Without accurate measurements, it's easy to be misled by regular market fluctuations or emotions. A few key areas can help you gain important insights into how your campaigns are performing and where they can be improved. Here are five metrics you should use in every marketing campaign, no matter how small it might be.
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What We Can Learn From Writing Holiday Wish Lists
From the activity of writing a Christmas list itself, to the toys that appear on it, children are influenced by what their peers are doing. This principle impacts all of us, no matter how old we are or what the subject matter is. Regardless of how independent we'd like to think we are, the truth is we're all heavily influenced by what our peers are doing.
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How Much Personality Should You Add to Your Company Blog?
Many businesses struggle with the value of adding personality to their professional blogs. You might have heard that customers like to get to know the people behind the company brand to help build those crucial relationships, but you've also heard that blogs are supposed to be centered around building value for your customers. How are you supposed to reconcile these two seemingly opposing ideas?
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Finding Your Crowd... On Social Media
If you want to increase your odds of connecting with your audience, you have to know what types of social media they like and where they will be found. To accomplish this, you need to know the following:
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Just What the Teacher Ordered: The Business-Building Benefit Marketing Reports Provide
Like their high school and college counterparts, marketing reports can also feel frustrating. People often view such assignments as time wasters that are only done because they're demanded by the c-level executives upstairs. In reality, however, marketing reports can offer considerable insight and help everyone better understand the company's marketing strategies and how they can be improved. 
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Designing a Landing Page that Converts Customers
Landing pages are a fantastic way to convert leads into customers. A potential customer sees something that interests them. They click your call to action link or scan a QR code on an advertisement and end up on a page specifically designed to convert them. So how do you maximize the potential of your landing page?
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3 Marketing Lessons Netflix Has Taught Us
Over the past few years, Netflix has revolutionized how people think about television and movies. As people have become increasingly disenchanted with cable options and the price of TV, Netflix has risen to become a major entertainment provider. Recently, the service has even begun producing movies and shows of its own. Whether you subscribe to Netflix yourself or know someone who does, here are some valuable Netflix-inspired lessons to consider for your company. 
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Never Underestimate the Importance of Customer Satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is essential to any company's growth. When you meet or exceed a customer's expectations, they can do wondrous things for your reputation and even give you free advertising by recommending you to others. However, if you fail to meet their expectations, you'll likely never see them again.
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Improve Your Integrated Marketing Campaign in 3 Easy Steps
Integrated marketing campaigns give companies the chance to reach their potential customers on a number of different platforms. A well-orchestrated campaign branches out across several platforms to reach the target audience wherever they might be found.
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Maximizing Your Use 4 Top Social Media Platforms
If you don't use social media personally, it can seem difficult to understand why it's such an important aspect of digital marketing. You might be tempted to think, "Well, Facebook is the biggest of the social media platforms, so maybe I should just post everything on there in the hopes of reaching the most people." What you need to realize, however, is that social media is not just a publication service. It's a community. 

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Finding Your Position on the Field
For a new entrepreneur just beginning a new business, this can seem considerably intimidating. How does one succeed in business when there seem to be too many companies within the industry already? It's entirely possible, provided you have the skills necessary and are ready to put in the work. 
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Keeping the Ship Afloat . . . In Business
We've all heard the expression "keeping the ship afloat." Anyone who has ever spent time on an actual ship knows that keeping a boat afloat and getting it to the intended destination is no easy task. Ships of all sizes require a considerable amount of work from everyone on board, and we in business can learn a great deal from these professionals when it comes to keeping our own companies running and moving in the right direction.
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How Does Email Fit Into a Modern Marketing Strategy?
Given that most people despise spam email, it can be difficult to see how email can fit into a successful marketing strategy. Isn't blasting potential customers with email part of the old, outdated marketing system that's now viewed as ineffective?
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Business Lessons From the Wizard of Oz
In social media, we're often asked to be like the man behind the curtain. We must project our voice and opinions in a variety of media, communicating a sense of authority and wisdom. With all the demands of the modern business world, it can be tempting to resort to automation. There are a number of 'tricks and cheats' available in the social media world.
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Are You Using Keywords Correctly
When choosing keywords, think about the words customers are commonly searching for online. Monitor the number of searches that are done for different keywords, and then choose a few you'd like to target. These should be keywords directly related to your business, so you can use them naturally throughout your website and blog.
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Building a Championship Team at Work
When you set out to select members for your own professional team -- your business -- you must give it as much thought as a baseball coach and general manager. Sure, you should carefully review resumes and interview candidates, but in doing so, try to avoid the temptation to simply fill a role, rather than building a team.
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Do You Know Who You're Talking To?
When you sit down to develop marketing materials, you know you're trying to reach potential customers. If you're unclear who that might be, however, you could find yourself wasting time, energy, and money.
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How Football Can Help Us Build and Grow Our Business
With football season now in full swing, fans across the country are watching their favorite teams fight for a shot at postseason glory. Football is a sport that requires athletic prowess, analytical skill, and a considerable amount of strategizing. As such, there are many lessons we can apply to the business world. Here are just a few to consider.
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How to Say No to a Client
The idea of saying 'no' to a client can seem counter-intuitive. You're trying to grow your business, after all. But there are times when speaking up and turning down a request or deciding not to work on a particular project might be good for your company's long-term growth. 
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Applying the Lessons You Learned During Your First Weeks of College
The key to successful marketing is finding your niche and building potential relationships. In school, you found those people by joining clubs, participating in sports teams, and taking part in activities where you would be likely to meet others with similar ideas and interests as you. When developing a marketing plan, you need to do the same thing. 

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Is Traditional Outbound Marketing Dead?
While outbound marketing has lost some of its glamour in recent years, it remains as viable as ever in today's digital world. It's role has just changed. Understanding those changes and how to integrate outbound marketing with your inbound efforts is a challenge well worth undertaking. 
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Do You Know Why Your Customers Like You?
Most business leaders understand the importance of market research, particularly during the startup phase. Those interested in starting a business should research their potential customer base and determine how successful their product or idea will likely be within that particular market long before building their first prototype or contacting their first client.
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Is It Possible to Succeed in an Over-Saturated Industry?
The Internet makes it easy to see just how many businesses are vying to compete in an increasingly competitive atmosphere. At times, it seems there's a business or product for just about any want or need. So how do some people manage to successfully establish new companies and find their way to positions of leadership in this hyper-competitive marketplace? 
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Performing Regular 'Checkups' on Your Marketing Campaigns
As a business owner, you should think of your marketing campaigns like a child. Just as a child needs regular checkups, your company's marketing will benefit from regular 'checkups,' too, even if nothing is actually wrong.
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Learning the Unique Language of Marketing Can Be Similar to Learning a Foreign Tongue
Learning a new language is a difficult proposition, whether you are trying to master marketing speech or a foreign tongue. Both have specific vocabularies, along with rules that govern how the language is used.
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What the Cola Wars Can Teach About Marketing
Imagine you are walking down the street and see a group of people trying to get volunteers for a taste testing. In the cups before them they have two identical-looking colas. They ask you to try both cups and pick which one you prefer. You will then need to try and identify which is Coke and which is Pepsi.
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Nurturing Leads from Every Angle
When it comes to successfully nurturing leads from your marketing efforts, you already know you need to stay on top of email with potential clients. Email is a great way to stay in touch with customers, reach out to them periodically to see if they're ready to buy, and even just remind them about your company.
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Watch What You Say, Especially in Advertising.
The language you use in your marketing materials has more of an effect than you may realize. In fact, something as simple as your choice of pronouns can end up having an influence on your potential customers and the likelihood of them purchasing your products.
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What Shakespeare Can Teach Us About Marketing
Shakespeare was a master playwright who continues to entertain audiences centuries after his death. His mastery of the written word has been admired by people throughout the generations and around the world. While he may have never imagined anything like the Internet or modern marketing, there are still a number of lessons Shakespeare can teach us as we set out to master our own marketing techniques. 
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Making Your Company Stand Out From the Crowd
Most industries today are teeming with competitors, each offering a slightly different take on their products and services. In this environment, it can be difficult to imagine how you'll ever make your products, services, and company stand out against the chaos. It is, however, possible.
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How Babies Can Show Us the Way to Find A Niche
Successful marketing is built around identifying and addressing a key need for consumers. If your product looks interesting or does something really interesting, but customers don't see an immediate need for it, it probably won't sell very well. The key is to show customers exactly how your product addresses a specific need, even if the need is one they don't even know they have.
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How Customer Service Can Help or Hurt Your Marketing Efforts
Customer service just might be one of the most neglected, yet important aspects of growing a business. According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, it's 6 to 7 times more costly to find a new customer than it is to retain an old one.
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Taking an X-Ray of your Business
As business leaders, we must sometimes look at our own businesses with x-ray eyes: uncovering and treating problems beneath the surface before they get out of hand or cause permanent damage.
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Does Your Advertising Work Together?
At first glance, the various platforms used for delivering your marketing messages couldn't look more different. From social media to bus ads to print or radio ads, each platform has a completely different feel and intended audience. Regardless of the differences, however, it's critical that your campaigns maintain some key consistencies across every medium. 
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Are You Attracting Quality Leads or Meaningless Site Chatter?
When it comes to marketing, the million-dollar question is: "Have we been successful in our campaigns?" No company wants to pour money into a marketing effort and get nothing in return. It's common for marketing professionals to track numerous metrics in an effort to gauge the success of their campaigns. Unfortunately, many are monitoring the wrong thing, and that can be dangerous.
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Carpe Diem: An Important Business Mantra
Recognizing and grasping the right opportunities is important in nearly every aspect of business. Taking bold action at just the right time can take a company from decent to extraordinary, from paying the bills to thriving. In some cases, success itself can hinge on a single connection or contract that opens the floodgates.
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Print Coupons Are Valuable Tool for Driving Business
With the advent of the Internet and mobile technology, it may seem that print advertising has gone by the wayside. However, that is simply not true. In fact, there are still many legitimate, valuable uses for print advertising. One of those opportunities is coupons.
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Making Friends and Finding Customers: Using the Same Process to Find Both
Just as a person seeks new friends by participating in activities they enjoy, you, must look for new potential customers in areas where those prospects tend to congregate.
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What Marketers Can Learn at the Farmers' Market
Imagine walking into a farmers' market. Like many other visitors making their way through the stalls, you've become increasingly concerned about where your food comes from and the techniques used to grow it. The farmers' market offers you a distinct advantage because here you can actually speak with the people who grew or raised the food you're looking to buy. You can ask them questions.
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Marketing Your Brand to Every Palate
Just as every person has their own unique palate when it comes to food, your customers have their own appetites when it comes to how they want to receive your marketing messages. Keep this in mind as you plan your marketing campaigns.
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Management Lessons From Our Elementary School Days
Elementary school teachers understand that the best way to keep people motivated is to celebrate their accomplishments. When you find ways to congratulate people or teams who meet particular goals at your organization, you'll also be encouraging them to continue to strive and accomplish more.
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Networking Tips Straight Out of High School
Networking can be instrumental in growing a business. However, taking shortcuts and trying to sell to a new contact you've just met will probably have the success rate of trying to get the high school valedictorian you've never spoken with to study with you the day before finals.
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Outside the (Paper) Box: Creative, Innovative Uses for Paper
Chances are, you already know how indispensable paper is to marketing and business. But did you know that paper can -- literally -- save lives?
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Do You Truly Know Your Target Market?
While every business owner or marketing department head certainly has heard that basic rule of advertising -- know your target audience -- when was the last time you stopped to ask, "How well do I REALLY know my target audience?"
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Color in Print Advertising: Are You Sending Hidden Messages?
A printed marketing piece -- whether a brochure, flyer, catalog, or letter -- contains many design components. From margin size to font, use of white space to size and type of paper, the elements that go into a printed piece require much consideration. 
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What You Can Learn from a Stack of Pancakes???
Everyone has comfort foods they view as the perfect meal after a long week at work, a stressful day, or even just to wake up to after a long night out with friends. These foods range from a plateful of pancakes to a bowl of homemade macaroni and cheese or Mom's chili. Whatever the comfort food may be, most tend to share a few characteristics on common.
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Why Choose Newsletters?
When it comes to business marketing outreach tools, it just doesn't get much more venerable than the newsletter. In fact, some even describe the newsletter as the perfect intersection of tradition and technology. 
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Printing: Greener than You Think
Everyone who's worked around printing has undoubtedly heard the same mantra at least once or twice: Save a tree -- don't print. While it's true that climate change is a major challenge facing our nation and the world, the idea that printing is contributing to deforestation is a misconception.
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What Cities Can Teach Us About Branding
Quick, what comes to mind when someone mentions they're going to visit New York City? What about Washington, D.C., Toronto, or Paris? Every city has something that makes it unique, even if it's not far from other metropolitan areas.
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How Adventures on a Playground Affect Adventures in Business
Playing on sterile, overly safe playgrounds with overprotective parents hovering over them has created an environment where many kids can no longer explore and determine their own capabilities.
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Business Card Marketing: Evolution of the Smallest, Most Versatile Marketing Tool
Quick: Which single piece of marketing collateral combines two old adages -- "first impressions are the most important" and "a picture is worth a thousand words" -- and proves them both true?
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Connect With Your Customers
No matter how great your product or service is -- and we know it's great -- customers still make buying decisions based on emotions.
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Building a Community No One Can Resist
One of the best ways to encourage brand loyalty involves encouraging customers to feel as though they're part of an exclusive group when they use your brand.
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McDonald's Rules the Fast Food Industry, and What You Can Learn From It
Whether you love it or hate it, chances are at some point you've eaten at McDonald's.
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Top 5 Secrets of Successful Direct Mailers
Savvy marketers know that direct mail offers a cost-effective and potentially profitable marketing method -- but in order to work, it must be done right! 
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Oh, The Places You'll Go (In Business)
Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!
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Keeping in Touch with Your Customers -- Without Annoying Them
Focusing your attention on existing customers and increasing retention rates by just 5% will increase your profits by 25% to 95%!
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Picking Teams for Sports or Business: The Same Strategies Apply
Pickup games are the basis of many fond childhood memories -- or nightmares, depending on who you ask. Whether the neighborhood children preferred to play games of basketball, baseball, or hockey, standing in line while waiting for the 'captains' to select you could be pure torture.
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