This is where we’ll post summaries of CustomXM client projects. Here you’ll get a better idea of what we do for our print, marketing and signage clients the strategy and the outcomes of some of our campaigns. You’ll also catch some client testimonies and see some or our cool design work, too.

Resurrecting Funeral Directors Association Membership

The Challenge

The Arkansas Funeral Directors Association (AFDA) works to establish, cultivate, and promote programs and policies that strive to mark the passage of life with dignity and instill high standards for ceremonies that are sensitive to the special needs of those who survive.

With approximately 300 funeral homes in the state, and membership currently at about 80 members, the Association was exploring ways increase statewide membership, while retaining and increasing engagement with its current members. A membership of 150 funeral homes was the desired goal. While cost of membership is often the reason given for those who decline membership or renewal, the association also wanted to explore ways to promote the value of the membership itself.

The Solution

CustomXM, a North Little Rock, Arkansas direct mail and print provider, proposed a concentrated effort to promote the value of membership in AFDA in conjunction with their upcoming 2015 Annual Convention. Because of the small existing membership and potential membership population, we recommended the following:

  • A direct mail campaign consisting of a well-organized and visually attractive brochure. This piece highlighted member benefits and included the conference event schedule, as well as member testimonials. The brochure would feature an incentive offer that reflected a substantial savings for members if they acted before the registration deadline.
  • The brochure mailing also included a well-organized registration form encompassing membership renewal and the conference registration.
  • A series of personalized postcards followed the brochure mailing. The postcards highlighted membership benefits and the available training opportunities. The same call to action incentive was also included in these direct mail pieces.
  • A segmented email campaign was launched just before the incentive offer expiration which targeted A) non-members and B) existing members thanking those who renewed early, and asking them to attend the conference and training. Lastly, an informative email that included the conference schedule was sent to the entire database prior to the registration deadline. All emails contained a link to the AFDA website with event information and links to a downloadable version of the registration form.
The Results

As a result of the campaign, AFDA membership reached new levels and the conference had a record number of attendees. Jeff Smith, President of the Arkansas Funeral Directors Association had this to say:

We had a record crowd this year and exceeded our projected attendance for the banquet, Thursday and Friday Continuing Education, and increased membership 20%.
Thank you! Your creative work with our efforts yielded great results.

Add Some Bling To Your Storefront

We all know the secret to retail success – Location, Location, Location.  Let’s assume you have your perfect location, you secured your ideal piece of real estate, so now what?

You must now let the world know – tell your customers who you are and what you are all about. And there is no better, more cost effective way to do this with exterior and interior graphics.  Here’s why:

  • The brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text.
  • Signs do more than just look pretty – they work hard 24/7. And the best signs do this:
    • They Inform
    • They Sell
    • They Educate
    • They Entertain

Retail signage and graphics tell a story, leave an impression and set a tone. The proper signage inside and outside of a store can inspire confidence with customers and employees alike.

So here are few tips to help with your retail sign efforts:

  • Use photos in your design.  According to a DMA study, using a photo creates a 300% greater recall than ads without photos.
  • Try to keep headline copy to seven words or less.
  • Pay attention to color contrast. Certain color combinations are very appealing for readability – Black on Yellow; Black on white and vice versa.  Signs with grays, pinks, light blue may not attract the same attention as stronger color combinations.
  • Keep your message simple.

The graphic at the top gives several examples of effective, affordable uses of exterior signage. But remember, interior signage such as Sale signs, floor graphics, POP displays are equally effective and affordable.

And get this – Full priced merchandise that has signage outperforms sale merchandise that doesn’t have a sign by 18% (in a study performed by the Institute of Retail Management).

Take a look around inside and outside your store.  Does your signage set the right tone? Does it inform, educate or entertain.  Most importantly, does your signage sell?

If not, we can help.

Need photos of interior or exterior graphics? Go here.

blog photo

Paul Strack [email protected] @pstrack

Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub Logo

The Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub approached CustomXM about creating a logo for “The Hub” that reflected their purpose and appealed to their varied and in-the-know target audience. The Innovation Hub represents a new effort aimed at promoting entrepreneurship through business incubation, academic research, technical and manufacturing assistance and job training in central Arkansas.  With these aims in mind, it is the top-tier organization for the creative energies of three separate, but related ventures – The Silver Mine, Art Connection and the Launch Pad. These groups will be housed under the same roof and thrive in the atmosphere of collaboration and creativity.

The style for the logo and collateral needed to be clean, contemporary and edgy to appeal to an innovative audience that is well versed in contemporary trends. At the same time, we wanted the tone to have some wit about it, a down-to-Earth feel that was careful not to appear stuffy, exclusive or restrictive, as highly modern design risk coming across.  The Hub’s vision of being a place that welcomes everyone –  from the young, novice student to the well established professional. A vision of being, perhaps above all, being a place that encourages creative exploration and hands-on experimentation would be a vital part of how their look would take shape.  Additionally, it was important that the logo reflect a sense of place, community and of being a central “hub” for so many different initiatives.

DSC_6138The solution successfully captured all it set out to do.  The drop-pin icon – a current symbol now recognized universally as the badge of “place” – points to an ambiguous surface revealed only by two concentric circles that work to further enhance the importance of the pin’s marked-site. The circles appear to be ripples in the surface, perhaps made from the impact of the pin’s fresh landing – not a coincidental reference to  The Hub’s goal of making some serious waves here in central Arkansas.  Script type used for the words “The” and “Hub” recall mid-century style and compliment the rigid and forward slanted sans serif used for “innovation” – which appears to be caught in the act of innovating both upward and forward.  The letters IN are made red to support the idea of being “the IN place”- being IN-the-know, getting people INvolved, and further emphasize the concept of place and INcluding everyones interests.

TheHub_businesscard_mockup

The administrative staff of The Innovation Hub currently leads a sort of nomadic existence while they await the completion of The Hub building (although subject to change at any moment, as we speak the Hub staff is actually working just down the hall from us at our sales and marketing office location)  We have assisted with exterior branding during their stint at 419 Main Street, printing and installing this window graphic last November.  Subsequently, 419 Main Street is now the HQ for the online retailer Bourbon and Boots. We were stoked when they asked us to outfit them with their window graphic too!
In addition to the work we’ve done, we also have just started brainstorming big plans for some pretty cool large-scale signage and wayfinding materials in the building once complete. More on that to come…

Seal Energy Solutions Rebranding

former-branding

Seal Energy Solutions is an energy assessment group providing commercial and residential spaces with energy audits and the retrofits needed to maximize energy efficiency. Finding themselves in a period of evolution and rapid growth, Seal approached CustomXM with task of polishing up their look. Their existing visual branding didn’t clearly communicate the services they provided, identify with their target audiences, nor did it reflect the new and innovative sense of their relatively young industry segment.  The structure in the existing logo looked like a house, however they also provide commercial services and even offer consulting services for builders and architects.

DSC_6511

Borrowing from the seasonal tree in the existing logo, CustomXM’s designers created an icon of four simplified leaf shapes that overlap to ultimately reveal the healing symbol of a cross in the center. The transparent leaf forms create a kaleidoscope of vibrant colors that reinforce the concept of of being in a modern and evolving industry, as well as borrow from our traditional color concepts of the four seasons. In conjunction with the leaf forms, colors also reference their eco-friendly initiative.

social-media

During the rebranding process CustomXM also assisted Seal with updating their name so that it included Energy Solutions. (which we initially intended to be the tagline).  We also structured the name so to ensure that it would no longer be displayed in all caps as though it were an acronym, a frequent assumption of their audience due to the former all-caps type treatment.

We have had so much positive feedback from the new branding… they love the look and colors and they understand better who Seal is and what we do. The fact that the brand [look] still accurately represents who we are today gives us confidence that the decisions made with its direction were correct… As a penny-pinching entrepreneur, that gives us further assurance that the money invested in the re-branding was well spent and truly an investment in our firm.  Heather Nelson, President and COO, Seal Energy Solutions

Very pleased with their new look, Seal has also commissioned CustomXM not only to create updated printed materials, but we also provide branding within their new office creatively displaying their logo in an oversized wall decal, supporting window graphics and plans for an outdoor sign. As well as shirts, hats and water bottles, CustomXM has also provided license plates and van decals, and looks forward to providing more Seal swag.

Garver Quarterly Newsletter

Garver produces a quarterly newsletter, IQ (Infrastructure Quarterly), for its clients and prospects. In response to increasing production costs and providing customers and prospects with more interactive content, Garver created an online version of their newsletter. A multi-touch campaign incorporating print and email was developed to announce the new IQ digital edition to readers. It drove recipients to a personalized URL where they were asked to complete an online survey determining the delivery preferences (print or digital) of recipients and to find out which topic areas interested readers the most. Garver achieved a 12% response rate. They also discovered 78.3% of the readership was interested in receiving the new digital version.garver_newsletter2

 

Garver Engineering Trade Show Success!

Garver is a multi-disciplined engineering, planning and environmental services firm. Garver utilizes exposure through industry trade shows targeting government, municipal, transportation and energy-related entities as a primary marketing channel. They wanted to improve trade show presence, increase awareness of the company’s services, drive traffic to the booth, social media outlets and hone in focus on qualified leads.

CustomXM developed a cross-media campaign utilizing email blasts and postcards personalized to each attendee. The communication encouraged recipients to follow Garver on social media outlets, and enter an iPad giveaway contest via a personalized website. Printed cards with a generic URL and QR Code were distributed at the show allowing attendees to register while visiting the Garver booth. Once in the website, they were asked to give general contact information, as well as potential interest in Garver’s engineering services, to which 28% of survey respondents indicated they did in fact have a need for the services.

“We are so excited to see that we have people who are in need of an engineer and are interested in knowing more about us, and we know that BEFORE the tradeshow. This is so awesome!” says Garver’s Kerrie Diaz

Overall, the campaigns drove a 29% response rate and increased traffic to their booth by 10 to 50% from the previous year. At one show, it was publicly announced that more attendees than ever before had stayed through to the end of the conference, credit was given to Garver’s iPad giveaway winner announcement.

“We’ve had a really positive response to this campaign from both our people here [at Garver] and visitors to our booth!” added representative Alan Watsongarver_tradeshow_2

 

Lyon College

Lyon College, a small liberal arts college in Batesville, Arkansas, wanted to gain the attention of prospective students. CustomXM sent postcards to high school seniors encouraging them to visit a personalized URL to enter for a chance to win an iPad and, once there, complete an online survey about their academic and extracurricular interests. A subsequent direct mail piece was personalized based on those responses to the survey. This piece also included an augmented reality “trigger,” which engaged students with an entertaining video about the school, giving them insight to part of Lyon’s campus and community.

The message in all the touchpoints was crafted to highlight the key differentiators of Lyon College including a small student to faculty ratio, close proximity to the Ozark Mountains, numerous outdoor activities, availability of financial aid and recognition from publications such as U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review.

Lyon College saw a 76% increase in applications compared to the previous year. They also saw a 50% increase in qualified applicants compared to the prior year. Additionally, Lyon was able to cut the direct marketing budget by 30% by withholding certain direct mail pieces sent in previous years in favor of fewer, more targeted and personalized pieces.

Dixie Cafe increases customer database

Dixie Café is a restaurant chain with 23 locations throughout the mid-south and corporate offices in Little Rock, Arkansas. The chain promotes an image of a “down-home” family style restaurant with a southern theme. Their demographic is family centric with a large percentage of senior citizens.Dixie Cafe was interested in understanding their guests’ habits, including the media and news sources they engaged with. They would use this information to help focus future media campaigns. They also sought to create a customer loyalty campaign by awarding loyal customers with free menu items and coupons.

The solution was to gather valuable “opt-in” data from the customer (name and email address) to create a database for future marketing efforts. Branded cards were distributed by the server with the patrons’ checks.  The card directed the customer to the website with the lure of being eligible for a prize, once there the patron filled out a survey. Upon filling out the information, an email is sent to the customer with a coupon embedded in the email for redemption at the restaurant. Dixie Café also included a coupon on the card itself for patrons who could not access the internet.

“Over the course of this three month program, we added over 2,000 email addresses to our database. Our previous email program only added about 2,500 in two years.” Danny Troillett, Director of Marketing and Guest Relations

 

ABC Financial Services

ABC Financial Services is the national leader in club management solutions for the health and fitness industry. Since 1981, ABC Financial Services has helped club owners nationwide improve their bottom-line profit. The mission of ABC Financial Services is to provide clubs with a “turn-key” approach to all of a club’s management needs.

Using our online tools, one-to-one marketing techniques and variable data printing, CustomXM has helped ABC increase the marketing services they offer to their member clubs. From direct-mail postcards, to renewal letters, to a successful customized coupon program, CustomXM has utilized its web-to-print tools to allow ABC to generate thousands of “customized” pieces in an automated, user-friendly fashion.

“The Technology that CustomXM brought to the table has allowed us to broaden the marketing tools we can deliver to our customers, and our turnaround time is much faster now. CustomXM went the extra mile to learn our business and understand our customers” Paul Schaller, President

Creating Value for Beef O’Bradys Customers

Beef “O” Brady’s is a national restaurant franchise that is based on the concept of providing a neighborhood pub where friends and family can gather to enjoy good food and televised sports in a comfortable, friendly atmosphere. Our client is a franchisee located in Maumelle, AR in a thriving commercial area.

Beef “O” Brady’s was searching for a cost-effective way to create a “value experience” for the customer to increase customer loyalty, easily obtain customer satisfaction feedback gather valuable”opt-in” data from the customer (i.e. name, address, city, state and email address) to create a database for future marketing efforts, and promote new products offerings via the coupon give-a-ways.

Cards containing a unique URL and login password were distributed to patrons by the restaurant’s servers. The game cards directed the customers to the branded website where they were instructed to complete a questionnaire in order to be eligible for their prize. Upon completion, an email containing the “prize” coupon was automatically sent to the customer. The restaurant owner received immediate email notifications of these visits.

The program was a smashing success with over 27% of the recipients responding to the online inquiry. The restaurant owner immediately gained valuable insight about her business. The data allowed her to determine levels of customer satisfaction, frequency of customer visits, most and least popular aspects of the restaurant, and additional demographic and individual customer contact information to be used in future restaurant promotions. The owner described the program as a valuable and affordable tool for marketing and managing her establishment.