The Proof (Case Studies)

You've heard the expression, "talk's cheap", right? Have you also heard the expression "the proof is in the pudding"? Here's the pudding and the proof. Clients of The Art of Marketing graciously wrote their own case study. They are completely organic and no fertilizer has been added! Honest! Now isn't it time to contact us so you can achieve the same level of success these small business owners did? Remember, success can be achieved at many different levels!

Jane Wilson
Owner, Aradia Fitness – Oakville

905.844.7746 | www.aradiafitness.com

Challenge:

At the start of my business, I needed help in creating an environment that was supportive and welcoming to potential clients. I had very little background in marketing and needed help in creating my marketing plan. I contacted Wendy for her expertise.

Solution:

Wendy helped me develop strategies to create awareness for my brand, attract new customers and create a fan-base. We identified tools and methods that helped my business engage and retain membership.

Results:

Our retention rate is very high, and we have maintained a high standard of quality in our customer service.

Vicki & Rick Werkman
Chiropodist/Podiatrist

905.845.4817 | www.werkman.ca
J. Richard Werkman, D.Ch., B.Sc. Podiatric Medicine Registered Chiropodist

An honest to goodness email referral from Vicki to her colleague Bert:

Dear Bert, yes, we did have someone come into the office about office etiquette. Her name is Wendy Marlow. She is the owner of The Art of Marketing and is fabulous. Her business name says 'marketing' but she does so much more than that. We have worked with her since 2002. Wendy has assisted our clinics with not only marketing but everything from editing print material, website review, trade show exhibiting, how to reach production/revenue goals, and plain old motivation. She has an amazing ability to read people - ask the right questions to pull information from the client, and identify their strengths and weaknesses from her questions. Our Oakville location has been open for almost 4 months, and we have reached and passed our revenue goals each month. I can't recommend her enough, she is truly amazing at what she does. Give her a call.

Matt Jackson
Owner, Jackson Therapeutic Recreation

905.741.8408 | www.jacksonservices.ca

In the beginning: I have to say that Wendy was a big help to me when I first started out. I had taken the marketing as far as I could with instinct. I was pretty uncomfortable at first, because I found marketing sort of secret and incomprehensible, so it was difficult to talk about it. Basically, I was scared because I didn't understand it.

Wendy made sense of marketing priorities and strategies. She educated and supported. She stood me in front of difficult questions and helped me answer them. One of the great things Wendy did was give me the confidence to tackle this crucial element of my business. She helped me take the big deep breath and say "Ok, I can do this" and more importantly, keep doing it.

Deborah Portelli
Owner, Social Notes Custom Invitations

905. 639-7393 | www.socialnotes.ca

Background:

I have a small custom invitation business which I operate from my home studio. I have been in business for three years and while we were doing okay, we were looking to attract more customers. Additionally, I was looking to have customers who not only wanted invitations but all the other bits and pieces that completes the ensemble for the church and reception venues and also customers who were looking for invitations for occasions other that weddings.

Challenge:
  • To find the exposure needed to expand our customer base without spending a small fortune on advertising. I needed advice on where was the best place to spend my advertising dollars.
  • To let customers know that I can custom make matching pieces for the church and reception venue.
  • To let customers know that I can do invitations for any occasions not just weddings.
Plan:
  • We talked at length about advertising. There are any number of avenues to walk down regarding this area, however Wendy recommended that I contact Gold Book and talk to them regarding advertising. She felt that they had a good web presence as many times when she Googled a business type, the businesses which came up first were all listed with Gold Book. I contacted them and for a reasonable fee I received the following: a really great, optimized, webpage with pictures and testimonials on goldbook.ca along with a link to my website and email, and a print listing in the current Gold Book under Hamilton/Burlington area. I am happy to report that this has resulted in an increase in traffic to my website and contacts which have resulted in commitments from quite a few brides. Hurray!
  • We also talked about the next two items together and decided that it was time to update my existing website. We decided to expand the existing gallery to include some new areas, and to also put subsections into the main wedding gallery which showcased the additional church and receptions items that I could create. We also put sections in for Baby, Corporate and Special Occasions such as First Communions, Baptisms and similar events.
  • Additionally, Wendy, suggested some follow up with previous customers by sending them a handwritten thank you note with a gift certificate that they could pass on to a friend or relative who would be getting married soon. Also in the note I would let them know that I am able to do invitations for other occasions as well.

My website may still be a work in progress at the moment, but when it is up and running it will be really sensational. Wendy gave me some great advice on where to put my advertising dollars so that it will give me the most value and I am happy to report that it appears to be working as my current website has had over 500 hits in the last one month period! I think of Wendy quite honestly as a trusted and honest resource person.

Jim Barton
President, L. J. Barton Mechanical Inc.

905.304.1976 | www.ljbarton.com

The Situation at L.J. Barton Mechanical:
  • We had a logo - but with several variations created over the years, we lacked consistency. There was no method to our madness! Whenever asked to sponsor events, do print advertising or promotional products - we struggled. Our logo, look and message was always different.
  • We also wanted to shift our focus from one type of client to another. This was and still is a difficult task.
  • And finally, we believed our current customers may not know everything we do. We wanted a way to tell them – simply and concisely.
Our work with The Art of Marketing:
  • We had a couple of meetings and then I had to answer the "four questions", not as easy as it sounds. Wendy was very helpful. We then brought in a graphic designer and created a new corporate identity. This allowed us to set guidelines for how the company is to be presented – ALL THE TIME.
  • We started to create new databases - something we never had before.
  • Our preventive maintenance contract for clients has been completely revamped so that it is easy for the customer to follow and easy for us to sell by keeping it simple but also legal.
  • We also did some mailings to provide customers, new and old, with information they needed related to new government legislation, which - after we followed up turned into profitable work for us.
  • Wendy also looked after a slide presentation for one of the associations we are members of. Thanks to her, we were the first sponsor to present three slides. Before that, sponsors were limited to one, hardly enough time or space to deliver a clear and compelling message to an entire room of prospective clients.
There's something about Wendy:
  • Wendy is constantly there for support. You can bounce any marketing or business development idea around with her. She is also very good at reminding me that she is there when I get lost in the day to day operations and temporarily lose sight of the importance of telling people about us.
  • It is still too soon to measure the increased profit since we started working together but I know in my gut that our relationship with Wendy has not cost us a penny. I am measuring revenue differently now, I have created a few more specific categories so that I will able to see a direct relationship between increased profits and marketing efforts. Wendy has also been able to find a way to involve a number of key people with the administration of the company. She works with the different departments to look after their specific needs.
  • The new tag line Reliable. Resourceful. Responsive. has to be one of the biggest improvements; it is on the sleeves of the guy's clothes, every letter and email that goes out and even on our new trucks. Our people had input into its creation and therefore with seeing it everywhere everyday, I truly believe they take pride in it and strive to live up to the philosophy.
  • Wendy has also become a good friend to me and the company. I am confident that everything we send out will be as professional as it can be thanks to Wendy's touch.

F. Charles Waud
Software Developer, WaudWare Incorporated

905.846.9737 | www.waudware.com

In 1999, we were struggling with which direction our company should take. We had diversified from our original target market, but were unsure as to how to attract more customers. So we turned to The Art of Marketing.

First they helped us create a comprehensive marketing plan. After that, and through to the present day, they have professionally guided our marketing efforts such that we have become very successful. Working with Wendy, we have updated our marketing plan every two years, and have navigated through another change in business direction in 2003-2004.

We are now the most successful company in our line of business in Canada, have gained 2 customers in the US, and our plans for US Expansion are really heating up!

The results speak for themselves!

Ryan McLean
Representative, Royal LePage State Realty Brokerage

905.525.3737 | www.ryanmclean.ca

I went to The Art of Marketing and Wendy Marlow to help me with a variety of marketing tasks.

Wendy uses her excellent writing and editing skills to take my information and point by point notes to produce multiple comprehensive and concise materials in electronic an print form. I was very impressed with her personal and knowledgeable approach.

From business cards to multi page brochures, Wendy is an essential part of my marketing team.

Peter Boxall
Owner, @ Your Service Home Renovations & Repair

905.466.2743 | boxall@cogeco.ca

There are lots of home renovation and repair companies out there. I needed a way to build my client base and let people know that I'm not like "the other guys". But how to communicate that - without advertising. And I also needed on ideas on how to present myself – on a budget.

With Wendy's help we made up a folder with some helpful hints, created a VIP customer program, and a referral reward program.

Thanks to Wendy's guidance and suggestions, I haven't done any advertising in almost a year and I'm a lot busier. In other words my business is booming – to the point that I may have to hire someone part time!

Tracy Irwin, AMP
Accredited Mortgage Professional, The Mortgage Centre

1-866-797-7616 | www.tracyirwinmortgages.com

What Was Missing:
  • A structured marketing plan
  • An articulated unique selling proposition
  • Direction on how to spend within my budget and optimize results
  • Support to edit copy for website to enhance readability
  • Support to develop a monthly newsletter to optimize readership
  • Ongoing direction and accountability
The Solution:

Together we reviewed and analyzed my strengths and then developed a genuine unique selling proposition that I communicate with confidence. We were also able to get the thoughts and ideas I had rolling around in my head – down on paper – in a logical marketing plan that included optimizing my budget through creative marketing strategies. We also worked on my website content to create educational information written in the reader's language. And last but not least, we set up a schedule to meet regularly to review marketing results and next steps.

The Result:
  • regular, consistent, professional "touches" with clients, prospects, influencers and referral sources
  • increased referrals from all sources
  • a marketing plan compatible with sales plan and fantastic growth.....50% for 2007!
  • raised the bar with the professionalism and trust perceived by clients and referral sources
  • Confidence in where I am going and the success that I will achieve

Louise Rayner, CMA
Certified Management Accountant, Rayner Accounting Services

905.335.8412 | www.rayneraccounting.ca

In the clients own words: I have been working with Wendy since 2003 on marketing my accounting practice. We meet on a quarterly basis to develop/update my marketing plan for the next quarter. We set revenue and new customer targets, as well as develop plans for communication to clients.

Wendy not only has terrific and unique ideas, she also acts as a business coach and sounding board. Wendy has helped me through difficult times such as when I lost a major client who represented 20% of my top line revenue. We worked diligently to create and implement realistic ideas to help make up the shortfall.

She is a tiger when it comes to insisting I celebrate my successes – big and small. This seemingly simple act has a profound effect on my psyche and gives me tremendous confidence as each new month begins.

My revenue increased 28% last year, well over my target of 10%. That success in part was achieved with the marketing plan Wendy helped me develop. Wendy's marketing plan is easy to implement and sensitive to time constraints and finances.

Wendy does regular follow-up and is always available to lend a hand. My business is now in its 8th year and continues to grow and reach targeted goals. Wendy is a valuable asset to the Rayner Accounting Services team, and I look forward to working with her going forward.

Paul Brohman
Mortgage Specialist, Mortgage Intelligence

905.930.9227 | paul.brohman@migroup.ca

It is easy to come up with ideas for improving your business and helping your client base at the same time. The truth is though, implementation is quite another thing.

I had spent more than a year and a half getting a 'first-time HomeBuyer's E-Course" ready for clients who were entering the housing market. It is a fabulous way for new home buyers to get access to the techniques that one can never learn from books and the 'insiders' know-how to avoid mortgage traps. In all it is a great way for buyers to save thousands of dollars on their purchase and throughout the life of a mortgage.

Having a great idea though is different than selling it and getting the concept to make a large positive difference on my return of investment. When it came to proper marketing and wording - I was out of my element. That's where Wendy and the Art of Marketing made a massive difference.

By refining the marketing process for me, choosing the most simple wording for the largest impact and recommending magnetic media for me to spread the message - Wendy has literally been a life-saver in a sea of marketing chaos.

The effect of her instruction, expertise and guidance? I expect to have my main referral sources clamouring at my door to use this valuable service. It will keep an important message in front of my clients every week - that this mortgage expert is what every home buyer needs.

With clients and referral sources consistently calling with new business - I can expect my income, and freedom, to grow.

Tahira Badre
Teacher/Choreographer/Performer, Bellydance Fitness

905.333.1370 | www.tahirabadre.com

I wanted to put together a business and marketing plan so I could take my home-based business to a more professional level and promote my DVDs.

Through gentle questioning Wendy was able to draw out what makes me unique in my field, why I believed my classes would offer more benefits than my competition, what my visions and goals were, and what I needed on my website. She even went so far as to toss out a great idea for my phone message. Wendy also wrote a media release for the DVD.

What happened: The big picture - I took a giant leap of faith and bought my dream home with attached studio!

I get comments all the time about how people called because they found me on the internet, checking out various sites, and they liked mine best. There's no flashy hype, it comes across as authentic and approachable. Women have said they read my story and felt this was the kind of place they wanted to connect with. I have mothers and daughters in my classes. A Mom is sending her 13 year old daughter to me because she feels this will be the right place for her daughter to gain self-confidence and self-esteem. People love my phone message…..and say so when they're leaving a message for the first time. Thank you! I'm proud and confident of the first impression given by my website and phone message to bring customers to me. The journey continues...

Glenda Van Koot
President, SGO Designer Glass

905.333.0661 | http://westgta.sgodesignerglass.com/

About our business:

There are two distinct segments to our business – (1) custom supplier to other businesses and (2) direct retail to consumers. We were looking for ways to build the direct retail side of our business without incurring additional costs to our marketing/advertising budget.

Identifying our needs:

First, we identified a need to keep in touch with past clients to help build our brand awareness and have them remember what we can do. This would assist in building repeat, referral and word-of-mouth business. Through brainstorming and research to confirm, it was determined that the best, most cost effective way to do this would be by creating an e-newsletter, which could also be adapted for our trade customers. Although we thought that it might be difficult for a small business like ours to do a newsletter, Wendy had suggestions that would make it (a) quick and easy for us and (b) quick and easy for the recipient to read.

The Results:

We found a program that incorporates a very professional e-mail letterhead as well as newsletter component. It is helping to familiarize people with our logo, drive people to our website and after sending our first newsletter, we received a very nice reply back from a client that we had done work for two years ago. We have had many comments on the letterhead and are just beginning to send the newsletter. We are part of a world-wide franchise and we took Wendy's suggestion to our corporate office, and the program has now been introduced to the North American network.

Craig Fairley
Owner and Creative Director, Imagine Creative Communications Inc.

905.333.8360 | www.imaginecreative.com

The situation:

Imagine Creative Communications is a marketing communications and graphic design company serving small and medium size businesses. Our tag line: think. create. excite. is something we take very seriously.

Before enlisting the help of Wendy Marlow and The Art of Marketing, the business was struggling to remain viable. Sales were low and there was no clear sense of direction.

What we did:

Wendy met with me frequently for the first couple of years to better define the business, identify its strengths and put together a marketing plan with specific strategies and a to do list marked down in my calendar. I needed an objective outsider to look in at my business, help forge that needed sense of direction and then provide accountability – someone who noticed if the plan was not carried out. Now, meetings are less frequent, but the accountability continues.

The result:

In a word, phenomenal. In the first year, sales increased 25% with similar results almost every year since then. Wendy Marlow has been there to give me a high five to celebrate successes and the needed encouragement to help me stick to the plan. The Art of Marketing is a vital part of my business team.

Nancy Schreiner
President, Excel Advertising Specialties

905.335.9784 | www.exceladvertising.com

A little about promotional products:

Selecting promotional products, client gifts and advertising specialties requires thought and not necessarily experience on the part of the buyer, but more - experience on the part of the supplier! Anybody can buy a mug. It takes time, talent and tenacity to make sure that mug is going to deliver the right message to the right audience and return the response you want.

How we work with The Art of Marketing:

Promotional products is a fast-paced industry. Buyers (clients) working on events, meetings and programs know they want something to commemorate the event, they just don't know what. That's where we come in. At Excel Advertising, we deliver information our clients need through fast-paced strategies that we develop with Wendy. They keep us in touch with clients and keep clients informed about new products and specials. For instance, in early 2008 suppliers (manufacturers) started offering 'green' or environmentally friendly products. Wendy is helping us roll this information out to clients in clever and creative ways that will capture attention.

What The Art of Marketing has done for us:

Because we have worked with The Art of Marketing, we have streamlined our process to communicate with clients. Our sales have increased because of this. Wendy collaborates with us to develop winning creative ideas that have been very well received by clients. Wendy has a very good knowledge of our business and an excellent sense to develop business strategies which make a company's marketing successful. Wendy is very personable and professional to work with.

Mike Pollington
President, Pollington Productions

613. 592.4450 | www.pollington.ca

About us:

At Pollington Productions we're experts at video communications for organizations large and small that have a message to deliver. From training and public relations to marketing communications, we're a one stop shop for every communication need. We were looking for ways to expand our services into the corporate market and like most companies at some time or other needed to even out our seasonal cash flow problem.

How we worked together:

The Art of Marketing developed a new marketing strategy which began as an ongoing self-help program at the start, but lead to a more team approach which gave us the opportunity to meet new potential clients. With Wendy's help we met some of her other colleagues in bookkeeping, graphic design and printing.

The results:

The best affect on the business is that we are perceived as a bigger player which gives me the opportunity to add the appropriate people for each project. We are more aware of the cash flow pitfalls that are associated with business. Even moving our main location to Ottawa has not affected the services provided to us.