A Hunger for Marketing

At Mustang Marketing, our collective interests include marketing (duh), a good card game (poker and “oh sh*t” are our favorites) — and food. So it should come to no one’s surprise that when brainstorming ideas for our 2016 calendar, a food and drink theme was a frontrunner from day one. It’s possible we held our creative meeting right around lunchtime, that someone was noshing on bite-size candy bars throughout the discussion, or that we chatted about dinner plans at some point during the hour — but, whatever the case, food was on our minds.

So, once the stage was set, we were charged with contriving witty products that spoke to Mustang’s history and services — as well as our taste buds. Over the course of two weeks, we came up with a host of ideas, some better than others, and narrowed them down to our 12 favorites. These 12 winners were then taken by our designers and developed into circular, label-like logos.

The outcome? A 12-month calendar that features 12 unique, Mustang-inspired products. There’s Randi’s Cookies & Baked Goods, an homage to Mustang’s executive vice president’s exceptional culinary skills, The Social Buzz honey (did you know we offer social media packages?), Purple Mountain Spring Water (if you’ve seen our offices, you know purple is kind of a big deal around here), and Mustang Orchards Creative Juice — just to name a few.

We hope that our calendar helps not only keep you on schedule but also brings a smile to your face each and every day.

Scroll through to see the final 12 designs!

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Lifelong Learners

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In almost any profession, efforts to engage in ongoing learning play a pivotal role in growth and success. But, in a frequently evolving industry like marketing, it’s even more important to continually work to learn new skills, improve existing ones, and stay on the pulse of new ideas and developments.

That’s why the team at Mustang Marketing is committed to being lifelong learners. As such, we’re always excited to find opportunities to further our knowledge about our industry, clients and community, as well as fine-tuning our skills in our various fields of expertise. Here are just a few examples of our current learning ventures:

  • Our director of communications, Jenny Guy, has been participating in the Ventura County Leadership Academy (VCLA), a leadership development program intended to broaden awareness, understanding and appreciation of critical issues affecting life in Ventura County through contact with community leaders, participation in workshops, field studies and related activities.
  • Our creative director, Michael Arroyo, is currently involved in Leadership Conejo, a program designed to enhance participants’ knowledge of the Conejo Valley, expand their involvement in community affairs and increase communication among active community members — all while building leadership skills.
  • Our account director, Chris Barrett, recently attended Second Wind’s Certified Account Executive College, a two-day seminar covering the strategy, planning and proactive service that goes into building successful, productive client relationships.
  • Our design team engages in biweekly art talks to discuss key topics in design, expand their artistic knowledge and seek new sources of creative inspiration.
  • Our copywriters just expanded their repertoires with a copywriting fundamentals course through MediaBistro that covered a variety of tips and tricks for creating compelling copy for collateral, ranging from standard print ads to billboards and websites.

While each of these learning opportunities — and the many other learning opportunities we have, and will, engage in — are valuable and enjoyable for the Mustang team in and of themselves, the benefits we derive from our commitment to ongoing learning extend beyond the knowledge gained from any given program, course or seminar.

Challenging ourselves to continue learning helps keep our minds active and prepared to absorb and apply new information, whether it’s the ins and outs of a new client’s industry or the nuances of the latest technological innovation in marketing. Our persistent pursuit of learning also keeps us motivated and enthusiastic about our work, allowing us to perform at our best and produce the best possible results for our clients.

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Customer Service, Redefined

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By: Randall Loui

I was recently asked what my philosophy was on customer service. The first thing I thought of was, “the customer is always right.” I thought of every job I’ve had and realized that customer service was at the core of all of them. From my literal customer service representative job that required folding jeans at JCPenney to my current position as art director at Mustang Marketing, serving customers has remained a goal across the board, but time has changed my approach to it.

I used to believe that customer service simply meant being a “yes man,” answering all of the customer’s needs with a positive and enthusiastic answer that always led to the word “yes.” However, I’ve learned that the word “why” can also provide just as much positive service to the customer — sometimes even more so than “yes.”

In a Lynda.com® interview with Debbie Millman, president of the Design Group at Sterling Brands, Millman explained that when clients request a brand redesign, she responds with the simple question of “why?” After asking this, clients typically retract their requests, realizing that their answer to “why?” has no real substance. Not only does this make her client feel as if she is personally invested in their venture, but it also reinforces their trust in the company and in her as a professional.

Something else that embodies my current definition of quality customer service is customer confidence, meaning having confidence in your abilities to help customers reach their goals. Steve Jobs once said, “We don’t hire smart people to tell them what to do, we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” Customers that can trust the advice that’s given to them and that feel as if their best interests are also the company’s best interests, will feel better than a customer who is read a polite script of standard responses from a 3-ring binder.

It’s easy to let personal gains and reputation management lead you to say, “yes, of course!” to just about anything. Plus, understanding a customer’s requests is an easier task than being empathetic towards it. As a result, for some companies, “yes” is the mantra — an outdated and poisonous one at that.

Instead, I encourage you to establish more of a “why” mantra by taking a deeper look into your customers’ desires, needs and interests than the surface-level “yes” motto would require. Building that trust and that working relationship — reinforcing the human connection between the work and its creators — that’s when beautiful results happen.

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New Years Resolutions: Take Two

Happy-New-Year-Resolutions-2016--589x331In a recent blog post, Mustang Marketing founder and president, Scott Harris, describes what he has termed as “unicorn and rainbow goals.” These include any and all goals that are vague in terms of their lack of a timetable and set quantity, such as:

Make more money.

Think outside the box.

Happy employees.

I couldn’t help but think of these goals, filled with all of their obscurity and lackluster, with the new year — and all of the New Year’s resolutions that come with it — upon us. For many, New Year’s resolutions look something like this…

Lose weight.

Spend more time with friends and family. 

Try new hobbies.

While these all sound nice and dandy, they are likely to be forgotten by Jan. 15, when excuses, procrastination, forgetfulness and busyness rear their ugly heads.

Instead, resolutions should be similar to the Goals described in “RoadMap: A Guide to a Successful Strategic Marketing Plan,” in that they should maintain a set timetable (every week, once a month, by the end of the quarter, by 2017, etc.) and a quantifiable element (10 pounds, one new hobby, two family activities each month). This is especially important when creating company-wide Goals, wherein excuses, procrastination and busyness are multiplied threefold, tenfold or even a hundredfold.

So, I invite you to ask yourself and your employees: What are your resolutions for 2016, and how do you plan to get there? If your resolution is to incorporate more team bonding, quantify and schedule it (one company outing a month), and come up with ideas (e.g., bowling, happy hour, movie night) to help make it happen. If it’s to liven up your social media presence, quantify and schedule it — one Instagram post per week, two Twitter posts a day, three Facebook post a week (whatever it may be) — and hold a brainstorming session to come up with fresh, innovative concepts. You get the idea.

I speak from experience, because this past year my resolutions were 1) live healthier, 2) explore and 3) share the love (I know, vague, right?). Unsurprisingly, these resolutions did not come to fruition, as I would have hoped, so I’m taking the time to revisit them and define them with attainable quantities and timing. That way, unlike 2015, 2016 can be filled with two servings of vegetables per day, a weekender each month and at least one daily act of kindness.

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