Mustang Marketing Welcomes Mallorie Hendrix to the Team!

The Mustang team has a new graphic designer to call our own: Mallorie Hendrix is our newest full-time employee! After coming to our aide as a temporary freelance designer in an extremely busy December of last year, she more than proved her value and commitment to the team, and we’re thrilled that she’ll be a permanent fixture of talent and support in our office.

Before joining Mustang, Mallorie worked as an independent contractor for six years, acquiring broad and varied industry and design experience in her work developing materials for clients ranging from athletic facilities to nonprofit institutions to restaurants. Mallorie’s expertise extends from branding and advertising to Web code and illustration.

Fun fact: Mallorie’s label design for Mee’s Kut tomato sauce can currently be seen in Bristol Farms stores nationwide.

Read Mallorie’s full bio here.

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Alternative Education

 

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“I didn’t go to a four-year university, and I still got a great job.”

For many, across generations and geographic regions in this country, attending a four-year university is no longer the gold standard in education, it’s just the standard. An essential, even perfunctory, part of one’s resume. Without it, the job search is deemed an even higher hill to climb.

Well, I was just hired as a graphic designer at Mustang Marketing—the biggest and most successful marketing company in Ventura County—and I have yet to attend a four-year university. I received my AA degree from Moorpark College with an emphasis in graphic design, and I had plans to transfer to a university, but life took me down a different path, and that path came with a beautiful daughter.

I used to feel insecure about this divergent path from the rest of my peers in the working world. But, as taking care of my daughter became my everlasting top priority, attending formal classes and having a full-time job were not possible. So I found another way.

I established myself as a freelance designer and built my online portfolio from the ground up. Every client was an opportunity to learn something new—a new industry and a new skill. What I didn’t know I taught myself through various online seminars and old-fashioned books.

After six years of designing exciting online and print projects for clients like Vertical Heaven Indoor Climbing Gym, Moorpark High School and Mee’s Kut (my designed label is still in Bristol Farms stores everywhere!), I had—before I fully realized it—established a strong reputation, eye for design and strategic mindset. And I did it all without a framed diploma from a four-year university.

Of course, I am not knocking such an education at all. As my daughter gets older, I think seriously about continuing my formal education, further honing my skills and experience. But forging this alternative path has proved no less valuable or successful. After all, I’m here, working for this great company, having lunch with great coworkers and completing designs for great clients. And I’m proud of that.

Click here to read Mallorie’s full bio.

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What’s a Bad Review Worth?

Social media has cracked open the communication possibilities and realities between businesses and customers. It has added a new dimension to marketing, to PR, to community outreach, to volunteering, to customer service, and it has revolutionized “word-of-mouth.” Social media also creates a unique space for instant and honest feedback.

A resulting highlight, for review platforms like Yelp (especially for consumers), is this idea of transparency. But what happens when what is supposed to be transparent turns out to actually be opaque?

Since the boom of social media, our clients have experienced the gamut of its business realities: the fuzzy good feeling of a glowing review and the punch-in-the-gut frustration that comes with a vicious attack on your business.

For those who have experienced the latter, Mustang can now say: we’re with you. After 28 years of creating successful marketing solutions for our clients (and ourselves), we received our very first Yelp review. Not from a current or former client, nor a current or former employee, but from someone we chose not to work. Does this Yelp review represent Mustang Marketing’s 28 years as a company?

Yes and no. Yes, because we can’t manipulate or deny this person’s experience, because it is theirs. And no, because we do excellent work and deeply care about our clients. So where does that leave us?

In this Yelp review, we can look to their tone and use of acronyms and questionably open discourse of business finances and thank our lucky stars we dodged a bullet (there’s a benefit in transparency for the business side, too). But, to try to erase—or even hide—this one person’s experience is to deny the way business is done in 2015. So, we embrace it.

The fact is that Mustang Marketing simply cannot work with every prospective client that comes to us—in spite of being listed as the largest marketing company in Ventura County, we don’t have the physical capabilities. We have to choose, and some decisions are more difficult than others. We are very proud to say that each client we have has been carefully considered, which is why we have such strong relationships with them. We understand the frustration that can come from choosing—we feel it every time we pitch our services to a business that doesn’t hire us. Does their dismissal, at any stage of the process, represent who they are as a company? Putting our bruised feelings aside, we have to recognize that no, it doesn’t.

So what happens when a negative review like this stares you in the face? Some may roll their eyes, some may want to hop on their keyboard to punch out a defensive response, some may want to laugh at its absurdity; and maybe all of those things took place within our team at one time or another upon reading this particular Yelp review.

But, as with all criticism, it’s best to look inward to see what’s really there: is their truth to this statement? Could we have done better? What can we do to improve so this situation doesn’t happen again?

Even upon mature and careful examination, our team didn’t see the situation ending any differently with this particular individual. However, it nevertheless serves as an important reminder in today’s business world: the customer may not always be right, but the customer does always have a platform for their voice. All we can do right now is continue to do our best, take comfort in the fact that our actual clients are happy and ready for another successful year!

If you would like to provide an authentic voice to Mustang’s Yelp account, we would love to hear from you. And—let this be a lesson to everyone—keep an eye on your reviews!

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Mustang Marketing: The Next Generation

UntitledCharged with my first blog, I sit typing in my mom’s office preparing to send a blog off to my older brother to edit. My family is a part of this business, and we all start somewhere.

I’m not a writer like Danny. I’m not a business wiz like my mom, Dianne. I don’t have the skill set, experience, education or hours put into the company that they do, but now I am a part of it nonetheless. I work with the same people that they do, and we all deal with the same challenges and tasks. My mom assigns tasks based on client needs, such as a catalog, Danny will write and edit the catalog, and I’ll be the one putting all the necessary stamps on the envelopes to ensure the catalogs actually arrive at the right destination.

Untitled1Mustang is an interesting place to work. There will be days that I will come in, get my work for the day and muscle through it as would be expected in any office situation. Other days, I find my co-workers (who am I kidding, superiors) earning the title of creative staff. Brett will be slaving away on a wheel to go on the fridge to display whose turn it is to do dishes, Randall will turn a back-scratcher in to an “I have a question” stick, or Scott will pull the perfect tagline for a new client out of thin air.Untitled2

I couldn’t ask for much more out of a work experience. Hours that work around school and a paycheck are more than Danny had when he first started. Family and a staff with a decent sense of humor are waiting for me every day when I come to the office. Sure, I am the first person to get handed the jobs that everyone else hates to do, but they are usually good sports about it. (Nerissa, where would you be without me?) I may be at the bottom of the barrel, we’re all still in the same barrel. When the office was robbed, I felt the same way the rest of the Mustang team did. I just started to clean up the mess alongside everyone else, and we all moved on.

Working in the office adds another level to my life beyond school. Now, I carry my daily productivity with me for a few more hours before I crash into my bed getting home. I have fewer hours in the day to be 17 now that I have a job; I guess that’s growing up.

Yesterday, the topic of my official title came up. No one really knew what to call me. I mean, you can’t sign an email with “That guy who does lots of different little things as they come around.” So, the most appropriate title was selected. We all start somewhere.

Bennett McKay

Intern

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