PepperMill January 2014

Tim’s Startin’ to Celebrate

For our winter Pepper Group social outing this year, we went to a Chicago Wolves game. If you haven’t been to one, it’s a five-star recommendation from me. Though it’s “minor league” hockey, it brings 90% of the excitement for 20% of the cost of a Hawks outing.

We invited Peppers, their guests and some alliance partners to join us. We even scored a pre-game personal tour from Mike Gordon, the President of Business Operations for the Wolves. Along with a behind-the-scenes tour of the Allstate Arena and TV truck, Mike shared their marketing strategies and the history of the franchise. It was in that part of the presentation we learned something very interesting.

The Wolves are celebrating their 20th year in business—just like Pepper Group! As he shared, and we will readily attest, a lot of things can happen in 20 years. “Ups, downs and all the ins and outs” are common ground, no matter what business you’re in. It didn’t take long for Denise, our own Executive VP of all things regarding business operations, to see the connection for a yearlong promotional opportunity.

She thought it would be cool to align ourselves, throughout the year, with other Chicagoland companies that are celebrating their 20th anniversary. Each month, we’ll share with you our adventures with these enterprises. We’ve already identified some great ones in a variety of industries, but if you know of others, we’re all ears.

Thanks to all who have supported us—for all 20 years, or any fraction thereof. We certainly couldn’t have done it without you.

As a little teaser, you’ll learn in February why a rose is not just a rose by any other name.

Stay tuned …

Tim Padgett

When you’re part of a team, you stand up for your teammates. Your loyalty is to them. You protect them through good and bad, because they’d do the same for you.” 
—Yogi Berra
No one can possibly achieve any real and lasting success or ‘get rich’ in business by being a conformist.”
—J. Paul Getty
Client Spotlight: Schafer and Weiner

Schafer and Weiner is one of the nation’s leading boutique law firms, specializing in corporate restructuring. Talk to their clients or partners—or other lawyers who have gone up against them—and you’ll see right away that they’re something special.

But their marketing message and overall look was bland. It didn’t show their personality. It didn’t reflect their strength. It didn’t set them apart.

Starting with in-depth discovery and research, we developed a strategic messaging platform and a marketing plan with various creative tactics.

The messaging came together in an updated website. Along with the site, we created a brand new, signature look for this Bloomfield Hills, Michigan based law firm. Blending iconic imagery from southeast Michigan with a unique pattern, we created an artistic, fresh, custom image for Schafer and Weiner. Combined with new on-site photography, compelling copy and detailed biographies, the website supports ongoing marketing efforts and reinforces the firm’s brand.

They’re great lawyers and great people. And now they have a marketing platform that’s worthy of their stature.

Our project was managed timely, effectively, efficiently … and effervescently! I am very pleased!”
—Daniel Weiner
Going to Market: The Death of Content Marketing?

Content marketing is proven and reaching maturity. But is there a content shock on the horizon? Is content marketing over already?

A great post in early January entitled “Why Content Marketing is Not a Sustainable Strategy” kicked off a spirited discussion about content marketing’s long-term viability.

The idea is that content production continues to increase exponentially. With it, technology has also enabled a rise in the capacity in all of us to consume content. This is rising more slowly, however, since there’s an inviolable limit to how much content people can consume. As a result, the production of content will soon dramatically swamp the ability for people to consume it, making content marketing economically ineffective. (If you’re interested, a response to this article can be found on the Content Marketing Institute’s website.)

We’ve seen something like this coming too; although we view it differently. Yes, the content tsunami continues to overwhelm human bandwidth. But what we see instead is not the death of content marketing, but the increasing importance of two factors: Specificity and Creativity.

Specificity is about creating your content for a carefully defined audience. This might be a long-term, loyal audience (like PepperMill readers—thank you), people looking to solve a very specific problem, or people who are interested in a niche topic. General content or fluff content (of which there is a ton), won’t cut it anymore. The content shock will make this approach less and less effective. It will be a very long time, however, before highly specific or niche content succumbs to any kind of content shock.

Creativity is the other, even bigger, factor. We’re witnessing a rebirth of the importance of creativity and novelty in successful content marketing. Generating a large amount of standard, average content created results in the past, but with ever-more content being produced, this will no longer work. The bar is higher. It’s about creativity and novelty of ideas. But it’s also about novelty of delivery method, novelty of format, and novelty of distribution channels. We even have our own term for it—the “Novelty Multiplier™.” It’s the boost that creativity delivers, and it’s significant.

So is content marketing soon-to-be dead? For some, yes. But for companies that are specific and creative, content marketing will be tremendously effective for years to come.

George Couris


Double Take: 30-Years Fresh

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Apple’s epic “1984” Super Bowl spot—the one against which all others are still judged. It didn’t have a famous athlete-spokesperson. It was based on literature. It was all-out Hollywood. With its red-shorted protagonist hurling a sledgehammer at “Big Brother,” it eventually became a sledgehammer in its own right, setting a new standard for future advertisers.

You don’t see that much any more. Who knows—maybe we need more revolutionary products like the Mac to wrap great ideas around.

Join Joe and Sharla as they critique this legend of Super Bowl advertising.



You Tubin’: Unsung Heroes

February’s already pretty well stamped as the month of love so I’ll sink that arrow in deeper with my February selection. This short clip from K-LOVE radio in Nashville, TN, gives a glimpse into the lives of young Trenton and Lindsay Cochran. Lindsay was born with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), and has needed a motorized wheelchair since the age of two. Trenton does everything he can to ease her journey. This is my early pick for feel-good brother and sister of the decade! See if you agree.

You’re now excused to go get a tissue. Got some YouTube videos of your own you’d like to share? Just send them my way!

Todd Underwood