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How We Do It

Let’s shatter expectations. Let’s boldly move ahead. Let’s create B2B marketing that’s never boring. Always fresh. Forever urgent.

Pepper Group is a finely tuned team of seasoned marketing professionals dedicated to applying the best of digital, design, video and new communication technology to help you achieve your goals. Our holistic approach combines best-in-class strategy and always-evolving digital marketing expertise to provide exponential results.

Our goal? To reach your target audience. Draw their interest. And propel them to action—as effectively and powerfully as possible. So, let’s dive into your business. Let’s create the unexpected. Let’s leave “good enough” behind and replace it with “always better.”

Technology is our bread and butter, which is why the old way of doing things is toast.

Creativity and experience make our work powerful. Here are some of the marketing technologies we use to maximize our effectiveness.

What happens when you put a team in a creativity-enhancing space, feed them endless challenges, and sprinkle in a few late afternoon craft beers?

You get consistently powerful work and a culture that’s recognized as one of Chicago’s 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For™️. Our clients will tell you that Peppers give you more than you ask for, think through every detail of a request, ask questions you haven’t thought of, look for ways to deliver greater results and consistently dream up the unexpected.

  • George Couris
    President & CEO

    Out of the office, George is an expert on Fox River boating and Greek olive oil. During business hours, he uses his 20 years of marketing and business planning experience to deliver strategic, effective, results-driven programs for Pepper Group clients. He is also a member of the DePaul University Marketing Advisory Council, a mentor to high-growth startups, Past President of the Chicago AMA and a Chicago Booth School of Business MBA. George’s scribbles are legendary, on whiteboards and paper. They’re always genius marketing ideas—the trick is deciphering them!

  • Allan Woodrow
    Copy Director

    Our copy guru, Allan, is passionate about writing. He has been crafting advertising concepts longer than he cares to admit. If he isn’t simmering a mouth-watering concoction of words and ideas for our clients to feast on—whether for a website, brochure, online or print campaign, trade show booth, video or anything else—you might find him writing novels, post-it notes, and even grocery lists. (Did we mention that Allan is also a pretty good chef, and a children’s book author?)

  • Danielle Shulman
    Digital Marketing Manager

    Danielle is our digital marketing guru, but deep down, she’s a coach. When she’s not running a community softball league or teaching kids proper fielding techniques, she’s looking to share her digital marketing wisdom with anyone who needs it. She excels in crafting digital strategies, developing campaigns, managing budgets and maximizing SEO while cheering for each success. Danielle has created digital content (social posts, blog posts, press releases, etc.), planned, managed and researched. You could say she wears many hats—a baseball cap included.

  • Jessie Atchison
    Jessie Atchison
    Vice President, Director of Strategy

    It’s hard to say which you’ll notice about Jessie first—her laser-perfect handwriting or her laser-sharp marketing mind. Either way, Jessie is the queen of strategy. At Pepper Group, she develops masterful brand platforms and marketing plans that support the strategic objectives of our clients. There’s a chance you’ll also catch her riding her beloved road bike or breaking concrete blocks with her mad tae kwon do skills.

  • Tim Padgett
    Founder

    Nice guys really do finish first. Tim’s all the proof you need. His roots go back to the printing industry, but in 1994 he set out on his own as a marketer and founded Pepper Group. Over the past 26 years, he’s built an award-winning agency that serves a broad variety of B2B businesses, from local manufacturers and trade organizations to Fortune 500 companies. Tim loves to tell stories. If you have time, ask him what it’s like when your hike is intercepted by a grizzly bear. Apparently, even the bear could tell a nice guy when he saw one.

  • Joe Whittington
    Senior Interaction Designer

    Some designers start with a color palette or a font. Joe begins by doing his homework. He excels at research and understanding technical information that gives added dimension to his designs. He also challenges himself to build on what’s been done before for a client, and come up with something new yet true to the brand. When he’s not biking, boating or wakeboarding, you may catch this Green Bay Packers stockholder (ask him about his certificate) watching rally or Formula One racing.

  • Amanda Zindel
    Account Director

    When we call Amanda “certifiable,” we mean that as a compliment. Amanda is certified in Google Analytics, Google Ads, and she’s also a “latte art certified” barista. Amanda joined Pepper Group days after graduating college, left, worked for a number of marketing organizations, lived in Portugal, Canada, Ireland and Hawaii, and came back to us. We’re glad she did. Because not only does Amanda tap into her certifiably impressive credentials when creating marketing strategies for our clients, but her latte certification means she makes a mean cup of java during late night work sessions.

  • Jen Goebbert
    Senior Account Manager

    Jen is a planner. You can see it in her immaculately prepared timelines and marketing strategies, and how she interprets analytical data into action plans. It’s also evident in her carefully planned vacations, which are always jampacked with daily and detailed morning-to-night itineraries. Jen’s organizational and left-brain acumen makes her an extremely valuable part of the Pepper team, managing projects, and both identifying and solving problems. It also means she is a permanent member of our office party planning committee.

  • Lynn Ankele
    Social/Production Manager

    When you see hundreds of jars of mints, custom-printed yarmulkes, boxes of caramels and beautiful paper samples, you know you’re at Lynn’s desk. But finding the lowest prices for our clients and fulfilling odd requests is only part of her job. Lynn can do anything, whether it’s working in InDesign, Dreamweaver, sending out email blasts, handling invoices and purchase orders or keeping everything running smoothly. And did we mention she keeps us all in line with her eagle-eye proofreading skills?

  • Cindy Wojdyla
    Vice President & Creative Director

    If you counted up all the frozen Yoplaits that Cindy enjoys every day, you’d have … a lot of yogurt. Cindy develops the creative strategy for our clients and leads the creative team in the execution of marketing initiatives. A loyal reader of The New York Times, she also enjoys gardening and can tell you stories about Frank Perdue and his black notebook. Those pictures she draws in notebooks at client meetings? They’re not just doodles. They’re the start of the next big idea for our clients.

  • Brian Erickson
    Design Director

    Some people always have something beautiful on their screen, while the rest of us have words and numbers. Brian’s the first type. He’s always designing something that’s visually and strategically stunning. He especially enjoys working on printed pieces and the challenges of the online environment. The only things he likes more than creating award-winning work for clients? Sweet tea and hush puppies, favorites from his North Carolinian roots.

  • Todd Underwood
    Interactive Director

    Make no mistake. Todd proves there’s a direct correlation between being a master of all things audio, video and the web and wearing shorts most of the year and socks without shoes. Our own Steven Spielberg, Todd can take hours of video footage and whittle them down into a powerful video, stage a gala event that runs perfectly, create incredible animations and more. And as new technologies emerge, he’s right on top of them for our clients. If you ever feel like talking about bicycling, Todd’s your man.

  • Denise O'Neill
    Co-Founder, Vice President & Finance Director

    Our financial superhero, Pepper Group’s Co-Founder, understands all those things the rest of us find daunting. Lightning-sharp with a calculator (who knows … maybe she doesn’t even use one), she keeps our business on track by handling forecasting, budgets, billing and everything else that requires numbers. She is also a published author. A letter she wrote to her family from summer camp has been published in a compilation called, P.S. I Still Hate it Here: More Kids’ Letters from Camp.

  • Sharla Davis
    Senior Copywriter

    Sharla has been part of our team of seasoned professionals since 2010, translating marketing strategies into words that connect with an audience and achieve results. Today, when she’s not dreaming up award-winning copy and concepts, you’ll probably find her near her Airstream RV hiking, biking or exploring the country.

  • Cassie Nalls
    Senior Designer

    Cassie has many talents—she can drink coffee, feed her guinea pig and design a website, all at the same time. Part of the Pepper Group team since 2007, Cassie loves helping a business’s marketing come alive. She has a particular talent for brand development and logo design, which she can do while refurbishing a kitchen table.

  • Stacy Tanzler
    Account Coordinator

    Our Account Coordinator Stacy Tanzler discovered a love for marketing in college—this was a surprise since she had been working toward a career in forensic science or law enforcement. Stacy was attracted to marketing’s similar needs for sleuthing and diving deeper to uncover not-so-obvious solutions. But Stacy also loves building relationships and interactions … something hard to do with a cadaver. With her strong work ethic and collaboration skills, the evidence proves Stacy made a smart choice.

  • Mahek Lakhani
    Account Manager

    Some people know what they want to be their entire lives; Mahek was not one of those people. It was only after working in health tech, then after moving to Madrid to teach English for two years, and then after starting her own design studio that Mahek discovered a love of marketing. Today, Mahek is passionate about diving into a client’s marketing goals to create overarching strategies and then figuring out all the incremental details to bring a project to life. Mahek is confident, and so are we, that she has found her true calling.

We celebrated our 25th anniversary recently. The cake is long gone (sorry) but this video still reflects who we are today.

Welcome to Pepper Group’s business propulsion laboratories.

Kensing

“I’d like to thank you for all your help. We could not have had a successful NYSCC 2022 without you and your team!”

Rebecca Belmer, Key Account Manager
Kensing

Rockfon

“Dear All – I wanted to write and say a huge thanks for helping deliver this video for us, it’s a major step forward! Roll on the next one.”

Warren Dudding
Rockfon

Ciorba Group

“The brochures turned out fantastic! I was so excited to see them this morning when I came back from vacation. Love them so much! Thank you and the whole Pepper Team for all your hard work and creativity!”

Holly L. Ryan, Marketing Manager
Ciorba Group

Bronswick Benjamin P.C. 2

“If you want creative and innovative ideas, Pepper Group is fantastic. Also, their talent marketing work is top notch. We used Pepper Group to help us with core values creation, unique signage, awards programs and much more. I can truly say that Pepper Group has been a big contributor to improving our firm’s culture.”

Jeff Bronswick, Managing Partner
Bronswick Benjamin P.C.

Hitchcock Design Group

“We appreciated the custom process and approach that Pepper Group took to helping us create our brand platform. Due to the time and effort that they spent with us, as well as our clients during that process, they already understood our culture which allowed us to transition seamlessly into having them develop our new brochure and website.”

Dawn Jones, Marketing Coordinator
Hitchcock Design Group

Envista Forensics 2

“I just received my personalized “Stronger than Ever” box. Please tell management that it was such a thrill to open that I stopped and then shared it with my wife! In Dale Carnegie’s book, How To Win Friends And Influence People, he says that seeing one’s name in print (on the outside of the box) is a thrilling event. A name tag, a coffee cup and of course the ever important business cards were icing on the cake! Thanks for that cool, personalized experience. That’s what I get from Apple products!”

Thanks for a good transition in brand name.  I’m excited about our future.

Chris Andres, PE, CFEI, Senior Project Engineer, Mechanical/Electrical
Envista Forensics

MCEDC

“Thank you so much. You offer such outstanding event staging service … I know I don’t have to worry about anything with the sound, lights and technology.”

Jean Schober, Vice President
MCEDC

Eclipse

“Thanks so much for doing this for us. You have no idea how good it feels to have a website that looks awesome, the content is legit, everything looks awesome. We really appreciate it.”

Nikki Martin Kobiljak, Client Happiness Officer
Eclipse

Kensing

“Website looks amazing guys!!! Sent to my family and it’s already been shared across the world. Big family 😉.”

Eshani Burdick, Director, Sulfates & Specialty Esters
Kensing

RedMane Technology

“I was so excited when I saw the video. This is just outstanding. We loved every minute of it.”

Tony Lakier, President
RedMane Technology

BAI

“I just wanted to pass along a thanks and nice work to the Pepper team on the DEI piece. I know we’re still finalizing some stuff on the backend, but I shared the page with the managing directors over research and they both loved it.”

Tina Saigh, Senior Marketing Manager - Research
BAI

Technetics Group

“I had a meeting with our analytics team yesterday and wanted to pass along the good report. They said this was one of the best web redesign projects they had seen. Great job on all the redirects, meta tags, alt-tags, etc. Everything looked good from an SEO and analytics standpoint.

So, KUDOS TO THE TEAM!! ”

Lea Johnson, Marketing Manager
Technetics Group

Essendant

“Really appreciate your quick turnaround, great service, collaboration and partnership!!!!!”

Dianne Lucca, Manager, Digital Services-Email
Essendant

Rockfon

“I love it and couldn’t be happier with the final product! The Pepper team did a fantastic job, and it was a pleasure working with you all.”

Kari Pandilidis, Marketing Communications Manager
Rockfon

Gerber Collision & Glass

“We knew we had a great place to work, and a lot to offer new team members. Pepper Group helped us pull it all together with a cohesive message, and tools and tactics that allow us to communicate that message effectively. I’m a satisfied customer!”

R.J. Gerber, Marketing Communications Manager
Gerber Collision & Glass

Senior Business Development Manager Omron Automation

“We are getting great feedback on the event itself, and you helped us to make it such a success!!!”

Keith Kersten, Senior Business Development Manager
Omron Automation

Envista Forensics

“I haven’t been shy with our internal team in ‘singing the praises’ of your entire team—it’s been a pleasure to work with everyone at your company and frankly you’ve made this massive rebrand project accomplishable.”

Jennifer Gaster, Vice President, Marketing
Envista Forensics

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