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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
    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?)
  • 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?
  • Tim Padgett
    Founder & CEO
    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
    Graphic Designer/Interactive Developer
    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 Leverenz
    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.
  • 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.
  • Dee Lee
    Designer
    Dee has lived in Korea, Vietnam, the UK, and Denmark—but we’re fortunate she’s decided to settle in Chicago. Our resident world traveler brings an international flair to our offices thanks to her many global adventures and worldly graphic design skills. With degrees and work experiences stretching across Asia and Europe, the only thing that flies more than Dee’s fingers across her Mac keyboard, is Dee herself.
  • Caleb Smyth
    Account Coordinator
    Although he shines in front of a computer brainstorming marketing opportunities for clients, Caleb is most at home in the great outdoors. Indoors, Caleb enjoys building long-term relationships—both his own with clients, and between consumers and brands. But when Tucson-based Caleb isn’t mapping customer journeys, you’ll probably find him outside on his own journey, biking 30 miles or hiking 10 miles up a rugged mountain pass.

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

“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

Bronswick Benjamin P.C.

“The interior art installed yesterday. It looks great! What a beautiful job you have done. Sincere thanks!”

Jeff Bronswick, CEO/Shareholder
Bronswick Benjamin P.C.

Ajinomoto Health & Nutrition North America, Inc.

“The amount of dedication and care to all elements of our intended message is what ultimately drove such a strong graphic result. Pepper Group was dedicated to understanding our business from the inside out in order to provide us a creative direction that fit our brand personality. They translated the vision I had for this project with precision and a unique ‘out of the box’ creative approach that sets their marketing apart from their competitors.”

Nicole Warren, Public Relations, Internal Communications, and Marketing Manager
Ajinomoto Health & Nutrition North America, Inc.

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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