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 As you know (maybe you don't) that it has a been part of my business model to go out to meet two new people a week and go to a networking event once a week. I do this to get my business name out there and to promote my business. I learned that it is one more asset of marketing that businesses need to do (even in good time)s.

When the US had economic troubles in 2008 I almost lost my business because I never went out to either sell or market my business. When a couple of sources dried up and I was forced to live off my credit card for three months. Bad decision, so I sucked it up and started networking with people/businesses in my community.

I found myself attending this networking event last week (FREE Small Business Event: How to Become a Social All-Star) that was put on by Frontier, at the Embassy Suites in Beaverton, OR. It was here that I got to hear from a couple of local big hitters in the social media world. Patrick Galvin (Galvin Communications), Jan Wallen (mastering LinkedIn) and Ryan Lewis (Bonfire Social Media). I even met a woman that has an automotive repair shop close to my office that was interested in talking about her business and the downtown Rotary group. This may be another post and opportunity for Molly's Fund to meet corporate sponsors.


Patrick Galvin - Chief galvanizer for Galvin Communications.

I went up and introduced myself to Patrick and asked if he would like to meet for coffee and have more conversation. He was more than happy to meet at Case Study coffee shop that is located in the Hollywood district of Portland. Finally, during his introduction at the Social Star Event he spoke on his commitment to WOM marketing. I am a heavy endorser of Andy Sernovitz's WOM campaign. He has a great newsletter called, "Damn, I Wish I'd Thought of That".


Speaking of WOM… Patrick is a Connector and endorsed Case Study coffee shop that a friend of his owns (and the little bakery next door to it). It is always a treat to find someone locally that has a passion about helping other businesses through word of mouth!

Patrick owns a PR firm in town and has a handful of clients that he promotes in the traditional and social media venues. He also is a professional speaker that presents to various groups and events. 

 Bella the boxer

But what really caught my attention was that he has a dog, Bella the Boxer, that he has creatively introduced as the star of the Hollywood neighborhood (especially businesses). He speaks through Bella as a Goodwill Ambassador. It is pretty funny. It was so popular that Patrick had a written, Secrets of a Working Dog: Unleash your Potential and Create Success

I really enjoyed my conversation with Patrick and welcome him into my group of Strategic Partners. He passed on information about a local video connection and also one in the Bay Area (where I may be reaching out to because of my connections down there). We talked about our adopted children and lives outside of the business world. I will keep him in my thoughts when I see anything of interest in the Social Media world. I would recommend signing up for Patrick's blog - Buzz Builder.


Published in marketing 101

BlogPhoto Comp

Summer Intern Post #1

My name is Daniel Nelson and this is the number one lesson I learned this week working as a summer intern with Mike at Inkspot Graphics. To be a successful free-lance graphic designer with your own business is a extremely active endeavor. You must be always thinking about the next project but be present at the same time to complete the project at hand. As a student in the PSU graphic design program in Portland, Oregon I had been introduced to the concept of producing projects for clients but I didn’t know the reality of how the industry works. 

Watching Mike for the few days has shown me that if I was ever to own my own graphic design business I would be consistently in motion. Working out deals with clients, going to meetings, and of coarse the doing the design work. In my college courses I am taught the mechanics of designing and how to do such things as matching colors, spacing and sizing solutions with text and imagery, popular and unpopular forms of imagery, how to work with type and much more.  All of these pieces of information go into designing every single piece of design work but in Mike’s world it goes much faster. For instance I am used to three plus weeks to work on usually two projects, one for each class I’m taking. That workload for me is difficult at times especially when it gets close to final rounds (the finished work). Mike as at times eight or nine projects moving at one time and needs to have them finished on dates he and his clients have agreed on. So that means he has to know his own work style and schedule well enough to be able to give a educated guess on when he can get something completed for them.

So much goes into that thought process, like starting the project, learning its details and background/story or figuring out one if one doesn’t exist, first rounds second rounds and final rounds, getting pricing for the prints/production of the project from vendors, setting the files up for the vendors, and meeting with clients throughout the whole process and there are other steps I know I am neglecting to mention. The point is he has to know the amount of time it is going to take for this process for eight to nine projects. Just in the first few days of working with Mike has made me respect this field of work immensely more. 

Signature Final

Published in marketing 101
Friday, 30 September 2011 05:34

Favor for Innovative Entrepreneur

Meet Chuck from E-Zee Fence Post Repair.


I got a referral from a friend of mine. I called and I met Chuck at Starbucks. We exchanged business cards and I was trying not to let my jaw hit the ground! I looked at his business card and was frustrated because I didn't know what his logo or product was. He asked me what I thought of it…


There were a couple of problems:

1. I asked him how he picked his company's name "E-Zee Fence Post Repair"


It described the ease of using the product. Unfortunately, there is another company with the name EZ Fence and E-Z Fence products.

* This is a big branding problem if you are trying to sell a product that conflicts with competitor names. Most of the time the buyer will go with the first one that he finds.

2. His company card didn't have a logo that makes product memorable to target market. 

I took some time to explain how branding works for your business. The card that the designer created had three different icons on it. The recycle bug, the fence and the "President's Club" logo.

He explained that his background was in sales and that the designer that he hired basically created the pieces without any reasoning. And billed him $1500.00 to boot!

3. The designer didn't use any bleeds on the card (which normally has the card cut unevenly). It also tells me that he probably had it printed online to cut his costs.

4. Used all CAPS for the long business name. It is harder to read both for print & web.

5. The designer's "Before" business card didn't stick out. I told Chuck that he needed to have a sticker of his brand on the product (I will show in another post). I presented his card with a blue and red logo (which really popped). Chuck didn't want his logo to have that much attention so we compromised on a brown color.


I told Chuck that I would help him out with his branding and all his marketing. I knew that he didn't have very much more money to spend before he went broke, so I put a little time in this project. My goal is to do the right thing and give Chuck some marketing that would help his business and look professional. He has been very happy with his new campaign. Unfortunately, I met with a public relations specialist, Amber Dennis and she told me that Chuck should rethink his whole business name but he couldn't afford to spend anymore time (or money) with branding his product. I did the best with the cards I was dealt and it was a HUGE STEP for Chuck and his business!

My next post will show the brochure that I created for E-Zee Fence Post Repair.

Published in marketing 101
Monday, 29 August 2011 07:22

Don't Give Up - Inspiring Thoughts (7)

From an article posted in the Costco Connection by Andrew Lock on "Don't Give UP".


Elton John

"A friend of mine in the music industry personally auditioned a singer by the name of Reg Dwight in the 1960s. He unceremoniously shoved the singer out of his office for wasting his time. That singer is now better known as Elton John."

Published in marketing 101
Monday, 29 August 2011 07:11

Don't Give Up - Inspiring Thoughts (6)

From an article posted in the Costco Connection by Andrew Lock on "Don't Give UP".


The Beatles

Decca Records turned down a recording contract with the Beatles with this fascination evaluation: "We don't like their sound. Guitar groups are on their way out."

Published in marketing 101
Friday, 26 August 2011 07:09

Don't Give Up - Inspiring Thoughts (4)

From an article posted in the Costco Connection by Andrew Lock on "Don't Give UP".


Charles Schulz

"every cartoon that Charles Schulz (creator of the comic strip Peanuts), submitted to the yearbook staff at his high school was rejected.



Published in marketing 101
Friday, 26 August 2011 06:56

Don't Give Up - Inspiring Thoughts (3)

From an article posted in the Costco Connection by Andrew Lock on "Don't Give UP".


Albert Einstein

"did not speak until he was 4 years old and did not read until he was seven. His parents thought he was 'subnormal,'  and one of his teachers described him as 'mentally slow, unsociable and adrift forever in foolish dreams.' He was expelled from school.
Published in marketing 101
Friday, 15 July 2011 12:50

Does your business have a Purpose?


Another one of the wonderful tips from DHX Advertising's "Marketing 101"  digital booklet.


What is your Purpose?

I think that a better word is Purpose. There is another great book that I have to share with you called, "It's Not What You Sell, It's What You Stand For". Roy tells stories about companies that will be left standing after our little recession because they are businesses that stand for something (or cause).

The majority of business people will say, "To make a million dollars!" Because that is what every company wants to do. But by having a purpose, you have something unique about yourself or business. Whether it is to help your local community, school or non-profit…the message will get spread to others in the community that will always come back to you in a positive light.


© 2011 Michael Johnson - Inkspot Graphics. All rights reserved

Published in marketing 101
Friday, 01 July 2011 05:59

Marketing Promotion for Local Printer

Mastermind Brainstorm for Local Printers

We were brainstorming marketing ideas for my business during our bi-monthly Mastermind group. One of the members, Terry said that I should come up with a marketing piece for local printers that are struggling in this new economy. I told him that I had a postcard that I designed when I was at Revere Graphics (prepress company in Portland, OR).

Now the printing company could either direct mail these to their existing mailing list or even to new markets. My client, Derek (from Lasko Printing) likes to present something to his client when making sales calls. 


While at my office, I came upon another great concept that may work better than a postcard. I bought these along time ago for creative brainstorming from Roger von Oech. This would be another great option is to have an oversized trading card size that the client could keep in a package that was branded with the Lasko logo. 

I pitched both ideas to Derek and he liked the trading card idea. Now I slowly have to build up all the card/tip designs.


Lasko Trading Card Idea

This is what I came up with. They are a little bigger than playing cards or your business card 3" x 4.5" but printed on a durable 100lb card stock. They have been varnished to keep off finger prints and protect from the wet weather. I also like the die cut rounded corners, it is very subtle but adds a little extra. Very professional!


100+ Different Tips & Tricks

I started to write a list of different subjects/tips that I could write for printers. Here are just a sampling of the subjects that I covered:

prepress techniques


social media for printers

spot vs. four color printing

software tips

direct mail

marketing tips for small businesses

photography tips

creative graphic design tips

digital printing

what to look for at a press check, etc.

It seems almost endless…I could probably write 300 of these tips, if I put my mind to it.


 © 2011 Michael Johnson - Inkspot Graphics. All rights reserved



Published in marketing 101
Thursday, 23 June 2011 08:06

Great Brainstorming Idea #1

Great Marketing Idea to Help City with Speeders

I just saw this video. It was amazingly brilliant. Why can't we come up with more contests to deliver great ideas like this?


The Speed Camera Lottery - from


"That’s a question Volkswagen recently posed in a public contest — and the winning entry was the Speed Camera Lottery, conceived by Kevin Richardson of San Francisco. Richardson’s idea, quite simply, is to build a better speed trap. Strategically placed traffic cameras will photograph all passing cars. Drivers exceeding the speed limit are sent tickets, while those obeying it are pooled into a lottery funded by the fines. Every now and then a randomly selected winner is sent a check."



Published in marketing 101
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    This blog will provide you with examples of my experiences of marketing.  I am a professional educator and story teller.  My goal is to help your company succeed by telling your story.


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