A Season of Giving Back (Not Returning an Ugly Sweater)

The holidays are generally a time of chaos between company parties, activities at school and shopping for gifts. Instead of waiting in line to buy something that might get returned or end up in the donate pile, we have a proposal. What if the center of the season was giving back, rather than giving gifts?


At Marbury Creative Group, we want to focus less on the “stuff” portion of the holidays and instead give back. We believe a simple pay-it-forward, act of kindness mentality can go a long way. Selfless giving doesn’t require a lot of time or money but can be pretty impactful. Imagine what a difference could be made when each of us made just one act of kindness a month!

We’re not the only ones. Even big brands are hopping on the helping hand bandwagon.

  • Jimmy Dean launched a campaign early this month to turn Monday mornings around. Their message is simple: turn your Monday morning into time to do good. Buy someone’s coffee, hold a door open or volunteer with a local organization. They’re even organizing specified times for employees to take time to do good deeds. Now, we’re not saying every company has to give employees time off to volunteer but their message is doable. Big or small efforts alike are appreciated and that’s a message we can get behind. To learn more about their campaign, follow #MondaysforGood or read about it here.


  • REI has announced that they will be closed the day after Thanksgiving, otherwise known as Black Friday, one of the largest shopping days of the year. Why? They want their employees and customers to spend time outside, not shopping. Maybe you’re not the outdoorsy-type, but what do you think about not shopping one day and instead spending time with family or giving back? Closing your store on the proverbial first day of the holiday shopping season is a bold move but we think their reasoning is admirable.

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  • Better World Books donates a book every time you buy one on their website. As of this summer, customers have helped them donate over 17 million books!
  • Twice as Warm is a made-in-America winter clothing retailer that gives new winter clothes to local shelters. With each purchase they give a new clothing item to someone in need, supporting their slogan “wear one, give one.”
  • Yoobi sells bright-colored school supplies that benefit kids. With each purchase, a Yoobi item is donated to a classroom in need. To date, the company has impacted the lives of 1 million children. If you knew your purchase was doing someone good, would you shop more with that company?

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So, how can you give back? Do you have a few extra minutes to help a neighbor carry in their groceries? Or help out in the school carpool lane? Do you have a few bucks to spot someone for their coffee on Monday morning?

Let us know how you’re going “stuff-less” and giving back instead this holiday season. Share your ideas with us on Facebook and Twitter.






Digital Data: How to Trick, er Treat the “Now What?” Syndrome

Last week, I was browsing target.com for a candy holder for our office. You know the kind, where a wicked witch hand cackles at you each time you try to sneak a Hershey kiss out of the bowl. It’s the perfect addition to our spooky seasonal office décor. Anyways, I got a call from a client, clicked out of my browser and went on with my day forgetting about that fun, festive candy bowl… Until she began haunting my browser.

I’m sure you’ve fallen victim to “retargeting,” whether it be a witch or another product. Let’s face it, it’s cool (but also a little creepy)! It brings me to today’s subject: using data to stay in front of your customer.

While most marketing budgets don’t have billions to spend on advertising each year, data is often inexpensive and easy to measure. Most of our clients are one step ahead because they know how important tracking and analyzing data is to their marketing campaigns but sometimes don’t know what to do with it. Let’s call this the “now what?” syndrome, if you will.


To treat the “now what?” syndrome, we generally prescribe analytics programs that report on the big picture and capture a campaign’s full digital landscape. We’ll look at website analytics, social media, and results from monthly newsletters and analyze how each digital piece works to further our goals. Are our social media posts leading traffic to the website? Does our newsletter encourage engagement with our social networks? Is our website delivering on our primary goal?

These types of analytics helps us continually tweak and revise our ongoing social and newsletter campaigns (even if just an article) as well as make adjustments to the website. Remember, data is only valuable if you implement the changes it points to!

So now what? Are you “tracking” data or are you doing something with it?

Don’t let a lack of analysis haunt you! Give us a call at 678-735-5227 to find out if your retargeting efforts are working.







How Facebook Says to Use Facebook to “Boost Your Business”

(and Debunking the “Pay-to-Play” Mentality)

Facebook has hosted a handful of conferences across the country called “Boost Your Business.” These conferences were geared towards small and medium-sized businesses interested in using Facebook advertising to promote and grow their business. Shelly and Erin took a trip to Nashville to learn about new offerings directly from the best at Facebook.


We brought home a lot of great information that we are implementing in our clients’ social media planning and strategy.

Here’s the tip of the ice-Zuckerberg:

  • Facebook Advertising Targeting Options. As Facebook veterans, we know how to create and manage ads using Facebook’s Ad Manager, but the site and its offerings are constantly changing. New advanced targeting features like “look-a-like audiences” can find even more of your target customers! Through Facebook advertising, you can now connect with your customers based on their offline behaviors such as traveling and device usage, website visits and people who are similar or look like your target customers. We’ll be using these advanced targeting options and tools to reach more of our clients’ customers through Facebook advertising.
  • Tools for Businesses. Facebook offers a plethora of resources online for small and medium-sized businesses to use and advertise their business on Facebook. Story Packs for Businesses are one of those useful tools for beginners. Facebook says, “effective advertising on Facebook is just about telling good, compelling stories to your customers,” and that’s something we agree with completely! So how do you tell that compelling story on Facebook with your fans?  Story Packs give Page admins ideas on where to start when writing and sharing content to their business Page. Another cool tool: Creative Tips for Businesses help Page admins write copy, choose a picture and post to their Page.
  • Instagram for Business. Although Instagram for Business still has some serious growing up to do, Facebook has made a few improvements since they purchased the photo-sharing social network in 2012. In their Business Strategy Guide, they provide best practices for creating content, sharing videos and improving general presence. Each day, Instagram grows in popularity, paving the way for more opportunities for businesses to reach their customers on the social network. Check it out and see what you can do with Instagram for your business.

Shelly and Erin met with Facebook guru, Mari Smith, to talk shop.

Overall, we were impressed by how much Facebook cares about growing small and medium-sized businesses. They have made a clear commitment through their staff and tools to help all types of businesses. That “pay-to-play” mentality we hear floating around just isn’t the case. Of course, they’re making money off your advertising dollars, but only 2 million of the 40 million small and medium-sized businesses are using Facebook to market their businesses. In addition, there are very few places to advertise with the targeting and tracking capabilities that Facebook offers.

We manage social advertising budgets for our clients ranging from a few hundred dollars to thousands, so you don’t have to spend a lot of money to see how it can work for your business.

Have a question or want to learn more about Facebook advertising or just using Facebook to market your business? Let us know. We’re on Facebook and Twitter. We’d love to hear from you!








Is Your Website From Another Decade?

Have you looked at your website with an outside perspective? Most of the new websites we’ve designed and developed have come about as a company leader has looked at their site and thought, “Wow…it’s been 5 years since we did anything new on our site…and it’s looking a little dated…and acting a little antiquated.”  So, how do you know if your website is the equivalent of a flip phone, vs. a smart phone? How do you know if your site looks and acts like it’s from a different decade?


Here are a few things to check your site against, that might help indicate if, “it’s time for a change.”

Is your website responsive?  As of last fall, Pew Research shows 64% of American adults own a smart phone that they’re pretty fond of. Many of us check our phones or tablets whether or not we hear a ping. You’re likely using it to check your e-mail, Fantasy football and surf the web too. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, it could be turning off some of your customers. In addition, Google’s new algorithm is penalizing non-mobile sites whose customers are searching for them from a mobile device.

Is your website easy to navigate?  It’s important to have a strong architecture with your audience in mind. Your website should be easy-to-use and navigate without causing users frustration. Your website is a reflection of your organization and should share the same professional image you do in the office. Think of it as your lobby! More people are likely see your website than your front door.

How is your page ranking in search engine results?  Redesigning your website will bring you into the 21st century and will help boost your search engine results! A site built with new best practices can help your page rank. In addition, it will implement new web functionalities, like blogs and videos, that will also benefit your search engine results.

Is your website copyright from 2015?  Every website has a copyright at the bottom — what’s yours?©2009?  ©2001?  Savvy folks will notice that your site is likely untouched since the date of that copyright. That’s probably not a good impression.

Are your social media links integrated?  Social media marketing is a growing effort for businesses and brands of all sizes. If you’re using social media marketing, make sure your website reflects that. Did you know that social media link integration can help improve your ranking in search results? It also makes your brand or business more visible to your customers as those buttons are universally recognizable.

And last but not least, if your visible hit counter is showing, your website might be from the 1990s!

But don’t worry. If you’re not feeling good about your site, contact us, and we’ll be happy to provide you with some thoughts on what to prioritize, so you can get it up to date.




When one of our client’s products boasts grilling moister meats with the wood-fired taste you crave, we couldn’t wait try it!


Introducing the Kamado Joe ceramic grill. It features a flexible Divide & Conquer cooking system so you can grill more (of everything) at once. Their competitors are “green with envy” as each Joe comes with all the accessories you need to grill, smoke and sear. We’re not kidding, every Joe comes with a rolling stand, exterior shelves for extra space and a slide out ash drawer! An added bonus to the already impressive list of “Joe-isms” is its ability to cook just about anything.

They say, “Nobody likes a piece of meat that resembles a hockey puck,” and we have to agree. Nothing beats a juicy burger with all the fixins’ on a summer afternoon. To test out our new grill-friend, we threw on some burgers & brats, buns and kabobs. Team members each brought their favorite summer side dish to complete our spread.

Here are a few of our team’s winning recipes:
• Even Better the Second Time Around: Hillbilly Baked Beans
• Tastes Like Summer: Petite Midori Cakes
• Gone in the Flip of a Spatula: Corn Casserole
• Can’t Beet This Vegetarian Option: Fruit & Veggie Kabobs 
• Most Pinterest-ing: Mac & Cheese

We’re believers. We enjoyed the experience of using the Kamado Joe grill. The act of lighting the charcoal and tasting the woodsy flavor of flame-grilled burgers and brats was utopia… “Joetopia” even. It was easy to clean and perfect for cooking for a dozen people at once. Let’s just say, this isn’t your average Joe kind of grill. If you’re looking for a better grilling experience, we highly recommend Kamado Joe.

A big thank you to our Grill Master, Steve, for feeding the troops!









We, We, We All the Way Home

Have you ever noticed how often advertisers talk about themselves? Rather than focusing on what they can do for their prospective customers, it seems to be a common practice to toot your own horn (all the way home).


I recently heard a radio commercial for a local hospital and counted the word “we” 16 times. That’s right, 16 times in a 60-second commercial! I noticed that never once, not once, did they mention their audience, “you.” It was a very self-motivated commercial and I’m not really surprised. Oftentimes in healthcare promotions, the hospitals are shown talking about themselves and their accomplishments, not the lives of their patients. Let’s think about this. Is it really all that bad to boast about your accreditations or high customer satisfaction ratings? No. As consumers, we need to know what businesses are selling and what makes them better than their competitors. But there’s a better way to tell that story so your customer stops to listen to it.



As an example of shifting focus to the consumer, I’ll use two hospitals.  We rebranded North Fulton Hospital under the tagline, “We Specialize in You.”  It shifts the focus immediately from what the hospital does, to the beneficiary — the patient. It’s very customer-centric, and it allows the staff at the hospital to keep their focus on the patient as they “live the brand.”



When we rebranded Spalding Regional Hospital in Griffin, the focus on improvements that the hospital had made internally was part of their new brand. The teaser campaign was “We’re Not Your County Hospital Anymore” but it was quickly followed up with the tagline, “Change for the Better,” which was a call-to-action for the community to “change” as well as a notice that the hospital itself had “changed for the better.” Note it didn’t say, “We have Changed for the Better.”


Next time you’re listening to a commercial or looking at a print ad, pay attention to what the advertiser is saying. If they have a bad case of the “we-wes,” then they’re probably not interested in connecting with you.


At Marbury Creative Group, we fill in the gap between companies and all the great things they have to talk about; and their customer—who has no time to listen to great things and just wants to know, “how can you help me?” We want to help you turn those we-wes into me-mes.


Have you heard any we-ally good commercials lately? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook or Twitter.







A Noteworthy Thought on Typing in a Meeting

When taking notes in a meeting, what do you reach for: your notepad and pencil or your iPad?

As an ad guy who loves his Apple tools, you might be surprised by my answer. I take notes on a notepad 98% of the time. My notes give me visual cues – from placement and size of words on the page, to actual doodles – each reinforcing a specific point. Sometimes I wonder if our clients fear I’m behind the times when I pull out my trusty ruled notepad. I always have my iPad in case we want to look at something online, or take a photo. But a week later when we get the “OK” to start the project, I go back to that trusty ruled notepad and review my notes. I can recall my ideas immediately as if it was an hour ago that we met. My biggest problem now is trying to remember where I put the notepad!

So what’s the official word?

A recent report from Princeton University shows that the pen is mightier than the keyboard (in most instances).  Although some studies go as far to say that typing is destroying your memory, we think it’s safe to say, there are perks to each, no matter what page you’re on.

Photo credit: http://bit.ly/1B62CSY

Photo credit: http://bit.ly/1B62CSY

Besides the potential distractions that tech note-tools add to the equation, you might be less likely to retain what you’re writing. For instance, most electronic note-takers end up transcribing the conversation verbatim, rather than making note of key information or important takeaways. On the flipside, electronic note-takers were able to recall factual information but lacked on overall concept recollection. They could not remember the intent of the person speaking.

Traditional note-takers generally pay more attention to the conversation and make note of specific points and key information, later recalling the overall concept and big picture more clearly and better than electronic note-takers.

So how do you take notes? I’m currently exploring note-taking apps that allow me to write and save from my iPad. Any suggestions? Share your thoughts with me below or find us on Facebook.






Room for Improv-ement

Earlier this year, RBM of Alpharetta asked us to create a unique TV campaign that would help them stand out from other car dealerships. Our goal was to forgo the typical approach, you know the salesman standing next to shiny new cars as numbers fly out toward the viewer with a list of hyped-up benefits and promises. RBM of Alpharetta offers a unique take on the “customer experience” and “test drive experience” that consistently earns them high marks. But rather than use the straight testimonial approach, we wanted something more interesting and entertaining… “real life written.”

We developed a few concepts and presented them to the client. Then, we drafted scripts and storyboards for final approval.

So, what made this commercial different from others? We went “off the book” to cast improvisational actors, instead of traditional actors through talent agencies. You see, improv actors are talented quick-thinkers, trained to come up with ideas on the spot. They take a “real situation” and make it even more interesting. We knew these talented storytellers would only add to our concept.

Our concept consisted of two people taking a test drive at the dealership. When we cast the improvisational actors, we asked each actor to read through the script a few times, and then cut loose and have some fun with it. After hearing their takes, we enhanced the script, and got final approval.


During filming, we got what we all agreed to in the can. Then once again, directed the improv actors to try a few different situations, such as playing different roles or approaching the spot with a different attitude. That provided us with some “magical lines and expressions” that we were able to incorporate, which gave the viewer an extra smile.

Click here to watch the commercial.  At the end, look closely for our favorite improv piece where the wife wants to take the test drive. Working with improv actors really complemented the concept. While we had to cut a few lines to add it, out client agrees that it was definitely worth it.

The next time you’re looking for a fresh approach to a radio or television commercial, let us know. We’ll give improv a try with your brand and help you tell it better.

Why We Hate “Quality”—and How to Craft a Better Tagline

Hello, there! We’re the Marbury Creative Group from Duluth, Georgia.

And we hate “quality.”

Isn’t that the most over-used word in the English language? It’s been used so frequently in company taglines that it no longer has any meaning. Telling your audience that your product, or your business, is “quality” doesn’t tell them anything about what your business DOES. And you need to tell your audience what you do, so they’ll want to work with you!

So now that we’ve got that off our chests, we’d like to point out a few features of a well-crafted tagline:

A good tagline should be an extension or representation of your brand. 


It should be the shortest number of words you can use to intrigue a listener to want to know more about your company. 3 to 5 words are ideal.


Upon hearing the tagline, the listener should get a sense of the culture of the brand.


A good tagline helps differentiate the company within their industry.


Like we say with all branding, it’s got to be memorable.


It needs to be a statement that is true and effective within the marketing plan of the brand.


It should be a single “sentence or thought,” not three separate thoughts. It’s awfully tempting to use 3 words with a period between each of them, but don’t do it. It does nothing but throw out three features of your brand without making a compelling argument for your brand.


And please, please don’t use buzzy words like “quality,” “superior,” “we save more,” or “the difference is our people.”

Need a couple of good—and bad—examples?

Synovus: The Bank of Here

Synovus Bank’s evocative tagline, “The Bank of Here,” allows the viewer to create their own scenario about their money. Want to take a flight? Build a business? Financially support your grandpa? Synovus Bank is here to help. A helpful, caring corporate culture is established. And the tagline is supported by a beautifully produced and shot commercial replete with appealing images that reinforce the message.

Atlanta Toyota: The Name Says it ALL

Atlanta Toyota’s tagline has the opposite effect. The name doesn’t say it all. It doesn’t tell you what the corporate culture is, or what the brand can do for you. It doesn’t tell you that their vehicles get great gas mileage, that their service department will go the extra mile, or that their salespeople are fair and square when it comes to getting you the best deal possible for your new ride. The name says that it’s in Atlanta and it’s Toyota. Missed opportunity.

So the next time you hear a salesman or business owner describe their product as “quality,” tell them it’s not! Tell them they’re better than that, and your friends at Marbury Creative Group can help. Because… you know…we hate “quality.”

What Magic Makes a Good Radio Spot?

Radio is HARD, but it’s one of our favorite mediums to work with. If radio spots are done right, they can get a lot of attention. Done wrong, they add to the noise, or worse, become super-annoying. There’s a shining example of this conundrum running in the Atlanta market right now…

An interesting radio ad began running last month for Great Clips hair salons. The premise is that the stylist and customer are having a conversation about a haircut, but their voices are “auto-tuned” like changing gears — sounding like NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne’s no. 5 Chevrolet SS in the final lap at Atlanta Motor Speedway. About two weeks later, a second radio spot debuted, where an announcer (in a typical, “announcer-y” voice) stated something along these lines: “We apologize for the ads we ran a couple of weeks ago. We had some feedback like, ‘if I hear this ad again, I’ll never go back into a Great Clips.’ Well, we just want you to know we heard you!” The sentiments were evident across social media:

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We often get asked, “What makes a magical radio spot?” by prospective and current clients. While the client’s needs may vary, here are a few universal truths in radio advertising to consider.

All day long people are talking “at us” and giving us information about THEM, so when a radio spot does that, it blends in with all the other noise. But if you create a scene in a radio spot, it stands out from the other stuff that’s on the radio. Radio is ”theater of the mind.” It’s about creating a scene for the listener. Listeners will develop a picture in their head when you’re giving them enough audio cues. You might have a doctor and a patient having a conversation, and you can get creative with that. How large is the office-do you hear an echo? Is the doctor rolling around-does the stool squeak? Are there animals in the room? Is the product serious or funny? Humor works, by the way, but you have to be careful not to go too far or it can be annoying—just like the Great Clips spot that’s discussed above.

This quote from Tom Shane may tell it better. At an advertising awards ceremony several years ago, Tom Shane (of the Shane Company jewelry fame) was asked why he didn’t do TV advertising. He said, “When I’m showing you a brilliant diamond, you’re limited by what you SEE on TV. But if I’m telling you that at Shane Co. we have the most brilliant diamonds, you will picture the most brilliant diamond you can think of in your mind.” In other words, the listener is responsible for coming up with a visual of your product that’s positive and relevant to them. And if you verbally relay that image correctly, they’ll attribute that image to your brand.

Find the balance between production/voice/copywriting. Sometimes, a spot can be too perfect or uniform, which takes away from the message. For example, there are current radio spots for an Atlanta furniture company that scream all their information at you and it’s pretty hard to understand what the announcer is saying. The tone decreases the impact of the message. There’s also a lingerie company spot that includes a conversation between two salespeople talking about the product for 30 seconds — but the sound quality sounds like it could have been produced in an elevator. The right voice talent, with good writing and production values, will create a radio spot that’s memorable in more ways than one. Then there’s the infamous jingle… well, that is another topic altogether, and perhaps one that we’ll leave for another day….

So what radio ads have you found unforgettable—in a good or bad way? Leave your comments here, or on Facebook or via Twitter!