Getting Personal With Your Clients

Sometimes it’s easier to be professional and boring than it is to get personal when it comes to communicating with your customers. That’s why designer Nicola Black jumped at the chance to design a cookbook for the clientele of Penn’s View Hotel in Philadelphia. She knew the collection of family recipes would touch the hearts of guests of the hotel like no other type of marketing.

Black, whose work on the cookbook was featured in Visual Marketing, says that when it comes to creative marketing, “What is noticed in a hodgepodge of the same old marketing techniques are those messages that are different and usually speak to us personally. They bring a level of being human into the mix — something that speaks to the consumer in a way that says you’re the same as them.”

The Role of Images

What made the cookbook really sing, says Black, were the photos. Nothing sells a cookbook better than lush, vibrant photos of the results of the recipes found inside. Black always looks for some design element that people can relate to, and in this project, the images were what warmed people up to the marketing piece.

How You Can Stand Out

Black encourages small businesses to avoid those “old, tired, trade tactics in our marketing that every other business who’s competing with us uses,” and instead focus on making the customer feel like a friend. Avoid becoming a machine that simply spouts off reasons someone should buy your product or service, and instead focus on providing value to your customers.

“Treat them like that and you’ll find that locating those personal aspects to use in your marketing are easier found than you think,” says Black.

Stepping Outside the Lines with Creative Video Marketing

When you run a website, how can you get people to interact with you in person? For, this was a dilemma. The New York City-based food delivery site wanted to get three-dimensional, so to speak. According to VP of Marketing Jonathan Mark, “We wanted to make some noise and connect with our users on a local level. As a website, our users only get to interact with us online; we felt a bigger impact would be made by coming to see them offline, and of course keeping it fun and lighthearted.”

The result, featured in Visual Marketing Book, is Delivery Man Stan: a video of a delivery man attempting to make the world’s largest food delivery. As you can see in the video, he’s ridiculously loaded down with boxes and bags as he traverses New York City.



The stunt naturally got some attention on the street. But the video in general goes a long way to show that this isn’t just another online delivery service. It’s one that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Continuing to Color Outside the Lines

What’s neat about is that the company didn’t stop innovating with this video. It looks to see what successful brands are doing in the online space, and takes a page from the best in the business. Take its social media customer service, for example. Few companies are yet using Twitter and Facebook effectively, but has mastered the art of connecting with customers through these social channels.

“[Social media customer service] was something that our followers demanded and we heard them. Social media is a  communication channel for companies, but it is important for companies to understand that communication goes both ways… We have a great customer service team so expanding those efforts to Twitter and Facebook was a natural for us,” says Mark. has also created its online version of the punchcard you get when you frequent a restaurant or retailer, and users can get $5 off an order for every 10 they place online. Not a bad deal! Here’s hoping expands into our corners of the country.

The Power of Email for Small Biz

It can be hard to get someone’s attention through email when everyone’s inbox is crowded with junk. But illustrator Robert Pizzo knows how to get the attention of potential clients. He sends a unique illustration for holidays and other events that serve as examples of his talent as well as a way to stay at the top of potential clients’ minds. He’s surprised that more designers and small businesses in general don’t market themselves better through email.

“You’ve got to stay visible in the minds of clients and potential clients,” Pizzo explains. He finds email to be a flexible medium that he can adapt to the times, where direct mail tended to be stagnant and unchangeable once you approve a campaign.

Leave the Sales Push Out of It

Pizzo’s emails aren’t designed to make a big push toward a sale. He simply enjoys sending creative means of expression. If someone wants to buy, so much the better. He’s created email campaigns around Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, School’s Out, School’s In, Flag Day, Mid-Summer, Beware August, and Halloween Pumpkin Pie Recipes. He finds that by providing visually stimulating illustration, he gets people’s attention better than pushing for a sale.

The Right Place, The Right Time

Appearing in his contacts’ inbox each month proves its benefits: “A few months ago I sent something to a design firm and got an email back less than an hour later that a client of theirs requested something similar to my promo right afterwards. I landed a nice assignment from them not just because of my work, but also because I was right there at the right time. So the moral is: be there!”

Tips for Business Owners

Pizzo says that it’s important to measure out your marketing emails throughout the year: “Generally speaking, most folks don’t mind getting something about once a month, especially if it’s clever and timely.”

He says you should always ask for permission when emailing new people, and keep the content simple with no more than one image per email.