Corrections or additions?
This article by Kathleen McGinn Spring was prepared for the November 6, 2002 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Being Heard Above the Noise
New York City is currently in a struggle with companies
that have taken to pasting enormous ads directly onto its sidewalks.
Meanwhile computer users are so irked at hideous, computer-freezing
pop-up ads that even revenue-minded AOL has said it will ban most
from its network. And at the lunch counter, McDonald’s has just
flat-screen monitors — one for nearly every diner — in some
of its restaurants, so that one can learn all about the company’s
products and history while consuming a Big Mac.
"There is just so much noise," says
of the Acadia, a marketing company with offices at 179 Nassau Street.
In a world full of popcorn bags shilling for blue jeans, taxi cabs
carrying digital screens advertising breath mints, and magazines
by home improvement and cigarette companies, how on earth can a
get its message across?
Hines points the way when she speaks on "Cutting Edge
at a meeting of the Middlesex and Mercer County NJAWBO chapters on
Thursday, November 14, at 6 p.m. at the Merrill Lynch Conference
Cost: $35. Call 609-924-7975.
Hines, a native of Ohio and a graduate of Bowling Green (Class of
1984), where she studied biology, co-founded Acadia in 1997 with
Schierholt. She came to the industry, and to her partnership, in
a slightly round-about way.
"I was all set to pursue my Ph.D. in biology," she says,
I decided to take a year off." During that year, she worked at
the Michigan State Medical School. A friend was taking business
and told her how much she enjoyed them. Tuition was free, so Hines
decided to try a couple of business courses herself. "I totally
fell in love with business," she says. So, she changed course
and studied for an MBA.
At about that time, her husband, Dan Hines, a physicist, accepted
a job in New Jersey, and she moved here with him. The couple have
two children, 13 and 9.
Hines spent a number of years doing in-house marketing. When she was
vice president of marketing for Crest Ultrasonics, Schierholt was
art director of the agency that company used. She thoroughly enjoyed
working for him, and the two kept in touch after she left the
world to start her own strategic planning and business planning
In business for herself, Hines needed a creative person for a project
and called Schierholt. "It was so much fun. We had such good
she says. The two decided to go into business together. "It was
a surprise to both of us," she says.
Acadia, the company they founded, specializes in marketing for small
to mid-size companies, and many of its clients are contract research
organizations (CROs), non-profits, and educational institutions. All
face the challenge of getting a message through the constant buzz
of advertising noise — and many need to do so with a small
budget. Is the task doable? Absolutely, says Hines, giving this
goes out or the first billboard message goes up, an organization must
know what it is, what it does, and who its customers or clients are.
While this sounds basic, it is a step many organizations skip.
Hines offers the example of a non-profit that had changed the way
it did its work. In a full day of meetings with the agency’s staff,
clients, management, and members of its board, she discovered that
the change had never been communicated. "We were finding a
about what they were doing," she says. "There was a disconnect
between what people inside and outside thought the agency did. Even
board members did not know about the shift in philosophy."
value the organization brings, that value has to be stated in concise
words or phrases that describe the work in a clear way. Remember all
the noise; only the sharpest missiles will penetrate it.
When the message reflects the essence of the organization, and it
is stated clearly, employees and customers can spread the word.
any one medium is especially effective now, Hines says the medium
— radio, Internet, billboard, direct mail, newspaper — does
not matter as much as the fact that it is never a good idea to use
just one. In the recent past, some companies thought that putting
up a website meant their marketing effort was complete. Not at all,
says Hines. It is always necessary to use more than one advertising
kicks in. A direct mail campaign can be used to feed customers to
a website. An E-mail campaign can have a website addresses embedded
about finding more clients, but Hines says there are situations where
the most important use of marketing may be to keep existing clients.
"If you take out a full page ad in a trade magazine," she
says, "it establishes your company as solid." Seeing the ad,
customers may well feel reassured about their choice. Keeping these
existing customers can be far easier — and less expensive —
than going after new customers.
brochures, fliers, and newsletters had to be printed in large
especially if they were four-color pieces. Now, with digital printing,
it is easy and cost effective to get 100 items run off at a time.
contract or help a non-profit pull in donations. It’s the clarity
of the message that counts. "Saying the same thing over and over
doesn’t help if it’s the wrong thing," says Hines.
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