Minneapolis Archives - d.trio marketing group

Want to improve your marketing copy? Try these tips.

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What’s the secret to writing great marketing copy? Depends on whom you ask. Some writers will give you a list of specific “power words” to use—as well as avoid. They’ll tell you how many times you should repeat the same idea in a single paragraph, or how to draw readers in by starting with a question (see above). But really, you don’t need to worry about all that. Finicky marketing science aside, writing good copy isn’t something to agonize and analyze over. It comes down to the same basic elements that make any writing good—whether it’s an article, a letter, a tweet, or a note on a windshield. (It’s all marketing copy anyway, isn’t it?) You’ve got to communicate clearly, have something interesting to say, and make a personal connection with your reader. Along those lines, here are some not-so-secret tips to keep in mind:

Know your audience. You wouldn’t talk to a group of bikers at Sturgis the way you would a room full of retired librarians. Same goes for your writing. Make sure your message is appropriate to the audience. Consider the context.

Keep it simple—and concise. Get to the point. Get in, get out, tell your reader what she needs to know, and don’t go on and on about it. Please don’t overcomplicate the message with superfluous information. Just give the reader the minimum amount of information she needs. She’ll thank you for it—by reading your words instead of skipping past them.

Know thy message. You can’t communicate well if you don’t know what you’re communicating. What’s the point you’re trying to make? If that point isn’t crystal clear, your writing will be all over the place. Good marketing copy requires a clear message. Always.

Be likeable. Marketing copy, like all writing, is all about connecting with your reader. You’ve got to say something that makes somebody care—and respond. How do you do that? The same way you connect with anyone. You talk about things that interest them. You charm their pants off. Say something clever, witty, funny. Approach your writing the way you approach your friendships and it will be a whole lot better.

Find the sweet spot. There are two camps. One says you should focus your message on benefits to the reader. Prove what’s in it for them and why they should give a hoot. The other side says you should just talk about who you are and what you have to offer. Don’t tell the reader what to think. Let her discover for herself that place where her needs and your offerings meet. Either approach comes down to the same thing—be relevant. Provide something of value. Find the sweet spot between who you are and what your reader needs and build your case on it.

Less is more. The less you try to say, the greater its impact. Marketing copy is not a Hefty bag. It’s not about how much you can cram into it without it breaking. Actually, the opposite is true. The fewer the messages you put into your copy, the greater the impact of each one. Otherwise, you’re watering it down. If you really want to make your copy memorable, give it a singular message.

It’s a one-sided conversation. The problem with a lot of writing is that it’s sooooo stinking dull. If people would just write the way they spoke, we’d all be a whole lot better off. So take a deep breath, ditch the formalities, and act like you’re sitting next to somebody and talking to them. Because really, when you come right down to it, you are.

Humble Minnesota?

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The great city of Minneapolis has received a great deal of kudos recently from various semi-useless, semi-pride-inducing rankings. Being a non-native Minnesotan, I’ve taken it upon myself to celebrate all the props my new home has received. Here are a few examples:


We’re in Shape

For the third year in a row, Minneapolis ranks the fittest city by the American College of Sports Medicine. Important factors in the ranking consist of preventative health behaviors, residents’ access to healthcare, rate of chronic diseases, and “community resources and policies that support physical activity.” 90 percent of Minneapolis folks have health insurance and 77 percent reported that they’ve exercised in the last month. Flex those muscles, Minneapolis!



We’re Snobby

Travel and Leisure magazine just ranked Minneapolis the fourth snobbiest city in the nation. What does that mean, you ask? It means that cities were ranked on several criteria including level of tech-savviness, number of artisanal coffeehouses, reporting eco-consciousness, prevalence of cultural offerings, intelligence of residents, and other factors of snobtudery. Put those pinkies in the air, Minneapolitans, you’ve earned it!



We Love Our Parks

Beating out San Francisco, Minneapolis has become the home of the best city park system in the nation. Why does that matter? Because inner peace comes from natural balance. Also, it means you can get your ultimate Frisbee on in more places.  The Trust for Public Land looked at how many residents can reach a park quickly by foot, median park size, the percentage of total city area dedicated to parks, per capita spending, and the number of playgrounds available per 10,000 city residents. Now, you have no reason not to get outside on a beautiful day.



Three cheers for Minneapolis!


-Jordan Bainer is a senior account executive at d.trio marketing group

From Fresh to Outrageous

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Our word for the month of May is Outrageous and I have to say, we’re all pretty excited about this word and have some fun ideas lined up to represent it. Last month our word was Fresh as we were thinking April…Spring…Fresh…right? However, April brought more snow than showers but with a few adjustments, freshness prevailed. As we now transition from Fresh to Outrageous the recent show at the Minnesota Art Institute comes immediately to mind. Art In Bloom is a yearly event which just recently celebrated it’s 30th year at the institute. At Art In Bloom, local artists and florists re-create the essence of artistic masterpieces using flowers in a most Outrageous way. If you’ve not been, you’re missing out on some serious artistic inspiration, not to mention amazing scents.

For some photos of this years winners, check out the Art Institute page:


-Maureen Dyvig is one of the founding partners of d.trio marketing group

What’s Make a Campaign Fresh?

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We’ve all heard the adage “there are no new ideas; there are only new ways of making them felt.”  Whether it’s true or not, we all face the daily challenge of finding unique and compelling ways of getting our message, and our clients’ message, noticed.

What makes an idea or advertising campaign fresh? What distinct elements are essential to create a unique and effective campaign? Below are a few questions that we ask ourselves as a group when thinking about campaigns:

  1. Does the customer easily connect the campaign to the brand? Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.  If the campaign or marketing effort seems to be disjointed from the brand personality, it could cause some major confusion among prospective customers. RedBull’s Stratos is an excellent example of a brand relevant campaign: sponsorship of a high-flying event by a brand that gives you wings.
  2. Can competitors say the same thing? Connecting back to item #1, is the campaign distinct enough from competitors?  Even if competitors have similar product attributes and benefits, you have to find a way to illustrate a unique brand promise.
  3. Does the core campaign idea approach a problem or need in a unique way? It’s very easy and simple to rattle off product attributes in communications. The challenge is illustrating a solution without overtly mentioning it. Google’s Chrome campaign from 2012 illustrates the product benefits through emotional stories. As a viewer, you’re noticing the browser’s benefits without being told to.
  4. Does the customer need to make a leap to understand the core product benefits? If yes, then you may have lost whatever power you tried to wield with a flashy message. Sure, the customer has taken notice, but there won’t a clear understanding of what you’re actually selling.
  5. Does the campaign have stopping power? On the flipside, great campaigns stop people in their tracks and make them give a second thought. Clear and easily understood messages need to also be rooted in creativity.

Please remember that even if a campaign fits these criteria, there is always the chance that a campaign can royally miss the mark, ehem…Burger King.






Campaigns I Loved 2012

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Thinking back to 2012, I really loved the following ad campaigns for being smart, insightful, and fun to experience. What campaigns did you love from last year?


Red Bull: Stratos

What they did: Red Bull sponsored a mission to push the boundaries of human potential by breaking the record for the highest freefall jump in history.

Why it was great: Perfect brand connection. Red Bull stands for making things happen and taking risks. There is no bigger risk than dropping 128,100 ft and falling 800+ miles per hour. Plus, “it gives you wings” is a relevant brand message when someone jumps from the edge of space.



Proctor and Gamble: Proud Sponsor of Moms

What they did: Proctor and Gamble created a mom-centric campaign during the 2012 Summer Olympics, aligning their family of brands around appreciation for moms everywhere.

Why it was great: It’s P&Gs motto to make emotional connections to their consumers. What better way to pull at the heartstrings than to talk about the value of mothers?



Samsung: Next Best Thing

What they did: Samsung developed a campaign insisting consumers don’t need to wait for the next Apple product; the next best thing is already here with their Galaxy SIII.

Why it was great: It’s easy to be defensive against the market leader, but Samsung took the high (and funny) road by showing that people don’t need an Apple iPhone to be happy/hip. Plus, the ads showed iPhone users as “lemming-like” individuals, exactly what Apple used to do back in the 80’s when talking about their market rival, IBM.


Intern Series II: Starting an internship at d.trio marketing group

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Starting a new internship is like opening a present on Christmas. You are ready for something new, nervous that you might not like it or it doesn’t fit, you don’t know if batteries are included, and you are excited for the opportunity to learn new things.

Beginning my internship with d.trio marketing group I felt like I was opening a Christmas present. This is all totally new to me. Although I have had two internships before, I have never had one with a marketing agency. I have always wanted to get this experience and going into my first day I felt a mixture of excitement and nervousness.

So far I could not be happier with this opportunity. Everyone that works here has been so welcoming and helpful with all of the trillion questions that I have. I have been interning for d.trio for two weeks so far and I am already sitting in on client meetings, meeting with everyone in the officeand learning about their position in the company and learning about the company as a whole.  And, I totally got the best gift during our White Elephant gift exchange (a used bowling pin).

I am really looking forward to a few different things in this internship. I want to learn how an agency works. How are clients found, how are projects distributed, who are our clients and what kind of projects are we working on, and how does a small agency with large clients compete with other agencies? Next, I want to see what kind of skills are needed to succeed in the agency environment and what skills do I already have and what things I can learn from everyone at d.trio?  Finally, I want to be able to work on a team on an actual client project.

I know that everyone is expecting big things from me and I am very motivated to exceed their expectations. I am looking forward to this experience and opportunity!

Marketing Intern
d.trio marketing group

Social Media Saved Me From the Back to School Madness

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It used to be a simple list: #2 pencils, Crayola markers and a pencil box. Now, the list continues, with more and more supplies that schools used to purchase. Dry erase markers, Kleenex, and anti biotic wipes? As a parent, I’m afraid to look at school supply receipts; did you know the average spend for school supplies with K-12 students is now $688? Yikes.

Last year I made a promise to never again wait until the last minute to shop for back to school supplies. The 2011 nightmare started with one naïve mother of a 1st grader who had a crazy idea that school shopping would be fun. The story ended with frustration…plus, a blue “Friday Folder” instead of black one and off-brand markers instead of the requested 12-pack of Crayolas.

Fast forward to early summer, 2012. Social media saved me from back to school insanity. The discount stores and my friends started posting on Facebook that school supplies already hit the store shelves. Not wanting to be the last minute shopper this year, I decided it would be a great task for my husband and kids to do together! He came home sweating, surprised by the cost…and all of the supplies crossed off the list.

Back to school online purchases this year included a backpack and a pair of running pants. I’m not alone — a whopping 39.6% of back to school purchases are made online now, up dramatically from 10.9% in 2003.

I have a few online lessons for next year though. The backpack purchase was last minute – it had to be a one-strap backpack with neon colors. The outrageous shipping almost doubled the price. As for the running pants, I thought they came with a jacket. Oops. Online purchases are not without a few hiccups, right?

Did I buy enough new clothes for my child? Are 12 glue sticks going to last him the year? Will he think his backpack is still “cool” in April? And speaking of cool, will he be warm enough without a matching jacket to his running pants?

School has started, and my son made it through his first day. The back to school madness is over and, thanks to social media, was much less painful this year. Hello, holiday season. I trust social media will also let me know when I should start my present shopping!

P.S. Do you know of a school or teacher that could use $100 worth of art supplies? d.trio loves to support the arts, including budding artists. We are giving $100 in art supplies this month! Tell us about a worthy school or teacher on our Facebook page, facebook.com/dtrio or use hashtag #dtriolovesart on Twitter this month, and they could win $100 in supplies!


Intern Series Finale: What College Doesn’t Teach You

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Note: Today is Laura’s last day at d.trio. She’s done a great job and we’ll all miss her. Good luck in school, Laura!

by: Laura Gorder, marketing intern

Walking into my internship on the first day, I knew I had a lot to learn, but never did I expect to learn so much in only eight weeks.

This summer, I have been exposed to a number of things that our college professors and curriculum tend to leave out. Things they don’t write about in textbooks. Things I’d likely only discover by being a part of the industry. Things I didn’t know that I was missing. I learned plenty about myself, about the industry, and about being a part of an account services team.

About Myself…
I’m far from an expert in anything. I have come to understand that I have a lot to learn. Being an intern exposed me to a variety of professionals, many of which are experts and incredibly knowledgeable in their industry due to their years of dedication and experience. As a soon-to-be college graduate, I have realized that in order to be successful, I must never stop learning.

Using my eyes & ears. I have also learned the importance of listening and observing at this stage in my career. d.trio marketing group has been wonderful about including me in their meetings – from brainstorming sessions, to giving creative direction, to presenting final work to clients. I have watched ideas grow into campaigns, criticism strengthen design, and executives sell their work and the rationale behind it. By observing these activities, I have a much better understanding of what works, what doesn’t and how to manage people in order to reach a final goal.

Tight Knit. This internship has reinforced my preference for small dynamic environments. Eleven professionals make up d.trio marketing group, providing an environment that’s open to collaboration and teamwork. Because of the agency’s size, I was able to be a part of projects throughout their entire lifecycle – a great fit for someone who likes to have control and stay involved from start to finish.

About the Industry…
It’s not all glamorous. That’s because until I was behind-the-scenes, I didn’t realize the amount of critical thinking, management, and re-do’s that creative work requires. I have learned that the marketing industry relies on trustworthy relationships not only with clients, but also with vendors. There is a magnitude of other businesses that work collaboratively, from commercial printers to specialized agencies, and play an important part in producing awesome work.

It’s not all the same. There are many types of agencies out there – marketing, advertising, design, digital, small, large, specialized, full-service. It’s all actually very different. My time at d.trio marketing group has helped me understand these differences and prepared me for interviews and opportunities with other agencies in the future.

About Account Services …
The art of communication. Whoa, I had never realized how important the role of communication is for an account executive. Nearly every person associated with a project takes direction from the agency’s executive, and if that direction isn’t clear, the project has potential of turning into a muddy mess. A good account executive is able to read between the lines of a client’s communication – verbal or non – and then pass it along to right-brain dominant creatives and so forth. Being able to master this task is something I know will take practice.

Constructive compliments. d.trio marketing group does an awesome job at giving compliments. I have learned that as a member of an account team, pointing out the positives in a situation builds morale and boosts collaboration. Giving credit when credit is due has proven to be a secret to successful teamwork.

My eight-week journey at d.trio marketing group has been very significant in my pursuit for a career in marketing. I couldn’t possibly share everything that I have learned, but look forward to fueling the path ahead with the knowledge I gained this summer.

Huge thank you to d.trio marketing group for a successful summer internship experience – I owe ya! 😉

It’s Art Month!

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We’ve declared it Art Month here at d.trio. A time to make some, see some, be some art. We’ll be featuring some guest bloggers during this month as well as exploring the creative side of some of our team. Like Jordan said, “I forget how interesting we all are.” We think it’s time to remember how we all exercise our creativity outside of our everyday jobs of putting creativity to work for marketing purposes.

So, during July, look for a guest post from one of our writers who is also a wonderful wildlife photographer, thoughts from one of our AE’s who is into improv, musings from local art fairs and maybe even updates on a sculpture in progress in the back hallway. We also invite you to check out our newest Pinterest board called 30 Days of Design where we’ll be featuring inspiring or beautiful or interesting design that may be better labeled as art as well as exploring creativity in general.

Do you have a creative pursuit that keeps you energized or up at night or fulfilled? Let us know on Facebook or in the comments here. We’d love to see your work!

Marketing to Affluents: Know their Communities

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by Jordan Bainer

The book Our Patchwork Nation: The Surprising Truth About the “Real” America has piqued my interest regarding how to better define consumer targets across the United States. Media tends to define states and even entire country regions by either red or blue, alluding to the different political party designations.

As with many elements of sociology, the answers are not black and white but very different shades of grey. Red and blue do not address the many idiosyncrasies that make up U.S. citizen behavior and viewpoints across the nation. Using 12 different archetypes, the authors of Patchwork Nation explain these various community types and match them up to counties across the nation using demographic, economic, and sociological factors. Though still rudimentary (as 12 community types only widens the explanation so far), it’s a compelling method of analyzing our nation.

While reading Patchwork Nation, it made me think that these community definitions would have a huge impact on how we market to certain demographic groups – in this case, affluent individuals. Assuming that an affluent consumer is going to have the same motivations and concerns across the nation would be a very black and white approach. Using Patchwork Nation’s 12 community types, below is a summary of a few key affluent motivations and concerns for each community. Though we don’t have any specific market research backing up these hypotheses, conducting a similar exercise may be a good starting point when considering communicating to “affluents” across the nation.


Community Type Definition Potential Affluent
Potential Affluent Concern(s)
Boom Towns Fast growing communities with rapidly diversifying populations Building a Stable Community Housing Equity Slumps
Campus and Careers Cities and towns with young, educated populations Supporting the Nearby Higher Education Institutions; Increased Private and Public Investment Into Local Institutions Major Shifts in Enrollment; Drops in Community Investment
Emptying Nests Home to many retirees and aging baby boomer populations Enjoying Life’s Simple Pleasures Dips in 401(k)’s, Long-term Investments, and Retirement Funds
Evangelical Epicenters Communities with a high proportion of evangelical Christians Supporting One’s Specific Congregation; Maintaining “Family Values” in Community and Larger Nation Larger Social Changes that Affect Community; Maintaining Community Voice in National Politics
Immigration Nation Communities with large Latino populations and lower-than-average incomes Supporting Programs and Employment that Creates Cultural Balance Stability of Community; Property Value Slumps; Immigration Reform
Industrial Metropolis Densely populated, highly diverse urban centers Keeping (and Improving) One’s Standard of Living; Supporting Poverty and Education Programs Loss of Major Industrial Industries; Property Value Slumps; Education Reform
Military Bastions Areas with high employment in the military or related to the presence of the military and large veteran populations Supporting and Keeping the Nearby Military Communities and Bases Major Changes in Military Deployment; Relocation of Nearby Military Population
Minority Central Home to large pockets of African American residents but a below average percentage of Hispanics and Asians Supporting Programs that Create Greater Employment Equality Stability of Community; Property Value Slumps; Education Reform
Monied ‘Burbs Wealthier, highly-educated communities with a median household income $15,000 above the national county average Keeping (and Improving) One’s Standard of Living Stock Market Dips
Mormon Outposts Home to a large share of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Supporting the Greater Mormon Community; Giving Financial Support to the Church Larger Social Changes that Affect Community; Balancing Individual Success with Success of the Community
Service Worker Centers Midsize and small towns with economies fueled by hotels, stores, and restaurants Attracting More Tourist Attention and Diversifying the Population Small Business Closings
Tractor Country Mostly rural and remote
smaller towns with older populations and large agricultural sectors
Maintaining a Strong, Self-Reliant Community Increasing Global Competition in Agriculture


These summaries of affluent motivations and barriers are made on assumptions and are a bit oversimplified. Also, these summaries tend to be focused on community matters versus individual matters. Overall, the main point of the above grid is to illustrate that consumer segments can’t be easily blanketed across the nation. The communities that consumers live in will have a large impact on the decisions they make. I recommend reading Patchwork Nation; it might make you rethink your nationwide communication strategies and encourage further geo-market research before any major marketing push.

Sources: http://www.patchworknation.org/

Our Patchwork Nation: The Surprising Truth About the “Real” America; Dante Chinni and James Gimpel; Published by Gotham Books; Copyright 2010