Mini marketing interview – Brian Zimmerman

My mini marketing interviews feature various Marketers with different areas of expertise. So even if today’s interview isn’t relevant to you, the next one might be.

 

This week’s mini marketing interview features Brian Zimmerman with Cre843. I have had the pleasure of working with Brian for the last several years, he does great work and truly designs “cool” things. Enjoy!

 

1. Can you give me a very brief bio about yourself and your company?

I am the lead Pixel Pusher (Designer) and President of Cre843 (Creative + 843 area code), a small creative design firm that thrives around our motto: “We design cool things!” . From brand development, book covers and websites, to vinyl graphics, advertising and packaging, we do it all. To keep our overhead low, we all work from home, and we are proud of it! When a client hires us, they are paying for our top-notch design and creativity, not our fancy office. With the help of technology, we have perfected the art of “working remotely”.

Southern raised, Yankee educated… I grew up in Charleston, but went up to Connecticut College, where I graduated with a degree in Fine Art/Graphic Design. After college, I returned to Charleston and worked as a designer for a few agencies around town. After a few years of design slave labor, I felt I could push myself further on my own. So with the help of my business partner, Cary Siegler, and his wife Beth, we formed Cre843 in 2006. My philosophy is very much, work hard, play hard! In my spare time, I like to stay as active as possible, sailing, wakeboarding, kiteboarding, snowboarding, boating, traveling and having as much fun as possible, which is key to staying creative.

2. What is your marketing expertise?

I have primarily a print design and typography background, but have been honing my web design eye since we started Cre843. I also dabble in some copywriting here and there, and I like to stay well connected through social media. Cary, my business partner, is a designer as well. He typically oversees all of our web development and maintenance, as well as the vinyl production side of our business. Its a nice balance and helps break up the work load between the two of us. I have also designed thousands of book covers for Amazon.com, which is a great change of pace from the corporate work we do at Cre843.

3. Regarding your expertise, if you had to choose one tip to share, what would it be?

If you think hiring a professional is expensive, hire an amateur. One of the biggest mistakes companies make is thinking of branding and design as an expense rather than the value it will add to their company over the long haul. It usually costs more money to go back and try it again. Our philosophy is do it right the first time. We tell you what we’re doing, where your money is going, what’s going to happen, and what we really think. Developing a brand is tough, but it should be an evolution, and fun!

4. What do you think the future of direct marketing is?

Print is definitely not dead, I think it is just going in a different direction. There is a lot of things to be said about a printed piece. It carries more emotion, if done right, than say a web banner ad, or an online newsletter, but it has to be leveraged properly. Your logo and website are paramount when developing a successful brand, but those do little good if no one knows about them. Print and direct marketing is a great way to reinforce your brand’s position, as well as consistently stay in front of your customers. After all, how many emails are either ignored, never opened or even reach the inbox as they get filtered into junk or spam folders. Yes printed mail is almost always more expensive than digital methods, but this additional cost could see a greater return on investment. Bottom line, consumers like something tangible. On the other hand, social media has become king at reaching customers who are already interested in your brand. It is pretty amazing that you can instantly reach thousands of people with a brand message, and it provides some unique feedback possibilities on what you are doing right, and wrong. I believe in the future is here, we must leverage both the tactile and virtual sides of direct marketing to create a successful brand.

5. If you use direct mail, what is working for you right now?

We haven’t done a lot of direct mail recently other than some newsletters and magazines; however, the client handled the mailing side of those jobs. Typically we focus on the design and development side of the project, rather than the marketing strategy and distribution of a printed mail piece. We like to focus on what we are good at, designing cool things!

You can contact Brian below:

Brian Zimmerman

President/Designer: Cre843

 

Be on the lookout for the next interview!

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