BERLIN — What separates Amy Wood’s from the other artists in the Chamber of Commerce gallery is that there is nothing on her gallery walls for sale. Wood’s specialty is creating business centered art including web and logo design so for her, art is a service rather than a product.
Wood owns and operates MidFin, a marketing and design company that specializes in helping other firms develop and brand both themselves and their products. From her perspective these aren’t separate services, so much so that she talks about what she does as web, graphic and marketing integration.
The integration aspect is key, because piecemeal Internet marketing that is more targeted at having a web presence rather than using a web presence is one of the primary reasons many small business owners have trouble getting the most out of the medium.
As people start to abandon Facebook for less cluttered social media playgrounds, the businesses who treat it as their only Internet presence might be starting to sweat a little. The difficulty with social networking platforms is they are subject to the whims of a world wide community that each day has access to literally billions of other ways to engage online.
The rise and fall of Facebook as a marketing tool, for example, highlights the need for a company to have their own presence and promote that rather than rely on the still evolving social media platforms and trends.
Moreover, social media platforms are only as good as a person’s maintenance of them in relation to their target market will allow. They are the cyber equivalent of one of those very popular “open” flags rather than a cohesive marketing scheme.
Wood strongly believes that while a social media presence is an important aspect of a Web presence, having a company Website is as critical as having a phone number listed in the Yellow Pages was in the last century. What goes with that, of course, is making sure a company has a domain name that is both easy to remember and to type. Numbers, “dots” and hyphens can sometimes act as a bar to easy recollection.
Having a site that you can easily maintain or at least that promotes your company’s products and provides an address and phone number in a conspicuous place, are the kinds of things people expect. As people get more Web savvy, it will be as critical to have a professional Website as it would to have a sign on the front of your business that wasn’t done in marker on cardboard.
Because she works with such a variety of small businesses, Wood has come to understand that each company’s needs are different so trying to fit them into a prefab template is both counterproductive and against the point of MidFin’s arc.
Rather than prepackage anything, Wood prefers to meet with each client and discuss where they want to go. When a client comes to her, then, she doesn’t present packages and costs but rather discusses the businesses marketing and design budget and works within that, building longer term relationships in the process.
Sometimes a company might want a complete redesign but Wood finds that there is often some salvageable aspects of a company’s marketing strategy that can still be used. A logo, for instance, might need to be tweaked rather than overhauled or, depending on the budget she’s to work within, the job can be broken into stages of primary and secondary concerns so clients get the most needed work done first.