Marketing Yourself—Little ways to make a big impact.

P_Marketing YourselfBy: Nikki Peroutka

When it comes to making a good impression, everything counts. From the second you walk in the door at an interview, to the way you respond back to a follow up email, you want to be your best self. These tips and tricks are little ways to market yourself and make a positive impact at your next job interview. Take notes!

  • Make sure there’s nothing embarrassing on your social media pages. One of the first things a potential employer is going to do is an internet search of your name. You might want to make sure that profile picture of you doing a beer bong in college is deleted. Permanently. Make sure your social media pages reflect the image you are trying to portray.
  • Think about what you can offer the company, not what the company can offer you. Really think about how your resume and cover letter are positioned. Concentrate on explaining what you bring to the table more than what you are looking for in a potential employer. Most employers seek a ‘givers’ not ‘takers.’
  • Provide exactly what the company is asking for. If a job posting requests you send a cover letter, salary requirements and references, make sure you comply with their requests. It proves you can follow directions (even if they are simple) and makes things easier for the person collecting the applications.
  • Do a little research on the company and get a feel for their culture. Reference the company’s culture when it makes sense in your communications, but don’t overdo it. Spending a little time getting to know the company shows initiative.
  • Every communication is being judged. From the way you format your resume and cover letter, to emails you send to set up interviews, PROOF, PROOF, PROOF and then PROOF again! The only thing you’ll land with a typo or poor organization of your resume is at the top of the ‘no’ pile.
  • A handwritten note goes a long way. The handwritten note is a lost art. At the very least, you should be sending an email thanking the interviewee for their time and consideration (but I’m still a fan of getting mail!).
  • Watch the use of emojis in your communication. Some may see this form of communication as too casual in the initial stages of getting to know each other. Leave the LOLs and smileys for friends and family.
Director of Account Services
Nikki Peroutka has handled account service duties at Element for more than a decade. She remembers pre-PDF days when every proof required a face-to-face client meeting, and the number of colors in an ad determined its price. This, of course, makes her feel like an old marketing-weary battle-ax. Yet, she brings a youthful, fresh perspective to overseeing all client relationships as well as managing her own accounts. When her daily Director of Account Services duties are done, she enjoys relaxing with a good magazine or book, chasing around her son Oakley, and doing DIY projects around the house.

We’re Hiring!

Now_HiringCalling all marketing enthusiasts, go-getters, self-starters & organizing aficionados: We are looking for a new team member who’s ready to jumpstart his or her career with a growing, fast-paced agency. We are searching for the perfect Account Assistant / Receptionist / Rockstar to keep the agency running in tip top shape. Do you love new challenges, rolling your sleeves up and getting your hands dirty? We want you. Is your motto in life “Where there’s a will, there’s a way?” We want you. Do you love ping-pong and having fun? You’ll want us.

Job Responsibilities Include:

  • Keeps up to speed with client activities
  • Provides as a back-up when Account Executives are unavailable
  • Researches and assembles information for account team
  • Preps for meetings
  • Assists with writing proposals
  • Greets visitors and is the ‘face’ of the agency
  • Answers the phone and routes calls appropriately

Job Requirements Include:

  • The ability to project manage, handle tight deadlines, and just get it done
  • A love for working in a fast-paced setting
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • The ability to multi-task
  • Exceptional time management skills
  • A proactive and positive work ethic
  • Common sense and good judgement
  • 4-year degree in business, marketing or communications

“Required Skills” Include:

  • Exceptional ping-pong technique
  • Enjoys eating Piggly Wiggly American subs
  • A passion for sticky notes
  • Can brew a mean pot of coffee
  • Fluently speaks Moose

If you have any (or none) of the “Required Skills” above, we would love to hear from you. Send your resume, cover letter and salary requirements to to apply. Learn more about us here.

Lights, Camera, ROI – Top 5 Facts You May Not Know About Movie Theater Advertising

With the summer movie season just around the corner, people will soon be filing into cinemas across America to catch this season’s blockbusters. Why should we care? Because captive audiences waiting for their movie to start could mean increased revenue for your business through in-theater advertising.

Theater advertising is often an overlooked form of advertising when marketers create their media plan, partly because it is unfamiliar territory.

So grab your popcorn and candy for this list of 5 facts you probably didn’t know about movie theater advertising.

1.     Campaigns with cinema as part of a blended media strategy, on average, increase average sales 80%, a rate 19% greater than campaigns without cinema in their media mix.

2.     Campaigns with cinema can also roll in more dough and, on average, achieved an ROI of $4.08, which is significantly greater than no-cinema campaigns at $2.50.


3.     When put to the test during a recent men’s deodorant campaign, cinema ROI results were 2.5 times stronger than TV and 4 times stronger than online advertising methods.


4.     In 2012, adults 25-34 saw the most movies at the cinema (7.5 movies on average.)


5.   In recent study, 76% of moviegoers had used their smartphone for a movie-related task in the past 12 months.








Why is cinema advertising effective?

Cinema-goers often feel an emotional and engaging connection to their cinema experience. This experience makes them more receptive to an advertiser’s message. These ads are also delivered to a captive audience who is free from other distractions that prevail in a day-to-day environment such as mobile devices and tablets.


Sources: BrandScience Study, April 2013, NRG Study 2012, Attendance, and 3D Nielsen Research 2012 Study

Account Executive

Google Recognizes Derek Blaszak as an AdWords Certified Professional

The Internet is a powerful tool to market and grow your business. However, combining your business objectives with an effective digital strategy can be a challenge if you don’t understand how popular search engines like Google work.

Derek's certificationAt Element, we are here to help. You may recognize him from his awesome hair, but we are pleased to announce Derek Blaszak has been recognized by Google as an AdWords certified professional.

So what does this mean and how can it help your business grow? Who better to ask than our very own digital marketing expert Derek:

Let’s start with the basics – what is Google AdWords?

Google AdWords is Google’s online advertising program that helps companies reach new customers and grow their business across the internet. The program allows businesses to choose where their ad appears and measure the impact for the ad placement.

 Why is AdWords an important component to a digital marketing strategy?

Paid search engine advertising has a low-cost of entry and results can be seen instantly, which makes it a great marketing tool for any type of business. Plus it’s trackable, so you can easily calculate a return on investment or new customer acquisition rate, while easily making adjustments when the market changes.

How do you get certified?

An AdWords certificiation allows you to demonstrate that Google recognizes you as an online advertising professional. To achieve this certification, I passed the AdWords Fundamentals exam and the Search Advertising and Display Advertising exams.

How long have you been with Element and tell us about your role as Director of Digital Marketing?

 I started at Element in November 2008. As the Director of Digital Marketing, I am responsible for the successful strategy and development of digital marketing initiatives that include: website usability, search and online advertising campaigns, social media, search engine optimization, online brand management, and email marketing programs. I combine business objectives with effective digital strategies to deliver a holistic marketing approach that enhances traditional and nontraditional marketing efforts.

Beside his Google AdWords Certification, Derek is also a Certified Account Manager and Agency Financial Manager. It is also his goal to become certified at being certified.

Director of Digital Marketing

Element Public Relations – We’ve Got News To Share!


We are excited to announce the expansion of our public relations service offerings with the recent hiring of Tara Brzozowski as Director of Public Relations.

Tara brings 12 years of public relations experience specializing in the areas of strategy, planning, publicity, media relations, special events, and content marketing. You may know Tara from her previous role as marketing and public relations director for the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center.TaraBrzozowski

Never one to miss a chance to grill a new employee, we put Tara in the hot seat for some Q&A:

What is public relations?
Public relations is both the art and science of building and maintaining relationships between a business or organization and its publics. We define publics as groups of people that have a stakeholder interest in the organization.

What is a common misconception about the public relations industry?
Most people think of public relations as just publicity, which are the stories you read in the paper, online or see on the evening news. While publicity is certainly an aspect of public relations, the practice involves other business functions including reputation management, internal communications, community relations, and crisis management.

What are the trends in public relations for 2015?
Public relations professionals today need to be well-trained in traditional media and digital media. Integrated public relations campaigns should consider four media types: paid, earned, shared, and owned. Today’s public relations pros need to know and understand SEO principles and how Google ranks and displays content.

What are business communication trends for 2015?
I think we will continue to see the lines between marketing and public relations blur. Content marketing is a great example of this combination. When done well, content marketing can be a powerful relationship builder between a company and its customers. You have the ability to showcase your company’s personality, build trust, and develop engagement through the use of creative content.

If you were not working in public relations, what would you do?
If I had any musical talent at all, I would be a performer on Broadway. I enjoy the performing arts tremendously, but unfortunately I do not have a musical bone in my body. I’m happy to sit it the seats and leave it to the pros!

Next time you visit Element be sure to say hello to Tara!

Element Attends Second Wind Financial Management Certification Program

Last month, Digital Marketing Director Derek Blaszak and Business Development Specialist Brad Schwei attended a financial management seminar in Chicago, hosted by Second Wind, an organization focused on providing expert resources to small and mid-size agencies all over the United States. Element has been a dedicated member of Second Wind for 11 years, utilizing the opportunities provided for higher education and unique agency insight.

As an agency constantly enhancing its’ practices, we looked forward to the opportunity to gather with fellow Second Wind agencies and learn about the latest trends in the industry. In particular, the conference focused on streamlining workflow, maintaining effective production meetings, and providing accurate estimating. These key points and more were taken from the conference and are to be implemented into Element’s process in order to be the best partner for our clients.

Outside of the conference, Derek and Brad had a chance to spend some time exploring. The two visited a few rooftop bars and indulged in some Chicago cuisine. Derek captured a couple photos of the beautiful “Windy City”, which are pictured below.

Second Wind Seminar in Chicago

Second Wind Seminar in Chicago 3
Second Wind Seminar in Chicago 2

now hiring: senior art director

Element is looking for a Senior Art Director that can design, supervise, and art direct for both print and web. Five to seven years of agency experience is a must!

If you’re looking for an agency setting with a wide variety of concepting and design challenges, this is your chance to prove you have what it takes. You know who you are. Now we’d like to meet you.

Check out our website ( to get a feel for our work.

If you know your stuff, let us see it! Electronic work samples (PDF or web) are REQUIRED. Resumes sent without links to samples will not be considered. No phone calls please.

View the full listing here

Element Welcomes New Team Member with Drag Race

Cracking UpWhen new Designer, Mike Thornton, rolled up to Element on a Harley, long-time motorcycle enthusiasts, Aldis Strazdins, Creative Director, and Mike Tessmer, Art Director, saw an opportunity for a friendly “Welcome to Element” competition.

Not all can look as cool as Mike, Mike, and Aldis, cruising the streets on a hog; the matching Kia Souls in the Element parking lot are a testament to that. However, the drag race was meant for all—not just seasoned motorcyclists. Every employee was welcome to participate in the race, provided they find their own vehicle.

So there they were, waiting impatiently behind the starting line: the three motorcycled amigos, Derek in a land-converted duck-bodied pedal boat, Brad on a silver Razr scooter, Ann and Lori saddled up on a Hover-Round they borrowed from Ann’s grandmother, and Chad, on a pair of the so-called “fastest in the Midwest” rollerblades. The rest of the group’s vehicles ranged from a pogo stick to a simple cape. The group appeared like a carnival of rejected modes of transportation. Despite the gum-and-paperclip cast, excitement filled the air as racers readied themselves to take off.

Sue counted down and waved the green flag. Wheels screeched; the smell of burnt rubber scented the air as smoke hovered above the once populated starting line.

The heat was on.

The three motorcycles left everyone in the dust, as Eric Severstad, copywriter, stood on the sidelines, waving supportive, grammatically correct signage in the air.

While Mike, Mike, and Aldis were tied for first place, the results were in for second: Brad won propelling his Razr scooter past the finish line; a bittersweet victory he says, now walking with a limp from extensive strength training to his right leg.

The two Mikes and Aldis enjoyed the race so much that they are planning to bring “the gang” onto the open road, providing marketing services on wheels across the nation. The “Hexterminators” will declare “death to boring marketing,” Aldis states. “We’re going to get custom leather jackets for everyone, with our club colors—PMS 300 and PMS 220.”


Enriching the Community, One Sub at a Time

Director of Account Services, Nikki Peroutka, is making more room in her life to do the things she loves.

Employees at local grocer, Piggly Wiggly, noticed Nikki frequenting the store an increasing number of times per week. Each visit always included an All-American sub from the deli. Co-workers also noticed Nikki’s curious habit.

“We all knew something was up. She would leave around the same time every day and when she came back, she would close the door to her office, put up a “Do Not Disturb” sign, and not emerge for at least an hour,” said designer Lori Schwartz. Nikki didn’t want to hide anymore and decided it was time to find an outlet for her love of the Piggly Wiggly All-American sub.

Six months ago, Piggly Wiggly developed an after-work program for adults, an idea that sparked when one man shared his battle with the Pig’s potato salad. The “Love Food, Love Life“ program is a resource for all people struggling with an insatiable need for Piggly Wiggly’s food. Program director, Jane Milton states, “We provide part-time hours for those who wish to be surrounded by the Pig product of their choice. Nikki is the perfect candidate. We are here to be a pillar of support while providing her with the additional income that supports her near unsustainable need for the All-American sub.”

Of course, Nikki chose to work her hours behind the deli counter. A very tired worker, who couldn’t keep up with the high demand for the All-American sub, was relieved when Nikki arrived to work his shift. “I pulled a muscle in my arm from slicing all the cold cuts.” When asked why Nikki chose to work behind the deli counter, she responded proudly, “Do something with what you love to eat, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

Nikki is beyond excited to have taken a position in the deli and has already come up with a few ways to amp up her favorite sandwich. One recipe uses three tablespoons of butter, cubed and neatly arranged into a smiley face on top of the salami layer.

“I’ll be saving a lot of money by working in the deli part-time, but that’s not why I’m doing this. I’m doing this to be near what I love. Some people do yoga, some paint … for me, it’s thinly slicing some quality meat and layering it precisely with cheese, fresh vegetables, and tangy mayo.” Nikki hopes to spread the love, and the mayo, through the entire community. She believes that others will find joy in her delicious sandwiches and the reminder to follow your dreams.

Today’s Best Practices in SEO

Best SEO PracticesSEO is an integral component of a website’s performance. If a site is not optimized with keywords that reflect it’s content and doesn’t have backlinks from respected sites, it won’t show up when someone searches for it. Well, it might show up on page 3, 4, or 17, but let’s be honest—no one goes past the first page.

 Gaining traffic and awareness come only when a plan is carefully crafted; it must involve keyword research and networking structured around the site’s unique goals. Every site will have its own SEO strategy that works to complete the desired goals. SEO used to be all about keywords. It still is, to a point, but it has grown to be so much more. It is entwined with content marketing, web design, and marketing. Here are some of the need-to-know best practices in SEO:

  • Owning Long Tail Queries 

    Long Tail Queries are super-specific phrases that searchers use. For example, the long tail search for “black wool jackets under $100” will bring a searcher more relevant results to what they’re looking for versus searching key words “black jackets”. The best part about optimizing for long tail queries is while they may have less traffic is that it also means less competition. Not to mention you’ll be gaining traffic from a group of solid potential customers and not someone who meant “black track jackets”.
  • Writing How You Speak 
    Since Google’s “Hummingbird” update, it’s become increasingly important to write exactly as you would speak, using “conversational speech” in optimization efforts. An SEO specialist is versed in how to write for the web and knows that Google favors natural-flowing speech over mechanical, stiff phrasing.
  • Quality Over Quantity 
    Using good keywords over and over again isn’t going to help your rankings; neither are links to your site from other low-ranking sites. In fact, these tactics will hurt them. Today’s SEO focuses on the context of web pages. The best practice is to use keywords only where they fit, discuss niche and related products if applicable, and have original, useful content that is valuable to users. Fluff need not apply.
  • Full Service Integration
    Good SEO is not freestanding; it needs support. This support comes from marketing pieces that are directly related to your content, for example: an info graphic that is easily shareable on social networks, optimized with keywords, and distributed to the right areas. Achieving good SEO involves a comprehensive digital marketing plan that connects each component with actionable data. Each marketing effort is only a slice of the pie that makes up the whole.


In order to be successful, these tips should always be a part of your SEO plan. No matter what your site’s goals are, knowing strategies like these will help you on your journey to Google’s first page!