[our 200th post!!] Marketing Lessons From Feeding Birds

December 12th, 2012

5 years illo

A few years back, we moved to a home in White Bear Township, Minnesota. Peering out the picture windows that lined our kitchen, I noticed a line with a hook hanging from the oak tree out back, and guessed that the previous owners must have had bird feeders. So, with visions of colorful songbirds flocking to our yard, I purchased a feeder, filled it and hung it out on the hook.

And waited. Three long weeks. Until finally, a chickadee stopped by for a snack. I was beside myself with joy!

But onslaught of birds, it was not. It took quite a while for other birds to discover my humble feeder. Eventually, they came. I added specialty feeders, a variety of seed types, and a water bath. My yard flourished with activity.

Until a raccoon came. This big son-of-a-gun was so bold, it’d just sit under my feeders, chomping down the seed, and wouldn’t flinch when I stood on the deck and waved my arms at it. At night, it attacked my feeders, ripping them apart to get at the seed. I had no choice but to let all of my feeders sit empty until he went away.

When I finally deemed it safe to fill my feeders again, my birds were gone. Until finally, a single chickadee stopped by. . .

I got to thinking about the experience and realized that I’d learned some lessons from feeding birds that apply to marketing, too. For example: 

Have Patience. Even though I had the right location, feeder and seed, it took time for birds to come. But I stuck it out, and you should, too—it takes time to build a business! Have a marketing plan in place when you launch and give it time to work—the customers will come. Make changes to your marketing, products, or services once you’re able to understand customers’ purchasing habits and are able to get feedback.

Market to Your Target Audiences. Providing specialized seed mixes in specialized feeders allowed me to attract specific varieties of birds to my yard. Understanding your target audiences and marketing to them directly through your product selection and branding will help you to attract the customers you want (and even discourage customers who aren’t a good fit for what you have to offer).

Be Consistent. I was most successful at attracting birds when I provided a consistent source of seed. Letting my feeders sit empty, even for a short time, resulted in a loss of visitors. It reminded me of the importance of supplying a consistent marketing message. Imagine the raccoon represents a hurdle in your marketing efforts (i.e. becoming too busy, feeling overconfident in your presence in the marketplace, or quitting your marketing efforts due to expense). No matter the hurdle, stopping your marketing efforts results in a loss of customers (existing or new).

If you have questions about your marketing efforts, feel free to give us a call (612-226-5717) or check out our blog for some great resources. And if you have questions about feeding birds, by all means visit the folks at All Seasons Wild Bird Store. They’ll get you set up!

Holiday Marketing Ideas: Part 2

November 28th, 2012


Holiday MarketingHoliday Marketing Idea #8: Calendars are a popular holiday freebie. Why not branch out? There are tons of original promotional products out there that would be useful to your audiences and consistent with your brand. Get a budget in mind and call a promotional products expert—they’ll usually give you a handful of great ideas catered to you! My go-to gal is Freddie at www.LogoJoePromotions.com

Holiday Marketing Idea #9: How about mailing out a gift guide, highlighting a few products and who they’d be perfect for? We just did one for client All Seasons Wild Bird Store: http://www.themixcreative.com/blog/2012/11/12/recent-work-holiday-ideas/.  Don’t forget to promote your gift guide on Facebook and Twitter!

Holiday Marketing Idea #10: Encourage customers to treat themselves while they’re shopping. Why? Studies show that once shoppers get past the first spending hurdle, they’re more likely to keep spending. Offer a gift or coupon with purchase.

Miss our first list? Here’s the link to ideas 1-7!


November 13th, 2012

When I attended my first White Bear Lake Downtown Business Association meeting, I jumped at the chance to refresh the image of their current “Girls [sic] Night Out”. I’d received their emails in the past, and—being the branding snob that I am—knew that the emails weren’t doing a good job of appealing to their target audiences or communicating what the event was about. So I—gulp—volunteered to give the program a refresh.

As I wrote about earlier, stereotypes and cliches abound in Girls’ Night Out (note correct use of possessive apostrophe) marketing. As far as I could tell, marketers and their designers everywhere took the theme a little too literally—with all of the flowers, Barbie-like images and pink thrown up everywhere, you’d think they were marketing to 4-12 year olds. I made a conscious effort to class it up and de-pinkify the identity. Read the rest of this entry »

RECENT WORK: Holiday Ideas

November 12th, 2012


All Seasons Wild Bird Store customers will receive a holiday gift guide for bird lovers this week. The eight-page direct mail booklet highlights gift ideas for all kinds of bird and nature enthusiasts, from seed and feeders to decorative gifts and nature books. Included on the back are two coupons—one for a free 2lb. bag of Cardinal Mix, and another for savings in-store.

Mix Creative wrote, photographed and designed the holiday guide with an eye towards spotlighting winter birding. “My favorite gift idea in the book is to sneak out on Christmas morning and fill your friend or family member’s bird feeders,” art director Katrina Hase mentioned. “Knowing how cold it can get when you go out to fill  feeders, I think that would be nice to wake up to!”

All Seasons Wild Bird Store Holiday Gift GuideGift guides are a great way for customers to visualize your products in a new way and generate enthusiasm for shopping your store over the holidays. Besides Christmas, you might consider preparing a gift guide for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s or Father’s Day, or even the typical wedding months of June and July.

Holiday Marketing Ideas: Part 1

November 9th, 2012

Holiday MarketingThe holidays are upon us, and if you’re a small retailer you know how important it is to capture the interest and the dollars of consumers this time of year. In case you’ve procrastinated your marketing plan, here are some tips—compiled from our Facebook page.

Holiday Marketing Idea #1: Create and photograph gift basket ideas using your products and post on Facebook and Pinterest

Holiday Marketing Idea #2: Encourage repeat visits by handing out a coupon for their next visit.

Read the rest of this entry »

Brand Message Presentation

October 25th, 2012

Thank you to all who attended the Small Business Leadership Conference today at Rasmussen College School of Business. I was honored to be able to present our talk on honing your brand message. In case you missed it, or just want to revisit some of the elements that make a brand, here’s a link to download a pdf of our Powerpoint Presentation.

Best wishes, and please keep in touch!


Katrina Hase
Owner and Creative Director of Mix Creative

Will the real women please step up?

October 7th, 2012

From a Google search of “Girls’ Night Out”, here’s how marketers are attempting to reach the lucrative women’s market:

In contrast, what women themselves are posting on Pinterest. This is a snapshot from the “Popular” tab:

Notice any discrepancies? I sure do! 

• Women, in fact, don’t post images of things drenched in pink

• Women show a depth of interest in things they like. Sure, fashion is there, but so are inspirational quotes, ideas for Henna Tattoos, solutions for organizing, home projects, art projects, vintage finds, recipes, piercing ideas, upcycle ideas, rock posters and more.

Women show a depth of interests, with a focus on practicality

• Women, at least those posting on Pinterest, favor clean, classic fonts with lots of white space over whimsical, curly fonts

Classic fonts appear with frequency on Pinterest

• Women posting on Pinterest appreciate carefully crafted art and photography.


• As far as humor goes, sarcastic seems to get the most posts.

Sarcastic and snarky humor runs large on Pinterest

So what’s this mean? When marketing an event directly to women, we need to consider the real audience we’re marketing to, and not the stereotype we’re so accustomed to seeing, if we want to reach and appeal to this diverse and sophisticated diverse audience.

Mix to Present at Effective Marketing—The Next Step

September 11th, 2012

Mix Creative’s Katrina Hase will present her talk, “Recipe for a Marketing Plan That Works” at the upcoming workshop, Effective Marketing—The Next Step. Here are the details:

Date: Friday October 12, 2012

Time: 8:00 am – 2:15 pm;
Workshop Networking & Check In start at 7:30 am

Location: Business Center Anoka Ramsey Community College 11200 Mississippi Blvd NW Coon Rapids

Cost: $50.00*
includes lunch $10.00 Discount for Anoka Area Chamber of Commerce Members 

Registration: Register online at http://101212ppmnMktg.eventbrite.com

4 Marketing Experts in this Hands-On Workshop:

  • “Ignite Your Site” Christy Huisenga, Phoenix Website Design
  • “Recipe for A Marketing Plan That Works” Katrina Hase, Mix Creative
  • “Customize Your Social Media Content” Nick Rosener, Tech Nick Consulting
  • “More Profits, Not Just More Sales” Barb Zuleger, Performance Partners MN

Improve your marketing results with. .

 Top 10 must haves to set your website on fire

 Increase PROFITS not just Sales

 Take stock of your brand with a simple checklist

 Get access to exclusive marketing calendar worksheet

 Understand the culture of the top 5 social networks and how they can work for your business

 Hands on marketing information relevant today and ready to use

PLUS time after lunch to work with the experts on YOUR Marketing

2012 American Graphic Design Awards

September 10th, 2012

We’re pleased to announce that Mix Creative has been selected to receive three Graphic Design USA 2012 American Graphic Design Awards, including:

Sash Logo and Corporate BrandingSash branding award-winning design by Mix Creative

Forget Me Not in Stillwater Logo and Corporate Branding
Forget Me Not in Stillwater award-winning logo and corporate branding by Mix Creative

Williams Company Store Website Design and Production
Williams Company Store award-winning website design by Mix CreativeThe winning entries were selected from more than 8,000 entries. Only a select 15% of all entries are recognized with an award.

We happily share these honors with our clients, including Carol Stabenow (Sash), Nancy Haugen (Forget Me Not in Stillwater) and Pamela Williams (Williams Company Store). Each have absolutely unique and lovely stores that inspire creativity!

Special thanks also to Steven Ray, Mix Creative’s web developer, for his great work in bringing the Williams Company Store website to life!



Social Media Education Series

August 8th, 2012


Each year we’ve been in business, Mix Creative has worked to expand our services to better serve our clients. This year, we would like to add in more learning opportunities for our clients to empower them to effectively and confidently use the tools we’ve helped set in place. As part of this initiative, Mix Creative is partnering with social media experts, tena.cious, to offer a four-class series about how to make the most of your social media sites. This is a great opportunity for our clients who’ve taken the first step in getting a blog and branded Facebook and/or Twitter page to learn the tools to make their online efforts successful!

October 16: Facebook
How and what to post to build “Likes”

October 23: Pinterest
Learn to use Pinterest for Business

November 6: Twitter and Blogging
What, How and When to Write

November 13: Social Media Marketing
Build a Social Media Strategy and Plan

Attend all four 2-hour courses for $350, or just come to the ones you want for $105 each.
Classes will be held from 1 to 3pm at 370 Selby Ave, Suite #301, St. Paul
Registration is limited to 10 people.

Please call Katrina at 612-226-5717 or email us to register.