Account-Based Marketing is a smart idea, m*therforkers.

This presidential election cycle has many people thinking the world portrayed in Mike Judge’s Idiocracy is upon us. In that 2006 film, an average solider awakens 500 years in the future to find an incredibly dumbed-down society.

“I’m no prophet,” Judge recently told a writer for Time magazine. “I was off by 490 years.”

Billboards for the MTV Movie Awards that resort to coarse language were cited in the article as one example of Judge’s vision of the future coming true.

It is with great relief then that we note results-oriented B2B marketers are smarter than ever. Increasingly, those with complex propositions, long sales cycles and large customers are gravitating towards Account-Based Marketing (ABM).

Also known as Key Account Marketing, ABM is a strategic approach that aligns sales and marketing teams around the accounts they value the most. Their focus is on helping the client achieve their business goals instead of waiting for them to ask for help with a project.

When done well, its practitioners see larger deal sizes, faster deal cycles, and better ‘win’ rates because they’re reaching out to more senior executives in a way that resonates with them rather than starting with as many leads as possible.

The Dialog Marketing we practice at VLG fits in well with this approach. We get the attention of highly valued targets by sending them an unexpected physical object and an intriguing handwritten note, then drive them online to a themed website designed to glean valuable insights.

ABM’s efficient use of resources makes our proven formula even more effective because it allows higher-quality mail pieces to be employed.

Is your ABM missing something?

Something missing in your marketing

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September Campaign of the Month: Avere Your Quest Begins



Obviously, we’re proud of all of our work, but every once in a while a campaign comes along with the perfect symmetry of creative vision, client enthusiasm, and stellar performance. We call these Knockout Campaigns because they KO the competition in any fight against boredom.

This month, that honor goes to Avere for their campaign, Your Quest Begins.

Why We Love It:

Dragons, and wizards, and goblins…oh my! What’s not to love in this storage hybrid fantasy creation? Drawing on the gaming enthusiasm of its target audience, our team created a campaign that’s way too fun for work.

Check it out for yourself.

Avere Banner

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We’re Hiring: Programs Coordinator



You don’t just think outside the box, you doubt the box’s actual existence.

You’re a creative problem solver with an eye for detail. This is no job for a pencil pusher. You are a people person who’s never met a Gantt chart  you didn’t like , and are comfortable working with both the creative and account management teams to keep multiple projects on schedule and on budget.

If this sounds like you, we could use you at VLG!

We’re looking for a Programs Coordinator to join our growing agency and become an integral part of our delivery  team. The ideal candidate will be able to:


  • Create all project timelines using Project Management software
  • Develop and manage project forecasts
  • Manage queue of creative resources and their associated project tasks
  • Partner with account management to manage project plans and deliverables timelines
  • Facilitate weekly team meetings with account management
  • Facilitate daily creative team status meetings with Executive Creative Director
  • Coordinate QA testing
  • Schedule brainstorm sessions for each new campaign
  • Purchase domains for campaigns (as needed)
  • Create JumpSpark (online repository) review links
  • Send out launch email announcements to VLG
  • Manage internal VLG projects/enhancements
  • Assist with the continued development and evolution of internal processes
  • Generate company and project metrics reports
  • Coordinate Customer Satisfaction Surveys with Executive Creative Director
  • Assist in the training of new employees on the delivery process
  • Create and manage third party email accounts for appointment setting team
  • Work with account and sales teams to ensure needed resources are available for custom/adhoc projects
  • Edit presentation decks prior to client review meetings


  • 2–3 years of project management/coordination experience
  • Basic knowledge of various programming platforms, including HTML 5, Flash, PHP, and SQL
  • Experience with quality assurance testing of web projects
  • Ability to manage multiple projects and timelines across various stages of development
  • Working knowledge of Basecamp, MS-Excel, and MS-PowerPoint

Interested? Send your resume to Don Abell, Executive Creative Director.

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It’s National S’Mores Day

You're killing me smalls

Today is National S’mores Day. No seriously, there is such a thing. So if there’s a run on ‘mallows and Hershey bars at your local grocery store, you’ll know why. As yummy as we find ooey, gooey s’mores, we’re also partial to cake and events that help satisfy a sweet tooth – s’mores, cake or otherwise.

Check out how we helped our client, SilkRoad, make event invitations, booth attendance, and post-show follow-up a piece of cake.

Sweet Event

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17 Podcasts to turn your morning commute into a Marketing Masterclass

Smartphone and earbuds

The average commute is 25 minutes, with some of you putting in as much as 2 hours per day.  You can use that time to just chill or put it to good use with these 17 podcasts covering topics from social media to traditional marketing. Did we leave off one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments.

Social Media Marketing Happy Hour

This Old Marketing

Copyblogger FM

DuctTape Marketing Podcast

Seth Godin’s Startup School

Growth Byte


Marketing Over Coffee

Ask Gary Vee

Harvard Business Review IdeaCast

Marketing Nerds


Six Pixels of Separation

The Accidental Creative

The Marketing Companion

Content Inc.

Online Marketing Made Easy

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The Important Lesson Marketers Should Take From Pokémon GO.

Pokemon Go

Niantic Labs released Pokémon GO to the general public on July 6th. In short order, it surpassed Snapchat and Twitter to become the most used mobile phone application (boasting an estimated 26 million users a day as of this writing).

Developers, designers and marketers have been busy studying the app to glean the secrets of its success. The formula seems like a no-brainer: Take a piece of intellectual property with strong nostalgic appeal to Millennials and marry it to augmented reality.

But there is a bigger lesson to be learned.

What’s propelling Pokémon GO’s roaring popularity is how easy it is to use. The app is available for free on both iOS and Google Play. The only barrier of entry is ownership of a mobile device, which nowadays is as common as owning a pair of shoes.

If your next campaign uses the Internet or direct mail, ease of use will help it gain traction. Make sure your websites and online ads are compatible with different browsers/mobile devices, and your direct mail is easy to open and respond to.

If you are in the business of helping clients with their marketing, do everything you possibly can to make their lives easier. They are more likely to return if they see you as a true partner.

The account service team at VLG recently applied this principle to a virtual reality project our firm completed for Novo Nordisk.

While our excellent creative team was developing an engaging virtual experience for use at trade shows, we set out to solve the puzzle of how to present its physical components.

We began by sourcing powerful mobile devices and selecting high-quality virtual reality headsets that would ensure the best possible experience. After branding the headsets with the experience name, we placed the items with their accessories into one convenient package.

This makes the experience easier to set up and break down at tradeshows, which gives Novo Nordisk more time for networking.

The takeaway: In a busy world, ease of use frequently determines whether people will give you their time, loyalty and money.

Check out the virtual reality campaign for yourself.

Virtual Reality Banner

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What do Boredom-Fighters Collect?


collections collage

A recent FastcoDesign Article that took a look at what designers collect got us thinking. When creativity is your job, what do the objects you surround yourself with tell your teammates and the world about you and your creative process? As I looked around the office at the hodge-podge of collectibles, from full-on figurines to ad hoc accumulations, I began to see a pattern emerge. So, if you ever wondered what focuses the minds and energies of your favorite boredom-fighters, read on.

First, what’s a boredom-fighter? So glad you asked. On the surface, it’s pretty self-explanatory. We try in everything we do to break through the ho-hum, vanilla, clutter of traditional marketing. But, it goes a little deeper than that. Not only are we churning out creative campaigns, we’re doing it fast. Like 8 weeks fast. When your mind has to move at lightning speed to help solve a creative problem, sometimes you need a little help. From traditional creative roles to account services to business development, at VLG, we’re all creative problem solvers, and here’s a look at what inspires us when the need arises.


Star Wars Figures

“I’ve been known to channel The Force,” says Creative Director, Angela Shori. “Every once in a while, there’s a creative problem that requires a different perspective, so setting up a battle, or just reorganizing these Lego figures can reset my brain.”


Large Rubber band ball

When business development rep Matthew Kuss needs to unwind, he does so by adding to his very real rubber band ball. Twelve years in the making, it’s quite the curiosity. If you’re making a road trip our way, stop by and see it. Matt won’t mind.


Rifle Company notebooks

If you attend as many meetings as Principal Taylor Johnson does, it helps to find a little inspiration in your everyday tools. Her notebooks from Rifle Paper company keep her organized and inspired.


mail piece collage

As much as we all love our own individual collections, there’s nothing to inspire us like our wall of fame. Here we feature some of our favorite direct mail pieces of all time. Yes, we sent every one of these things to people in the mail. If you’d like to see how you can bring the boredom-fighting experience to your audience, request a direct mail piece through our website.

Do you have your own items of inspiration? Tag us on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #itemsofinspiration.

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Is a raven like a writing desk? Why metaphors work in marketing

The now world-famous riddle posed by Lewis Carroll in Alice in Wonderland may not have an answer. Why is a raven like a writing desk? The obscure puzzle might make for interesting conjecture, but it would do an extraordinarily poor job of getting a point across in limited real estate. Why do we rely on metaphor to tell a brand’s story in marketing? The short answer…because it works.

All metaphors are not created equal. There are, of course, some that are so ingrained in our culture that we recognize the main idea right away. The tricky part comes in creating a metaphor that relies on that shared knowledge for shorthand while still delivering something a little exciting…something with punch. Not all metaphors are verbal. Something can look like something else – a visual metaphor.

So, how then do you create a global campaign where cultures are diverse and metaphors are varied? There are a few universal themes that apply across cultures in literature, films, and yes, even marketing. Here are a few of our favorites:

Family – No matter what the shape or size, we all come from somewhere, and there’s no industry that hammers this one home like the soda industry. I’m not sure what fizzy, sugar-laden drinks have to do with family, but these pieces of marketing give us the warm fuzzies either way.  Or maybe that’s just the carbonated water.

Overcoming adversity – We all love a good underdog story, but more than that, we love one that ends in triumph. Maybe it’s because there’s a little bit of underdog in all of us. Sports apparel companies tap into this core feeling with regularity and leave us all feeling like we can do anything…if only we have the right underwear.

Sports – There are few things that can bring people from all walks of life together like sports. From football (soccer to us Yanks) to racing, we love to choose sides, wear the colors, and cheer our champions on to glory. We will all become part of a global cheerleading squad when the games open in Rio this summer, but we don’t stop at global competitions. We’ve seen fans take this Formula 1 campaign out for a spin all across the globe.



Global Formula 1 Campaign
Global Formula 1 Campaign

Case Study Banner

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5 Marketing Blogs you should be reading but probably aren’t

Computer and Tablet

As a marketing professional, you’re expected to stay on top of the latest trends in the industry. With the landscape changing by the minute and new platforms emerging, where’s a busy marketer to go to make sure she’s always in the know?  We hope this blog is on your weekly list, but here are a few others that will ensure your skills stay top-of-the line. This is by no means an exhaustive list as a google search will bring up countless marketing blogs. We wanted to focus on quantity over quality, so, here goes:

  1. Seth Godin’s Blog – Daily musings from marketing and cultural guru, Seth Godin. You’ll often find something relevant in these brief text posts, from book recommendations to exclusive courses and commentary on the state of the world in general.
  1. WebInkNow – Penned by David Meerman Scott who literally wrote the book on Marketing and PR – Published weekly, WebInkNow covers topics varying from social media and content marketing strategy to clever newsjacking and traditional marketing.
  1. DuctTape Marketing – I first came across John Jantsch’s blog about eight years ago and still find the practical advice for small business marketing invaluable.
  1. Grow – Mark Schaefer’s blog focusing on marketing, social media, and humanity combines topical cultural references with smart marketing strategy.
  1. Logic + Emotion – Although this blog doesn’t follow the Content Marketing Golden Rule of publish often, its focus remains on quality over quantity. Recent posts cover topics such as publishing, building a modern brand and even a design tutorial for a famously bad logo.

These barely scratch the surface of available resources out there but are a great start for your continuing education. Let us know about your favorite marketing blog in the comments, and learn more about the agency behind this blog, VLG, by watching Julie’s story.


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