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Where Content Marketing And Customer Service Meet

February 27, 2017

Content marketing.

It’s selling without hitting someone with a sales pitch.

I like the way Lukas Kircher defines it:BlankVertSpace.8pixels

A brand’s communication must be so interesting that the target group uses it voluntarily. Instead of interrupting what people are interested in, marketing must become what people are interested in. (my emphases) 

blank vertical space, 16 pixels highCustomer service.

Amazon is famous for being customer-obsessed. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos once said this:BlankVertSpace.8pixels

When things get complicated, we simplify by saying ‘what’s best for the customer?’ And then we take as an article of faith (that) if we do that, it’ll work out in the long term.

blank vertical space, 16 pixels highIt occurred to me recently that the two things intersect whenever I do a rough sketch.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Here’s one for a children’s theater company. They asked me to design a poster for their production of The Elves & The Shoemaker:blank vertical space, 32 pixels high

rough sketch theater poster elves shoemaker title displayed inside shoe soles family watching elves work from behind curtain

blank vertical space, 32 pixels highblank vertical space, 16 pixels highIt’s content marketing because I’m trying to sell an idea by making it interesting and attractive. (Instead of saying: This is what you need. Buy it.)BlankVertSpace.8pixels

It’s also a chance to demonstrate my expertise: to show I’m good at coming up with ideas, laying them out, and doing the actual drawing.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Here’s another sketch showing a different title placement. I was told the set of the play would include pictures of “famous shoes” hung on the walls of the shoemaker’s shop.blank vertical space, 32 pixels high
rough sketch theater poster elves shoemaker sewing making shoes cobbler wife cat mouse watching from behind swing-out shoe paintings on wall

blank vertical space, 32 pixels highblank vertical space, 16 pixels highHere’s where customer service starts coming into play: because a big part of customer service is making the customer aware of possibilities.BlankVertSpace.8pixels

I might walk into a hardware store with a vague idea of how to solve a problem. A salesperson could present me with several better options. That’s great pre-sale customer service. I’m trying to do the same thing with my sketches.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Here’s a completely different take: kids playing the part of the shoemaker and his family, the elves standing on a shelf with their shoe-making tools.blank vertical space, 32 pixels high
rough sketch elves shoemaker theater poster kids playing parts elves on shelf with cobbler tools spools of thread

blank vertical space, 32 pixels highblank vertical space, 16 pixels highMy client liked the “shoe pictures” design best, but he also liked the idea of putting “and the” on a thimble. I just incorporated the one into the other.BlankVertSpace.8pixels

We decided to use a computer font to make the title easier to read. We also put the name of the theater company at the bottom. Here’s the final:blank vertical space, 32 pixels high
elves shoemaker theater poster making shoes while cobbler wife cat mouse watch from behind pictures on wall high-button wicked witch winged hermes mercury ruby slippersblank vertical space, 16 pixels high

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Thoughts? I’d appreciate your feedback.

You might also enjoy my infographic about Amazon’s customer service and what makes it successful.

blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

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About Mark: I’m an illustrator specializing in humor, branding, social media, and content marketing. I create images that get content seen and shared.

You can view my portfolio, and connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Questions? Send me an email.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. February 28, 2017 4:57 AM

    Ah, they meet joyfully in the talented hands of master genius Sir Mark Armstrong!!! We are truly blessed! 🙏


    • March 13, 2017 8:54 AM

      Hey, you’re right! I’m holding out my hands, and they seem to glow!! I never realized my talent radiated out like that!! Oh, wait– I was just using some of that glitter bubble bath I bought at the Mt. Olympus Souvenir Shop– that might explain it… 😊🔨💥🚑

      Speaking of talented hands, you’d better me careful: don’t suddenly hold up yours, or the sheer brilliance could blind everyone within a radius of a thousand miles!! Thank you for your truly outrageous and outrageously kind comment, my dear Marina!!! 🍨🍨🍨🎩👒👽

      Liked by 1 person

  2. March 11, 2017 7:39 PM

    I liked the last becomes qualities of several original ideas.


  3. March 18, 2017 9:30 AM

    First Congrats to the Children’s Theater Company that had the foresight to create a new visual for its ads, and the brilliance to call you. Congrats to your works where the different ideas are collaboration rather than attack on your design. I’d love to work with you.

    And as outreach for your work (and not for the play) I have to tell you I am behind schedule this am but your art and posts drew me on and I read the whole story and am taking time to respond..It was that good, and so what if I only have time to brush half my teeth before my photo gig, I’ll keep the models up wind of that side of my mouth. Nice job


    • March 20, 2017 10:00 AM

      Alison! Thanks for one of the best, kindest, and funniest comments ever! It made me roar with laughter, and blush with delight– thank you, thank you, thank you!!

      Sorry to hold you up on your photo shoot, tho I’m mucho flattered to think the post had that kinda hold on your interest! The idea of your only having time to brush half your teeth, then being obliged to keep the other half upwind from others, was inspired, outrageous, and flat-out hysterical. What a wonderful comedy sketch that would make!! Great stuff, thanks again!! : )

      Liked by 1 person

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