Is Your Marketing Plan Ready?

August 25th, 2011

Now’s the time to relook at your marketing plan and get ready for the fall rush.  We are now past the midway point of the year and the busy season fast approaching.

So, how are your sales? Is your marketing working?  Is your material (Print, Promotional and Electronic) cohesive, fresh and reflects who you are or is it a combination of leftovers from campaigns from over the last 3 years?

If you need a new look or you just need some help revamping your marketing plan give Big Bark a call. We can help steer you in the right direction.  We can help with target and niche marketing, help create a new look and image for your agency, help with flyers, postcards, direct mail pieces and much more.

We can help you with:

  • Printing
  • Promotional products
  • Mailings
  • Pick n packs/Distributions
  • CD’s/DVD’s

And now that Big bark Graphics has dedicated itself to serving the Travel Industry by offering everything in 25’s there is no reason for you not to try something new.  You can test a campaign in small quantities before launching!

That’s right all you have to buy is 25…..

We  can offer small quantity pricing for:

  • Calendars
  • Ticket jackets – 1 pocket – 2 pocket and the new large cruise
  • Synthetic ( Plastic ) Baggage tags
  • Christmas cards
  • Golf Sleeves
  • Gift certificates
  • Corporate Folders
  • Welcome home or Thank you cards

Everything you need in Full color personalized with your brand and available in 25’s.

Call and let Big Bark Graphics help you with the new season.



August 25th, 2011

The Speed of Dog

August 25th, 2011

Five Best Music Streaming Services

August 25th, 2011

The internet has revolutionized nearly every form of media, and music is no exception. This month we look at the five most popular music streaming services to see how people are getting their music fix.

Grooveshark (Web-based, Free)

When you’re ready to listen to some tunes online, Grooveshark allows you to jump right in. Unlike many services that require a subscription to use, Grooveshark lets you search for music and build a playlist as soon as the site loads. If you want to save the playlist, however, and access other session enhancing features like flagging songs to enable the music suggestion service, you’ll need an account. Aside from manually building a playlist, you can also listen to Grooveshark Radio, their suggestion engine.

Spotify (Windows/Mac/Mobile/Web-based; Basic: Free/Premium: €9.99 month)

First the bad news about Spotify: as of this writing, 02/28/2010, Spotify isn’t available in the U.S. due to various legal issues and licensing requirements. The good news is that Spotify is an incredible music service, and we’re always hearing whispers that it’ll soon be available stateside. You can collaborate on and easily share playlists using the service—as easily as you share a link to a YouTube video for comparison’s sake. A premium account adds more features, like commercial-free listening or the ability to listen to your playlists on your mobile phone. Premium service also enables offline mode for local storage of music, higher quality streaming, and travel access—so should you visit a country like the U.S., where Spotify isn’t available yet, you can still enjoy it.

Pandora (Web-based; Basic: Free/Premium: $36 per year)

Pandora is the easy-to-use front end for the massive database of attributes generated by the Music Genome Project. The Music Genome Project analyzes songs with up to 400 different attributes so when you tell Pandora “Play me something like the song Punkrocker by The Teddy Bears featuring Iggy Pop” it doesn’t just return a song that people who liked “Punkrocker” also liked—it returns a song that is also “genetically” related to your suggestion. Pandora may not have the most bells and whistles of the music sharing services rounded up today, but the power of the Music Genome Project and ease with which you can create and rate personalized streaming radio stations has won Pandora many fans. Upgrading from free to premium service allows you to stream more than 40 hours a month, gives you access to a dedicated desktop client, and increases the quality of your audio stream. (Web-based/iPhone, Basic: Free/Premium: $3 per month) is another service that not only streams music but generates suggestions for new music based on what you like. In addition to building playlists and enjoying tunes on the web, you can “scrobble” your own music collection to—which basically means you let track the songs you’re listening to and add them to your profile, allowing you to both listen to them and use them to increase the scope of’s suggestion engine for better personalized picks. In addition to listening to streaming radio and building personalized stations, also allows direct music download—when authorized by the copyright holder—so you can expand your personal collection as you listen.

Lala (Web-based, Free with per-song fees)

Lala’s claim to fame is the ease with which you can listen to both your own music over the web and purchase new music inexpensively. Lala has a database of 8 million songs that you can listen to once for free, purchase for online play for $0.10, or buy as a DRM-free MP3 for $0.79. If you have a song in your personal collection—on your computer at home—you can add it to the Lala database to allow unlimited play without paying a fee. Lala doesn’t sport a hefty music recommendation engine like some of the other contenders in the Hive Five—although we didn’t find the one they have lacking—but instead focuses more strongly on connections between people to drive music suggestion. As a result Lala supports easy rating and playlist sharing with friends to encourage organic music discovery.

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Is Your Dogma Marketing Up the Wrong Tree?

August 25th, 2011

It is true. There are some dogmalogists that would have you believe that the customer doesn’t care about the paperwork they carry or how they carry it and what it says about them. But surveys say that the typical traveller does care about what they carry. For instance the majority of Canadians want to be known as a Canadian when travelling overseas. So let’s check. Do you have the Canadian flag anywhere on the documentation that your clients will carry and expose to other people during their journey?

Such a small thing. The good old maple leaf. Have that on your clients bag tag or ticket jackets and you never know… in some instances, going to the extreme, it might even save their life. Even having a supply of Canadian flag pins to hand out would go a long way to building that customer relationship.

Quality documentation is part of the Dazzlin’ Service program. It just has to be in place. Your customer will appreciate it and the cost to dazzle your clients is pennies apart from that bland old thing you keep printing.

Paw looking marketing pieces say more about you and your agency than anything else. The customer would interpret a junky looking flyer as just that junk mail and would probably not read past the first line. You reputation is building and the word is spreading. Good looking marketing is referenced by most buyers as ‘they know what they’re doing…” A solid marketing piece that clearly states it’s claim and actually says something will gain traction and the customer will pass it along to their friends.

So without a second bark, go now to your next marketing or promotional project and check it out as to whether or not “this” will cause the recipient to say “WOW! I gotta go!” and not, “Sheesh! What are trying to say here…?”

Our monthly marketing tip is provided by speaker and author Steve Crowhurst.  Big Bark is the publisher for Steve’s great book for the Travel Industry “273 “No Fluff-No Theory” Marketing Ideas for Travel Agents” you can buy Steve’s book here.  To visit Steve’s website for information on Webinars and events click here.

Being Green Means Including Your Graphic Designer

August 25th, 2011

A great new trend is starting to emerge. Lately, I have had graphic designers come to me “before” they design their next projects. I like that. If you want to print an environmental brochure, or you have any other printing job you want to do in an environmentally sound manner, you need to plan it correctly.

Here are the questions you, your designer and Big Bark need to go over:

1. The size of the brochure
You want to eliminate paper waste. Most paper comes in increments of 8.5 x 11 or 9 x 12. Designing a brochure to be 7 x 10 may look good, but you will be wasting 1.5 x 1 inches of paper for each 8.5 x 11 sheet needed for your brochure. Figure in bleed. Printers need 1/8″ bleed on all 4 sides. If the bleed size is now 8.75 x 11.25, you are still OK. If the bleed size is 9.25 x 12.25, you have exceeded the multiples of 9 x 12.

In the first example, a printer can take paper from a standard mill size 25 x 38 inches. In the second example, there will be a lot of waste paper. There is no slightly larger size paper than 25 x 38.

2. Inks to use
Metallic and florescent inks are not environmental. Try to design your brochure using standard pantone colors, and not metallic’s. The designer should request soy or vegetable based inks. If the job is digital, the designer should request 100% non toxic toner.

3. Type of paper (brand)
Hopefully, your designer is up to date on the environmental papers. Ask your designer if they know the definition of recycled paper, the definition of chlorine free paper, and what is post-consumer waste, etc. If the designer is not up on these terms, please have that person call me.

The biggest problem I see in environmental printing is lack of knowledge in paper. Some people think an FSC certified paper is terrific. It might not be. FSC primarily is protecting the forests, which is good. But, you also want to protect the streams and waterways leading away from the paper mills. FSC paper that is also 100% Processed Chlorine Free, will avoid having Dioxins being dumped in those precious waterways. Dioxin is an extremely toxic chemical that can cause cancer to fish, wildlife and eventually us.

FSC paper that is also 100% post-consumer waste recycled (100% PCW), will eliminate the printed waste from going to our overcrowded landfills and incinerator plants.

4. Foils and Engraving
Foil and Engraving can make your job look great, but are harmful to the environment. If you need to use a foil, try to keep the size(s) to a minimum. Sometimes, a blind emboss (where there is no foil), instead of a foil emboss, is just as effective, and does not present an environmental issue.

If you have any further questions about today’s tip, please email me at

2012 Wall Calendars

August 25th, 2011