Reach for the STARS

You have something wonderful to offer the world through your business. Your skills in the building industry are not a small matter! As we get to know you as our clients, we see unique characteristics that your customers can greatly benefit from. It is truly our desire at RT Marketing to let those qualities shine brightly through your advertising. When we look at your company, we see your heart and passion. It is our passion to share what sets you apart from your competitors. There is nothing more rewarding to us than your success, and that is exactly what our recent STARS Award represents.

The North Carolina Home Builders Association presented 50 prestigious awards during the annual STARS Awards Gala on September 10, 2014 at 21st Century Building Expo and Conference. The STARS Awards program honors the achievements of builders, associates, realtors, media and advertising professionals, and many others from the Southeast region who make major contributions to the residential home building industry. We are proud to announce our 2014 STARS Award for Best Internet Marketing, Advertising or Branding Project for an Associate.

The project we submitted was a campaign for a company whose target market goal was an older community that would bring high-end clients. We developed a contest with a multifaceted approach to reach into this community. By teaming up with two well-established business in the target area we used social media, email marketing, website, and printed media to attract the locals by offering a hefty prize. As a result, our client’s company developed brand recognition in their desired market, received 10 unique referrals, increased social media traffic by 38%, and added 28 homeowners to their monthly eNewsletter!

The STARS Awards are one way we can reaffirm that our efforts are on track when it comes to platforms, current trends, timelessness, and effective strategies for industry related marketing. We are so excited about this award, not necessarily for our sake, but that we were able to assist our client in reaching his goals toward success.

How are your marketing efforts working? We WANT you to be profitable! Whether you need guidance with your entire marketing budget or just one aspect like print or web advertising, we are here for YOU. We understand your dreams and we want to be an extension ladder to get you to the goal. Get in contact with us today and let’s make your next project STARS Award worthy.

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Happy Anniversary Robb!

This month we are highlighting one of our longest employed team members–Robb Bolick. Robb has been with RT for eight years in a few different capacities.  His latest role is Project Manager. As we are expanding into a new market of providing annual marketing services, Robb will draw from his experience to direct our team in the wide array of new services these contracts will bring.

This is a year of milestones for Robb and his family. He and his wife, Karen, recently celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary. Karen received her elementary school teaching degree with honors, and is now teaching 4th grade. His son, Jarod, has reached driving age and will soon be sitting behind the wheel driving Robb around!  Robb’s daughter, Krista, is officially 13 going on 30.

Although Robb enjoys the Hickory area, he enjoys having sand between his toes and soaking up the sun more. He is our resident Beach Bum. Whenever we discuss food for staff meetings, Robb suggests pizza or donuts. “I haven’t had a donut yet I don’t like!” he’ll say.

Robb is an integral member of our team and his background adds a unique perspective to what our team as a whole is able to offer. We thank Robb for his number of years of service and his genuine concern for providing the best to our clients.

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Reflecting on Success While Looking to the Future

At the last NCHBA Board meeting it was exciting to hear Executive Vice President, Mike Carpenter, announce, “The 21st Century Building Conference & Expo is back!” The show definitely was vibrant and the exhibit hall was full! The courses were well attended, and the attendees we spoke with felt they were getting the education they needed to build their businesses. We at RT Marketing feel a certain pride in the success of the show, because NCHBA asked us to develop the design for the theme that became the face of the show this year. We also had the privilege of producing the show’s web presence and printed materials.

It was wonderful to see everyone who visited our booth. There’s nothing like renewing acquaintances face to face. It’s exciting to discuss and strategize about helping your businesses grow in an emerging market. A highlight was the number of you who stopped by because a course instructor recommended it. Experts do recognize the practical difference that quality and industry-focused marketing can make for contractors who are serious about developing their businesses. Thank you, Erik Anderson and Steve Monroe, for the vote of confidence.

Marketing, though an essential part of your business, may not be your primary interest, and/or strength. Your training and expertise is strongest in the construction aspects of your business. The marketing knowledge you need to keep the business going is gained by guess or by gosh, or by burning the midnight oil. We at RT Marketing have developed a solution for that. It’s simple: outsource your marketing. In the same way that you get an accountant to do your taxes because you can’t (or don’t want to) keep up with all the complexities of tax law—let an industry-leader like us handle your company marketing.

Take advantage of our industry focus and 25 years of experience and expertise. Leave it to us to keep up with the nuances of the changing landscape of Social Media and to understand what Google’s been doing with SEO. We study your demographics and determine the best approach to your target market. Be confident because we know the language and complexities of your business–we have been concentrating on businesses just like yours for a very long time. You can trust that we know how to approach homeowners and potential home buyers. We’ve already seen what’s working, and what isn’t.

Your business will have a better chance to prosper if you’re not wasting unnecessary time and money making marketing mistakes again, and again, and again! Contracting with RT Marketing won’t cost a dime more than what you should be spending on marketing anyway. We will just be spending the resources more wisely.

We spoke to a number of you about this concept at the show. Whether we spoke to you or not—as you prepare your business plans for next year, let us be a part of your planning process. This may be one of the smartest things you do for success in 2015!

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How RT Marketing Is Like a Design/Build Company

During my twenty years as a writer for RT Marketing, I’ve spent many hours researching and writing articles for our clients on the subject of “Why Choose a Design/Build Company?” In the process, I’ve discovered that our full-service marketing company has a lot in common with Design/Build companies. And these things that we have in common can offer distinct advantages to our clients.

Several years ago, Linda Case wrote a book entitled “Design/build for remodelers, custom builders, and architects.” From her book, I’d like to parlay the following six advantages of Design/Build to help answer the question “Why Choose RT Marketing?”

1. Cost-effective
Since 1989, RT Marketing has specialized entirely in the building industry. We’ve gained the expertise to conceive and produce every facet of your annual marketing campaign within a realistic, specified budget.

2. Professional
We don’t need to spend a lot of time getting to know the industry before we can offer true professional advice. Our acumen helps streamline the process, saving you money. We know which marketing efforts are suitable and function well within the building industry, and we know how to obtain competitive prices.

3. One-Stop Shop
Our team can manage every aspect of your annual marketing campaign from start to finish. We listen carefully to your requests from the outset, then return with suggestions, and ultimately present you with a cohesive plan for the entire year.

4. One Point of Accountability
Our team becomes your one accountable expert who will keep your marketing efforts free of different interpretations as it moves from the design to the production phase. We’ll make sure that your branding is always consistent, making a much stronger statement about who you are as a company.

5. Time Savings
With RT Marketing handling all aspects of your annual marketing campaign, more can be accomplished within a shorter period of time. We have the synergy of our team working together on your campaign, sharing ideas and resources.

6. Strong Working Relationship
We establish a working relationship with you from the outset. We spend time learning what is important to you before we make any suggestions. Your comfort level increases as the year goes by and you’re getting to know each member of our team.

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Celebrating 25 Years with a Look Into Our History

In the mid-1980s the printing industry was revolutionized by the introduction of the Apple Macintosh personal computer and Aldus PageMaker software. These systems allowed the output of digital pages as film on high-resolution imagesetters, and they also offered the means of making color separations on the desktop.

At that very time RT Marketing inc.’s founder, Dr. Robert Kraay, arrived at Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, NC, as an associate professor teaching courses in journalism, public relations, communication and photography. Robert purchased a Macintosh personal computer and taught himself to use it. He quickly brought LRU’s journalism students up-to-speed as he introduced them to desktop publishing.

The possibilities for desktop publishing were very exciting! In 1989, Robert decided to start his own desktop publishing company, setting up shop in his living room. One of his very first products was developed together with his friend, Jim Edwards, a remodeler who wanted to print and mail newsletters to his modest list of clients, but could not afford the per piece price.

Robert designed a template for a four-page, two-color, customizable newsletter called Remodeling Tips that could be mailed out by multiple non-competing contractors across the country, thereby reaching the quantities that would reduce the per piece price. He also wrote general interest articles that would appear in each subscriber’s version of the newsletter, while all the subscribers would supply a custom article that would appear only in their individual versions.

Robert and Jim marketed their innovative idea in their booth at the Remodeling Show and the International Builders Show (IBS). Some of the very first remodelers who caught the vision of how Remodeling Tips could benefit their company are still happy and successful clients of RT Marketing inc. One of those clients, Mark Stephenson of HUB Design/Build, began using Remodeling Tips in 1997, and today is the new Sales Manager for RT Marketing!

In the mid-1990s, as the internet again revolutionized the business world, Robert was once more at the forefront of technology. His company—at that time known as RT Incorporated—began providing state-of-the art websites for clients who knew us through the newsletter and from the trade shows.

In 2000, Robert was hired as Executive Officer of the Home Builders Association of Hickory-Catawba Valley, a position he thoroughly enjoyed. The six years as EO greatly increased his knowledge and understanding of the building industry, and helped him build many enduring relationships.

During this time, Robert, late in the evenings after work, also continued to manage the growing company that not only produced Remodeling Tips, but also found itself offering a wide variety of print and electronic marketing products. It finally came to the point where he had to choose between one or the other. He decided to go full-steam-ahead with his company, working to transform it into the full-service marketing firm it is today.

Specializing in the building industry, RT Marketing offers a wide range of services—everything from becoming a client’s ‘in-house’ full marketing department to producing your monthly eNewsletter.

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How does your business look different from others? Look at a cow

1800′s
Once upon a time in the open ranges of Texas lived many cowboys. These cowboys were well known for their livestock–some even had a few prize winning cattle. One very hot day, all the local ranchers’ cows were thirsty and they went to get a drink at the nearby pond. This pond happened to connect several farms’ grazing areas. Soon after the different herds arrived, not a single cowboy could tell whose cow was whose. Let me tell you, these old western guys didn’t mess around when it came to a conflict of interest. As the arguments started to arise and men lined up for a show down, the ruthless Butch ‘The Bull’ Hancock had an idea. Bull Hancock spoke up, “There’s a way we can settle this here dispute without bloodshed.” The others weren’t very interested, but no one wanted to cross the stone cold Bull Hancock, so they listened. “We will take the same number of cattle back to our farms and mark them to tell the difference next time this happens.” Some one called out, “How are we going to make a permanent mark on the cows?” Hancock replied, “They’ve got a tough hide; let’s use a hot iron to brand our own symbol on them. We’ll need to get together to make sure our symbols aren’t the same, but this should work.”

200+ years later
The idea of cattle branding dates back much further than the 1800s, but the US branding method was adopted around that time as the Mexican cattle industry moved north into Texas. This practice is still used today, as well as other evolving identification methods. From this idea of cow ownership identity comes company branding, which basically has the same concept in mind: setting apart and marking your product, or service, to differentiate it from the rest.

Can your clients tell what work is yours and what is someone else’s? We recognize brands in the grocery store and relate to them through quality, cost, or feelings. Is your logo weak, or is it being read as superior compared to others? Is your name standing out for your target market to see and be enticed?

One of the services that RT Marketing inc. provides to our customers is company brand design. We strive to make your company look its very best and truly reflect what sets you apart in the industry. This process may begin with updating your logo or developing a new one. More importantly, it requires establishing a powerful, consistent message throughout your marketing effort, from printed materials to web presence, and social outlets.

Does your company need some brand consistency, a facelift, or redesign? Contact us and see how we can help strongly brand your business to attract the clients you desire.

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RT Marketing Visits Love Valley

Builders and remodelers have amazing creativity. Many of them dream big dreams about the unique projects they would love to build someday, when they have the time and money. Andy Barker, co-owner of JA Construction Company in Charlotte, NC, was one such builder.

Andy had always dreamed of living in a western-style town. In 1954, at the age of 29, he left his lucrative general contracting business and moved with his wife and two small children into a one-room shack on 200 acres of wild country land he had purchased near Statesville, NC. He used the crew from his construction company to build the western-style town of Love Valley, which was incorporated in 1963.

Today the town of Love Valley hosts many public events throughout the year, including holiday parades, poker rides, a chili cook off, draft horse pull contests, and rodeos. These activities, and the 75 miles of beautiful riding trails surrounding Love Valley, attract thousands of visitors who bring their horses and campers each year from all over North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama. Horses are often tethered to every foot of the hitching rail, but cars are not allowed on main street.

The RT Marketing team had a wonderful time when we visited Love Valley last Sunday. After a leisurely horse-drawn wagon ride, and some time spent browsing through an old-fashioned general mercantile and a gift shop, we topped off the day with a delicious meal at The Silver Spur saloon. Barbecue, anyone?

Learn more about Love Valley:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0ao1l84cpo&feature=youtube

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5 Steps to Building a Better Brand: A Firm Foundation

As RT Marketing inc prepares to celebrate a milestone of 25 years in business, we also have recently applied the “5 Steps to building a Better Brand.” Let’s climb this ladder together and see what changes we’ve made over the last few months and how we can work together with you to improve your company.

Rung 1: Start with a Firm Foundation

A foundation, as you know, supports everything you build for a project. Just like a structure needs a solid foundation, your company needs a cornerstone that will supply the base and strength necessary to succeed. Although this primarily applies to branding in marketing efforts, we also believe it applies to basic building of a business. So, in November we added a new designer to our team, Heather Greene. Heather has been a great addition to the Creative Department and we now are wondering how we ever managed without her. Not only did our creative side need more foundational support, so did our Admin Department. In March we brought in an Office Manager to help with client services, scheduling and other internal matters. We are delighted to have Kecia and Heather in this capacity in our Hickory office.

Heather Greene joined the RT Marketing creative team November 2013 as Junior Graphic Designer. Heather’s passion for great design and communication are what fueled her to complete a degree program in Advertising and Graphic Design. She strives to stay up-to-date on the latest trends in design and social media while helping maintain a timeless look and voice for your company. In her free time, Heather enjoys being with her family, especially her new nephew, Colton. With the warmer months approaching you will mostly likely find her at a baseball game (Go Braves!) or taking a weekend vacation to the beach!

Kecia Roseman joined RT Marketing in March 2014 as Office Manager. She is the first person you will talk to when you call us and probably the first person to respond back to your emails. She is our own “Project Manger”—guiding the staff in maintaining client satisfaction, meeting deadlines and keeping communication open with our clients. Outside of the office, Kecia is busy raising a house full of teenagers. When there is time, you will find her enjoying a good book—the real printed, paper, with-a-spine kind!

How is your foundation? Do you have a professionally developed logo and tagline? This is the basis of Rung 1 on the “5 Steps to building a Better Brand”. Email us or call today and we’ll send you our “5 Steps to building a Better Brand” booklet.

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Kecia’s Impressions as New Office Manager

This is my third month with RT Marketing. I have learned so much these last weeks. Perhaps you have thought the same way I did when I first started, that RT Marketing basically produces newsletters. I was so wrong! Not only does this company produce high quality newsletters, but we also develop and maintain exceptional websites, using our SEO expertise to dramatically increase the likelihood of our clients being found through Google® searches. Beyond websites, we are also into Social Media, helping and guiding our clients to establish relationships through these networks.

It doesn’t stop there. We help develop logos and other marketing collateral for our clients that will make their presence stronger in their preferred target area and attract more of the high-end clients they desire. We build marketing campaigns that help to grow a company’s brand, help create a consistent message across the board, and ultimately help increase business.

I have also had the privilege to learn more about the RT team. Each member is fully dedicated to providing excellent service that benefits the client by focusing on the individuality of that client. No two jobs are ever the same! And no two members here perform the same function…so we have a highly collaborative, well-rounded team that functions as a full-service marketing department for our clients.

Our members are as unique as each position they hold. I learned a little more about each recently when I had the pleasure of meeting their families while we all attended a local baseball game. Some on our team are just starting to think “family,” while others are actively raising the next generation, and then others are empty nesters enjoying young grandchildren. This widespread span of life experience, knowledge and training makes our team effectively varied.

I know I will be learning more and more as time progresses. What about you? Isn’t it time for you to learn a little more about our team, about our services or both? Look for upcoming posts introducing our team members.  Check out our services online or contact us to learn more!

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