Lesson 24 – Believe in What You Do

Lesson 24 - Believe in What You Do

Over the years, we’ve built our business on the rural American lifestyle. Sure, we’ve had lots of clients who didn’t necessarily fall into this category, but for sure, it’s been our bread and butter and where we focus our efforts today. Some of our earliest experiences in this market focused on marketing outdoor sports products…

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Lesson 23 – Face the Music

Lesson 23 - Face the Music

We started hearing about Facebook back around 2010 as the college students we knew shared the ways they were using it. It sounded interesting, and valuable to an extent, but we had no idea it would become what it has. When the opportunity came along for us in the non-academic world to start using it,…

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Lesson 22 – Sometimes You Have to Pivot

Lesson 22 - Sometimes You Have to Pivot

Back in 2020, many businesses recognized the need to pivot to either survive or capitalize on the effects of the pandemic. I think most marketers would agree that the word “pivot” became greatly overused, but it was the right term and the right thing to do at the time. But pivoting can also be needed…

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Lesson 21 – Every Industry is Unique

Lesson 21 - Every Industry is Unique

One of the many things we love about our business is the opportunity to work with a variety of clients in a variety of industries. One of the coolest things we’ve learned over the years is that every industry is quite different, yet the same principles of marketing apply to each one. Back a few…

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Lesson 20 – Keep an Open Mind

Lesson 20 - Keep an Open Mind

Every now and then an opportunity comes along that makes you slow down and think it through. Back in the early 2000’s, Aquila, the region’s public utility, approached us about a public outreach project surrounding the construction of a power plant. At first, we were apprehensive. But this was different, way different, and we’re glad…

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Lesson 19 – Pay Attention to the Little Things

Lesson 19 - Pay Attention to the Little Things

The marketing business has elements of big idea thinking and lots of details, and both are vitally important. Clients need big ideas that will move the needle in their marketing and advertising and you must pay close attention to detail to make sure everything is accurate and right. We started working with ProEnergy Services before…

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Lesson 18 – Admit You Don’t Know Everything

Lesson 18 - Admit You Don't Know Everything

Back in the early 2000’s, marketers were beginning to understand the importance and dynamics of search engine optimization (SEO). Certainly it was all new to us but our clients were starting to hear and read about it too. There were lots of theories and approaches and everyone thought theirs was the best. The real drive…

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Lesson 17 – Change is Good, But Not Always

Lesson 17 - Change is Good, But Not Always

Through relationships developed while in Iowa, we got the opportunity to work with a family auto dealership in Pella. The Vander Waal family had recently purchased Ulrich Ford and was considering changing the name to help the community know it was now their family business. They retained Callis to research the market and help them…

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Lesson 16 – Try New Things

Lesson 16 - Try New Things

Back in the early 2000’s, our founder and current CEO had gotten much more involved in the construction business, moving to Des Moines to run one of Septagon’s companies. He wanted to try new things. While he was away, our team never missed a beat, keeping our clients happy while adding new ones. While he…

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Lesson 15 – Never Stop Learning

Lesson 15 - Never Stop Learning

The marketing and advertising industry has been driven by the changes in technology which have made what we do harder and easier, but definitely more effective and more measurable. We’ve had to learn it from scratch, which we did, and that hasn’t stopped. It’s the same in every industry, including senior living. One of our…

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Lesson 14 – Things Change

Lesson 14 - Things Change

As we approached the turn of the century and the year 2000, there were some people who believed that all the computer systems in the world that were in use at that time would crash when their internal clocks hit 1/1/2000. Apparently, they had not been programmed to function after that date. Frankly, people were…

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Lesson 13 – Evolve and Innovate

Lesson 13 - Evolve and Innovate

One of the exciting things we’ve enjoyed at Callis over the past 35 years has been experiencing the digital revolution of media firsthand. When we started, everything we did was by hand. No computers. No internet. No technology. Today, everything we do is digital and technology is driving marketing more and more every day. We…

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Lesson 12 – Diversification Can Be Good

Lesson 12 - Diversification Can Be Good

In 1998, we were rolling along and running very smoothly. We had an excellent, well-seasoned team and were well-positioned for growth. One day, one of our clients came to us with the idea to partner with them on a student planner. This wasn’t one of our traditional partnerships where we form a strategic alliance with…

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Lesson 11 – Pray About It

Lesson 11 - Pray About It

In the late ’90s, one of our clients asked if we could design and manufacture a product that they could sell to their customers to commemorate their 50th anniversary. I really think they could have built it themselves but staying true to their business and products, they wanted someone else to do it. What an…

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LESSON 10 – IF YOU WANT SOMETHING BAD ENOUGH…

Lesson 10 - If You Want Something Bad Enough...

For many of our agency staffers who grew up in Sedalia, they’ve been going to the Missouri State Fair since they were kids. Some showed livestock there. Some worked there and others just enjoyed all the many things you can do there. Simply put, we love the fair! Once our agency proved that it knew…

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Lesson 9 – Marketing Works

Lesson 9: Marketing Works

This may go without saying, but we know that marketing works. Over the years, when the right and appropriate approach and budget were put into place, we saw the results first hand, and our clients did too. We also saw them in our own marketing efforts. Back in 1993, we were actively doing direct mail…

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Lesson 7 – Know Your Team

Lesson 7 - Know Your Team

As our agency grew, taking on new clients, looking at new opportunities, and selling new projects, finding new people to join us became paramount to our success. When you’re a small business, every employee has to be an A player, and we had them, and we added more of them as we needed them. We’re…

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Lesson 6 – Carve Out a Niche

Lesson 6 - Carve Out a Niche

Throughout our agency’s history, we have ebbed and flowed in and out of certain markets and industries, based on our clients, always looking for the opportunity to identify and expand on a niche. One of those niches was economic development, working with cities and chambers of commerce around Missouri to help them tell their stories.…

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Lesson 5 – When Opportunity Knocks

Lesson 5 - When Opportunity Knocks

When opportunity knocks, answer the door. The year was 1991. We were feeling the pinch of suffering growth pains. Things were going pretty well but we were struggling in some ways and we lacked the resources and expertise to continue to grow. We started looking around at ways we could strategically move forward. We had…

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Lesson 4 – Stay Connected

Lesson 4 - Stay Connected

Over the years, our founder and leader has preached the importance of relationships, whether that be with associates, clients, vendors, media, community or industry partners. Our business is really all about people and frankly, you just can’t have too many friends. Through time however, people move. They relocate. They change jobs and move to different…

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