Lesson 30 – Over-Communicate

Lesson 30 - Over-Communicate

We’ve found over the past 35 years that you can’t communicate too much. Sure, you can wear people out with boring stories about all your travels, but when you’re working on a project, especially highly-technical and complicated ones like we work on, you can’t communicate enough. Going back a few years, we were fortunate to…

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Lesson 29 – Invest in Your Community

Lesson 29 - Invest in Your Community

Back in 2015, our city faced the need and the opportunity to pass a Use Tax that would be used to fund needed infrastructure and services. The issue made a lot of sense, and in fact, we had worked with their state association a couple of years prior to create a templated campaign that all…

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Lesson 28 – Business is Synergistic

Lesson 28 - Business is Synergistic

We find many times in business that our clients face the same types of opportunities and challenges that we do. We see business models that are similar to ours. We learn how our clients’ business development and sales cycles parallel ours. Maybe that’s just the B2B world, but it’s uncanny. LammTech is one of those…

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Lesson 27 – Be Prepared

Lesson 27 - Be Prepared

Over the years, we’ve had literally hundreds of opportunities to pitch ideas and new business. Most times, we’ve gone above and beyond, but unfortunately, there are times we have fallen short. The key is in preparation. Borrowing from the Boy Scout motto of “Be Prepared,” we’ve always tried to be overly prepared for every presentation.…

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Lesson 26 – Pay It Forward

Lesson 26 - Pay It Forward

At Callis, we’ve always had the philosophy that we should give back, whether that’s in the community, the industry or an organization that does great things for good people who need their help. Over the years, members of Callis leadership has been involved in the volunteer leadership for the Center for Human Services, a Missouri…

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Lesson 25 – Follow the Process

Lesson 25 - Follow the Process

In our agency, we use a strategic insight process we’ve learned and perfected to identify the one key message point that will really stand out and resonate with a target audience. We’ve used it many times and one of the most recent is with our work with the City of Sedalia, Missouri. We’ve been fortunate…

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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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