Recreation is serious business at marketing company
As an avid trail runner, skier and cyclist in addition to being a seasoned marketing professional, Wieck takes the tip “Write what you know” literally. Her team of 11 brings similar backgrounds.
“They’re experts at their jobs and have a passion for recreational activities,” said Wieck, who races with Boulder Orthopedics Cycling Team in her free time. “We know our customers’ products and what their clients are wanting.”
Having first-hand experience with a client’s specific equipment, services and products gives Tonic’s team an edge when it comes to marketing, she explained, adding that gardening and drinking beer are as recreational as downhill skiing.
As a full-service marketing company, Tonic works nationally with companies such as Outward Bound West and Werner Paddles on everything from branding to website development.
Since starting her business under the Tonic name in Colorado in 1993, Wieck estimates that she has worked with about 150 clients.
Prior to 1993, she worked with the Goodwill Games in Seattle, Big Sky Resort in Montana and as an independent public relations consultant.
“I was doing a lot of PR and visiting Boulder regularly with a lot of the recreational magazines in the area,” she said. Wieck shared office space with Outside Magazine once she made the leap and moved to Boulder.
Now Tonic works with eight to 15 clients at a time, and business is on the upswing.
“We’re pretty right on course with the economy now after the drop in 2007,” Wieck said, adding that 2011 was her best year yet.
“From 2012 to 2011 we had a 30 percent increase in business, and I expect to have the same thing happen for 2012.
“Clients seem to be sending more work our way since this summer.”
E-commerce is in highest demand for Tonic customers now, she said.
“We’re just in the process of launching e-commerce for Lombardi Sports, a family-owned company in San Francisco,” Wieck said.
To differentiate the company from its large national competitors, Tonic is building a website that shows how connected to the community it is and things they offer locally such as free yoga classes and free bike-riding weekends.
“Brand essence is something that will evoke an emotion. It’s what you feel when you think of a company,” she said. “We work with a number of exercises to see if a company’s brand is sending a consistent message.”
One exercise has staff and consumers each coming up with 10 adjectives to describe the brand. “If they’re different, there’s a disconnect between the owner and the customers,” Wieck said.
She relates her own company’s name — Tonic — as a description of what customers can expect.
“Tonic is effervescent, and that’s what my team is: Fresh, light, fun and refreshing.”
Sometimes Tonic assigns exercises to help clients find basic ways to grow their businesses.
“I asked one woman to write down everyone she’d seen, how they found her and how she found them and then to look for a pattern,” Wieck said. “It sounds obvious but it makes people accountable with completing a task.”
Evaluating the relationship of a company’s elevator pitch, what it sells, what it communicates to consumers and how well consumers get the message serves as another tactic in firming up a company’s marketing efforts, Wieck said.
“Often people are overly verbose with (website) copy,” she said. “They’re fearful so they put everything up.”
She reminds clients that a picture can be worth a thousand words.
Assessing a company’s current marketing tactics can uncover which strategies work best in spite of what current trends are.
“In one case we didn’t feel that social media was the best for a company and that traditional press releases were better because of their older clientele and budget.”
Tonic Marketing recently relocated to an office at 777 Pearl St.
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