Make Direct Mail Cool Again

Even in the digital age, it’s not a bad idea to get back to our roots with a direct mail campaign. Direct mail provides an opportunity for visual and tactile creativity that no digital advertising can provide, since a mailer is a physical item that people can interact with.One of the main goals of direct mail is to make the recipient interact with the mailer for more than just a few seconds. That said, your direct mail must not only look cool, but have a strategic goal behind it—like any other advertising venture, it’s unwise to get wrapped up in the creative side of things without crafting a plan for maximum ROI.

One of the main goals of direct mail is to make the recipient interact with the mailer for more than just a few seconds. That said, your direct mail must not only look cool, but have a strategic goal behind it—like any other advertising venture, it’s unwise to get wrapped up in the creative side of things without crafting a plan for maximum ROI.

Here are some examples of direct mailers that checked all of the boxes for cool, creative and effective.

Zimbabwean Direct Mail Image

After the Zimbabwean newspaper was forced into exile and hit with a 55 percent luxury import duty, it became inaccessible for Zimbabweans. TBWA/Hunt/Lascaris raised awareness of the issue with an eloquent symbol—the Z $ trillion note, made worthless as a result of hyperinflation but still perfectly useful as an eye-catching direct mailer. The resulting campaign is a clever, resourceful and poignant example of “the medium is the message.”

The Natural History Museum needed to produce a cost-effective direct mail piece that would raise awareness of the talks at the Darwin Centre. The eraser, produced as direct mail by Hat-Trick Design, provides a tangible visual that literally places the issue of extinction in the recipient’s hands.

CEO Lights Mailer Candle

To encourage corporate CEOs to shut down all the lights in their buildings for a single hour, WWF sent these candle mailers to their offices. As the yellow candle is removed from the office-shaped box, the “windows” go dark. The visual message is brilliantly simple and well-executed. Corporate support reportedly increased by 260 percent following the release of this mailer.

Gibson Direct Mail Sample

Griffiths, Gibson and Ramsay Productions created a working record player out of cardboard to promote their sound production services to various agencies. The mailer ships flat, holds the record and folds into place in one step. At first glance, this mailer seems like a lot of effort for little return, but it was apparently so impactful that the agencies who received it called GGRP to ask for extras to bring home to their kids.

Planet Kids Direct Mail Sample

Happy Creative Services created an invite for Planet Kids to announce their Annual Day celebrations. The invite folds into a whimsical hand puppet and was given to parents through their students. This is a great example of a direct mailer that’s cost effective, but still engaging and interactive.

Great Copy Mailer

While this mailer for Sprig isn’t particularly interactive, it offers an example of great copy. The visual is clear and inviting, while the centerpiece is a focused statement which sums up the service in just one sentence: “Simple, organic, ready-to-eat meals in just 15 minutes.” Recipients will understand the company’s features and core values in a matter of seconds—and when it comes to direct mail, a few seconds can make a big difference.

Not to toot our own horn, but here’s a few examples of AcrobatAnt direct mailers that also hit the mark. Send us an email or give us a call to learn more about our direct mail expertise.

Sonic Franchise Direct Mail

Parallon Trade Show Direct Mail

Sheridan Healthcare Direct Mail

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AcrobatAnt Marketing & Advertising 
AcrobatAnt.com
1336 East 15th Street
Tulsa, OK 74120
918-938-7912

Thank you to our sources who found some excellent examples:
https://www.dandad.org/en/d-ad-direct-mail-award-winning-work/

12 Brilliant Direct Marketing Pieces You Have to See

6 Effective Direct Mail Campaign Examples That Work by Hot Tech Startups

10 Creative Direct Mail Examples

Why Creating a Buyer Persona is Crucial

What’s a buyer persona?

Buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market data and research about your existing customers. If used to its full potential, a buyer persona can help you get right to the core of your customers’ values—attracting the most valuable leads and visitors to your business.

How can a buyer persona benefit my business?

  1. It brings your target demographic into focus.

When you go through the exercise of defining a buyer persona, you write their story. By doing so, you are uncovering their hopes, concerns, behaviors, activities and needs. When you have a full picture of your target rather than just the basic demographics, you are better able to tailor your message to those consumers and reveal unique opportunities for establishing connections.

  1. If it’s inaccurate or underdeveloped, it can alienate your target market…

“As a rheumatoid arthritis patient and as a healthcare marketer, I cringe every time I see the TV commercial for a Humira. It doesn’t connect with me and, even worse, it perpetuates the false myth that people suffering from RA can take an injection and then run off to build a playground during a rainstorm. Only 20 percent of patients achieve full remission,” said Shannon O’Connell. This is a prime example of a brand that could benefit from a more accurate buyer persona. While healthcare marketers want to communicate the message that good care will allow patients to get back to their lives and daily activities, they need to ask serious questions about patient outcomes before making that promise. Knowing your target market—and not just basing your advertising on a stereotype or caricature—can be the key to avoiding disconnects and unfulfilled brand promises like this one.

  1. …but if it’s accurate, it can help you improve your brand experience.

The process of wiping the slate clean and thinking about things from the customer’s perspective will often uncover valuable wish list items that could make all the difference in getting word-of-mouth referrals or higher ratings in online reviews.

Steps for developing a buyer persona:

  1. Research to find basic information such as gender, age range, education levels, household income and geographic areas.
  2. Survey to discover their activities, priorities, how they source information, social media usage and any other lifestyle preferences that could be relevant to your business.
  3. Define their needs and expectations as well as any struggles or issues they may have.
  4. Define how others influence their buying decisions.
  5. Survey to discover your company’s strengths and what makes you stand out from competitors.
  6. Use this information to group similar consumers together.
  7. Develop an anecdotal story about a fictitious person who represents each type of group.

Additional tips and tricks:

  • The more detailed your buyer persona is, the better!
  • You may find it helpful to search for a stock photo that fits your persona.
  • Be careful to avoid making up answers to the questions in the above steps; make sure your responses are backed up by research or customer statements. Otherwise, your buyer persona may end up being more self-serving than enlightening.
  • Once you are able to identify real customers who fit your buyer persona, you can tailor your communications to fit their needs. Be conscious of this in your business interactions.

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AcrobatAnt Marketing & Advertising 
AcrobatAnt.com
1336 East 15th Street
Tulsa, OK 74120
918-938-7912

Content Remains King

shutterstock_248890441Content. The little seven letter word that everyone is talking about. And you should be, too. In this age of marketing, content is paramount. What is content? Content is anything you put out that people engage with. Articles, blogs, social posts, radio, TV, online advertising, anything and everything.

When you begin to think about a new campaign, you have to think about the new campaign as an ecosystem. This ecosystem contains all the ways you plan to reach potential customers or clients. As the marketer, you must have a strong content ecosystem.

Today’s content ecosystems look vastly different than content ecosystems even just a few years ago. Today’s content ecosystems are filled with social media, blogs, sponsored posts, advertorials, print, broadcast and pretty much any other way you can put your advertising in front of people.

While content is important, it’s imperative to produce content that connects to your audience. This is how you secure your customers. It’s not always about creating content yourself, but curating the best content available.

With traditional advertising mediums like broadcast, print, etc., once you distribute the content, there’s nothing left to do but count impressions. With digital, there is a constant flow of content. If there is an article or blog written about your industry, leverage that and share it with your followers. If someone produced a fancy video of your product, leverage it. If someone wrote a great review, share it. Content curation will save you many hours of producing your own content and help you keep the cycle moving forward.

In this day, content is critical to driving brand awareness and giving your customers a reason for sticking with you. And at AcrobatAnt, we believe in great content. We are here to help your marketing department create and curate the best content that delivers results you can take to the CEO.

Back to Basics: Say This, Not That.

Have you ever heard of the abbreviation KISS (keep it simple stupid)? Because that should be the golden rule when you write. Keep the language simple and tailored to your audience.

When a patient picks up a doctor’s rack card, he or she should be able to read every word on the card and understand it. If they can’t, then you aren’t sticking to the golden rule.

We have a list of buzzwords or jargon that we try not to use when writing for our clients. But we’ve picked our favorite, or most hated, buzzwords to stop using. We also translated them into plain English. Let us know what you think in the comments.

Blog_sayThis

AcrobatAnt Marketing & Advertising
AcrobatAnt.com
1336 East 15th Street Tulsa, OK 74120
918-938-7912

Back to Basics: Seven tips that lead to great copywriting.

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However simple it may sound to you, copywriting is a hard task. But with time and practice, you can be a great writer. And deliver great ads. We’ve scoured the Internet and the agency to see what causes the most frustration for designers, account executives and our proofer (thanks for having our back, Jessica) when it comes to copywriting mistakes.

Here are the top seven responses:

Not including a call to action
Including a call to action (CTA) on your advertisements seems like something you learn on the first day of school, but unfortunately it can happen.  CTAs do not always have to be full sentences, they can be as simple as including a phone number. As a writer, you need to provide your audience with something to do. You have all this great copy that pumps a consumer up, but forget to give them a way to act on it. Shame on you copywriter.

False sense of urgency
Creating urgency in an ad is a skill in itself. That’s because people really just don’t like to do what you ask of them today; they’d rather complete it tomorrow. Why should I sign up for the seminar today if it’s three weeks away? In order to have a real, genuine sense of urgency, you have to provide people with reasons why they shouldn’t put off what you need them to do. Maybe you do this by telling a touching story that makes them act or maybe you give a reward to the first 100 people to register.

Use of buzzwords
Ah, buzzwords. Buzzwords are great for confusing people. And that’s about it. Do you ever read something that is full of words you think are made up or misused? Those, my friends, are buzzwords. Confusing the consumer is definitely not going to make them buy from you. In fact, they probably won’t even finish reading the ad. Use plain English. Here’s an example.

Buzzword version:
I am going to utilize my robust bandwidth to double down and be pro-active about our content.

Plain English:
I’m going to use my time to focus and write new blog posts.

See? Simplicity rules.

Longwinded descriptions
This goes along with using buzzwords. The shorter the description the better it is. The next time you go to write something, pretend that you are giving an elevator pitch. Keep it short and sweet with just enough information to get your point across. Nobody is going to read paragraphs of irrelevant information about your new hospital wing or product. Just tell the consumer why they can’t live without it.

Relying on spellcheck
Spellcheck is great. But it doesn’t always catch everything. Common mistakes and misspellings are what the software excels at, but context isn’t really a strong point. Language is complicated and relying on a program to realize you used its when you meant it’s will cause errors. Take the time to read what you wrote over a few times. Run spellcheck, read it over and then read it over again.  That way you don’t have an unhappy client on your hand when you provide them an ad with simple errors.

Not writing to your audience
Finding out who your audience is and writing to that audience is one of the most important parts of copywriting. In order for your ad to be effective, you need to know who you are writing for. An easy way to figure out who your audience is and how to reach them is to do research. A quick search will give you some general information and the best ways to make a connection with them. An older audience may not be as comfortable signing up on a website as they would be calling someone, whereas a younger audience usually doesn’t want to interact with people at all. Using research will help you effectively reach the audience.

Listen to the client
When you meet with your client, go into the meeting prepared to listen and ask for clarification. Make sure you know what they are really looking for. One way to do this is by asking questions. Clients don’t mind questions at all; in fact, it can show that you are listening and interested in learning more. If your client is asking you to explain a new product to the consumer and not sell it, do just that. It might be hard not to sell, but do what they ask first.

Let us help you
If you need some help reaching your target market and getting some results, we can help. Visit our website and see how we help our clients reach their targets. And see the cool work we do at acrobatant.us. Or if you prefer talking it over in person, give us a call.

AcrobatAnt Marketing & Advertising
AcrobatAnt.com
1336 East 15th Street Tulsa, OK 74120
918-938-7912

You are what you spec.

To borrow (and rephrase) a standard question from a famous interviewer, if you were a typeface, which typeface would you be? AcrobatAnt challenged its art directors to set their own names in a typeface that reflects who they are and their point of view, then let other office colleagues try to match the art director with the typeface. Here are our results, a mix of surprising and expected. What typeface are you?

AA-140507_Designer_Danny

Danny Sadler
Franklin Gothic Condensed

AcrobatAnt’s creative director chose this traditional font because he can subtly kern certain characters to make them flow together better. He likes its tall X height (the torso of the letters, the middle ground above the descenders and below the ascenders). Casual. Readable. Just a good, classic face. A foundation face that’s powerful and carries its weight. Good for invitations, too.

AA-140507_Designer_Dell

Dell Chambers
Da Streets

He’s an illustrator and painter, so you can guess what kind of typeface Dell would choose: a brush font. There’s nothing demure about this one. Edgy. Fun. Aggressive. With some “pow” to it. He says it fits his personality. For the record, he didn’t fool anyone in the office. Dell tied with one other art director for getting the most correct votes matching him with his typeface.

AA-140507_Designer_Chance

Chance Walentiny
Sloop

Chances likes plenty of things about this classically elegant script typeface. See the way the H thins out? Chance especially likes how each character has little details and nuances that make a big difference.

AA-140507_Designer_Cayla

Cayla Spears
Eyes Wide Open

Cayla must’ve made her typeface choice while looking in a mirror. She picked one that’s girly, but just sort of girly, not too girly. Not too elegant, either. Hers is a down-to-earth option that’s easy enough and thick enough to kern. Most of all, she picked it because it looks like real handwriting.

AA-140507_Designer_Bryan

Bryan Cooper
Flemish Script

You think you know an art director, but no one in the office matched Bryan to the font he picked. To him, though, it made perfect sense. His fine art often focuses on the historical, Victorian and ornate. He loves antiques and collects old photography. And with this particular typeface, the thick and thin elements aren’t too exaggerated, making it a nice, easy script to read. Great for monogramming, too, as a fellow art director pointed out.

AA-140507_Designer_Jinni

Jinni Giltner
Mohave

Jinni goes for the tall, dramatic and condensed type. Her choice is available in regular and bold. Caps only, no lower case, so her headlines are shouting all the time. She likes this newer approach to clean and simple. Nothing crazy. And she likes that the G doesn’t mess with the spacing, as it so often does.

AA-140507_Designer_Will

Will Skaggs
Steelfish

It’s simple enough. Not the least bit obnoxious. Will’s pick catches your eye, but doesn’t have even one letter that’s hard to work with. It’s agreeable, has a good weight and looks good kerned, too. There are no other variations, but it works as is. Everyone likes Steelfish. (Nerd alert: If this typeface looks familiar, it’s because it’s used for the end credits of The Big Bang Theory.)

 

Take our quiz to find out what typeface you should be here.

Download our case study, Fonts Deconstructed, here.

 

AcrobatAnt Marketing & Advertising
AcrobatAnt.com
1336 East 15th Street Tulsa, OK 74120
918-938-7912

Only Mad Men Like Advertising; Customers Want Content

4934882110_87025eb586_oMarketers who are driving growth and building stronger brand connections with their audiences are doing so by providing value outside of a purchasing need. 

 

As we’ve discussed in our last few blog posts on content marketing, consumers have crept into the driver’s seat and have virtually shut off the world of traditional marketing as we know it. It doesn’t matter whether you sell to businesses or consumers—a buyer is a consumer and vice versa; their behavior is what they’ve acquired in their retail experiences.

A consumer’s brand experience begins online.

Marketing’s dependence on mass promotional campaigns with goals of reach and frequency are being replaced by messaging, information, tools and interactions that target, position and differentiate you from your competitors. This shift in thinking is much different than the promotional marketing efforts you’ve traditionally launched to publicize your product or service or your brand as a whole.

If you remember, we defined content marketing in a recent post, Content Marketing Is Just Old-School MarComm, as:

the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience—with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

Selling needs to be kept under the radar. What you’re trying to do is build your case and establish trust with prospective buyers. Make it easy for your buyers to buy from you. Make them want to buy from you. People buy from people they know, like and trust. So get to know your customers. Be likable. And by all means, be trustworthy.

Content marketing helps you get found by the people who matter to your business.

Think about the different types of content that contribute to your buyer’s journey. How can you capture attention and inspire them?

Here’s a simple example of the difference between “promotional marketing” and “content marketing.” Let’s use healthcare marketing, which is one of the industries struggling with the move from promotional marketing to content marketing.

Which of the below scenarios is an example of content marketing?

  • Running an ad touting your joint replacement surgery center
  • Creating a video that provides tips on how to treat knee pain after jogging

The print ad is promotional marketing because it will appeal to very few people who need a specific procedure—joint replacement surgery—at the time they see your ad. The content marketing example is the knee pain video because it will connect with a far broader audience who suffer from knee pain.

Understand that content marketing as a philosophy alone will not ensure success. If you take the idea of creating a video on knee pain and run a search for “knee pain video,” it will more than likely result in over a million hits. In order to show up through all of the clutter, you have to create a relevant, compelling program that differentiates you.

How do you begin? By asking the same questions a marketer would normally ask:

  • What are our goals?
  • How do we measure success?
  • Who is our primary audience?
  • What are our differentiators?

Once you determine the answers, you will want to think in terms of providing relevant messaging and content to an audience that may not have an immediate need to buy today. Focus on driving actions unrelated to making a purchase, like signing up for a seminar, requesting information, downloading a case study or white paper, or participating in a webinar. In other words, you are striving for engagement.

 

AcrobatAnt Marketing & Advertising
AcrobatAnt.com
1336 East 15th Street Tulsa, OK 74120
918-938-7912

 

PHOTO CREDIT: Paul Townsend via flickr

Smart Moves for Getting Started with Content Marketing

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Smart marketers understand that today’s consumers have virtually shut off the traditional world of marketing and choose messaging that makes them stop, think and behave differently.

 

It’s no wonder then, that content marketing are now a cornerstone of inbound marketing efforts in business and consumer marketing. So what do you need to get started? This is the first question of many that marketers ask themselves.

For starters, a carefully planned strategy and well-coordinated implementation is required to be successful. In the content marketing efforts we manage for clients and ourselves, we’ve discovered six components that are imperative in getting started on the right foot, regardless of the business you are in.

  • Establish target market. Who will you talk to? Everyone? Think again. That net is much too wide. Is your target a specific age group? Parents? Medium-sized businesses in a specific revenue bracket? This is one of the initial steps to take before one piece of content is created. Establish who your target audience is for your content marketing plan and base it on age, location, income and other demographic information.
  • Create reader profiles (or personas). This technique is fairly simple. Start by identifying the attributes needed for someone to be your customer. The goal is to describe who you will attempt to write for or who might already be reading your content. Going through this exercise will help to personalize your writing, identify ways to connect with your target audience and create more practical content with their needs in mind.
  • Determine digital distribution. How are you distributing your content? Before you create it, decide where you will host, publish and post it. A website or microsite is one of the more common platforms because you can disseminate content through a blog, photo gallery or downloads such as ebooks, videos, podcasts, etc. From it, social media should play a major role as distributor, as we advise in Content Marketing Is Not Social Media Marketing, as it can extend the reach of your content and foster authentic conversations with your customers and prospects.
  • Research keywords. What words do users type when they are searching for your products or services? It’s of the utmost importance to do the research and choose words with the highest number of monthly searches and the lowest competition.

For example, “urgent care” is a phrase with lots of competition, but in spite of the amount of monthly search volume, it isn’t practical to incorporate into a keyword strategy. A good tool to use is Google’s Keyword Planner; it will help you find “long-tail” keywords and phrases such as “urgent care for children in Tulsa, OK” that will garner better traffic results for your site.

  • Think like a publisher. Publishers use editorial calendars to monitor dates and buying cycles, track specifics of content ideas and keep content consistent and relevant. It also allows you to see connections within your content, get ideas on how you can repurpose it and ensures you have key information for SEO.
  • Report, analyze and adjust. One of inbound marketing’s biggest benefits is the ability to track and measure your progress to see what’s working. Then you can adapt to optimize results.

These are the critical components to put in place that will ensure you are on the right path for success.

 

AcrobatAnt Marketing & Advertising
AcrobatAnt.com
1336 East 15th Street Tulsa, OK 74120
918-938-7912

Content Marketing Is Not Social Media Marketing

multiple-tweets-plain

Marketers have always needed to find ways of conveying important information in useful and entertaining ways and social media is the communication workhorse that can effectively and efficiently do it.

Social media didn’t create content marketing.
Content marketing has been around as long as people have been selling services. What started as published content on the Web, progressed from text to rich content like videos, infographics, e-books, etc. Now that there is more content out there than anyone can reasonably find and consume, we’re applying personalization technology to filter the barrage of information coming at us from all angles into meaningful, relevant, digestible chunks.

Different animals.
There is plenty of overlap between content marketing and social media marketing, but don’t forget they are two different animals with different focuses and objectives. In social media, the hub of marketing activity lies within the networks themselves, with content being placed inside the networks. In contrast, content marketing’s focal point is your brand’s own content hub, like your website or a product-specific microsite.

 The goals of content marketing are consumption, then behavior. The goals of social media are participation, then behavior. – Jay Baer

 Social media is used by customers and prospects to communicate among themselves and sometimes with companies. Communication in social media is much less structured; it’s conversational and can be reactive. Therefore, its strength lies in brand awareness and customer satisfaction and retention.

 Social media is the new telephone. Content marketing is the new brochure. – Jay Baer

Content marketing is a tool companies use to educate, inform and entertain customers and prospects by creating attention or causing action that moves them down the buying funnel, resulting in leads, sales and advocacy.

A powerful match.
Think of social media channels as the tentacles that can extend the reach of your content and foster authentic conversations with your customers and prospects. Despite the differences between the two, there is a vital interdependence that can make or break a digital marketing strategy. We’ve always needed to find ways of conveying important information in useful and entertaining ways, we’re just using technology as the vehicle to do it.

 

AcrobatAnt Marketing & Advertising
AcrobatAnt.com
1336 East 15th Street Tulsa, OK 74120
918-938-7912

Photo credit: Thanks to mkhmarketing via flickr for the wonderful graphic available under the creative commons license.

Content Marketing Is Just Old-School MarComm

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Content has always been an important part of many marketing plans, but somewhere along the line, something changed old-school marketing into the data-driven digital beast we are all clamoring to master.

That thing is called the internet, and it has transformed marketing communications into a completely new animal.

Your customers don’t care about you, your products, your services…they care about themselves, their wants and their needs. Today’s content marketing is about creating interesting information your customers are passionate about so they actually pay attention to you.

If you prefer a more formal definition, let’s use Content Marketing Institute’s version that defines it as the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience–with the objective of driving profitable customer action.

60 percent of business decision makers say that company content helps them make better product decisions.(Source: Roper Public Affairs)

Content drives the Internet. As marketers, we know that consumers are looking for information that helps them solve their problem. In that respect, content marketing isn’t new.

80 percent of business decision makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement. (Source: Roper Public Affairs)

Whatever the label, the goal has always been the same: to share useful information that helps customers solve their business problems in the hope they do something, like return to your site, subscribe to your newsletter or download your latest white paper.

70 percent of business decision makers say content marketing makes them feel closer to the sponsoring company. (Source: Roper Public Affairs)

Offer useful, informative, practical content. Create content that makes your readers’ lives easier. Share content that makes them laugh and entertains them. Show them you understand what’s keeping them awake at night and offer solutions. This is the path to building brand recognition, trust, authority, credibility, loyalty and authenticity.

Good content marketing should:

  • Be relevant to your reader
  • Close the gap (inform)
  • Be non-promotional/non-selling
  • Be relevant to your company
  • Provide proof

Organizations that are having the most success use an approach to content marketing that involves a high ratio of valuable content with no sales messaging, mixed with intermittent promotional messages. The types of content keep growing, but here is a brief list:

  • Articles
  • Blog posts
  • E-books
  • Case Studies
  • Demos
  • Events
  • Free trials
  • Information guides
  • Manuals
  • Online tutorials, courses
  • Podcasts
  • Presentations
  • Reference guides
  • Surveys
  • Videos
  • Webinars/Webcasts
  • White papers
  • Widgets

Getting started with content marketing can be as simple as implementing one type of content at a time, such as a blog. Then you can begin to layer new content types into the rest of your marketing plan.

 

AcrobatAnt Marketing & Advertising
AcrobatAnt.com
1336 East 15th Street Tulsa, OK 74120
918-938-7912

Photo credit: Catherine Snodgrass via flickr