From the June 2001 issue of Entrepreneur

I'll Take One Ad to Go, Please

Craving a quick logo? What about a print ad with the works-pronto? A new crop of online service providers are offering creative materials in no time at all-and at affordable prices, too. With just a few clicks of the mouse, you can find (and buy) anything from a designer logo to a full-scale advertising campaign for as much as 40 to 60 percent less than what traditional agencies charge.

One leading contender is Creativworks.com, which bills itself as the "Kinko's of advertising." It's also the first national company to target marketing and advertising assistance at small and midsized businesses. It's accessible online as well as in several visible but nontraditional storefronts. The company provides services such as marketing plans, media buying, design and copywriting.

Another player is Artpronto.com, which produces advertising materials ranging from storyboards to finished ads. Customers simply visit the Web site, choose services, call the company and then place their orders. Proofs are checked online, and the finished product is sent overnight on approval. Other companies include Cooltext.com, which offers logos and other resources primarily for Web site development, and Speed Logo, which sells predesigned, personalized logos for as little as $75.

While creativity on the fly may be convenient and cheap, you should make sure upfront that your provider produces high-quality work. To do this, review an online portfolio or contact the company for references. Check out the company's Web site to see if you can request samples.

But be forewarned if you're planning to substitute one of these services for your regular provider: Expect to see changes in how your materials look, because creative styles vary significantly from provider to provider.

Move Over, Mama

These days, with fathers taking a larger role in child-rearing-and the product purchasing that accompanies it-more and more entrepreneurs are targeting male parents as prime customers. Fathers have become sought-after prospects for the products and services traditionally targeted toward moms.

Why the shift? As women increase their earning power, many moms' salaries now compare to those of their husbands or partners. As a result, the role of "provider," once male-dominated, is now split more evenly down the middle. More fathers are reducing work hours or telecommuting to bond with their kids. Consequently, they're taking more responsibility for buying for their kids.

Shaun Budka, publisher and president of Davenport Media Inc., a New York City publisher of magazines that target first-time fathers, sees dads as a growing, long-term market. It's not like people are going to stop raising their kids once they start. "Good fathering is addictive," says Budka, 33.

If you're looking for fatherly approval, don't forget to consider the macho factor. Dads won't be caught dead carrying diaper bags plastered with bunnies and bows. Instead, make sure your products appeal to masculine consumers. Also, remember that while moms tend to be more price-conscious, fathers tend to buy premium products.

Gwen Moran is president of Moran Marketing Associates and founder of BoostYourBiz.com.


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