Website Launch: Topsfield Fair

We are so lucky! A couple of months ago, we blogged about redesigning the website for our existing client, Pest-End Exterminators, and today we are happy to announce that we have redesigned another website for an existing client, the Topsfield Fair

Known as America’s Oldest County Fair, the Topsfield Fair is an annual fair that takes place in Topsfield, Massachusetts. It’s a ten day extravaganza that ends on Columbus Day. Started in 1820 by the Essex County Agricultural Society, the Topsfield Fair was once a one-day cattle show. Today, the fair draws 450,000 to 500,000 visitors each year and has carnival rides and food, farm animals, live entertainment, and of course the Great Pumpkin Weigh Off!

Their Old Site

We designed their previous website back in 2014. Below are some screenshots from the former site.

The homepage of the Topsfield Fair's last site.

Another screenshot of the Topsfield Fair's old site.

The facility section of the old Topsfield Fair site.

The admissions section of the Topsfield Fair site.

Given their old site was made five years ago, it was time for a new one. The Topsfield Fair wanted a refresh as well as increased user experience and usability with their new site.  Ultimately, they wanted to make it easier for people to find what they were looking for without having to scour the site or Internet for answers.

The Creative Process

According to designer, Brady Hall, the challenge with this project was serving the site’s multiple audiences. “We hypothesized the target audience is parents, grandparents, nannies, and babysitters. Essentially, parents or guardians from the ages of 25 to 70. But ultimately, I wanted to design the site as if the kid is there, looking over the parent or guardian’s shoulder as they plan their trip to the fair. So as much as I had to make the site informative and user-friendly, I also needed to make sure the site had a fun look for kids and adults alike.” 

To help him, Hall looked at the websites of other state and county fairs. Then he looked at giant fairs and festivals like Six Flags and Hershey Park to see how they displayed information. “I really took a lot from their usage of hierarchy in font weights, color coordinations with specific pages, and the flow of the pages,” Hall explained. He incorporated a mega-menu to make it easier for users to find what they’re looking for. 

When a user hovers over the mega menu, the various pages turn yellow, Topsfield’s other brand color. “The yellow is such a classic color of the fair-but it is an accent color and should be used as such-to highlight parts,” Hall informed. The use of yellow certainly helps users with seeing where they are on the site.

The new homepage for the Topsfield Fair site.

Another screenshot of the new Topsfield Fair homepage.

The new navigation for the Topsfield Fair site.

The education section of the Topsfield Fair site.

The Great Pumpkin Weigh-In section of the new Topsfield Fair site.

While our agency has become known for web design and development, photography is what grew our business. Founder/director Mike Sperling photographed events when he started Sperling Interactive in 2008 and one of his earliest events was the Topsfield Fair. With the new website, we incorporated photography from recent years. 

Our project manager/photographer, Lauren Termini, stated “the fair itself is highly visual – with lights, sounds, animals, food – so we were able to get really creative with the new site. With their new online presence, I am looking forward to photographing this year’s fair with their new site in mind.” 

Not only is the site playful and informative, it’s easy for the Topsfield Fair to use. Developer Mark LeBlanc shared, “the organization of the content management is easy enough for people to make edits. So the client can edit on their own.”  We developed the website in WordPress. Not only is WordPress easy to build websites with and edit content through, you can design customizable sites through it. 

If you haven’t been to the Topsfield Fair before, you don’t want to miss this upcoming season. Click here to purchase your ticket!

 

Interview With Our Project Manager, Lauren Termini

This year we hired our second project manager. Her name is Lauren Termini. You may been greeted by her either at our front door or over the phone. Lauren procures, plans, and executes website projects and advertising collateral. Not only that, she also photographs all our clients’ photographic needs from events and meetings to head shots. Lauren is hard-working, organized, and super friendly. We are so glad Lauren joined us in January and are excited for her to tell you more about herself today.

A head shot of Sperling Interactive's account manager/photographer, Lauren Termini.

Where are you from?

I always find this to be a tricky question because I have lived in many different places throughout my life. I was born in Las Vegas, and before my family settled in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania in 1997, I lived in San Antonio, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia; and Avondale, Pennsylvania. Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania is located in the northeastern part of the state just outside of Scranton, Pennsylvania.

What is being a project manager like?

Being a project manager is fun, challenging, and full of variety. I really enjoy that every day is different, and I think my favorite part is immersing myself in, and learning about different industries in order to help each one of our unique clients.

What has been your favorite Sperling project to date?

Lauren: The Topsfield Fair’s new website. While overwhelming, the site has been really fun to recreate. The fair itself is highly visual – with lights, sounds, animals, food – so we were able to get really creative with the new site. With their new online presence, I am looking forward to photographing this year’s fair with their new site in mind.

Where did you fall in love with photography?

I cannot remember exactly where I fell in love with photography, but it was around sophomore year of high school when I enrolled in the Intro to Photography class as an art elective. For as long as I can remember I have wanted to be an artist, and after taking all three photography classes my high school had to offer, it was an easy decision to apply early action to RIT’s Photographic Illustration program, specifically majoring in Photojournalism with a minor in Journalism.

What are your favorite things to shoot?

Wow, tough question. I love to travel, so I would have to say that photographing while I am traveling is the best, because it’s all new and exciting. As I have gotten older I have become more confident in photographing people, and I feel I do a great job at making people feel comfortable. While fun, people are a challenge!

How do you manage to run a successful photography business alongside a project management role?

Coffee, at least seven hours of sleep a night, and when I have a day with nothing on the calendar, I make sure to take full advantage of it. I rarely think about work and emails on those days as otherwise I’d burn out!

What do you like to do for fun?

Travel is near the top of the list, but I also enjoy running, eating/trying new restaurants (I am a huge foodie), visiting breweries, reading and I recently have started archery.

What is something no one knows about you?

I can walk on my hands and I used to be a competitive gymnast. Not many people in my adult-life know that about me because I ended my career when I was 17, but I still very much view myself as a gymnast, and probably always will.

We have done two other employee spotlights this summer. Be sure to check out our interview with our COO, Rachel Grubb, and our lead web developer, Phil Condon.

How to Have Brand Consistency

Work space with laptop, coffee, smartphone, and phone. The laptop is open to a graphic that reads 'brand.'

The more consistent you are with every aspect of your brand- messaging, style, colors, fonts, offerings, etc.- the more likely you are to build and maintain brand trust because consistency makes you look professional, authentic, and dependable. You don’t want your brand to be to your audience’s interpretation. You want everyone in your target market to have a clear idea of you, and not only that, be excited about your offerings! In today’s blog post, we will be covering four ways to have brand consistency.

Have A Brand Guide 

Every major brand has a brand guide and so should small and midsize businesses. A brand guide is a guide that dictates how branding elements should be used internally and externally to maintain brand consistency. Sections you want to include in your brand guide are voice and tone, brand colors and fonts, media formatting, and photography and graphic styles.  You want every time your brand is on display- be it your website, business cards, email signatures, letterheads, brochures, social media, blog, or signage- to be in sync.

Create Brand Consistency With Content Marketing  

Studies show that content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates approximately three times as many leads. With statistics like that, it’s impossible to ignore content marketing as a marketing strategy. Not only that, content marketing is a chance to have brand consistency because you’re able to educate your audience and discuss your brand values. 

If you’re new to content marketing, here are some questions to ask yourself that can help you generate content:


Who is my audience?
What is my audience’s pain points?
How can I help my audience? 

Don’t Forget Your Brand Personality 

Your business is a living, breathing thing, and as such, it has a personality like any living being does. Be sure your brand personality comes alive in your logo and messaging.

Even though every marketing outlet has a different personality, as this article from ClearVoice states, “your messaging on LinkedIn may be less casual or more professional, but it shouldn’t sound like it’s coming from a different brand altogether. Think about it this way: There is the ‘at work’ you and the ‘at home or with friends’ you. Your personality is the same, but your mannerisms adjust to the context.”

Don’t Try Everything

In our last blog post, Marketing to Different Generations, we mentioned how every generation (Baby Boomers, Gen Xs, Millennials, Gen Zs) are all a bit different, and as such, how they are marketed to should be different. Don’t feel pressure to try every marketing outlet. We’ve all got marketing budgets. It’s important to pour your marketing efforts and energy into the outlets that make the most sense for your brand.

If your primary audience is baby boomers, don’t feel guilty if you’re not on the Instagram train. That platform draws younger audiences, and as such, would not make the most sense for your brand. If you’re feeling stuck on where to put your marketing dollars, ask yourself: does it make sense for my brand to hang out here? Remember what we said above brands being living, breathing things. Think of marketing outlets as places your brand hangs out. 

Have A Brand Experience 

Brand consistency isn’t just the marketing department’s responsibility. These days branding is also the customer’s experience. Or should we say the ‘brand experience.’ Every department in your company from upper management and marketing to sales, HR, and customer service should know and understand your brand’s values and mission. They should make sure their performance reflects what your brand is about. This integrated  branding approach can ensure you’re providing a positive and authentic experience to customers. 

At Sperling Interactive, we work hard to make sure our clients have brand consistency. From the content on their website, the layouts in their print collaterals, to their graphics on and offline, everything should be consistent. Call us at (978) 304-1730 to learn about the brand guides we create for businesses and nonprofits. 

 

How to Market to Different Generations

Graphic of four different age generations; baby boomers, gen x, gen z, millennials

As the world of marketing continues to expand, the ability to market to distinct niches is increasing. While everyone is unique and has their own preferences, research has shown that generational groups have a lot in common. This helps with marketing. By focusing on the different generations, a lot can be taken away for marketing. Having certain generations as target markets can save money and time by knowing the kind of people who will be receptive to particular ways of marketing. 

Target marketing is beneficial for learning about which specific customers the marketing should be aiming for. By choosing people with a shared factor, such as by location, gender, or interests, marketing can be more effective by focusing efforts only on those demographics. When thinking about the marketing, two important questions businesses should ask are “Who are the current customers like?” and “Who would you like your customers to be like?”. If there is any difference between the two answers, target marketing can help to get them more aligned together.

Different age groups can be a great place to start. The four main generations are Baby Boomers (born between 1946-1964),  Generation X (born between 1965-1981), Millennials (born between 1981-1995), and Generation Z born (between 1996-present). Each generation is examined to see how they compare with particular marketing styles.

Baby Boomers

Of the generations, this group is the oldest in age and can be the least technology savvy. They can be found reading print more than any other generation. Thus, marketing in newspapers and magazines can best be applied to this age group. They also can be big fans of guides, catalogs, and books. Major pieces of technology, such as the internet and smartphones, were developed later in their lives. This explains why it took longer for Baby Boomers to overcome the learning curve and to implement gadgets into their everyday lives.

Still, Baby Boomers are emerging online and their online presence is on the rise. Many have enjoyed reconnecting with old friends online. Facebook and LinkedIn are the top platforms to find this age group. Baby Boomers emphasis on relationships can also be linked to how they like to have brand trust and brand loyalty with companies. Content with clear and brief information are delivered best over desktops and tablets. 

Generation X

As one of the middle generations, this age group is an assortment of people. As a result, the ways Generation X likes to be marketed can be comparable to Baby Boomers and/or Millenials. Although they are the smallest age group of people, Generation X should not be overlooked. They have the highest average income on the national level, which is reciprocated in their top-tier purchasing power

They use tablets, desktops, and mobile devices. Videos can be a nice interchangeable medium to use in this instance since it can show well on all devices. Additionally, blogs can be sought after for an organized and interesting application of information. Generation X still likes to rely on email to stay updated. 

Millennials

This generation is at the heart of the smartphone craze. They have the highest percentages of smartphone owners with 92% and laptop owners with 70%. Millennials have been the trendsetters for everyday technology, especially known for using phone apps, for anything from using social media to checking their bank accounts. Their ease with the constantly changing technology causes this generation to be able to learn and adapt quickly. The fast-paced environment is what they are used to. 

On the other hand, they are used to seeing a lot of media, so they can require more to entice them in comparison to the other generations. Thus, they want to be able to get information concisely. Information should be directly to the point. Still, Millennials often like to see creative and/or interactive media. Imagery can help attract their attention. They also engage with incentives, such as sales and offers. 

Don’t consider calling this generation because it is likely they will not answer the phone. Although they can often be found on their phones a lot, they still will not pick up calls. Texting or emailing are preferred in order to have clear and concise correspondences. 

Generation Z

As the youngest of the four generations, this group has grown up around technology. By being the generation to which it has become second nature to know how to navigate technology, they are most likely to catch up to Millenials with their mobile and online trends. Generation Z has another world available to them through technology, as seen through their vibrant social media presence; Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, TikTok, Twitch, and Musical.ly. are among their top mobile apps. 

Generation Z can work well with more creative content, such as through social media, quizzes, memes, and other graphics. They also are the most likely to make purchases from their mobile devices, such as from food apps or online clothing sites. It is important to stay up to date with popular trends in order to keep up to date with Generation Z.

Always Have a Plan

Target marketing to any of the four generations offers a concise plan to work with. Each of these generations’ expectations, likes, and dislikes provides information to strategically use for marketing. Considering the different elements of the generations makes sense based on how they behave and navigate life. It is important to realize who you are marketing to through different advertisements. Digital pieces will attract different people than those that gravitate to print pieces, which is what generational marketing is all about. The goal is to better end up understanding the connection between both the marketing and the customers.

 

This is the second blog post by marketing intern Maura Honan. The first blog post was about brand trust, you can read it here.