December 6, 2012

Industy Insider: Ilise Benun of Marketing Mentor

Filed under: Industry insider — Tags: , , , , , , — lidia @ 10:59 am

Industry InsiderIlise Benun of Marketing Mentor is an author, consultant, speaker, founder of and co-producer of CFC: the business conference for the creatively self-employed.

Through one-on-one mentoring, she provides practical guidance, accountability and a sounding board to creative professionals who are serious about growing their creative business. She also speaks internationally to trade groups and students. Her books include “The Designer’s Guide to Marketing and Pricing,” “Stop Pushing Me Around: A Workplace Guide for the Timid, Shy and Less Assertive,” “The Creative Professional’s Guide to Money.

Ilise has indeed been a marketing mentor for me. Several years ago, I attended one of her marketing webinars that helped me get more organized with my marketing. I met Ilise at the inaugural Creative Freelancer Conference in Chicago in 2008 and we have kept in touch ever since. Her advice and books have been a valuable resource as I grow my graphic design business.

Ilise Benun of Marketing Mentor

Tell us a little about what you do/who you work with.

I specialize in working with self employed creative professionals and I help them get the clients they want at the fees they want to charge.

How has your past work experience influenced your current career?

I actually had very little work experience before I ventured out on my own, or was pushed actually, when I was fired from my second job out of college.  I started helping the creative types who surrounded me in NY and started simply by helping them get organized and get paid. From there it evolved into helping with marketing, pricing, proposals and any other  business issue that presents an obstacle to growing a business.

What is the favorite part of your workday?

I don’t think I have a favorite. Every day is different and I make my own schedule, which is what I like best. I start early and I tend not to work too late. I also take breaks for dog walks or just to clear my head.

What do like best about working with creative people?

Well, not all creative people are alike. Some are flaky and unreliable and don’t usually get far in business. I like working with creative people who are professional in their approach and open to bringing their creativity to the business side of their business.

Tell us about an exciting project you’re working on or have recently worked on.

The world is going digital and the future is interactive. So I just finished writing the 2013 Marketing Plan + Calendar to Get Interactive Work. It’s a simple plan for creative professionals that shows how to tailor your marketing to get the kind of work that is being required more and more: digital and interactive work. It is now available at

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October 16, 2012

Industry insider: Jamie Saunders of Neenah Paper

Filed under: Industry insider — Tags: , — lidia @ 1:49 pm

Industry Insider icon

As Marketing Communications Manager for Neenah Paper, Jamie Saunders helped the company take the plunge into social marketing and has successfully built Neenah’s presence in the social networking universe.When she isn’t posting for the company on Facebook, tweeting to more than 22,000 Neenah followers on Twitter, or engaging design thought leaders at various design conferences, you can find her happily living the suburban life with her husband and son outside Atlanta.

In fact, Jamie and I met on Twitter. Being a huge Neenah Paper fan (I use it often for design projects), I started following her tweets and often replied or chatted with her. We met in person a few years ago and have kept in touch ever since.

Jamie Saunders and samples of Eames paper by Neenah (center)

Jamie Saunders of Neenah Paper

Tell us a little about what you do/who you work with.

I’m the Marketing Communications Manager for Neenah. I juggle a few different responsibilities in my role including our PR and social media efforts and our website and ecommerce solutions.

How has your past work experience influenced your current career?

I had an unusual start to my career going the route of retail management so not sure that my work experience has influenced my career so much as my early love of paper. I can remember as a child wanting my presents to be the prettiest ones under the Christmas tree (still do!) and saving my allowance to buy the fanciest paper I could afford. I have always loved sending random cards to friends and family, writing letters and thank you notes and still like to make my appointments on a paper calendar.

When I landed this job at Neenah, my husband told me I finally found the perfect place to work. 6 years later my love of quality paper is stronger than ever.

What is the favorite part of your workday?

My favorite parts of my workday are the conversations I get to have via Twitter. I love when people reach out to us whether to brag on their work or give us feedback. Sometimes I like to just toss a question out into the Twittersphere and see where it goes. A few months ago I asked whether people liked to still get cards in the mail or if an e-mail would suffice…the passion for paper cards went on for 3 days!

I think the true joy in my job has been building a community of people who celebrate paper and print.

What do like best about working with creative people?

I like the different vantage point that my creative friends provide. I think it’s very important to surround yourself with people who hold different roles/industries…a circle of trust. I think what I love most about my creative friends is being surrounded by brilliant conversation that could be about Mad Men one minute move to marriage and child rearing and end up with analyzing why someone would take a 24-mile space dive. I feel most at ease with creative people. I have often said that I don’t consider myself a creative but my creative friends are quick to point out that you don’t have to design to be creative. Recently I was called a creative communicator, I’ll take that.

Tell us about an exciting project you’re working on or have recently worked on.

I am currently working on promoting our Beauty of Engraving project with Two Paper Dolls. Of course, I love the end result of print but I’ve recently taken up a passion with the printing processes themselves.

I already describe myself as a paper nerd but until this project I had no idea how much more there was to learn. Did you know that you could trace engraving back to as early as 60,000 BC? Human beings engraved ostrich eggshells to use as water containers. Who does that in today’s society? Engravers are true craftsman, watch the video and tell me that isn’t cool. The work that these shops are putting out makes me want to go back in time to redo my wedding invitations or throw a fancy party just so I show off this process. Stunning, just stunning.

What has being a mom taught you about business?

I would say that I’m a lot better at saying what I mean and meaning what I say. As a mom, you don’t have time to hesitate nor is there room for dishonesty. Life is full of these quick “emergencies” that require equally quick decisions. Meanwhile, you realize that this little person is reliant on you for information that will shape the way they think forever. That’s a pretty big responsibility. In business and in life, people respect you more when you are decisive and honest.

Thank you, Jamie!

Learn more about Neenah Paper and read Jamie’s tweets:

Neenah paper on Facebook