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Advertising Strategies
Purpose-driven Promotions Keep Your Company Relevant
Advertising Strategies offers personal touch that makes all the difference
By Rachael Kvapil

oan Massart-Paden, president of Advertising Strategies, LLC, has one rule when she is choosing promotional products and tools: they must have a purpose.

It’s the rule that guides every discussion she and her clients have about marketing and advertising tools.

“I use data to help clients make good decisions,” says Massart-Paden. “Having the facts makes it easier for them to select products, designs, and services.”

Pursuit of Personal Growth Opens Doors
In 2007, after working for several years at another agency, Massart-Paden decided to start Advertising Strategies. Her reputation allowed for a seamless transition with the support of several dedicated clients who continued to work with her in this new format. She went through the usual growing pains of every modern business—from logo and website design to streamlining distribution to a drop-shipping method and searching for discounts on products that keep her business more competitive, she’s done it all.

“I decided to go on my own for my own personal growth and to provide better customer service,” says Massart-Paden.

Advertising Strategies is a member of Promotional Products Association International, or PPAI, a trade organization that allows Massart-Paden to offer more than 25,000 customizable products via her company’s website. Though companies can browse and order on their own, Massart-Paden invites them to contact her to take advantage of her expertise and customization suggestions.

“It saves a lot of time to talk over your needs and brainstorm ways in which I can help,” says Massart-Paden. “The number-one consideration is the purpose of this item. For companies who have ordered specialty items that didn’t work out as well in the past, it’s important to discover the reason.”

By being what Massart-Paden describes as “a personal shopper of promotional products,” Advertising Strategies has served several large clients over the years including ExxonMobil, BP, the Alaska Scottish Highland Games, and more. Lynda Yaskell, information management services coordinator for ExxonMobil, worked with Advertising Strategies to procure customized coats, sweatshirts, portfolios, lanyards, and pens for several events between 2009 and 2011. Yaskell says Advertising Strategies delivered everything, from proofs to final products, in a timely manner for distribution to employees.

“I would contact them in a heartbeat,” Yaskell says. “Joan’s professionalism and one-on-one assistance is wonderful.”

Advertising Strategies' custom shirts for their organizations
Despite most in-person events being cancelled due to COVID-19, several Advertising Strategies’ clients still requested custom shirts for their organizations.
Using drop shipping distribution eliminates one giant hurdle faced by all Alaskans looking to send goods and can decrease shipping costs. Massart-Paden said it’s common for people to balk at shipping costs, since they are generally higher than the Lower 48. To get the best rate, she works with clients to find the optimal combination method of shipping for their particular promotional products. The other challenge clients face is something that Massart-Paden calls “the interlopers.” These are national companies that use the same vendors as Advertising Strategies and seem like a great deal for clients ordering large volumes. However, the problem is their limited customization. Advertising Strategies can often work with the vendor to place logos or artwork in ways that other companies claim are not possible.
Now is the Time to Shop Local
Like many Alaska companies, the COVID-19 outbreak has affected Advertising Strategies’ bottom line. The cancellation of nearly every summer event significantly reduced the number of customized products Massart-Paden’s clients purchased in the second quarter. Still, several clients have made smaller orders to support her business. The Alaska Scottish Highland Games reworked its artwork to incorporate a COVID-19 logo for shirts this year, along with a staff order for the Three Baron’s Renaissance Fair. She also picked up a few new clients, such as the Fairbanks Golf Tournament.

One of those clients is a recently retired Alaska Airlines pilot who hired Massart-Paden to customize promotional products for a yacht rented out to clients in Brazil. Tony Bryant wanted a decal for the stern of his boat named the “Alcateia”, which translates to “Wolfpack of the Sea.” Massart-Paden vectorized an image for a corresponding stencil, based on inspirational images Bryant provided. Bryant then used the digital images to create a promotional line that includes shirts and hats.

“Joan is very, very smart,” Bryant says. “She knows the products she sells. If you have something you need, she will find a way to get it. She is also not afraid to tell you when changes need to be made. Even as a smaller customer, she takes as much time as with a big-time customer, and I appreciate that.”

Advertising Strategies Owner Joan Massart-Paden
Advertising Strategies Owner Joan Massart-Paden believes every promotional item should have a clear focus, such as this logoed cap worn by a client, so people will not only use it, but want to show it to others in the future.
Advertising Strategies has been an AGC member since 2008. Massart-Paden initially called on them as a client and joined not long afterward. Since then, her company has enjoyed networking opportunities, training discounts, and the ability to offer member-to-member discounts.

When asked about the future of Advertising Strategies, Massart-Paden chuckles, “Ah, this is the question—asking if my glass is half full or half empty.”

Ultimately, Massart-Paden believes the future will be bright because industry is flexible. However, she says consumers play a big role in how fast the economy recovers and to what degree. With the holidays coming up, she feels there’s never been a better time for Alaskans to support Alaskan-owned businesses.

Rachael Kvapil is a freelance writer from Fairbanks. All photos courtesy of Advertising Strategies.