Marketing Inside the Box
by Barbara Stahura

Using “guerrilla girlfriend marketing,” this home-based publishing
company promotes its unique journaling product, good for personal and
many business uses, while promoting other women-owned businesses.

Long-time journalkeeper Nancy Cleary was well aware of journaling’s new popularity. After all, most bookstores carry dozens of beautiful blank books waiting to accept their owner’s innermost thoughts. As she pondered the expansion of her one-woman company, Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing, Cleary realized journaling was the answer. By skillfully blending thoughts scattered within her old journals, this 33-year-old graphic designer, former promoter for self-help guru Anthony Robbins, and mother of two developed the concept for Box-is, an innovative journaling product that provides more than just empty pages.

In following a dream, whether personal or business, says Cleary, it’s important to bolster that dream not only with words but with mementos, photos, quotes, books and mentors. So this Rhode Island School of Design graduate created Box-is to help personal journalers do just that. And, as an entrepreneur with a decade of marketing experience, she saw another niche for her unique creation: a customizable business tool, perfect for media kits, workshops, or product promotion.

Each retail Box-is (9"x12"x2") contains a journal, a writing kit with stationery and note cards, and a portfolio filled with wisdom and inspiration. The $24.95 retail Box-is, along with the companion Web site, “inspires you to find your own passion and pursue it,” explains Cleary. Prices for the customizable Box-is so far developed range upwards to $49.95.

Jeane Schintgen discovered Cleary’s Web site and purchased several Box-is. “I was very impressed with the customer service I received, as well as the turnaround time for delivery,” she says. “Box-is are fantastic gifts. The gal that I gave it to absolutely loves hers! I kept one for myself as well. It has become quite a keepsake.”

Box-is have merited a mention on The Rosie O’Donnell Show. Cleary urged the coalition of 80 mother-owned businesses she partners with to think big – and they did. She spearheaded the project and created “The Mother of All Box-is,” five large containers filled with their products, and sent them to Oprah and Rosie - and it worked. As a result, the coalition businesses received major exposure and increased sales – a solid demonstration of Cleary’s talent for product promotion.The group also raised $20,000 in 40 days to produce a Cleary-designed product catalog, which received a brief mention on Rosie’s show.

With this project, says Cleary, “We were able to bring to life a shared philosophy of helping women define their dreams, what they love to do, and provide the resources, tools, and inspiration and support to make those dreams come true.”

Projects like this one represent the “guerrilla girlfriend marketing” Cleary believes is the secret to her success and that of other small, women-owned businesses. “Two years down the road, I'll have established a community of women promoting BOX-is,” she says. Cleary offers entrepreneurs great deals in designing marketing materials in exchange for their co-branding and cooperatively marketing her products. Already, four more authors have contracted to use Box-is in the marketing of their new books.

As a passionate journaler, Cleary knows the answers are within – if only we can tease them out. With Box-is, she hopes to encourage many others to find their own answers. She calls the process visualizaction™ (visual-is-action) “Visualize what you want, then take action to get it.”

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