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We’re a Full Service Agency

Want to learn more? Of course you do.

Our Team

  • Dan Klein

    Dan Klein

    CEO, Managing Partner

    Dan Klein is a serial entrepreneur, with a proven record of building businesses, driving growth, and improving client’s overall sales and marketing strategy. Dan has the unique ability to see the big picture through the clients’ eyes, and continually strives to improve the return on their marketing investment.

    After selling his first business to Primavera Systems, Dan has held a number of leadership positions in the information technology industry including Red Sky, Primavera, Perficient and PSC Group. Dan was also CEO and co-founder of bigwidesky, a St. Louis based virtual agency that specialized in interactive and one-to-one marketing campaigns.

    Dan is active in the community through his involvement on the board of Family Support Network and as a children’s recreational baseball coach.

  • David Meyer

    David Meyer

    Partner, Chief Marketing Officer

    David is responsible for many of the concepts that drive our clients’ business, and most of the antics that drive us crazy. Perhaps more impressive than his ability to come up with ‘big ideas’, is his ability to execute them. He learned the ropes helping to build some of the biggest brands in the world (Coke, Kellogg’s, Nike, Allstate and Anheuser-Busch to name a few), and now uses those skills to deliver the same impact for emerging businesses.

    David is active in the community through his involvement in the United Way, by chairing the marketing committee of the Missouri Venture Forum, serving on the advisory committee for the St. Louis Holocaust Museum and Learning Center, and by volunteering in entrepreneurial programs at Washington University’s Olin Business School and the Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurial Studies.

  • Steve Slais

    Steve Slais

    Partner, Chief Creative Officer
    Steve doesn’t just have a great aesthetic, he’s smart enough to spell aesthetic right the first time (no spellcheck required, thank you). He’s a true big idea guy and has the rare ability to turn his vision into action. He’s done the big-sexy-account thing. He’s done the award-winning thing. All the while, his primary goal remains to help his clients achieve their goals in the most cost-effective way possible.

  • Angie Lawing

    Angie Lawing

    Managing Director, St. Louis

    Angie is a thinker, a storyteller and a boss lady. She oversees the strategic direction of the agency and aligns the account, strategy and creative teams to pursue client delight while managing Spoke growth. Angie has an understanding and appreciation of what makes clients tick and drives the strategy and plan to meet client needs. She likes tackling complexity (in audiences, value propositions and offerings) and distilling it into simple, clear benefits. Working with the talented team at Spoke, she is passionate about delivering successful marketing programs.

    With over sixteen years of experience in marketing and communications, Angie enjoys helping grow companies in every industry, in every size, with a particular passion for technology, financial and healthcare companies as well as startups. Prior to joining Spoke, Angie spent fourteen years running and managing a successful video and communications agency.

  • Drew Mangels

    Drew Mangels

    Creative Director
    Drew isn’t a designer. He’s a big picture thinker. He can distill complex issues and key attributes into their purest form. The results are beautiful designs, unimaginable concepts, and supporting copy. A veteran of the industry, Drew has survived working at shops such as The Waylon Co., Kupper Parker Communications, and Falk Harrison. After working with Spoke on freelance projects with his own shop, Stable 11 Design since our inception, we finally were able to convince him to join us full time.

  • Ian Cohen

    Ian Cohen

    Director – Strategic Planning and Research
    If you thrive on being the smartest person in the room, you won’t like hanging out with Ian. He’s worked on over 200 accounts over his esteemed career, but refuses to live in the past. He embraces new technology and communication, all with the mind of a keen strategist, and all for the benefit of his clients.

  • Brian Schwartz

    Brian Schwartz

    Technology Strategist
    Brian is as a strategist and interactive specialist and is an expert speaker on social media, one-to-one marketing, and effective lead generation/nurture campaigns. Return on investment is the core focus of each project he touches.

    As a technologist, Brian has been a project manager, consultant and architect on several successful interactive projects and integrated marketing programs for clients including St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Kiwanis International, Business Objects, TBWA\Chiat\Day, Nissan, Infiniti and ANY LAB TEST NOW®.

    Brian shares that same energy and expertise with the community through his active involvement with New Voice Church.

  • Debbie Arata

    Debbie Arata

    Creative Director
    When she’s not staring intensely at her screen quietly designing (something stunning, of course), she’s looking up to see what the hell is distracting her (politely, of course). Her drive is equaled only by her desire to create beauty…print or web. Pick your poison.

  • Joanna Heinrich

    Joanna Heinrich

    Managing Director, Austin, TX
    Jo started at Spoke as a bartender, and has worked her way down the corporate ladder to be the managing director of our Austin location. Along the way, she learned the ropes, earned her Masters in Advertising, and became the best account executive we’ve worked with. The rule of thumb around here is that if you give something to Dan, he’ll lose it. If you give it to David, he’ll screw it up. Just give it to Jo, and it’ll get done. She keeps the train on track, the engine running smoothly, and all of the other metaphors you’d associate with a great leader.

  • Ali Tucker

    Ali Tucker

    Director of Operations & Marketing
    Anyone can make a list, that’s easy. Ali’s methodical ability to prioritize and turn lists into action is unparalleled. If she asks you a question and you don’t have the answer…you will before she leaves your office. She can manage any project, no task is too big…no detail too small. When you combine this with her marketing experience in digital strategy, branding, product launches, sales, and events, she’s got our clients covered.

  • Gretchen Wolpert

    Gretchen Wolpert

    Senior Account Manager
    With 10 years of proven experience in project management, we simply couldn’t manage without Gretchen. She serves as the main point of contact with Spoke clients and oversees the day-to-day operations of projects ranging from print to web. While she’s a big picture thinker, she’s also meticulously detailed, timeline focused, results oriented and never forgets a thing. And everyone remembers that about her.

  • Debbie Meehling

    Debbie Meehling

    Office Manager
    The official ‘Keeper of all things Official.’ Debbie is responsible for printing, proofreading, making sure the office is running smoothly, and keeping our feet to the fire until we get her what she needs. With all of the details running around her head, you’d think she’d be uptight. Her goofball factor is a complete anomaly; maybe it is the only exception to her rules.

  • Chris Martel

    Chris Martel

    Creative Strategist
    Among his many other talents, Chris has an uncanny ability to organize vast amounts of complex data and distill it to the core. This talent alone would make him invaluable. The added bonus is his creativity, concepts and writing skills.

    Proof of his mad genius can be seen in the depths of Spoke’s marketing plans and throughout our portfolio.

  • Linda Eckels

    Linda Eckels

    Senior Production Artist
    Remember when you had to send out for type? Linda does. Remember when retouching was done with Quantel computers running Paintbox, or on Scitex workstations? Linda does. The good news, she also knows how to do everything and anything digitally and can manage (literally) thousands of print and web files better than anyone we’ve ever known.

  • Maxwell Law

    Maxwell Law

    Account Executive
    Everyone at Spoke has great attention to detail and is deadline driven. Just kidding. If it weren’t for Max, his clients wouldn’t love us. They might like to hang out with us (really, who wouldn’t), but they’d miss getting their projects done right the first time (and on time). The nerd is pretty strong with this one; his last job was as Account Manager at Elsevier working with some of the largest private sector institutes in the country. While we’re trying to get the corporate starch out of his shirt, he’s stealthily creating gantt charts, managing projects, and keeping our creative engine from destroying itself.

  • Tirzah Clerc

    Tirzah Clerc

    Account Executive
    Tirzah has Type A personality, and Spoke plans to take full advantage of her perfectionist and workaholic tendencies. A desire to organize and make things happen are tinders to her flames of achievement. A day in the life for Tirzah consists of conducting research, cultivating media relationships, supporting the team in developing communications material, assisting client public relations and, at times, brewing the perfect cup of oolong tea.

  • Jess Parrett

    Jess Parrett

    Designer
    Jess turned us down for a job once (as a summer intern) and we weren’t about to let her get away a second time. A graduate of SCAD with both agency and in-house experience, Jess has an amazing eye for design, a passion for typography, tremendous attention to detail, and a work ethic that makes the rest of us feel a little guilty.

  • Patrick Shannon

    Patrick Shannon

    Interactive Marketing Manager
    Patrick’s the closest thing to a Renaissance Man we’ve seen since the 17th century. With a solid foundation designing for print, Patrick has expanded his skills to include design and development for interactive (including mobile applications). He designs with the eye of an artist, but the critical mind of production team. His ability to problem solve has forced us to add “I dunno, ask Patrick” into our daily lexicon. He’s constantly creating. When it isn’t client work, you can find him behind a camera lens or in his woodworking studio.

  • Alana Rosenfeld

    Alana Rosenfeld

    Sales & Marketing Coordinator
    With a Master’s degree in education focusing on working with individuals with intellectual challenges, we thought Alana might be our only chance for survival. With a passion for marketing, Alana realized that her skills in working with people, conducting research, writing, and project management make her a great fit. Clients love her, we love her, and hopefully she’ll fix the broken toys we’ve become.

  • Richard Roden

    Richard Roden

    Creative Director
    To say that bringing Rich on full-time felt a little anti-climactic isn’t entirely fair. We’ve been working with Rich on a retained freelance basis for so long; not much has changed. Wait, That’s not true. Instead of having to call him up and arrange a meeting, we can just walk over to his desk. Oh yeah, and we can pull him into a meeting whenever we need an extra big brain. With 16 years of experience, Rich has evolved with the changing industry. He’s still wildly strong in print design and corporate identity, he’s embraced interactive and can run with the best of them. He’s put in time at some fine agencies across town including AIM Communications, Intaglio, ProWolfe, Falk Harrison, and Kupper Parker.

     

Our Model

We focus on growing businesses and provide them with full-service marketing with a laser focus on finding their fastest path to cash. To accomplish this, we take a holistic approach that requires a complete understanding of the business, their sales process and competitive landscape, the various buyers, influencers, and buying triggers. This methodology is usually reserved for ‘big’ companies - not anymore. We’ve got an experienced, passionate team with diverse skill sets and a determination to deliver a return on your investment. If you’re looking for a Band-Aid, we’re not your huckleberry.

Before clients start with us, they’re typically executing last minute one-off tactics that aren’t integrated; this means marketing that’s more expensive and less effective.

We believe marketing shouldn’t cost you money; it should make you money.

That alone doesn’t make us unique; our model does. Once we understand your business (and sales process), we focus on finding your fastest path to cash. Our focus is a bit different, too. We create marketing solutions tailored to complement each step of your sales efforts. Most of our clients are entrepreneurial-minded companies, the CMO or V.P. Digital in larger companies, or funded start-ups.

That might sound like a wide net to cast, but our clients’ common thread is their desire for something different that goes beyond the ‘expected’ solution. They might not be able to articulate it, but what they want are fully-integrated marketing programs grounded in strategy, aligned with their sales process, delivered with strong creative, and designed for the highest possible return on investment.

Each project starts at our home office in St. Louis, or our Austin location, with a core team consisting of an Account Manager, Marketing Strategist, and two Creative Directors (one for design, and one for copy). Only when we know what the client needs can we then put together the experts for the job, and deliver strong creative (that rings the register).

Our Vision

We never intended to build an agency, certainly not a first-of-it’s-kind agency. We were all happily self-employed. independent, and had worked together on projects since 2003.

Then, in 2007 something clicked. Whenever one of us got a project, we called the other two. Whether we were wrestling with strategy and concepts, budgets and logistics, design or communication…each of us wanted the other guy in the room.

Our clients liked the work, and business grew. Suddenly, having three locations and three companies was making things tricky. We met in each other’s offices, coffee shops, libraries and bars. At least once a day, somebody said, “Life would be easier if we were one company.”

Well, maybe if you really say something often enough, it will come true.

Um. We really don’t have a long-term vision. Sorry if the headline was misleading, but we thought this was better than ‘under construction’.

Our Formula

Most clients come to us looking for help executing a specific tactic: they’d like their website updated, they want a brochure, they need materials for a trade show – you get the picture.

The problem is, most of these are symptoms of a bigger problem: we need more sales, we want more exposure, our competitor has a new product line, etc.

Our first step is to identify the problem. Then, we find the fastest path to cash.

What’s the one thing we could create that would improve your sales or profitability right away? That’s where we’ll start.

Our marketing plan:

  • Assess the current situation
  • Identify the problems
  • Outline the stories to tell each audience
  • Find the Fastest Path to Cash™
  • Rank tactics by ROI
  • Provide concepts and sketch creative
  • Include estimated cost and timelines

Marketing Plans

Some clients are surprised that agencies have processes. After meeting us, they’re even more surprised that we have one.

Don’t get us wrong, if there were a magic idea machine, we’d buy one; but there isn’t (we’re looking at you, Elon Musk).

Until that glorious day, our marketing plan process is the best way we know how to uncover where a client’s products or services are in their lifecycle and gain insight on their customers’ wants, needs, buying triggers and the messages that resonate with each target, stakeholder and influencer.

Loaded with this information, we create a road map that details the proposed next steps, the cost to execute each one, and the anticipated ROI.

The result? A too-big-to-put-away plan that outlines targets, triggers, messages and the marketing paths.

Of course, we start with The Fastest Path to Cash.™

Lead Generation

Qualified leads are the lifeblood of a growing business. Referrals from satisfied clients are generally the best leads, but that’s out of your control.

Hate that powerless feeling? We can help you bring leads to their knees (and your door) with highly targeted campaigns designed to deliver that sweet, sweet soulful sound of the phones (and registers) ringing.

We know that if there are 100 people in a room, only 3 are your target. We’ll market to them…but if one of those people can influence 10 others – that’s our bulls eye.

Once we determine which route is best for you, we’ll craft a campaign to meet your needs: inbound, outbound and (our favorite) high impact.

When done the right way (i.e., the way we do them), lead generation campaigns (historically) have the highest immediate return-on-investment for our clients. They build awareness and with a clear call to action, deliver the results you need.

Branding

Frankly, we cut through the typical agency BS. We don’t care what car your brand would drive or who it would invite to a dinner party. We dig in deep with clients to really understand their business, and what makes them unique.

A brand is much more than simply a logo (although that’s certainly part of it). They don’t have to be fancy (think facebook or Vogue), but they do have to be unique and true to all of the promises that your brand delivers.

Your customers and prospects have a lot on their minds. The brand serves as a ‘shortcut’ that tells them what your brand represents, and becomes more meaningful over time.

Your brand is your voice, your vision and the story that you tell at every touchpoint. It has to be credible, authentic… and a promise that you deliver on at every turn.

The brand is the jumping off point for everything that follows. It builds equity over time. It’s one asset that will never show up on your company’s P&L, but executed correctly, it can be invaluable to the future health and success of your business.

Interactive

Whatever interactive direction we take is based on ROI, and it’s integrated and automated every step of the way…growing like a snowball rolling down the Denali. We leave nothing to chance.

As for web, while this sounds really jargony (sorry), we’re platform agnostic. We build sites on whatever makes the most sense for our clients’ long-term goals. We love the hell out of custom development, but sometimes there’s no need to re-invent the wheel and we’ll create custom solutions using WordPress, Drupal, Ruby on Rails, Groovy on Grails, Squarespace, Joomla or whatever platforms make the most sense for our clients.

Similarly, we work with multiple systems for social media and email nurture campaigns (BarrelFish, HubSpot, hatchbuck, marketo, pardot, Silverpop, act-on, Infusionsoft and more).

We’re also pretty proud of the animations we create to tell an engaging story that takes something from ‘hard-to-understand’ to ‘I get it!’

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