A digital design + development agency

Mess is a digital design + development agency in Chicago specializing in engaging apps and services for web + mobile, founded in 2006. For over a decade, we've been crafting unique, user driven experiences, applications and ideas across every platform and avenue we could find.

 
$25,000+
 
$100 - $149 / hr
 
10 - 49
 Founded
2006
Show all +
Chicago, IL
headquarters
  • 1824 w Grand Ave Suite 200
    Chicago, IL 60622
    United States

Portfolio

Aparium Hotel Group Websites Image

Aparium Hotel Group Websites

We're big fans of Aparium and their mission to make community-driven hotels that matter. We jumped at the chance to design and develop the website for the stunning St. Jane in our home town of Chicago and in the historic Carbon and Carbide building.

Creating and crafting the digital presence for St. Jane was our inaugural engagement with Aparium. We've since launched three other sites for hotels in Kansas City, Omaha

and Memphis with a Topeka-based property in the works. We actively developed a common UX experience across the sites, each with highly distinct visuals and copy.

We're over here reveling in the chance to iterate on an overarching parent brand for the diverse and distinct communities they're trying to reach with each wholly unique hotel. It's a stellar example of an on-going relationship where communication, trust and transparency leads to happy clients (and happy creatives).

Chicago Humanities Festival Website Image

Chicago Humanities Festival Website

Sometimes a client comes across our radar that we simply have to have because we believe in them. Chicago Humanities Festival is one of those clients.

The Chicago Humanities Festival, after a re-branding, found its web presence out of step with its brand. Mess saw the disconnect as an opportunity to build a website that is conceptually aligned with the ideals of this remarkable organization.

We brought the

fresh, approachable feel of the new brand to prosaic web processes such as event listings, ticketing systems and donor management.
Agency EA Branding and Website Image

Agency EA Branding and Website

Working alongside fellow creatives is equal parts a challenge and a dream scenario. There's encouragement to take big risks and an expectation that we'll deliver. Agency EA is a leading experiential events firm with some of the top talent out there, so we were thrilled when they selected Mess to be their creative co-conspirators.

Over the course of the year, we worked to refine their brand, reimagine their

industry-defining story and design a website that not only sets them apart, but sets them ahead in an ever-more-crowded space. We also created a digital brand style guide, a gorgeous new printed look book and a series of other print and online collateral for presentations, emails and other resources.

But even better? We've built incredible relationships with our EA counterparts and look forward to creating more beautiful, engaging, on-brand magic with them in the future.

United Benefit Advisors Branding

United Benefit Advisors is a membership organization whose goal is to help their partners by sharing their collective wisdom through data, in-person events, and information-rich communications. 

 

A lot has changed in the employee benefits industry since UBA launched in 1998. However, UBA’s branding had not kept pace. 

 

We worked with UBA to redefine the core message of the brand, the brand’s

voice, and the logo. Having worked closely with UBA for more than a year on marketing communications, events and more, we were very familiar with the existing brand. We knew a lot about what where we thought this process was going but ended with surprising and fresh results. 

 

The new brand is rolling out through digital and other media through 2019. 

Cooperate: Kawasaki Cooperative Marketing Platform Image

Cooperate: Kawasaki Cooperative Marketing Platform

It’s not everyday we get the opportunity to change how businesses work, but in this case, that’s exactly what we were called in to do.

Mess spent hundreds of hours planning, designing, and developing the digital platform that powers cooperative marketing startup Cooperate’s Co-op Resource Center for Kawasaki’s dealer network.

eFinancial Website Image

eFinancial Website

eFinancial tasked Mess with completely overhauling their corporate website from tip to tail.

Encompassing everything from recruiting to quote calculator tools, we started with a deep dive into UX exploration and iteration, and saw the entire design and development process through to the final content push, including developing all copy and photo assets used throughout the site.

Spout Branding and Website Image

Spout Branding and Website

Spout is a startup whose goal is to use collective data to help everyone have safe drinking water.

 

Startups are fascinating partners because they talk in terms of future vision. It’s about where they want to go. There’s no baggage, it’s wide open.

At the same time, startups are under immense pressure to gain funders and to reach milestones.

In a very compressed timeline, we ideated, iterated,

designed and versioned a new logo for the brand and created a website and full social media campaign.

Reviews

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Web Design for Environmental Services Company Rebranding

"They did a really nice job with such a short window to work with."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
4.5
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Jan. 2019 - Mar. 2019
Project summary: 

Mess Marketing implemented designs from a third-party into the development of a new WordPress website for an environmental services company. They wrote brand new code and helped switch hosting domains.

The Reviewer
 
1,000 - 10,000 Employees
 
Lowell, Massachusetts
Fernando Ramirez
Former Digital Marketing Manger, TRC Companies Inc.
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

After taking over the project from an unsatisfactory vendor, Mess Marketing accomplished all project goals within 10 weeks, and they continue to provide website support. They managed the project well and have provided standout customer service. Their attitude and efficiency are appreciated.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the former digital marketing manager for TRC Companies, Inc.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Mess Marketing?

Our goal was to launch a new website around the same time TRC Companies, Inc. was launching its new brand in March 2019. Part of the rebrand entailed redesigning the website as well as configuring a new domain that was better aligned with our brand.

We initially hired a different firm to perform this work, but they accomplished almost no work over several months. We only had about a year to build this website, and we wasted the first few months on an inadequate vendor.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

By the time we hired Mess Marketing, we had about 10 weeks to build and launch the new site and complete a domain switch. There were quite a few moving parts involved for such a short timeframe.

We relied on Mess Marketing to design and develop the new website on WordPress. Their team worked in tandem with our branding firm to create mock-ups and wireframes. Mess Marketing then handled everything from writing the code, setting up SEO programs, and managing the technical work involved with the domain switch and redirects from our old URL. They even established a legacy site where we could access the old website in case we needed to refer back to it.

Not only did they develop and launch the website, but they are also the maintenance provider now. They are always available to provide any kind of technical support.

What is the team composition?

There were 8–12 team members on their side. Jack (Partner/Interactive Director, Mess Marketing) was one of the team leaders on the project. He acted as our customer success rep and developer/technical rep. He was there to make sure we were happy with the work they were doing and that we were all on the same page. He did have an assigned project manager for us as well. We didn’t communicate directly with the developers, but we knew there were folks on his team that were helping out with the project.

How did you come to work with Mess Marketing?

We learned about Mess Marketing through our branding firm who has worked with them on various website design projects. They’ve been working together for several years and have a good rapport. We were happy with their presentation, how they communicated the project timeline to us, and how they would work with us phase-by-phase.

How much have you invested with them?

We’ve spent between $50,000–$200,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We worked together from January­–March 2019.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

They helped the vision come to life. Everyone was extremely pleased with the results. We did a major domain switch as well as redirects that they did an outstanding job on. We didn’t run into any technical issues. I’m sure the site will perform incredibly because the domain is healthier. We removed any technical issues that we had from the old site. They did a really nice job with such a short window to work with.

How did Mess Marketing perform from a project management standpoint?

They worked with us extensively around the clock to maximize our time together. They worked off business hours and during weekends to help us meet our deadline. We were on the hook with our C-level team to deliver on time. Mess Marketing was agile, which suited the project perfectly. We had daily scrums and held a one-hour meeting each week to recap our progress and identify our next goals.

Their communication is incredible. Jack was a part of the project, but his assigned project manager was phenomenal. Their availability during business and non-business hours is incredible. We worked through Asana to keep everything organized.

From a customer service standpoint, they were courteous and engaging. Everybody had a great personality and attitude. They completed their project with a smile. They were really straightforward and receptive to feedback.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They know how to work fast and efficiently.

Are there any areas they could improve?

No, they provide great service.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Be clear about your expectations and your desired results.

4.5
Overall Score
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    For the most part, we always stayed on schedule. There wasn’t anything major.
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 4.5 NPS
    Willing to refer

Web Refresh for Life Insurance Company

"They deliver their work on time, on budget, and according to our high standards."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
 
2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Mess Marketing organized a redesign and development of two website entities for a large insurance company. They created wireframes, explored UX options, and connected the sites to internal CRMs.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
Des Plaines, Illinois
Executive Vice President, Insurance Company
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Mess Marketing has proven to be a reliable vendor—a service provider that understands project requirements and delivers accordingly. They offer smart suggestions to improve overall product quality. The team collaborates well with team members from various departments and third-party vendors.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I am the executive vice president and chief marketing officer for a large, direct-to-consumer life insurance company.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Mess Marketing?

The market-facing digital presence for one of our internet properties hadn't been updated in several years, so I hired Mess Marketing to redesign, redevelop, and launch an updated website. We have since also engaged them to complete a similar redevelopment for our company’s primary website.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Our first initiative started with a strategy discussion, where we identified the audience, user experience, and content that we wanted to include. Our teams then developed wireframes and explored several options for the site design. We then pivoted to the development and execution, where Mess Marketing was accountable for all of the architecture and tying it back to our internal CRM. They were integral in working with our marketing team but also with our IT colleagues, as well.

I’ve also leaned on them for other sorts of marketing services. For example, I engaged them to develop a few radio spots for us. I included them in that RFP process as a courtesy, and they turned out to be the best in terms of creativity, responsiveness, and price.

Mess Marketing also works well with the other firms we use for SEO and content creation. I feel just as comfortable having personnel from those companies interact with Mess Marketing directly because it’s such a fluid and well-functioning relationship.

Overall, I view our working relationship as a partnership. They have been a part of some critical initiatives around the website development, and they are continually looking to improve our presence.

What is the team composition?

I interact with one of the principal owners, the lead designer and his team, a copywriter, and a project manager.

How did you come to work with Mess Marketing?

I received several referrals from trusted colleagues and associates in the industry. I interviewed a few firms and determined that Mess Marketing offered the ideal combination of skill set, price point, and relevant experience in the industry. They were also a good fit from a personal and cultural perspective.

How much have you invested with them?

I expect to spend $300,000 by the time we wrap up this project.

What is the status of this engagement?

We engaged them late in 2017, and our work is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement? 

They deliver their work on time, on budget, and according to our high standards. Our stakeholders have offered a lot of positive reviews for the first site that we’ve completed. We also see positive gains in traffic, SEO, usability, and lead requests, so we’re encouraged by the all-around results we’ve seen so far.

How did Mess Marketing perform from a project management standpoint?

We initially used Basecamp and held weekly or checkpoint meetings whenever major deliverables were due. We are now using Asana and moving more toward an agile process, which keeps us nimble and more efficient.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They’re not afraid to put their ideas in front of the client. I’ve worked with agencies that take direction and build what they are told. Mess Marketing’s team, on the other hand, respectfully questions our strategies and introduces their own thoughts. Because they’ve done so, we’ve ended up in a much better place.

Are there any areas they could improve?

No, I'm struggling to find anything that could be improved.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

With every engagement, it’s wise to come to the table with an understanding of your business goals. Be as forward and transparent as you can be. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions and challenge Mess Marketing’s thinking. They can sometimes be modest and humble, and unless you press them, you won’t learn about the depth of insight that went into the work.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They make sure to stick to their estimates.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I would gladly recommend them if I thought they'd be a good fit.

Web Dev Support for Artist Platform

"I have confidence in Mess Marketing’s decision making."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
2014 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Over the years, Mess Marketing has provided web development support for an online marketplace through migrating and updating the platform. The team has worked with Python, Django, and Vue.js.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Tallahassee, Florida
Owner, Artist Web Platform
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Throughout the engagement, Mess Marketing has delivered consistent web development work. Their team is full of proactive and skilled listeners. Customers can expect a trustworthy partner working with their team.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the owner of an artist web platform that works as a marketplace for artists that distribute prints of their artwork online.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Mess Marketing?

We hired Mess Marketing for web development support.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We used Mess Marketing in three phases. The first was our original site conversion over to Python and Django. The second phase was our migration over to Google Cloud. The third was an entire website rewrite that we’re currently working on now in Django 2.0, Python 3, and reconfiguring all the core components of the website.

Primarily, their team has been completing backend work over the years, not necessarily engaging with the design side. Several years ago, their team converted our Python and database over to a standardized Django dashboard. They moved our models over, transferred our data, and defined the first real large-scale version of our website. Since then, we’ve engaged with them regularly.

Jack (Partner & Interactive Director, Mess Marketing) and his team keep our website going, implementing JavaScript components for uploading new functionalities. Our backend has an account system where users can deposit & transfer money, and then use that money for orders.

Currently, Mess Marketing is converting our entire website over to Django 2, using a Vue.js frontend. I’m trusting them to move the project in the right direction because it’s a different stack for us.

What is the team composition?

Along with Jack, we work with 2–3 of their programmers. There’s also a project manager assigned to each project. Since we began these larger migrations, we usually engage with 3–4 of their team members.

How did you come to work with Mess Marketing?

I know Jack through a friend and knew they were a Django shop. We engaged with Mess Marketing because that’s where our company was headed.

How much have you invested with them?

Throughout the years, we’ve spent over $150,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

Our engagement with Mess Marketing began in 2014.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

Mess Marketing gave us our first platform for the 5–10 years, and I’m trusting them to deliver the next iteration for the next 5–10 years. We’re able to work in parallel where we can work on smaller product launches while I can trust that they’re handling our entire future in the background. I have confidence in Mess Marketing’s decision making. Historically, the decisions they’ve made with our website have been the right decisions.

We do talk through it a little, and they listen. Their team will change their opinion on certain things, and sometimes they’ll convince me on their suggestion. Mess Marketing is tied into our Google Cloud hosting. They will go above and beyond to make sure our project is up and running.

How did Mess Marketing perform from a project management standpoint?

Mess Marketing saved us quite a few times. If their technology goes down or something breaks, we can get in touch with them. I love working with their project managers because they’re always on the ball. They’re quick to get a hold of.

Jack is a smart and proactive worker who takes on all the heavy lifting for the site. We have weekly standup meetings with the project manager, the developers, and Jack. In those, we discuss how we’re going to address a data migration or how we’re going to have functionality in the future. Then the developers start collectively working on the back and frontend at the same time. We use Slack and Asana, and our meetings are through Zoom.

What did you find most impressive about them?

I trust their decision making. When they come to the table with a solution, I don’t have to wonder if the solution will cost a lot of money if it needs fixing within two or three years. Their team does it a budget-conscious way, and they’ll also tell us what we will need and why.

Are there any areas they could improve?

No, I’m happy with their work. Over the past few years, their team has expanded. It’s been nice using more of their people and building based on their recommendation and what their team can handle. We’re getting a lot more done quickly.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Listen to Mess Marketing because their team is smart. You want to consider what they’re saying and how it would impact your business in the future. Their team makes great decisions, so let them present their opinions and actually consider them. Nine times out of 10, they’re going to give you more than you needed.

5.0
Overall Score I love them. We couldn’t be doing what we’re doing without them.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    Their project manager is on the ball, following up regularly and communicating well. They’re easy to communicate with.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They’re transparent with their budget. They hit the middle ground of what you’re paying to what you get.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    Without them, our business wouldn’t have grown as much as it has.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I’ve sent several referrals their way.

Web Revamp for Arts Nonprofit

"They have a palpable sense of passion and gusto, really throwing themselves into a project fully."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Dec. 2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Mess Marketing developed a corporate website supported by an open-source Django and Python CMS. Featuring various integrations, the site launched on time, and Mess is continuously honing its functionality.  

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Chicago, Illinois
Kristen Fallica
Senior Digital Strategist, Chicago Humanities Festival
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The rejuvenated website has boosted the organizations online presence and reputation significantly. Site content is much easier to manage in-house, and Mess Marketing continues to provide committed service, focusing on UX improvements. Customers can expect a flexible and fast-moving team.

The client submitted this review online.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your company and your position there.

I'm the senior digital strategist at the Chicago Humanities Festival, a 30 year-old arts and culture nonprofit in Chicago. I oversee digital strategies, our evolving web platform, and online and social content.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

For what projects/services did your company hire Mess Marketing?

We had a legacy, non-responsive web platform, with an awful UX on the front end and a totally outdated unusable CMS on the backend. We needed a complete web redesign and a CMS our staff could manage internally. We also had extremely complex integration requirements with our ticketing platform, membership program, and donation software.

What were your goals for this project?

The new web platform had significant requirements; it needed to be a responsive, extensible platform for: Clear and inviting brand messaging, seamless, user-friendly event discovery and ticketing, CMS/Content publishing that connects to events and stands alone, easy to use and administer donation functionality, and multiple software integrations. We also wanted to use an open-source framework so that refinements could be made easily.

SOLUTION

How did you select this vendor?

One of our freelancers suggested them initially, and we invited them to submit a proposal. We reviewed 6+ proposals but were simply blown away by the level of care and specificity that the team brought to the proposal process. They had concrete solutions to our challenges already built into their proposal. All the other firms were just highlighting their past accomplishments, but the Mess team told us specifically what they'd do for us. We also just had a sense that they would be good people to work with throughout a long, complex project, and it's proven to be right!

Describe the project and the services they provided in detail.

They did intensive discovery to make sure they fully understood our challenges in detail, even though their proposal already had a number of solutions. They designed, developed, and launched a new web platform with a customized open-source Django/Python-based CMS. We had several rounds of approval for each project phase, from discovery documentation and integration specs to wireframes and design comps.

Once a staging site was launched, we worked closely with their teams on content migration and extensive QA over several months. Fixes and improvements were made efficiently as we prepared for our go-live deadline. Since the site launched, we've also continued to work with them on refinements and adding new functionality.

What was the team composition?

There's a design team, a development team, and project management, and we primarily worked with a small cross-functional cohort of 3–5 individuals for the duration of the project. Everyone was great to work with, kind, responsive, and helpful.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Can you share any information that demonstrates the impact that this project has had on your business?

The new website's impact is frankly immeasurable. We look so much better and more professional, our ticket sales have been steadily increasing, our memberships have gone up, and we're able to manage the site content easily on our team. We continue to make small refinements each month to further enhance the UX and add functionality

How was project management arranged and how effective was it?

Their project management was excellent and always communicative. After going through multiple rounds of review for wireframes, sitemap, and design specs, we were updated as the development team built out the CMS. Content migration was largely handled by us, but we were well-supported by their team. We had a strict go-live window and they did everything possible to make it happen on schedule. We have used different tools throughout the process including Slack, Asana, and Zoom.

What did you find most impressive about this company?

It is truly amazing what they accomplished for us on such a tight timeline. The team literally bent over backwards to meet our deadlines, despite the complicated integrations taking much longer to nail down than originally anticipated. And the result wasn't just adequate, it was outstanding. Plus, they are just a pleasure to work with. They have a palpable sense of passion and gusto, really throwing themselves into a project fully. We had direct access to the people we needed to communicate with regularly, and always felt cared for.

Are there any areas for improvement?

There isn't much to improve – if anything, they could use more developers to help with QA and testing, but I think they're already expanding in that way.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Fundraising Video Production for Nonprofit

“We were impressed with Mess Marketing's ability to listen to our feedback and work with us to fulfil our vision.”

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Less than $10,000
 
Dec. 2018 - Feb. 2019
Project summary: 

After helping develop a storyboard, Mess Marketing filmed and produced a video for an annual gala event. They worked closely with an in-house team, making changes to the video as needed.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Chicago, Illinois
Lisette Zaid
Development Manager, Libenu
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The video was shown at the gala and the donors were moved by its message. Mess Marketing went above and beyond to meet all needs, while their talented team and exceptional problem-solving skills contributed to a positive experience. 

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I'm a development manager at Libenu. We provide services to children and adults with developmental disabilities.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Mess Marketing?

We needed a vendor to help us create a video for our annual gala event.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We had an idea of what story we wanted to tell and Mess Marketing helped us put together a storyboard. They made valuable recommendations and we ended up going with one of their suggestions. Then, they did two full days of filming, which included interviews and a B-roll. We also gave them the footage we already had, and they produced the final version of the video, incorporating our feedback.

What is the team composition?

We interacted with an editor, a producer, a creative director, and one of their partners, but there were more members of their team working on our project.

How did you come to work with Mess Marketing?

I knew one of their partners socially.

How much have you invested with them?

We spent about $5,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We worked with them between December 2018–February 2019.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

They created an extremely moving video that was perfect for the gala. We also sent out an email blast to our donors, and one of our larger donors responded by letting us know how good the video made him feel about his philanthropy work.

How did Mess Marketing perform from a project management standpoint?

They were very organized and met our deadline. We mostly used email and Basecamp to keep track of the project. 

What did you find most impressive about them?

They're very good problem solvers. We had a miscommunication on our part, so our executive director wasn't entirely happy with the first draft. We were impressed with Mess Marketing's ability to listen to our feedback and work with us to fulfill our vision.

Are there any areas they could improve?

Internally, we felt that something was off with the color of the video, but that could be because our opinion was different from theirs. We didn't ask them to change the color because the deadline was so close. Also, we wish the video was a bit shorter. It was perfect for the gala, but it's too long to show in a meeting.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Don't make any assumptions about who they bring to the table. They have a very talented team and they want to work with you and hear your feedback. Also, give them as much information as you can–they'll know what to do with it.

4.5
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Web Design and Dev for Boutique Marketing Firm

"Their knowledge of design and optimizing the overall user experience stood out to us."

Quality: 
4.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
4.5
The Project
 
Less than $10,000
 
Nov. 2018 - May 2019
Project summary: 

Mess Marketing redesigned and rebuilt a WordPress site for a marketing firm to improve its UI/UX, enhance the brand look and feel, and grow traffic. They provided end-to-end services from discovery to launch.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Chicago, Illinois
President, Marketing Firm
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The site deployed to praise from new and existing customers on its new look and feel. Mess Marketing delivered high-quality design and development work on time and within budget. Knowledgeable, communicative, and diligent, the team led a smooth workflow from start to finish.

The client submitted this review online.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your company and your position there.

I am the president of a boutique marketing firm located in Chicago. We work with a variety of middle-market companies across the US.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

For what projects/services did your company hire Mess Marketing?

Our first company website had been created several years ago and needed a redesign and overhaul. We utilized Mess Marketing to revamp the UI/UX, develop the site, and launch it.

What were your goals for this project?

We wanted a robust yet simple theme solution that we could integrate into WordPress and easily update. We were also looking to refresh the overall brand look and feel, increase site traffic and leads, and enhance the user experience.

SOLUTION

How did you select this vendor?

We had worked with Mess Marketing over the past several years on other projects. We knew this was something that they could easily handle within the projected budget and timing.

Describe the project in detail.

We first had a series of discovery meetings to discuss overall objectives and strategy. Mess Marketing then came back to us with initial wireframes and three rough look-and-feels for the main page. We finalized architecture and agreed upon the look and feel. 

After that, Mess Marketing built out the remaining wireframes and eventually a rendered version of the site for our review and approval. We made minor updates along the way during our regroup meetings before locking in on a final version. 

Finally, Mess Marketing developed and coded the site over a few weeks. We then held multiple reviews on a staging site to beta-test everything. Once we gave final approval, Mess Marketing proceeded to launch.

What was the team composition?

We worked with a project manager, a designer, several front- and backend developers, and a strategist and director.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Can you share any outcomes from the project that demonstrate progress or success?

The website has just recently launched, so we're awaiting quantitative data. From a qualitative standpoint, we've received positive reviews on the updated look and feel, functionality, and ease of use from current clients and new prospects.

How effective was the workflow between your team and theirs?

The workflow was fluid. Mess Marketing assigned us a project manager who set up all timelines and deliverables in Basecamp and Asana. We held weekly status meetings and scheduled reviews to ensure we stayed on track and within budget.

What did you find most impressive about this company?

Their knowledge of design and optimizing the overall user experience stood out to us. Mess Marketing knows the ecosystem exceptionally well, and we would not hesitate to use them for similar projects.

Are there any areas for improvement?

Timing slipped in certain areas due to design changes on our end. Overall, however, the process seemed rather seamless, and we ended up with a high-quality end product.

4.5
Overall Score Mess Marketing had a great team that did solid work and delivered a quality end product.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    The team was very accessible and readily available.
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    Their services were affordable and stayed within our budget.
  • 4.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    Mess Marketing produced high-quality work that only needed only minor refinements.
  • 4.5 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I would recommend Mess Marketing to others.

Digital Marketing Strategy & Newsletter Design

"The collaboration is so creative and meets all of my expectations."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Mess Marketing provides digital marketing strategy and implementation for a healthcare company. They've created an e-newsletter template and begun work on a major website redesign.

The Reviewer
 
1,001 - 5,000 Employees
 
Chicago, Illinois
Director of Marketing, Sinai Health System
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Their work has been well-received. Mess Marketing's understanding of digital marketing allows them to bring creative ideas of their own to the table at a reasonable value. Their demonstrated interest in long-term outcomes and customer needs make them a valuable partner.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the director of marketing at Sinai Health System in Chicago.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Mess Marketing?

I have a very small in-house marketing team. I wasn’t happy with the external firm that we were working with. I needed to find a firm that could help us with digital marketing and be a collaborative partner. I wanted to find a firm in the Chicago area that had a good portfolio of clients, but not so big that we’d get lost. I was looking for a mid-sized firm that wasn’t too expensive. They also needed to have the ability to understand my needs and come up with solutions to our problems. 

SOLUTION

SOLUTION 
What was the scope of their involvement?

Mess Marketing’s first project was creating a template for an e-newsletter platform. That was successful so I decided to ask them for help with a digital marketing strategy. They help me figure out what we need to do to engage our patients. They got to know our healthcare system and conducted stakeholder interviews to make sure that we were moving in the right direction. Then they put together their recommendations in terms of what our digital marketing flow should look like.

One key outcome of that strategy was the decision to redo our website. We're still in the project planning phase. They plan to use a custom CMS. They've created site maps and are working on wireframes now. Given the size of our healthcare system, it'll probably be a year-long project and include a lot of research.  

What is the team composition?

The strategy lead and the project manager are my main points of contact. Depending on the project, I also work with the creative director, a copywriter, and a designer. 

How did you come to work with Mess Marketing?

I first spoke to agencies I knew from previous jobs. Some didn't want to engage because it would be a lot of work to understand our demographics. We're on the southwest side of Chicago and serve primarily African-American and Hispanic patients. That’s a big learning curve for some agencies. I found Mess Marketing through an internet search. They were willing to learn more about our clients’ challenges so I decided to move forward.

How much have you invested with them?

The e-newsletter template was $5,000 and the digital marketing was about $25,000. I don't know the exact amount yet for the website but will be at least $100,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

Work started in late 2017, and the engagement is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

We don't have metrics yet because we just started working on the implementation. I like that they understand what I’m looking for. Mess Marketing adheres to my brand and my standards. I've been happy with their flexibility and the way they help me figure out solutions that will work for our system. The collaboration is so creative and meets all of my expectations. 

How did Mess Marketing perform from a project management standpoint? 

Mess Marketing utilizes a project management platform for collaboration and feedback. We use that as a tool to send any documents back and forth. They schedule calls every 2–3 weeks to touch base. 

What did you find most impressive about them? 

Their team is very involved in making sure they understand our challenges and problems are. Mess Marketing is much better at that than other firms I've encountered. We have a really good working relationship and that’s why I continue using them. 

Are there any areas they could improve? 

So far, the only constructive feedback is that I often have to remind them that we need to meet. I think it’s because they’re so small. As a small team myself, I also end up having to push deadlines. It’s not criticism but rather something we both need to improve.

Do you have any advice for potential customers? 

Understand your goals and what you’re seeking so Mess Marketing can utilize their time better. That's what I did and I think it helped steer the course of my project.

4.5
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They need to make sure we’re meeting more regularly.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They’re flexible on invoicing and the cost is reasonable.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    I'm satisfied with everything they've done so far.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Security, Dev & Maintenance for Business Software

"Mess Marketing has an excellent portfolio of past experience."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
 
Sept. 2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Mess Marketing helped build a custom software solution. They implemented cybersecurity measures and performed third party integrations. 

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Ardmore, Pennsylvania
Owner, Business Software Startup
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The team’s work has been integral to business success, and it will continue to be in the future. Mess Marketing is an experienced team with responsible, efficient business operations. They excel at tackling complex projects with tenacity.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the owner and CEO of a SaaS business that provides technology for the motion picture, film, and television industry. 

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Mess Marketing?

We wanted to create a scalable, marketable piece of technology that solves specific problems.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They helped us build a custom solution, and now they’re providing ongoing maintenance and development. Our systems process thousands of users each day, so it was a complex project.

Their services included writing custom code in Jango and integrating the solution with third parties such as SMS. They also made a lot of technical choices regarding cybersecurity, including configuring server security preferences and ensuring cookies were functioning correctly. 

What is the team composition?

I mainly work with Jack (Interactive Director, Mess Marketing) and a senior developer. We also use a project manager.

How did you come to work with Mess Marketing?

After meeting Jack and a business development specialist at a networking event, I evaluated their services compared to other firms in the area. I could tell they were sought after because they weren’t desperate to work with us. I was impressed by their portfolio of work, and there were no lawsuits against them according to public records. 

When I visited their office, their employees were on-task, so I could tell there would be an ROI. Also, their offices are well-organized and presentable. Their offices have the atmosphere of a well-run technology shop. 

How much have you invested with them?

We’ve invested $200,000 with the team so far. 

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together in September 2017, and the partnership is ongoing. I’ve already hired them for another project.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

I couldn’t have run my business successfully in this early phase without them. I expect their technologies to help me turn my company into a multi-million dollar business.

How did Mess Marketing perform from a project management standpoint?

Despite the fact that I’m pushy, commanding, and detail-oriented, they satisfied my requirements. We use Basecamp to manage the project collaboratively, and they use Asana within their team. 

What did you find most impressive about them?

Mess Marketing has an excellent portfolio of past experience. Their employees work hard to produce quality results. Jack and Rob (Partner & Director, Mess Marketing) run a clean business. Also, Jack is a personable, empathetic business owner with a flexible approach. 

Are there any areas they could improve?

This is not something I need or require, but they could offer more client appreciation. For example, after we built a product, I sent them a thank you note. I do get plenty of attention and everything I need from them, but little touches like that would go a long way. 

5.0
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer