Moving brands with beauty, purpose and impact

Verve Marketing Group is an award-winning marketing and creative firm based in Chicago. We help worthwhile brands to more successfully accomplish their mission through the power of artistic, strategic creative communications.

Expertise:

  • Branding
  • Multi-channel digital marketing – web ads, social marketing, content marketing, email
  • Custom website design and development
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Print design – logos, sales collateral, trade show graphics
  • Creative solutions that feel right, read right, and function well

We’d love to learn about your current business challenges and design needs. Give us a call to start a conversation! Ask for Joan at 630-964-6056.

 
$5,000+
 
$100 - $149 / hr
 
10 - 49
 Founded
2008
Show all +
Oak Brook, IL
headquarters
  • 2625 Butterfield Road, #138S
    Oak Brook, IL 60523
    United States

Portfolio

Key clients: 

New International Version, Wheaton College, HarperCollins Publishers, National Garden Bureau, NJAHS, Zondervan Academic, International Code Council. 

Reviews

Sort by

UI Design for International Association

“I appreciated their responsiveness and accuracy with regard to timelines.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
4.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Mar. - July 2018
Project summary: 

After consulting with internal teams, Verve Marketing developed the UI design for a subscription platform. They took an iterative approach, creating designs for both desktop and mobile displays.

The Reviewer
 
200-500 Employees
 
Chicago, Illinois
Project Manager, International Association
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Verve Marketing’s designs received enthusiastic praise for their updated visuals and refined navigation. Although the team faced some challenges aligning business needs with an intuitive design, they remained open to feedback and delivered an exceptional end result.

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 an IT project manager for a member-focused association dedicated to developing model codes and standards used in the design, build and compliance process. Our mission is to provide the highest quality codes, standards, products and services for all concerned with the safety and performance of the built environment.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Verve Marketing?

We make all of our book content accessible online and use a subscription platform to sell access for advanced codes and features. With the constant evolution of technology and our customer's changing expectations, we wanted to develop a modern and engaging design to make interactions with our content easier. In an effort to rebrand and increase revenue through our subscriptions, we sought external resources to provide a fresh perspective in completely revamping the UI, messaging and navigation.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They completed a new UI design for desktop and mobile. Initially, we faced some challenges aligning our business requirements with their recommendations around intuitive design. Verve Marketing was patient and determined to get the best end result for our users.

As a result, we had a lot of back and forth to reach a mutual understanding, but they were very flexible. They went through multiple design iterations, while talking to several business units to better understand our needs. They’ve since finished the UI design, and we’re currently integrating the design deliverables into our site.

What is the team composition?

We exclusively worked with a creative designer and their chief marketing strategist who acted as the project manager.

How did you come to work with Verve Marketing?

We found them online. At the time, we knew we wanted external assistance for the fresh perspective to align with branching out to new markets and ensuring the site was intuitive to new users. We also wanted someone local, which would allow us to onboard them and review their deliverables in person. Ultimately, we went with Verve Marketing because they were a small team, had an attractive price point, and promised to deliver the project within the necessary time frame.

How much have you invested with them?

We spent between $10,000–$50,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

Their work lasted from March–July 2018.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

We are still integrating the UI design into our site and intend to launch it before our annual conference in October. The internal feedback has been overwhelmingly positive so far, and we’re optimistic that our end users will agree. The final design has definitely met our expectations.

How did Verve Marketing perform from a project management standpoint?

The overall experience was very positive. They were responsive to our suggestions and made alterations in a timely manner. They came on site multiple times to meet with our IT and business stakeholders to get a better grasp of our needs.

In terms of scheduling, they met if not exceeded every deadline laid out. They gave us a range of hours that they would need to complete the project. While they did go slightly over their estimate due to a larger than anticipated scope, they were proactive about reporting the concern and offering options to us.

What did you find most impressive about them?

I appreciated their responsiveness and accuracy with regard to timelines. They consistently reached out and provided status updates to us before any deadline. If the deliverable ended up more complex than we initially thought, they provided regular progress reports. 

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Be as comprehensive as possible with your business needs and potential limitations upfront. This was one of our biggest sticking points going into the engagement: we had an idea of what we wanted, and Verve Marketing had a different understanding of that. In the end, it was just a different way of looking at things.

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

Digital Marketing for Publishing Company

"They really understand our customers."

Quality: 
4.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
4.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Feb. 2013 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Verve Marketing Group implements digital solutions for diverse publications, creating book-specific websites and email promotions and optimizing social media content to support new releases. 

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Manager of Digital Marketing & Innovation, Christian Publisher
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The attractive sites developed by Verve Marketing Group resonate with each book’s aesthetic and voice, prompting internal management to recognize some as best-practice examples. The team’s eagerness to deliver great results and seek clarification as needed promote a productive relationship. 

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

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

We’re the publishing division of a larger company. I am the digital marketing manager for the team, which focuses on academic and church books.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Verve Marketing Group?

We are often trying to find the most compelling message about a certain book. We have tons of knowledge about these products based on the months of involvement we have with them, but we don’t always know how to craft a truly compelling elevator pitch since we’re so close to the subject matter. This is often one of the problems we’re looking for Verve to resolve.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Verve Marketing Group has been reliable in creating small websites which promote a single book. We do this during initial launches when there is a need for a lot of attention on the material. Verve can do this efficiently and well. They will ask us about specific, measurable objectives and also request a copy of the book so that the team can become familiarized with the content, the author’s voice, and what the product offers to customers. This will shape the kind of copy written by Verve. Based on the aesthetics of the book, they will come up with a nice complementary design for the site itself, making it feel branded towards that book.

Beyond copyrighting and design, Verve Marketing Group is also developing the sites themselves, implementing the features we ask for around the purchase of the book, as well as the calls-to-action we include. We offer free bonus content in exchange for an email address, for example. Verve will help with this as well as with crafting the bonus materials themselves, which usually are a PDF of some kind which the author wrote and, although valuable for readers, wasn’t included in the final version of the book. They are very skilled at designing professional-looking PDFs which have the same look as the book.

Related to our book launches, Verve Marketing Group has also created optimized social media content for us. Depending on how we want to approach the matter, they may find content from the books themselves or work with us in designing the graphics for the quotes we supply. Verve has also created HTML emails around new book releases. We send those internally and through third-party websites which rent email lists.

They’ve also created display ads for books for placement on websites. Verve has produced print ads for us, but I am only focused on the digital part of our marketing. My teammates create print material quite often, and I know that Verve Marketing Group is at the top of their list for this.

How did you come to work with Verve Marketing Group?

They were here when I entered the role. Verve was brought in as a contractor by the previous person in my role. They introduced themselves to me, providing examples of their past deliverables. I was impressed with what I saw and gave Verve a shot. They came up with good results.

How much have you invested with Verve Marketing Group?

The cost differs from year to year, and it has been between $10,000 and $50,000 overall.

What is the status of this engagement?

I started working with Verve Marketing Group in February of 2013. I don’t know when the overall collaboration with my company started. The relationship is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

I have collaborated with Verve Marketing Group for some display ads on a book about how to read the Bible. I wrote the copy in this scenario but asked Verve Marketing Group to design the display ads. The designs they created were put on a website, and the campaign became so successful that it was used as an example by our corporate marketing heads. I don’t remember exact numbers about our click-through rates, but it was recognized as an example of best practice.

How did Verve Marketing Group perform from a project management standpoint?

They’re leaner than other teams I’ve worked with, and I was kept in the process more. From my experience, Verve’s team doesn’t like to work in a turnkey approach, receiving direction and only reporting back one month later. There’s communication during the project, and this can be either a good or a negative thing, depending on how important the project is and how fast it has to be done. There were times when Verve’s team was asking me good clarifying questions, but I’ve also had to tell them that “done” was better than “perfect” on some occasions.

When working on projects, we communicate through email and phone calls. We have in-person meetings once a year. I talk a lot with Verve’s principal and copywriter, but the longer I’ve worked with them, the more I’ve also had access to Seth, their creative director.

What did you find most impressive about Verve Marketing Group?

They really understand our customers. Verve has put a lot of effort into this, looking at customers’ behavior and what they find compelling and valuable. I would be willing to bet that they put the same level of thought for each of their clients and have a careful approach to the process. I have appreciated this about Verve Marketing Group.

Are there any areas Verve Marketing Group could improve?

They took over the management of a website from us, and I believe that Verve agreed to this before they saw what a mess the code was. It consisted of hack upon hack, and we fired the initial vendor after they botched it. Verve Marketing had limited access to the code, so they could only fix 60–80% of it. It was a learning experience for their team since they should have gotten more visibility into the site’s workings beforehand. 

4.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 4.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    When I want different variables, I will sometimes see a lot of similarity in terms of email layouts, for example. I would've liked to see more variety.
  • 4.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Web Dev/Design for Horticultural Non-Profit

"Verve Marketing was a strategic business partner, helping us reach our goals in ways which we hadn’t even identified."

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Jun. 2016 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Verve Marketing rebuilt and redesigned an outdated site on WordPress, adding new features and an improved UX. They’ve moved on to build a second site and continues with future improvements for both.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Downers Grove, Illinois
Diane Blazek
Executive Director, National Garden Bureau
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The new site attracts more visitors and the number of members increases largely due to its new ease of use. Users love the new design and layout that Verve Marketing’s analysis and expertise helped achieve while providing all the tools and explanations necessary to have a smooth process.

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

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

National Garden Bureau is a non-profit organization involved in horticulture and gardening. I am the executive director.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Verve Marketing?

We had an outdated site which was not mobile friendly or responsive, and difficult to administrate. It was not easy to navigate it, so we needed someone who could build us a new site.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Verve Marketing helped us identify some of the key images we wanted to present, and the order in which they needed to be on our homepage. The structure of our previous site was not intuitive for visitors, especially with the tabs across the top. Verve Marketing was helpful in making us decide what was going to go into those tabs and their dropdowns. We looked at how each segment of the homepage should be built so that it would reflect its importance in the overall design of the site.

We had most of the content in place, but Verve Marketing was helpful in reading through it and deciding where it should go.

How did you come to work with Verve Marketing?

We contacted Verve Marketing along with five or six other companies. It was important for us to find that the company had looked through our current site and had a good idea of what our needs were, based on some of the questions that they asked. It turned out that Verve Marketing was a couple of miles down the road from us, so we were able to meet with them in person. One of the big things I appreciated about the team was their strategic thinking in terms of asking us questions about the direction we wanted to take, what the hierarchy of the site’s information was, whom we were trying to reach, what look we wanted, and so on. When we got the first proposal back, it wasn’t just for the redevelopment of our site in WordPress, but also for making it better and adding new features.

Their thinking process ranked content first and design second. To me, the flow and hierarchization were way more important than the design. I knew that it would come eventually, so it was most important for Verve Marketing to take a look at our site, ask questions, and find out what would be optimal and easiest to use for our visitors.

How much have you invested with Verve Marketing?

The cost of Verve Marketing’s work was $45,000 for the two websites we built.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with Verve Marketing in June 2016. In that timeframe, we launched a secondary site in November. The collaboration is ongoing and there will be a second phase for both websites. Because of our budget, we started with the basics and added more features along the way.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

Our main website has entered its second month of being live. Unfortunately, in the first month, Google Analytics was completely shut down for three days. Naturally, our numbers went up from March to April 2017, but we couldn’t compare our numbers with the ones from the old site since it used a different analytics platform. Looking at it from a day-to-day standpoint, our numbers are increasing.

From a design standpoint, the comments we’re getting from the general public, including garden writers and members, are amazing. People love the site, its look, and the ease of use. I can honestly say that we’re getting new members because of the new design.

How did Verve Marketing perform from a project management standpoint?

They were great to work with. We fell down for the first website because we didn’t think through the project well enough. Verve Marketing helped us work through it so that the second project was a dream. We knew what to give them and when, so the team delivered on time and on point. Verve Marketing explained to us that, if we created a spreadsheet for the new and old URLs, they could figure out how to redirect. That document helped us from A to Z. We referred back to it during all of our discussions.

What did you find most impressive about Verve Marketing?

When we met with their principal, her thought processes, from a business and communication standpoint, helped us interpret what we were trying to do and tweak things about the website. She was a strategic business partner, helping us reach our goals in ways which we hadn’t even identified.

Are there any areas Verve Marketing could improve?

The one or two issues we had with the first site were resolved for the second one. I don’t feel that it would be fair to mention those since they were resolved quickly. A bit more training on the WordPress backend would have helped us, but we’re unusual in not having that knowledge. Many people are already familiar with the content management system, and it’s generally easy to figure out. I cannot state anything else. I really liked how everything turned out.

What tips or recommendations could you share that might increase the likelihood of success with Verve Marketing?

I do recommend using the same firm for multiple projects since it makes things much easier.

5.0
Overall Score It was simply a good experience.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They were really good in this regard.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    A perfect score would mean that there aren’t any improvements to make.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I’ve written a referral for Verve Marketing’s website, and I have given their name out to one or two people.

Campaign Digital Strategy for Liberal Arts College

"Verve Marketing was very helpful in taking the ideas we had and making them better."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Apr. 2016 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Verve Marketing designed a promotional website and associated marketing collateral, such as event invitations and response cards. The site was built on Wordpress for easy editability. Their work is ongoing.

The Reviewer
 
501-1,000 Employees
 
Wheaton, Illinois
Deb Keiser
Marketing Strategist, Wheaton College
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The communications designed by Verve Marketing had a significant impact on site traffic and the new UX has received high praise. The team has quick turnaround times and is committed to meeting all requirements. They meet tight budgets without sacrificing creativity.

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

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

We are a liberal arts college based in Illinois. I work as a marketing strategist with our development department on a fundraising campaign.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Verve Marketing?

We are working on increasing donations for the campaign. A part of our strategy is to have a website which can be used by regional directors in order to show potential donors what we’re doing with the campaign.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

The site is primarily a promotional piece, housing stories and describing different initiatives related to our campaign. Verve Marketing has helped us on this front, and have also helped with other branding material, individual marketing pieces, invitations to events and so on.

Verve Marketing helped us develop the design of the website based on our idea. They handled all of its layouts, working closely with us and making it come to life. I wanted to be able to make content changes on the site, so Verve Marketing chose the WordPress platform, making it easier for me to use. They also came up with icons related to the messaging of the campaign.

We hold five events in the spring, and two in the fall. Verve Marketing has created the template for the invitation and response cards, as well as all other collateral. We wrote most of the copy, while Verve Marketing produced the layout.

How did you come to work with Verve Marketing?

We sent out a request for proposal to a list of web designers we’d used in the past. I had worked with Verve Marketing at a previous job, so I made sure they’d be included in that list. They were assessed along with everyone else and proved to be easy to work with and understanding of our messaging. It was an easy choice to have Verve Marketing help us with other things. They cared enough to follow-up, in the beginning, asking questions about the work, instead of just taking our RFP and providing a proposal. Verve Marketing tailored their response to fit what we wanted. Not many of the other companies we contacted cared enough to call and get more information, so Verve Marketing’s proposal was much closer to our aim, by comparison.

How much have you invested with Verve Marketing?

The cost of Verve Marketing’s work has been around $60,000 overall.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with Verve Marketing in April or May of 2016. The collaboration is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

We’ve gotten very good feedback internally from people who have used the website. A couple of people outside our organization have also commented on how nice the site is. It’s easy to use and navigate. We’ve had a 35% increase in people coming to our site following a marketing campaign which included emails.

Verve Marketing was very helpful in taking the ideas we had and making them better. They have all kinds of creative ideas on how to use our icons, integrating them into content like videos, and tying everything together. We now have a visual which goes along with our messaging, and I think that Verve Marketing has done a great job. I’ve gotten very good feedback from my supervisors and everyone else, regarding Verve Marketing’s work.

How did Verve Marketing perform from a project management standpoint?

They have very quick turnarounds and always try to say yes. Verve Marketing has met our timeframe, and any exceptions weren’t necessarily their issue. There have been incidents on our side which derailed deadlines a bit, but, as long as we got the work to Verve Marketing, they delivered. We mainly communicate via email, phone, and Skype. We have a dedicated project manager, but I also talk directly with our designer for issues directly relating to them.

What did you find most impressive about Verve Marketing?

They listen well and always try to provide us with what their team thinks we need. Verve Marketing is always cognizant of what is ultimately our end-goal and tried to deliver that to us. They’re also concerned about price; I work for a college, so we have to be careful about how much money we’re spending. Verve Marketing has worked inside of our budgets and did it in a creative way.

Are there any areas Verve Marketing could improve?

Not really. 

5.0
Overall Score Verve Marketing is a very good company.
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    It’s partly my fault, but the process is a bit bumpy at times.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    We’ve used another design firm which was much more expensive than Verve Marketing, without having better quality of work.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer