Four Decades. Forward Thinking. The Starmark 40th Anniversary Book
Peggy Nordeen is an Iowan by birth, a Chicagoan for life and a
Floridian by choice.
Her early years were spent in and around the Quad City area.
Marylou Nordeen, her mother and role model, was a tenacious and
respected leader who instilled in Peggy cherished principles for
success in life, business and faith that guide and drive her to this day.
After attending college at the University of Iowa and serving as a
reporter for The Daily Iowan newspaper, Peggy moved to the Windy
City to pursue a career in journalism. It was there that she found her
way into advertising and the legacy you’re about to read.
An author and speaker, Peggy’s column "Competitive Advantage",
focuses on technology’s ability to attract customers, has appeared
monthly for seven years in the South Florida Business Journal.
Peggy was named South Florida Business Journal’s 2006 Business
Woman of the Year/Entrepreneur of the Year. She was honored as a
2009 Diamond CEO Award recipient for her prowess as a business
and community leader. In 2011, Peggy received the first Florida
International University Corporate Responsibility Award. In 2013,
she was recognized as one of the top five Women-Led Businesses
in Florida by the Commonwealth Institute of South Florida and PNC
Bank. This year Peggy was named volunteer of the year by “A Child Is
Missing” and the 2018 South Florida Business Leader of the Year by
Seafarers House. She is a past chair of the Greater Fort Lauderdale
Alliance and current Vice Chair of the Broward Workshop.
ABOUT OUR FOUNDER
TA B L E O F C O N T E N T S
Chapter 1: The Napkin
Chapter 2: From Start-Up to B2B Authority
Chapter 3: Dan L Estes, Co-Founder Starmark
Chapter 4: Starmarkers: Our Likable Experts
Chapter 5: StarBar Networking Center: A Special Place
Chapter 6: Technology: Forward Thinking
Chapter 7: It’s Always Been About the ROI
Chapter 8: Fun and Fishing in South Florida
Chapter 9: Tourism & Hospitality: Marketing Fun
Chapter 10: Marine Industries: It’s in the DNA
Chapter 11: Chicago’s B2B Strategy Works in Florida
Chapter 12: South Florida: Excellence in Education
Chapter 13: Healthcare in Chicago and Florida
Chapter 14: The Lab: Living Innovation
Chapter 15: Supporting the Business Community
Chapter 16: South Florida Charities
Chapter 17: Investing in the Future
Chapter 18: Working Together: Blending Agency & Client Expertise
These were no ordinary talents. Dan Estes was the youngest art director ever
hired by Playboy Enterprises. In 1970 Allen Cox, author of Confessions of a
Corporate Headhunter recruited him from FITCH in Columbus, Ohio to Playboy
in Chicago. During his years at Playboy, Dan enjoyed “unlimited budgets”
and interacted frequently with Hugh Hefner and Arnie Morton, the Morton
Steakhouse mogul whose son Peter started Hard Rock Hotels. Dan won 45
design awards before he was 25 years old.
By the time he turned 30, Dan left Playboy and started a Chicago Clark
Street nightclub named “Smile” that Johnny Carson lauded on air, and where
comedians like Pat Paulson and Albert Brooks performed regularly. But
problems with his partners led Dan to close down the club and start a new
company: International Graphics Design.
International Graphics Design quickly grew to twenty employees and won
national recognition for a Monsanto Corp. campaign, among others. Despite
the success and accolades, Dan felt he couldn’t take the company to the next
level because he lacked an in-depth understanding about the business side
of advertising. So he did something truly unprecedented: he wound down the
company to spend a few years at a large Michigan Avenue agency to learn
more about the advertising business. This is where he met Peggy Nordeen.
IT ALL STARTED ON A NAPKIN. TWO YOUNG
MICHIGAN AVENUE ADVERTISING EXECUTIVES
SAT AT A FRENCH BISTRO IN CHICAGO WHEN
THEY DECIDED TO TAKE THE LEAP AND START
THEIR OWN AD AGENCY.
/ T H E N A P K I N /
4 / THE NAPKIN
DAN ALWAYS WANTED TO CREATE A STAR BRANDMARK, SO HE SKETCHED OUT HIS IDEA ON A PAPER NAPKIN
FOR PEGGY. REVERSING THE FIRST TWO SYLLABLES OF MARSTELLER, A BUSINESS AGENCY THEY ADMIRED, AND
COMING UP WITH STARMARK SEEMED LIKE MAGIC TO THE TWO BRAND EXPERTS, WHO HAD ALREADY REJECTED
NAMING THEIR NEW AGENCY AFTER THEMSELVES. IT WOULD NOT BE THE “DAN AND PEGGY SHOW,” IT WOULD BE
STARMARK—A BRAND THAT COULD GO THE DISTANCE, BRING IN NEW PARTNERS, AND HIRE EMPLOYEES WHO WOULD
BE PROUD TO BE “STARMARKERS”.
Peggy was a young, rising Vice President at the Michigan Avenue agency Dan
joined. At the age of 28, she had already served on the boards of the American
Marketing Association and the Publicity Club of Chicago. She’d risen through
the ranks of her agency at record speed, rapidly moving from Copywriter to
Vice President, Account Director—with stops as Public Relations Director and
Account Director—working with accounts like Martin-Marietta, Tenneco’s
Sheaffer Pen Company, International Harvester, Fuqua Sports, and Nixdorf
Computer Company (now Siemens). She frequented the Chicago power
lunch scene with Ad Age, Adweek, Chicago Tribune, and Sun-Times marketing
columnists. A large part of her success was seeded in combining her journalistic
writing talents with the flair and excitement of advertising creative. She
understood storytelling early on. The other part was her utter tenacity when it
came to getting clients to understand the value of advertising and its impact on
Estes and Nordeen quickly realized they’d make the perfect partners,
with complementary talents that could greatly benefit clients. But Chicago
competition was fierce in 1978. Dan and Peggy knew they would have to
carve out a market niche where the “big boys”—the likes of Ogilvy, J. Walter
Thompson, Leo Burnett—wouldn’t take them head-on. Maybe someone had
already done that they thought, and when they looked around the marketplace,
they focused on Marsteller, then known as a “corporate advertising agency”—
or, in today’s vernacular, a B2B agency.
There were plenty of business marketers with advertising and promotional
needs in Chicago. This particularly appealed to Peggy who had consistently
waved the flag for quality lead generation from advertising campaigns to prove
value to clients.
STARMARKERS CELEBRATE A FANTASTIC 40TH | STARMARK.COM/STARBREW
6 / THE NAPKIN
2 F R O M S T A R T- U P
T O B 2 B A U T H O R I T Y
Save for the Nixdorf Computer campaign, which
both Peggy and Dan had worked on—and which
the Wall Street Journal named the best new product
introduction of the year—both Starmark founders
were steeped mostly in consumer advertising.
In fact, Starmark’s first two clients didn’t even fall
into their B2B strategy. One was a car detailing
franchise company out of Toronto. The other
was Frabill Manufacturing, a division of Huffy
Corporation in Milwaukee, whose lines of business
were fishing tackle and basketball backboards.
With minimal investment dollars to begin the
agency, these two accounts became predominant in
Starmark’s start-up years.
While these clients weren’t exactly Starmark's
target, campaigns for both companies were wildly
successful. In the early 80’s, the car detailing
franchise was the fastest growing franchise in the
United States. It was featured on the cover of Money
magazine, with 2,400 franchisees largely obtained
through direct response advertising programs and
media plans designed by Starmark.
WITH THEIR B2B STRATEGY FIRMLY IN PLACE, DAN AND PEGGY GOT
TO WORK ON BUILDING THE BUSINESS. OF COURSE, THINGS DON’T
ALWAYS GO ACCORDING TO PLAN.
/ F R O M S T A R T- U P T O B 2 B A U T H O R I T Y /
8 / FROM START-UP TO B2B AUTHORITY
When Huffy Corporation’s basketball backboard business acquired the NBA
license it began to dominate the market by launching an exciting manufacturers’
rep program connected to the league’s Hoop Magazine, which was distributed to
fans attending games in the ‘80s.
Frabill Manufacturing’s fishing tackle also grew in distribution and was
purchased by then marketing director Jeff Marble to become one of the premiere
fishing tackle companies in the country. Frabill’s molded plastic yellow bait
bucket was inducted into the International Game Fishing Hall of Fame museum,
as well as in most big box and fishing tackle stores in the country.
Still wanting to boost their base of business clients, Peggy designed a research
plan to help uncover best practices of successful business marketers. Because
the agency was young, she sought out a credible publishing partner as a sponsor.
Rick Kean, then publisher of Business Marketing, agreed to the Starmark plan
over lunch with Peggy. After more than two hundred completed questionnaires
and interviews with business marketers from Chicago’s plethora of Fortune 1000
firms were compiled and analyzed, a best practices report titled “What Really
Matters to Business Marketers” was published to wide acclaim.
Rick and Peggy, both together and separately, spoke at marketing events
across the country on this report, which lauded the tactical mix of advertising,
direct mail, and public relations working in tandem under the same objectives
and strategies. They used the term “Integrated Marketing Communications” for
the first time—a term that went on to become a Masters Degree program
at Northwestern University.
STARMARK. FOUR DECADES. FORWARD THINKING. / 9
Proud as they were of their start-up
accounts, Dan and Peggy held firmly to
their original objective. With their staff
nearing ten people, they formulated a
plan to partner with Crain Publishing’s
Business Marketing magazine. Starmark
would perform some fairly revolutionary
primary research on business marketing,
and Business Marketing magazine
would participate in and promote the
research through their magazine and the
publisher’s speaking engagements.
/ T U R T L E C A Y /
Ironically, when they did identify their first major B2B account they weren’t even in Chicago. Dan and Peggy
had taken their first-ever fishing trip to the Bahamas. It was the early 80’s and they were on Turtle Cay. While
roaming around the small island after a day of fishing, they stopped by a small shack-like building painted
bright blue and appropriately named “Miss Emily’s Blue Bee Bar.” With a glass of Miss Emily’s famous
“Goombay Smash” in hand, Peggy began perusing the countless business cards of fishermen and boaters
tacked to the wall. She eventually found one from the CEO of Chicago’s GATX Terminals Corporation, a
petroleum and chemical storage and distribution services company in North America. Peg took a picture of
the card and as soon as she and Dan returned to Chicago, gave his office a call.
10 / FROM START-UP TO B2B AUTHORITY
Peg invited him to visit the agency and trade
stories about their Turtle Cay adventures. He did,
bringing along Don Locke, Director of Marketing
for GATX Terminals. The timing was good for a
marketing partnership, and Starmark became
GATX Terminals’ agency of record, launching
their first customer magazine and a new B2B
With Starmark’s expertise in the B2B space well
established, it quickly became known as one of
the top ten business marketing agencies in the
country, working for some of the top companies
in the region—Tenneco’s Packaging Corporation
of America, Enron’s Quantum Chemical, Nalco
Chemical Company, Molex, multiple divisions
of Illinois Tool Works, Finkl Steel, Motorola,
Grain Processing Corporation, Ball Aerospace,
Allen Bradley, Square D, Honeywell, and Waste
Management Corporation, just to name a few.
In the midst of this phenomenal growth, Starmark
was named to the Inc. 500 list of the fastest growing
privately held companies in the country—the first
company to be named to that list five years in a row.
In the years since, Starmark has been on the list
GATX CUSTOMER MAGAZINE
// STARMARK DID AN INCREDIBLE JOB IN CREATING MARKETING CAMPAIGNS
FOR MY FORMER COMPANY AND OUR FRANCHISEES. CLIENT RELATIONSHIPS
ENDURE BECAUSE OF THE CULTURE THEY INSTILLED WITHIN THE COMPANY.
CLIENTS ARE TREATED LIKE FRIENDS WITH LOYALTY AND INTEGRITY—
CHARACTERISTICS NOT SO COMMON IN TODAY’S COMMERCE. //
– GARY GORANSON, STARMARK’S FIRST CLIENT
The key to Starmark’s success was best summed
up by Starmark’s first client, the late Gary Goranson
who built his car detailing company in North
America to nearly 2,500 franchisees in five years.
“Starmark did an incredible job in creating marketing
campaigns for my former company and our
franchisees. Client relationships endure because of
the culture they instilled within the company. Clients
are treated like friends with loyalty and integrity—
characteristics not so common in today’s commerce.”
– Gary Goranson, Starmark’s First Client
STARMARK. FOUR DECADES. FORWARD THINKING. / 11
// THE SECRET IS
TO STAY ONE
STEP AHEAD. //
Starmark ran ads in Business Marketing magazine
for several years, headlined:
This became Starmark’s mantra for the agency,
clients and employees.
12 / FROM START-UP TO B2B AUTHORITY
3 D A N L E S T E S
C O - F O U N D E R S T A R M A R K
1 9 4 5 – 2 0 11
1945–2011/ D A N L E S T E S , C O - F O U N D E R S T A R M A R K 1 9 4 5 – 2 0 11 /
NO BOOK, ANNIVERSARY OR OTHERWISE, COULD BE WRITTEN ABOUT STARMARK WITHOUT PAYING
TRIBUTE TO DAN L ESTES. IT WAS DAN WHO CONVINCED PEGGY NORDEEN (EVEN BEFORE THE NAPKIN
DOODLE)—AND THEN BRETT CIRCE AND JACQUI HARTNETT AND EVENTUALLY, DALE BARON TO
// TAKE THE LEAP //
14 / DAN L ESTES, CO-FOUNDER STARMARK | 1945 – 2011
STARMARK. FOUR DECADES. FORWARD THINKING. / 15
Dan was a true entrepreneur and encouraged the same in others. But it was
Dan’s integrity that gave Peggy the confidence to move forward with Starmark.
Dan was one of the most principled people Peggy had ever met. Had she seen
him make mistakes? Sure, a few. Had they disagreed? Yes. But as Dan often
said, “If two people in the same company agree on everything, then one of
them isn’t needed.”
In Dan, Peggy found someone who was both fearless and brilliant. It was the
fearlessness that made everyone around him feel confident. It certainly made
life and business more exciting for Peggy. Dan may or may not have shared that
excitement, always acting as if he knew what would happen or, if he didn’t know,
showing no hesitation in wanting to see what would happen.
As a designer, one of Dan’s “superpowers” was the ability to anticipate what
came next and envision multiple options. For instance, when Dan would
begin a brandmark, he’d engage the client and compile detailed research,
ultimately producing thirty to fifty sketches, if only to get an idea of what was
possible. From there, he would choose the half dozen ideas he thought were the
strongest, fleshing out the graphics of each before reviewing their strengths
and weaknesses with the client.
// HE ALWAYS DID WHAT HE SAID HE WAS GOING TO DO. //
— PEGGY NORDEEN
16 / DAN L ESTES, CO-FOUNDER STARMARK | 1945 – 2011
OVER THE YEARS, DAN AND PEGGY MIXED BUSINESS AND FUN WITH THEIR CLIENTS FROM BOATING, TO
FISHING, TO FOOD. THERE WAS ALWAYS SOMETHING SPECIAL GOING ON AND EXCITEMENT GENERATED
BY SUPERIOR WORK THAT NEEDED TO BE CELEBRATED.
That’s how Dan tackled all decision-making,
whether in business or his personal life. He would
envision multiple scenarios and, if he liked one,
he’d ask others for their advice. Sometimes he
heeded it, sometimes he didn’t, but most of the
time, he ending up making the right choice. He
encouraged the same in Peggy, often saying to her,
“C’mon make a decision. A person is going to make
the right decision 51 percent of the time, and you’re
smarter than the average person, so you’re going to
be right more often than that.”
“But what if I AM wrong?” Peggy would retort.
“Well, it won’t matter a hundred years from now,”
Dan would laugh, “will it?”
Peggy knew that comment was just to relieve the
tension, because Dan was a perfectionist who didn’t
take being wrong lightly. But one of the best things
about Dan was that he laughed a lot, at least a few
hours a day, and always over a glass of wine before
dinner. He’d do so at hot spots in Chicago and
Florida, and as often as possible with family and
friends and clients.
Dan was also quite interesting. Never content
with the status quo, he was always ready to move
onto the next thing. He was a great designer of
brandmarks most people still recognize today,
from an updated Gerber Baby to the Federal Signal
(FS) red parking lot emblem, not to mention a
serial entrepreneur who started 25 businesses
throughout his career. Dan was an avid fisherman,
reeling in inland lake bass before moving on to
ocean sports fishing for billfish. He was also
a hobby chef who made his own mozzarella
cheese and perfected a recipe for paella that was
renowned amongst clients and friends.
But most of all Dan was, as people said upon
meeting him, just a really nice guy—one who
preferred to choose the people around him and
TODAY’S STARMARKERS CONTINUE TO STAY ONE STEP AHEAD, AND TO WIN MORE AWARDS
AND SERVE MORE CLIENTS THAN EVER BEFORE. DAN WOULD HAVE LOVED THAT.
treat them like royalty. At his memorial
service in 2011, one of his friends looked up
and said: “Now who’s going to plan our fun?”
While his presence is missed, Dan created a
strong foundation of Starmark partners and a
management team to carry his vision forward.
18 / DAN L ESTES, CO-FOUNDER STARMARK | 1945 – 2011
4 S T A R M A R K E R S :
O U R L I K A B L E E X P E R T S
/ S T A R M A R K E R S : O U R L I K A B L E E X P E R T S /
From its humble beginnings, these were the
three key traits Starmark looked for when inviting
professionals to join the family. As Dan Estes often
said, “I wouldn’t want to subject clients to someone
I wouldn’t want to have a beer with.” (He held the
same belief when it came to subjecting employees to
clients with whom he wouldn’t want to have a beer.)
PASSION. EXPERTISE. LIKABILITY.
Over the past 40 years, Starmark has been
fortunate to have found star performers who were
highly likable and passionate experts who’ve been
instrumental to the momentum of our always-
20 / STARMARKERS: OUR LIKABLE EXPERTS
Jacqui Hartnett, now Starmark President and partner, was one such star. Jacqui
had taught Dan’s sons how to waterski at Lauderdale Lakes in Wisconsin when
she was President of the area ski team in her early teens. Soon after graduating
from the University of San Diego, she called Dan to see if he knew of any job
openings with the agency’s clients. Dan asked to see her and recruited her on the
spot, having recognized her leadership skills as a teen and knowing they’d make
her an ideal Starmarker.
Jacqui proved Dan right, quickly demonstrating her extraordinary account and
business leadership skills. She helped build the Starmark business in Chicago,
and when Dan and Peggy moved the headquarters to South Florida, Jacqui joined
a sister company in Chicago, a retail graphics firm Starmark had purchased. That
company was eventually sold to its employees, and Jacqui led its growth as a
partner for over a dozen years. But Dan and Peggy beckoned, and Jacqui relocated
to the new Starmark headquarters in Fort Lauderdale in 2005—just two days after
Hurricane Wilma ravaged the area. It wasn’t the welcome she’d expected, but
Jacqui jumped in and took care of Starmarkers from that day forward. Two years
later, she was made a partner and named Starmark’s new President.
// JACQUI HARTNETT //
PRESIDENT AND PARTNER
STARMARK. FOUR DECADES. FORWARD THINKING. / 21
// DALE BARON //
Brett Circe was another star discovery. Now
Starmark’s Chief Digital Officer and a partner, Dan
discovered Brett when he held his first design job
at Rapid Graphics, working with him on a project
in Florida. Flash forward a few years, after Brett
started his own tech company, TKO.net, and when
Starmark moved its headquarters to South Florida.
Dan and Brett agreed to merge their companies,
thus giving Starmark an interactive and web edge at
the very start of the DotCom era. More than a highly
talented graphic designer, Brett was an early web
and database guru who won his first e-commerce
award from Yahoo in 1995. That’s given Brett the
ability to bring aboard a talented team of developers
who continue to push the technology envelope to
keep Starmark and its clients one step ahead.
Another of Starmark’s partners, a brilliant creative
talent, played hard to get at the start. Dale Baron,
who Dan courted for two years, left his position at
J. Walter Thompson and joined Starmark in 2007.
Today, Dale is Starmark’s Executive Creative Director.
Under his leadership, the team has won numerous
local, national, and international awards for creative
strategies that produce results for Starmark’s clients.
// BRETT CIRCE //
CHIEF DIGITAL OFFICER AND PARTNER
EXECUTIVE CREATIVE DIRECTOR AND PARTNER
22 / STARMARKERS: OUR LIKABLE EXPERTS
One thing Starmark’s leadership has always stressed is making sure
employees understand the business side of advertising. How the agency
makes money in order to pay salaries and “keep the lights on” has been
discussed at every quarterly company meeting attended by all employees,
where the agency’s business expense ratios and the “industry standards”
of the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As), the industry’s
premiere professional association are shared.
This practice makes Starmarkers savvy business people, and our network of
former Starmarkers have gone on to great success at other companies, or in
their own businesses. Some agencies in both Chicago and South Florida are
even owned and run by former Starmarkers.
IN ADDITION TO THESE POWERHOUSE PARTNERS,
TODAY’S STARMARK HAS TREMENDOUS BENCH
STRENGTH WITH A TEN-MEMBER MANAGEMENT
TEAM, EACH WITH AN AVERAGE TENURE OF MORE
THAN TEN YEARS WITH THE COMPANY—AND EACH
WITH TREMENDOUS EXPERTISE IN THEIR AREAS
STARMARK'S BOARD OF DIRECTORS:
BRETT CIRCE, JEFF MARBLE, PEGGY NORDEEN,
GARY JOHNSON, JACQUI HARTNETT, BRIAN KOPELOWITZ
STARMARK. FOUR DECADES. FORWARD THINKING. / 23
Some Starmarkers even leave the nest to expand
their horizons at other agencies or industries, only to
return to Starmark—what the agency lovingly calls
In its 40th year, Starmark has over a dozen retreads,
four of whom are on Starmark’s management team.
Starmarkers are always encouraged to embrace
change - to be brave, authentic, and brilliant; to
“follow their star” and “make their mark.” These are,
in fact, the agency’s values, and they’re woven into
the everyday fabric of the office, and even outside of
it. “Always take the time to lead a more interesting
life, and bring the best back with you” is just one of
the values Starmark believes makes the agency so
successful—for themselves, their employees, and
With such longevity in its ranks, Starmark has seen
its family grow over the years to include spouses and
children born to Starmarkers. Each happy occasion
is not just recognized; it’s celebrated. After all,
Starmark has always been a family business, and one
day the newest family members may take the reigns.
AUNT DORIS EUTSLER
PRESIDED OVER MANY
24 / STARMARKERS: OUR LIKABLE EXPERTS
CENTER5 S T A R B A R
N E T W O R K I N G
C E N T E R :
A S P E C I A L P L A C E
CENTER/ S T A R B A R N E T W O R K I N G C E N T E R : A S P E C I A L P L A C E /
THE STARBAR NETWORKING CENTER HAS BEEN THE HEART OF EVERY STARMARK
HEADQUARTERS. THE STARBAR (AS THOSE IN THE KNOW CALL IT) HAS SERVED AS A PLACE
FOR INFORMAL WORK DISCUSSIONS AT THE END OF THE DAY; A PLACE FOR STARMARKERS
TO GATHER FOR COMPANY CELEBRATIONS AND MEETINGS; AND A PLACE FOR STARMARK’S
BUSINESS ASSOCIATES AND PRO-BONO CLIENTS TO HOLD MEETINGS AND EVENTS.
26 / STARBAR NETWORKING CENTER: A SPECIAL PLACE
FROM CHICAGO TO FORT LAUDERDALE, THE STARBAR HAS PREVAILED AT SIX LOCATIONS, PROVIDING
CAMARADERIE, COLLABORATION AND BIG IDEAS...OFTEN ON NAPKINS.
28 / STARBAR NETWORKING CENTER: A SPECIAL PLACE
marketing techniques used previously by consumer advertisers to B2B. The
StarBar proved to be a festive place to kick-off those functions.
Starmark celebrated its tenth anniversary at the Ontario Street location with
a subsequent party on the Spirit of Chicago party yacht, entertaining nearly
300 friends and business associates. When Starmark made the move to Fort
Lauderdale, the Elks Club at 701 North Federal Hwy was thoroughly renovated,
with the new Starmark office featuring a StarBar Networking Center that
quickly became popular with employees and local community groups. Clients
enjoyed the informal meeting place the StarBar provided, and employees
delighted in the weekly lunches cooked up by Starmark’s on-site chef.
That Federal Highway StarBar also served as a weekly gathering place for
marine industry professionals who were acquainting themselves with the new
agency in town. This was when the StarBar became fully entrenched in the
When Starmark celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary in May 2003, the StarBar
played a central role. The party, catered by Starmark’s chef, was so large, it
spilled over into an outdoor staging area at the back of the building, where one
of Jimmy Buffet’s backup bands provided music under a large party tent. Great
food and fun was had by all that night.
The very first StarBar was found at 706 North Dearborn in Chicago, a
historic Queen Anne style brownstone originally owned by the Harper
Publishing family and converted into Starmark’s office. It’s where the
agency toasted one of its first major B2B clients—Tenneco’s Packaging
Corporation of America.
In the early 1980s, smoking was still allowed in most agency offices, but
Starmark had a strongly-enforced no-smoking policy from the start.
Before reaching that first StarBar, visitors who made the trip up the stairs
from the front door were greeted with a sign that read:
“Anyone caught smoking on the premises will be hung upside down and
pummeled to subconsciousness with a wet shark.”
The sign was both a conversation starter and a time saver, finding a home
in each new Starmark (and StarBar) location.
Starmark eventually moved to a new location on Chicago’s Ontario Street,
just one block east of Michigan Avenue. That’s when the agency established
a research center to field telephone research and host focus groups and
industry roundtables. They continued to apply many of the research and
THE STARBAR NETWORKING CENTER HAS BEEN THE HEART OF EVERY STARMARK HEADQUARTERS.
STARMARK. FOUR DECADES. FORWARD THINKING. / 29
Today’s StarBar Networking Center is
found in the Starmark lobby at 210 South
Andrews Avenue in Museum Plaza, the
heart of downtown Fort Lauderdale’s
creative district. Formerly Buster’s Cafe,
the only part of the building that didn’t
require major renovations was the StarBar.
Cosmetic updates were made to the former
restaurant’s bar, incorporating Starmark’s
new “Modern Tropical” theme. Its downtown
location and the fact that four major
Starmark clients are within walking distance
keeps the StarBar a busy place, hosting
community parties, fundraisers, and special
events—including Starmark’s 40th Year
But as happens with successful companies,
Starmark became too big for the beautiful, yet
relatively small building on Federal Highway. In
2004, Starmark eyed the larger space offered at
1815 Griffin Road in Dania Beach, a four-story,
60,000 square foot office building. The agency’s
partners, Dan, Peggy and Brett, purchased the
entire building, with Starmark occupying the entire
Starmarkers couldn’t imagine a new space without
the StarBar. While it certainly was a design
challenge to transform the lobby of a traditional
office space into a tasteful StarBar Networking
Center, Dan and Brett were up to the task. The new
StarBar offered all the warmth and welcome of its
predecessors, with at least twice the space.
Several months after the the new offices opened,
Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma cut their paths
through South Florida, damaging buildings and
downing power lines. But the rooftop generator that
Dan installed before the move kept the unscathed
building running during day after day of power
outages. At the StarBar, employees were treated
to food and drink, providing some comfort to those
who had no power at home.
Over the years, Starmark received many offers to
purchase the building, finally accepting one from
DCOTA (Design Center of the Americas) owners
prior to the economic downturn. After the sale,
Starmark continued to lease its third floor location
until moving to a new office in June 2011. During
that time, the StarBar Networking Center hosted
Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance meetings. It
also held some of the first social media seminars,
and an event that introduced Starmark eTips—a
newsletter that, after nine years, has a following of
3,500 marketers nationwide.
30 / STARBAR NETWORKING CENTER: A SPECIAL PLACE
THINKING6 T E C H N O L O G Y:
F O R W A R D T H I N K I N G
/ T E C H N O L O G Y: F O R W A R D T H I N K I N G /
It was Peggy’s pre-Starmark experience with Nixdorf Computer Company,
and its introduction of the first desk-sized computer to U.S. manufacturers,
that piqued her interest in technology. On one particular day at Nixdorf,
she walked into a sales manager’s office and found boxes of unanswered
inquiries from the ad campaign and national press tour she had completed
weeks earlier for the company.
TECHNOLOGY HAS ALWAYS BEEN STARMARK’S
COMPETITIVE DIFFERENTIATOR. TECHNOLOGY HAS
ALLOWED THE AGENCY TO WORK SMARTER, NOT
HARDER, GIVING STARMARKERS THE ABILITY TO
PROVE THE RESULTS AND VALUE TO CLIENTS.
32 / TECHNOLOGY: FORWARD THINKING
Peggy was determined that this would never happen to her clients’
leads at Starmark. As soon as the agency could afford it, she
purchased a desk-sized computer, hired a programmer, and developed
a proprietary database program for entering leads, lead sources,
and generating personalized letters. Starmark called the program
ADFACTS, and it was used by many of Starmark’s B2B clients,
demonstrating the value of their advertising and integrated tactics.
Starmark’s ability to embrace technology in Chicago helped attract
clients like Ball Aerospace, Honeywell, and Allen Bradley, maker of
programmable controllers. But that was just the beginning of what
would become even a far more sophisticated litany of forward-thinking
technological advancements that Starmark would bring to clients and
// WHY CAN’T YOU JUST USE YOUR COMPUTER? //
Peggy gave the sales manager a stern look, and when he offered that he
didn’t have the time to respond to them, she said,
STARMARK. FOUR DECADES. FORWARD THINKING. / 33
encouraging its clients to develop mobile content and, ultimately, native apps as
a part of their integrated marketing initiatives.
While on the horizon, through machine learning and artificial intelligence
Starmark continues to embrace the future of where technology will take us.
Recently Starmark has been combining the results of a neural net model as
input to a logistic regression model (i.e., a model of models). This integrates the
complexities of inter-predictor relationships found in the neural net with the
simplicity of implementing a logistic regression. So creating the message is still
the stuff of advertising professionals, who create many messages for today’s
growing variety of disparate delivery platforms, but the inputs are driven by
technology more than ever.
Upon its move to Florida, Starmark linked up with early e-commerce pioneer
Brett Circe, who developed his first e-commerce site from scratch in 1995, before
frameworks and platforms existed. Brett had the unique ability to combine the
thought processes and skills of a designer, a database developer, and a website
producer. He used them all to create web tools for Starmark’s early cruise line
clients, and for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF) website
in 2001, which let fishermen connect with each other much in the way Facebook
With the mobile revolution, Starmark sent Brett “Back to School” so to speak,
where he earned a certificate in Advanced Mobile Marketing from the University
of San Francisco in 2010, with a focus on mobile commerce. Starmark
then committed to the Mobile Marketing Association code of ethics in 2011,
34 / TECHNOLOGY: FORWARD THINKING
THEROI7 I T ’ S A L W A Y S B E E N
A B O U T T H E R O I
ABOUTTHEROI/ I T ’ S A L W A Y S B E E N A B O U T T H E R O I /
It wasn’t that Dan loved money, but he did love to “use money” to make things
happen. When he’d try something that didn’t work and lost money, he would justify
the loss by saying “money is only a concept.” In other words, money was hardly
central to the meaning of life.
Still, Dan knew that money is central to any business, and he was savvy enough
to know that whatever creative Starmark produced had to result in a return on
investment for Starmark’s clients or it would be worthless. Thus his mantra, for
himself and for Starmarkers, was: “It has to be creative, it has to be fun, and it
has to be profitable.” Of course, the profitability had to be mutual for Starmark
and its clients.
One of the ways Starmark has always focused on clients’ profitability has been to
buy media at net rates without taking an industry-standard commission. Starmark
has always charged clients only for the time to review, negotiate, and transact, and
report on results of their media buys. Starmark’s leadership has always believed
that commissions sometimes incentivize agencies to spend more money where it’s
not needed, something that never serves the client. While the agency partnered
with media outlets to provide millions of dollars of “value add” opportunities for our
clients over the years, Starmark has, with its no commission policy, successfully
removed any conflict of interest in negotiating low, but fair rates with media outlets.
There’s an old advertising adage: “I know 50 percent of my advertising works. I just
don’t know which 50 percent that is.” Peggy Nordeen didn’t want Starmark to fall into
that trap, which drove her to provide ADFACTS to clients to prove that their media
buys were providing value. The evolution of the internet and its ability to provide
data on the customer journey to conversion proved an even greater leap forward
for Peggy. Starmark’s predictive modeling through machine learning has reduced
the cost per lead by as much as 150 percent, backed up by the data provided with
tracking and dashboarding software.
Data science has become the fastest growing department at Starmark. Every project
now starts with data—driving strategy, creative, and targeting—and ends with data,
showing ROI in the results. Business Intelligence and dashboards allow progress
to be viewed by all key management personnel and allow Starmark to provide the
insights needed to optimize results continually throughout client campaigns.
DAN ESTES MAY HAVE BEEN A CREATIVE FIRST, BUT HIS TRUE LOVE WAS THE “THOUGHT OF BEING A
SIGNIFICANT CONSUMER.” FOR DAN, THAT MEANT RUNNING A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS—OR, IN HIS
36 / IT’S ALWAYS BEEN ABOUT THE ROI
8 F U N A N D F I S H I N G
I N S O U T H F L O R I D A
FLORIDA In Chicago, Starmark was the agency for the National Marine Manufacturers Association
(NMMA) when it was under the direction of Jeff Napier. He and Greg Proteau, then the NMMA’s
Communications Director, hired Starmark to create and implement the association’s first-
time boater campaign in cooperation with Yankelovich Research. Napier named the campaign
“C’mon Aboard” and Starmark worked with the NMMA on this and other projects for the next
The Starmark partners became even more passionate about boating and fishing during the
C’mon Aboard campaign. So when a large agency in Chicago made a good offer to acquire the
business and its employees, they accepted and headed to South Florida, with an agreement
that the Starmark name and brand ownership would still be theirs. The “napkin” was still the
anchor for their work together.
/ F U N A N D F I S H I N G I N S O U T H F L O R I D A /
WAHOOOOOOOO! TUNA! SNAPPER! MAHI MAHI! SWORDFISH!
SAILFISH! MARLIN! SOUTH FLORIDA HAS IT ALL!
38 / FUN AND FISHING IN SOUTH FLORIDA
They spent hours on the beautiful South Florida waters taking a break
from the fast pace and fast growth of their Chicago business life.
One day, Dan and Peggy, drove down to the Air Sea Show on Fort
Lauderdale Beach. They fell in love with Fort Lauderdale and after visiting
the marina at Bahia Mar, decided to make this their new South Florida
home. In 1998, with the end of their non-compete agreement with the
Chicago agency, Dan and Peggy made plans to return to the advertising
agency business with a Fort Lauderdale headquarters.
Dan’s love of fishing would continue with a new South Florida business.
He had fished with countless employees and clients on Wisconsin’s
lakes and Lake Michigan. Now he had the open seas of South Florida,
the Keys, the Caribbean and Latin America to fish with Starmark’s
family. He even fished the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, and went
“helicopter fishing” in British Columbia. Dan saw these as “relationship
enhancement opportunities” that were good for business...not to
mention loads of fun.
STARMARK. FOUR DECADES. FORWARD THINKING. / 39
FROM FORT LAUDERDALE TO THE BAHAMAS, FROM THE KEYS TO COSTA RICA, PANAMA,
BRITISH COLUMBIA...BOATING AND FISHING ADVENTURES PROVIDE GREAT FUN.
A STAR IS BORN
Dan Estes and Peggy Nordeen officially
opened Starmark Marketing in Chicago.
PL AYING IN THE
Starmark scored their first
national client account, Tidy
Car, which was named Fastest
Growing Franchise in the U.S.
and featured on the cover of
HALL OF FAMERS
promoting Frabill Fishing
Tackle’s bait bucket reeled
in more than sales. This
famous yellow bucket now
sits immortalized in the
International Game Fishing
Hall of Fame.
HONEY, WE’RE HOME
The Agency won two new
accounts based in
Denver - Honeywell
and Ball Aerospace -
so it was time to open
an office in Denver.
THE WINDY CIT Y
outgrew its first office
and upgraded to a
brownstone on Dearborn
Street to house its
growing team of ad
executives, creatives and
the very first StarBar.
STARMARK WINS MOLEX
A B2B giant with over 1,000
connector and interconnector
products Molex, selected Starmark
after a nationwide search for their
first-ever full service ad agency.
1978 1979 1984 1985
L O O K I N G B A C K . T H I N K I N G F O R W A R D .
1986 1987 1988
Starmark’s ADFACTS Team
conducted research to discover
the marketing channels
that mattered most. Crain's
Business Marketing published
the report, cementing the
phrase “Integrated Marketing
Communications” in our
lexicon – a term that went on
to become a Masters Degree
program at Northwestern University.
Starmark was named
to Inc. magazine’s
Companies for a fifth
straight year in a row.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Hairspray isn’t all that
was big in the 80’s.
Ad Age magazine named
Starmark as Chicago’s
top integrated marketing
MOVING ON UP
A third Starmark satellite
office was opened in
Milwaukee, housing a team
of Account Managers to call
on our clients to the north.
TO THE EA ST SIDE OF MICHIGAN AVE.,
TO SERVE A GROWING LIST OF CLIENTS
In 1987, Starmark was once again in need of a larger
office space to house the agency’s strategists,
creatives, researchers, full service photography
studio…and oh, another StarBar. Its growing list
of clients included Nalco Chemical, Molex, four
divisions of Illinois Tool Works, Tenneco’s Packaging
Corporation of America, Finkl Steel, and more.
1990 1994 1998 2000 2001
HELLO MOTOROL A
Motorola contracted with Starmark
to promote their Altaire division.
SUNSHINE STATE OF MIND
You can take the ad men out of the agency,
but you can’t take the agency out of the ad
men. Estes Nordeen met Brett Circe,
the owner of a small firm specializing
in Web marketing. A partnership was
OPEN FOR BUSINESS
An old Elk’s Lodge off of Federal Highway near downtown
Fort Lauderdale was the perfect spot for the agency to start
growing in Florida. It even had a StarBar! This was the venue
for many parties in
those early years,
where we met and
in the business
Starmark Florida start up won a key
assignment supporting the marketing
team responsible for loyalty and direct
response for Norwegian Cruise Lines
and Orient Lines. The agency went on
to spend seven years creating print and
digital solutions for the cruise lines.
Dan Estes Peggy Nordeen
accepted an offer for Starmark’s
Chicago-based book of business
along with jobs for its employees
and headed to Florida to live the
Citrix joins the
Starmark roster of B2B
and technology clients.
built a channel marketing
tool allowing clients to
leverage their assets
while maintaining brand
messaging and positioning.
EA SE ON DOWN THE ROAD
a 4-story office
building on Griffin
Road to relocate
office didn’t have a
STARMARK SETS SAIL
An agency entrenched in the marine
and cruise industries needed a
boat...so we bought one! Clients and
Starmarkers alike spent many a day
on its 42’ Sportfish off the waters of
Fort Lauderdale, Key West and the
Brett Circe was named
to South Florida Business
Journal’s Up Comers.
FOR THE RECORD
Starmark made it
onto Inc. magazine’s
fastest growing list for
a record seventh time
nearly 20 years after
making it the first time.
Company. One Spirit. One Goal.One
XThe Personal Side of Attaining One
2011 20122008 2009 2013
the very first “eTip,”
a weekly content
series intended to get
about their digital
publishes online, in app
and even in print.
DAN ESTES PA SSES
On May 21 2011, Dan Estes passed
away. He was preparing Starmark for
a new era – moving the team to new
offices, managing new relationships in
Puerto Rico and establishing a Board
of Directors for external advisement
and continuity. His partner in life and
business, Peggy Nordeen, and his
succession team picked up where he left
off and continued to evolve the agency.
Peggy Nordeen serves
as Chair of the Greater
Fort Lauderdale Alliance.
STARMARK SWEEPS FL AGLERS
While serving as Agency of Record for the
Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and
Visitors Bureau, Starmark birthed the wildly
popular “Defrost Your
At its heels came
“Hello Sunny,” for
which the agency won
and tourism awards.
At the 2012 Florida
Starmark came home
with 9 Flagler trophies
– the most an agency
TO THE HEART
A most opportune building sale before the
famed real estate bust of the late 00’s saw
Starmark’s relocation to a most desirable
central location on Las Olas Blvd. in
downtown Fort Lauderdale.
CELEBR ATION STATION
By the mid-late 00’s Starmark
was spreading its footprint. An
opportunity to work with the
Kissimmee Convention and Visitors
Bureau and others in the Orlando
area called for the opening of a
service office in Celebration, FL.
Starmark teamed with SeaWorld Orlando
to launch a campaign teasing the coming
attraction, “Antarctica: Empire of the
Penguin.” On its opening day, the park
broke record attendance numbers.
2015 20162014 2017 2018
WELCOME TO THE L AB
While Starmark had always been at the
forefront of using digital technologies
and trends for our clients’ business and
marketing needs, this was when the agency
formally launched its “Innovation Lab.”
ONE FOR THE BOOKS
Starmark closed out the year having
officially contracted with 15 new clients,
including a division of FPL, Karisma Hotels
Resorts, and AutoNation.
THE START OF AGILE
We don’t do agile. We ARE agile.
Starmark transformed its workflow and
management processes company-wide
to follow Agile Methodology.
MAKE YOUR MARK
patent on the agency’s “FanWise”
technology that rewards
consumers with a physical
reward in exchange for posting on
their social network.
APP OF THE YEAR
Starmark’s Innovation Lab
launched an IOT (Internet of
Things) app for consumers
with smart lightbulbs, called
Sync My Lights. Philips Lighting
named it app of the month.
PEGGY MAKES HISTORY
Peggy Nordeen was named the
first-ever female Vice Chair of the
Broward Workshop. She takes her
post in 2018/2019.
Starmark brewed an Official
40th Anniversary Beer. See it
the Top 5 Creative Agencies in North
America for Mobile Marketing.
Jan 3, 2018 SOUTH FLORIDA BUSINESS JOURNAL
SINCE 2012, PEGGY NORDEEN HAS WRITTEN A MONTHLY BUSINESS ADVICE COLUMN IN THE SOUTH FLORIDA
BUSINESS JOURNAL - AMERICAN CITY BUSINESS JOURNALS’ PREMIERE PUBLICATION IN THE U.S. SOUTHEAST.
HER COLUMN “COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE” SUPPORTS HER SUCCESS PHILOSOPHY OF HELPING BUSINESS
LEADERS AND MARKETERS STAY A STEP AHEAD OF THE COMPETITION. IT HIGHLIGHTS MARKETING IDEAS,
CHANNELS AND TECHNOLOGIES THAT CAN HELP COMPANIES GROW IN SOUTH FLORIDA.
FUN9 T O U R I S M
H O S P I TA L I T Y:
M A R K E T I N G F U N
MARKETINGFUN/ T O U R I S M H O S P I T A L I T Y: M A R K E T I N G F U N /
STARMARK BECOMES A TOURISM POWERHOUSE IN SOUTH FLORIDA STARTING
WITH THE CRUISE INDUSTRY.
By the time they opened the new South Florida headquarters,
Starmark was poised to lead once again in bringing technology to
whole new niche markets. They started with the cruise industry.
50 / TOURISM HOSPITALITY: MARKETING FUN
• Starmark created Orient Lines’
first website; implemented a new
collateral design system and
grew travel agent engagement.
• Programs for NCL included
support for five ship launches, a/b
testing on direct mail, integration
of email and direct mail to improve
response rates, rollout support
of new branding and more.
After Norwegian Cruise Line purchased Orient Lines,
they chose Starmark to represent them as well. Between
2001 and 2008, Starmark handled both cruise lines’
direct response and publishing initiatives, including
NCL’s customer magazine, Latitudes, and Orient Lines’
Polo Club News. As NCL added more ships, Starmark
worked with them to attract new cruisers and increase
bookings before the ships were even launched.
// NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE //
// ORIENT LINES //
Landing Orient Lines, headquartered
in London and Fort Lauderdale, was a
good start. While both had experience
in hospitality—Dan had been in charge
of the branding and promotion for all of
the former Playboy hotel properties, and
Peggy had managed communications for
Chicago’s Mart Plaza hotel—it was their
market segmentation and international
business experience with the International
Convention Centre in Birmingham, England
that impressed the London-based client. It’s
what ultimately brought in the cruise line’s
business to Starmark.
STARMARK. FOUR DECADES. FORWARD THINKING. / 51
Starmark became the agency of record for the Greater Fort Lauderdale
Convention Visitors Bureau in 2008—which included Port Everglades and
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. Starmark’s campaigns for
the Bureau not only won awards for both the agency and their client, they also
helped the region grow to nearly 13 million visitors a year, representing a very
healthy percentage of Florida’s 116 million annual tourists.
During one particular January, when the recession led to lower budgets,
Starmark got particularly creative. Bikinis frozen in large blocks of ice were
placed in Times Square in front of a large billboard that read “Greater Fort
Lauderdale, 73 degrees and sunny.” Dubbed the “Defrost Your Swimsuit
campaign, it paved the way for years of similar consumer encounters in feeder
markets throughout the country.
Starmark initiated experiential marketing campaigns bringing the Florida beach
to North American cities including New York, Chicago, Boston, Washington
D.C., and Toronto, before heading to Europe and South America. Each year in
January, Times Square lights up with a beach tableau advertising Greater Fort
Lauderdale, and it’s seen as the ball drops on a new year.
For more than a decade, Starmark and the Greater Fort Lauderdale
Convention Visitors Bureau have earned accolades—statewide, national,
and international—for these iconic campaigns, along with the “Hello Sunny”
branding, and marketing to the LGBTQ community.
// GREATER FORT LAUDERDALE CONVENTION VISITORS BUREAU //
52 / TOURISM HOSPITALITY: MARKETING FUN
Work for Greater Fort Lauderdale
has included attention-grabbing
experiential marketing around
the globe like frozen bikinis
and two-way interactive video
screens in bus shelters, streaming
television, revenue generating
airport parking campaigns, print
and digital vacation and meeting
planner guides, award-winning
branding for Port Everglades,
and other programs luring
nearly 13 million visitors to
Broward County annually.
Starmark’s prowess in the hospitality and
tourism industries has also reached Puerto Rico,
the Caribbean, and Mexico. The agency helped
Miami-based Karisma Hotels Resorts and
Viacom open a first of its kind five-star family
resort in the Dominican Republic’s Punta Cana.
The successful go-to market campaign and brand
management for Karisma’s Nickelodeon Resort
// VIACOM, KARISMA NICKELODEON //Starmark’s consumer and trade
campaign for Karisma’s five-star
luxury family resort in Punta
Cana saw the first ever execution
and rollout of Viacom’s new
Nick Resort brand. Restaurant
brandmarks, resort signage,
in room communications also
needed birthing – all while using
real time reporting dashboards
to optimize towards pre-opening
bookings for a successful launch.
earned Starmark the plum assignment of creating the global
resort website for the entire family of Viacom Nickelodeon
branded properties in 2018. It also led to partnering with
Karisma on their other brands like Azul Beach Resorts on the
development of integrated campaigns and brand websites.
Reporting on promotion tactics, from display to social to
search, gave Karisma the ability to see a real-time view of
their ad performance, hour-by-hour, day-by-day, to help
adjust and optimize based on occupancy and bookings.
54 / TOURISM HOSPITALITY: MARKETING FUN
DNA10 M A R I N E I N D U S T R I E S :
I T ’ S I N T H E D N A
FLORIDA’S MARINE INDUSTRY EMBRACES STARMARK’S CATEGORY KNOWLEDGE AND CREATIVITY
IT’SINTHEDNA/ M A R I N E I N D U S T R I E S : I T ’ S I N T H E D N A /
Over time, Starmark’s footprint in South Florida grew stronger in the
South Florida proved to be a far more diverse market for business
and advertising than Chicago, so restarting the agency demanded a
different strategy for Dan and Peggy.
With all of the advancements made in personal computing
and the internet in the ensuing years, the timing was
perfect to bring Brett Circe’s talents into the fold and
acquire his company, TKO.net. It was instrumental in
landing their first marine account.
56 / MARINE INDUSTRIES: IT’S IN THE DNA
The Recreational Boating Fishing
Foundation (RBFF) came from a referral
by the National Marine Manufacturing
Association (NMMA) in Chicago. RBFF
needed a website and, with Brett Circe’s
website and database experience,
Starmark easily won the business. Brett
was also able to obtain the complete
database of waterways from the National
Geographical Society, incorporating it into
the site. Starmark built and launched the
website—which came in at half a million
pages—in 90 days.
Starmark wanted to further expand their
marine footprint in South Florida, so Dan
hired local marine ad guru Mel Wolff.
Mel introduced Starmark to luxury yacht
companies including Cheoy Lee, Horizon
Yachts, Ferretti Yachts, Rybovich, and
Awlgrip marine products.
Global yachting brands like
Taiwan’s Horizon Yachts and
Ferretti Yachts engaged Starmark
for establishing presence
and rolling out campaigns
for their products in the U.S.
Other industry work included
designing the new brand for
AWLGRIP as well as introducing
Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritavich
42’ cold-molded Walkaround
from the famed makers of
Rybovich sportfish boats.
Starmark has continued to support the marine industry,
rebranding the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.
The agency has worked with the Greater Fort Lauderdale
Alliance to form the Fort Lauderdale International Boat
Show (FLIBS) Partnership, bringing together the Marine
Industry Association of South Florida, the Greater Fort
Lauderdale Convention Visitors Bureau, the Alliance, and
Starmark to help leverage the value of FLIBS to the region.
Leveraging the Fort Lauderdale
International Boat Show for
the good of our region became
a passion for Starmark.
Through partnerships with area
institutions, publishers and
business, our campaigns used the
FLIBS platform to help establish
a global business networking
luncheon and develop awareness
for the area’s marine research.
The resulting alliance saw a collaboration on a
variety of projects, from an incredibly well-received
VIP business luncheon for a select group of CEOs
from across the country, to a special pavilion that
promoted South Florida’s marine research and
58 / MARINE INDUSTRIES: IT’S IN THE DNA
11 C H I C A G O ’ S B 2 B S T R AT E G Y
W O R K S I N F L O R I D A
Back in its early days in Chicago, Starmark gained a reputation for combining
an exceptional creative product with innovative strategies to keep clients a step
ahead in their respective industries. This experience in promoting success
through lead tracking programs and demonstrating ROI through integration with
clients’ sales efforts was instrumental in Starmark’s growth then and it’s even
more important 20 years later in Florida.
INFLORIDA/ C H I C A G O ’ S B 2 B S T R A T E G Y W O R K S I N F L O R I D A /
STARMARK’S EARLY B2B CLIENTS IN FLORIDA WERE CITRIX, LEXISNEXIS, SIEMENS,
BOSCH, DHL, AND NOKIA. IN RECENT YEARS, STARMARK HAS ADDED UVU TECHNOLOGIES,
TYCO, STILES, CROWN CASTLE FIBER, AND CROSS COUNTRY HOME SERVICES TO ITS
Three-dimensional B2B direct mail pieces were just one of the strategic tactics
that Starmark implemented in Chicago. They were so brilliantly conceived these
pieces always got by the senior-level “gatekeeper,” and proved irresistible to
the intended recipient. An ABB Robotics “toy” robot arm was among the most
successful three-dimensional mailers. Not only did many corporate CEOs ask
for another mailer for a family member, but these high-level prospects also
requested immediate appointments to learn more about ABB Robotics.
60 / CHICAGO’S B2B STRATEGY WORKS IN FLORIDA
Starmark knows what
really matters for business
marketers is impressing their
prospects including those in
the “C-Suite;” researching and
monitoring dynamic changes in
distribution channels and the
selling process; and aligning
campaigns and campaign
measurement with corporate
goals using Agile Methodology.
STARMARK. FOUR DECADES. FORWARD THINKING. / 61
Now working for Crown Castle Fiber, Starmark
applied its three-dimensional “gotta open it” strategy
to another first - an “Alexa” programmed mailer that
prompted messages about the company’s services to
telecommunications professional targets.
HMS National's home appliance insurance is a favorite
among Real Estate professionals. One of the agency’s
long-time clients, Starmark has worked closely with
Doug Stein, Executive Vice President of HMS’ parent
company, Cross Country Home Services, from the
time he was a marketing manager at HMS.
uVu Technologies is a major innovator in the world of
spill-resistant paper cup containers. The company
set a two-year target window for acquiring a
major licensor of its product, something Starmark
accomplished through a branding initiative that
included video and trade show design. While Starmark
once again worked itself out of a job because of its
success, it did so knowing that one happy client leads
FPL Fibernet (now Crown Castle Fiber) and FPL
Energy Services proved to be another great B2B
experience in South Florida. Customer modeling
and analytics play a key role in these services, with
major dollars saved by using big data to identify prime
targets. By implementing these services for FPL
Fibernet, Starmark reduced FPL’s cost of customer
acquisition by nearly fifty percent in mere months.
// DRAMATIC AND DYNAMIC B2B PROGRAMS HIT THEIR MARK //
Impactful campaigns over the
years have led to lead generation
and lower cost per customer
acquisition for Crown Castle
Fiber via dimensional mailers
featuring Alexa voice assistants,
major licensing agreements for
uVu Technologies via mailers
and trade show booths, and
high engagement among real
estate professionals for HMS
National via digital programs.
62 / CHICAGO’S B2B STRATEGY WORKS IN FLORIDA
12 S O U T H F L O R I D A :
E X C E L L E N C E I N E D U C AT I O N
EDUCATION/ S O U T H F L O R I D A : E X C E L L E N C E I N E D U C A T I O N /
AS SOUTH FLORIDA’S EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS EXPANDED IN BOTH SIZE AND INFLUENCE, SO
DID THE OPPORTUNITIES FOR STARMARK TO BUILD RELATIONSHIPS AND SUPPORT THE MARKETING
INITIATIVES OF THESE COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES.
64 / SOUTH FLORIDA: EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION
The synergy was in place with all of Starmark’s partners having participated in
some business or leadership aspect of their respective alma maters.
Dan Estes had been the design director for Purdue University, where he got his
masters degree, fielding more than a hundred projects a year and designing
its still-standing Centennial monument. Peggy Nordeen had been an editor
and reporter for the Daily Iowan at the University of Iowa, and president of the
Panhellenic Association. Jacqui Hartnett had worked for Continuing Education at
the University of San Diego on various fundraising initiatives. And Brett Circe had
been president of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity at the Ringling School of Design
Of course, that was all in the past, long before social media and digital
campaigns worked their way into integrated marketing programs. It was
before visual assets and videos provided relevant user experiences in websites
designed for mobile and laptop. Now these elements top the list of necessary
practices for student recruitment and institutional fundraising. And, because of
Starmark’s “One Step Ahead” mantra, Starmark has continued to develop this
expertise within the agency.
Starmark has, over the course of its 20 years in Florida, worked with all four
major South Florida Universities—Florida International University (FIU),
University of Miami (UM), Nova Southeastern University (NSU), and Florida
Atlantic University (FAU) – plus the Florida’s highly acclaimed state college,
Broward College. While a sizable portion of projects involve recruitment
programs and strategies, the range of work is both diverse and exciting.
From the rebuilding of FAU’s entire website and building social and individual
college websites for NSU, to fundraising for FIU and concepting and launching
an integrated recruitment campaign for UM’s School of Business, Starmark’s
efforts have garnered many successes for their educational clients.
STARMARK. FOUR DECADES. FORWARD THINKING. / 65
Kaplan University, one such college headquartered
in Florida, had their sights set on being the leader in
learning technology when they became a Starmark
client. Providing non-traditional students with access
to education via online degree offerings, they wanted to
communicate their commitment to their student’s career
goals. Starmark developed fully integrated marketing
campaigns at both the institution and program level
for Kaplan. These included broadcast and online video
production services, along with microsite development
and online promotion for nearly a decade before Kaplan
was purchased by Purdue University in 2017.
Like other times in our history, Starmark celebrated
the role we helped play in our client’s success, and
now carry the expertise gained in online learning
student recruitment with us as we serve other
educational institutions well into the future.
When asked to support Ana G. Mendez University in
Puerto Rico with a campaign to enroll students in their
Hospitality program we couldn’t have been happier.
It’s not every day that two industries we serve come
together, but they did, and the results made our client
very happy too.
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In 2017 Starmark redesigned and
restructured FAU.edu to replace
a 10+ year old legacy website.
It required collaborating with a
10-person steering committee,
approvals and check-ins with
academic Professors and Deans
as well as working side by side
with in-house developers at
the university. With student
recruitment always top of mind,
Starmark also worked with
NSU to create multiple lead
generation program microsites,
one of which resulted in a
50% year-over-year increase
in prospective candidates.
66 / SOUTH FLORIDA - EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION
13 H E A LT H C A R E I N
C H I C A G O A N D F L O R I D A
STARMARK’S PUBLISHING CAPABILITIES AND ITS B2B EXPERTISE WERE A
NATURAL FIT FOR CHICAGO’S SIZABLE HEALTHCARE INDUSTRY.
/ H E A LT H C A R E I N C H I C A G O A N D F L O R I D A /
68 / HEALTHCARE IN CHICAGO AND FLORIDA
800.506.8482 • tivahealthcare.com
1613 N. Harrison Parkway, Suite 200, Sunrise, FL 33323
TIVA IS THE PREMIER LOCUM TENENS STAFFING
AND DIRECT HIRE FIRM that partners with both employers
and job-seekers in the healthcare industry.
TO HELP YOU
FIND THE ONE.
Locum Tenens Permanent Placement
Job Opportunities Available Nationwide
The American Hospital Association was one of
Starmark’s earliest clients, as was Healthcare Facilities
Management magazine. This experience along with years
of marketing, electronic and industrial products for B2B
clients in the healthcare space were great conversation
starters for the agency’s introduction to the South
Florida healthcare market.
Weatherby Healthcare was Starmark’s first healthcare
client in South Florida. Brett Circe’s online database
prowess once again came into play, providing Weatherby
with a website that could display jobs by region for
doctors looking to relocate. After the launch of its
website, Weatherby was sold to CompHealth, but the
company’s current online presence remains under the
Starmark parlayed that experience to secure a
relationship with Tiva Healthcare, another healthcare
recruiter, to manage their integrated digital marketing
strategy. Starmark revamped Tiva’s existing website to
optimize the layout for smartphones and tablets; created
new, relevant content; and extended Tiva’s reach across
social media and search engines.
Starmark first went to work
for Tiva Healthcare in the early
2000’s establishing a brand,
collateral and positioning that
would present their value and
offerings with an ultimate goal
of being acquired. That business
objective was achieved not
long after their rebranding
and they were purchased by
Sheridan Healthcare. Several
years later Starmark was
engaged by Sheridan to create
and implement an integrated
STARMARK. FOUR DECADES. FORWARD THINKING. / 69
Starmark is also proud to work
with Memorial Healthcare Systems,
including its Joe DiMaggio Children’s
Hospital (JDCH), a nationally recognized
leader in children’s pediatric care
located in South Florida. Starmark’s
strategic services have been tapped
to create programs highlighting
the hospital system’s specific lines
of care, special events, hospital
milestones, community engagement
and fundraising. To help commemorate
and evangelize its children’s hospital’s
25th anniversary Starmark developed
a campaign that called for notable
members of the community and
celebrities to share messages of
celebration and appreciation. Video
and photography was then amplified in
social channels managed by both the
hospital and the participants to spread
the love for the “red glove.”
As we mark our 25th year of service to our community, we celebrate the
hundreds of thousands of everyday triumphs like Jennifer. After only five
months of pregnancy, her premature twins were born at just two and three
pounds. Today, they’re healthy teens entering high school. Jennifer’s family
and thousands of others are as much a part of our memorable
journey as our own team.
703 North Flamingo Road | Pembroke Pines, FL 33028 | 954-436-5000 | MHS.net
JOIN US IN CELEBRATING
Jennifer C with
SHARE YOUR STORY: #MemorialWest25
70 / HEALTHCARE IN CHICAGO AND FLORIDA
14 T H E L A B : L I V I N G
I N N O V A T I O N
The Innovation Lab at Starmark was created for just
this purpose. It’s a place that harnesses the latest
technologies to generate ideas, and to revolutionize
sales and customer service experiences for the
agency’s clients. It encourages Starmarkers to think
beyond the assignment of the day to what could be.
While The Innovation Lab was only formalized at
Starmark a few years ago, it comes with significant
precedent. Starmark has, after all, been at the
forefront of innovation, inventing products and
technologies to address clients’ marketing needs.
THE AGENCY BUSINESS HAS ALWAYS BEEN, AT ITS CORE, AN IDEA
BUSINESS. THESE DAYS, IDEAS TEND TO BE TIED TO TECHNOLOGY—
HOW TO LEVERAGE IT TO GROW BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES.
/ T H E L A B : L I V I N G I N N O V A T I O N /
72 / THE LAB: LIVING INNOVATION
When Starmark started back up in Florida in 1998, Dan handed Brett the “Starmark
Handbook” from Chicago, a two-inch thick binder that covered every aspect of
how to run an agency, from estimating to project management, purchase orders,
media insertions and billing. It also included policies and procedures, personnel
management, and everything to run the company administration. Brett spent the
next year and a half creating software to digitize everything in the binder. In the
early years this gave Starmark a huge advantage of being lean and nimble with
two decades of experience riding on top of a modern operating system. We called
it “Agency”, of course. It helped Starmark and dozens of other agencies manage
their businesses, with job tracking and accounting integration allowing for complete
project management in the early 2000s.
What happens when a client asks “How do you control what’s being said about
you on social media?” Well as marketers we know the answer is you can’t! But it
got the Lab thinking, what could we do? From there, FanWise was born. Created
Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB – Fanwise “Hello Sunny”
machines encouraged consumers to Tweet or Post for free sunglasses.
in 2013, FanWise offers an immediate reward for a social media post, distributing
awards via machine—game, vending, parking meter, music, to name a few.
Consumers are directed to post a pre-programmed message on social media to
receive the reward.
For instance, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau
leveraged FanWise to spread the “Hello Sunny” message at Grand Central
Station in New York City, distributing free sunglasses from a vending machine.
All it took was the sharing of a pre-crafted social phrase for the consumer to
receive the sunglasses. FanWise provides brands with a unique opportunity to
add frequency and control over their messaging through the consumer, offering
an immediate reward in return. The technology has been tested to great success
in installations from Dallas to Atlanta. Messaging and impression numbers can
be captured per social platform with a value assigned for impressions. FanWise
has been awarded two U.S. patents that are available for licensing.
BRETT CIRCE DEMONSTRATING MAGIC LEAP ONE; PATENT-WINNING FANWISE TECHNOLOGY FOR THE GREATER FOR LAUDERDALE CVB NEW YORK CONSUMER ACTIVATION; TWO FANWISE U.S. PATENTS
// FANWISE SOCIAL MEDIA PATENTS //
STARMARK. FOUR DECADES. FORWARD THINKING. / 73
Another Lab innovation, “Sync My Lights,” allows
consumers to create their own lighting sequences
for their favorite concerts, movies, or events via
the Sync My Lights app and Philips Hue lighting
systems. The results turn living and business
spaces into complete sensory experiences, “stereo
for your eyes” as Philips says. Sync My Lights
created a community of movie lovers who create
and share lighting with each other, the app is 100%
community driven at this point with over 100,000
downloads on iOS and Android. Sync My Lights has
received an Appy Award, a Smartie award, was
named a Webby Honoree and an “App of the Month”
by Philips Hue.
The Starmark Innovation Lab is harnessing
extraordinary Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality
and Mixed Reality hardware breakthroughs,
including the Microsoft HoloLens and Magic Leap
One Creator Edition, to revolutionize sales and
customer service experiences for our clients.
The “bARtender” mixology app, another Lab AR
innovation, lets users create and “try” cocktails—a
great branding opportunity for distilleries and and
74 / THE LAB: LIVING INNOVATION
To create awareness and buzz for SeaWorld’s new Antarctic
adventure, Starmark developed an AR app that transported users to
Antarctica, where augmented reality allowed them to interact with
penguins, creating videos and images that could be shared online.
The Lab is a collaborative space. Anyone at Starmark can bring
ideas to the Lab. Those that the Lab takes on use a canvas to create
an experiment, test, and learn. These learnings can then be applied
quickly to a project. We have also opened the Lab up to our clients so
everyone has a resource to help them keep one step ahead.
Starmark is continually looking for ways to use technology to
communicate better, faster and with more impact, for the agency
and its clients. That’s just one of the reasons why...
STARMARK. FOUR DECADES. FORWARD THINKING. / 75
FROM THE HOLOLENS TO THE
OCULUS TO MAGIC LEAP ONE,
LEAD THE WAY IN PROVIDING
CONTENT FOR OUR CLIENTS.
The ARport app allowed Starmark to bring a large
sustainability project to life using Augmented
Reality. Utilizing Apple’s ARKit and Android’s
ARCore, users place a three dimensional model
of an airport in their real world environment and
engage with points of interest in a variety of ways.
The intent was to educate users on not only what
changes were happening at the airport but also
what they could do at home. By using trivia, video, AR
games and the model itself we were able to educate
while still entertaining the end user and since the
entire experience runs on their mobile device, they
can explore whenever and wherever they choose. This
effort is a great example of how new technologies
can be leveraged to replace traditional methods of
communication in order to achieve business goals.
STARMARK WAS RANKED AS THE #5 CREATIVE AGENCY IN NORTH AMERICA
BY THE 2017 MOBILE MARKETING ASSOCIATION SMARTIES AWARDS.
76 / THE LAB: LIVING INNOVATION
15 S U P P O R T I N G T H E
B U S I N E S S C O M M U N I T Y
WHEN DAN, PEGGY, AND THEIR NEW BUSINESS PARTNER BRETT CIRCE LAUNCHED
STARMARK IN FLORIDA IN 1998, IT WAS A WHOLE NEW WORLD WITH NEW CONTACTS
TO BE DISCOVERED AND NURTURED.
/ S U P P O R T I N G T H E B U S I N E S S C O M M U N I T Y /
Peggy joined Business Networking International (BNI), a
popular networking organization that met one morning
a week at the Tower Club in downtown Fort Lauderdale.
Through BNI, she made some significant contacts. Julie
Berry introduced Peggy to the Stiles Corporation and the
Boys and Girls Clubs. She was introduced to Michael E. Carn,
then of Databridge and later MetroBroward, who recruited
her to work with him on his BRAVO (Broward Retention and
Visitation Organization) committee for the Broward Alliance.
Peggy later chaired the Technology Committee of the
Alliance and became an officer of the economic development
group. In 2008, she followed then President CEO Ray
Ferraro of Nova Southeastern University as Chairperson.
Two weeks after Peggy became Chairperson of the Alliance,
when the sitting President and CEO resigned, she and the
officers of the organization appointed Bob Swindell as the
new CEO. Two months later, the name of the organization
was changed to the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance
by Peggy, Bob, and the executive committee (with a
confirmation vote from the board of directors).
78 / SUPPORTING THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY
Two months following the name
change, a research study of
relocation specialists showed nearly
a 100 percent increase from an
earlier benchmark in the potential
for considering the relocation of their
client companies to the region. It became resoundingly clear that Broward did
not have the name recognition of Greater Fort Lauderdale and that, even without
advertising, simply changing the name made a huge difference in the positive
response to the region.
Shortly thereafter, the Alliance voted to move the Broward Film Commission
from their purview to the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors
Bureau. This was done to focus the efforts of the Alliance solely on business
recruitment and retention in targeted industries. The Film Commission thrived
in its new business home, and the Alliance ended the year with more potential
relocation business in its pipeline than ever before.
STARMARK. FOUR DECADES. FORWARD THINKING. / 79
During that time, Peggy made many decisions with the agreement
and counsel of Alliance past chair Ray Ferraro, President and
CEO of Nova Southeastern University and incoming chair David
Armstrong, President of Broward College. They were the team
the Alliance needed to become the thriving economic development
organization it is today under Bob Swindell’s leadership.
That proved to be a busy year, after which Dan liked to say that he
recruited Peggy back to Starmark.
IN THE YEARS SINCE, ALL STARMARK PARTNERS AND MANY STAFF MEMBERS HAVE
BECOME ACTIVE IN THE SOUTH FLORIDA BUSINESS COMMUNITY, SERVING ON BOARDS,
GIVING SPEECHES, AND HEADING UP OR SERVING ON PANELS.
Taking a cue from his partner Peggy, Brett Circe joined the South
Florida Interactive Marketing Association early in its formation in 2005.
He served on its board, became its chair, and led the design of their
award-winning website. Jacqui Hartnett has served on the Riverwalk
Board of Directors, working to develop and nurture Fort Lauderdale’s
New River community, the area’s largest natural wonder.
Supporting the South Florida Business Community is a responsibility
that Starmark feels is a part of its charter. It’s good for the community,
for clients, and for Starmark.
TOP: BRETT CIRCE AT SFIMA EDUCATION SERIES SESSION
BOTTOM: MONICA RUIZ SPEAKING AT THE @3CMA REGIONAL CONFERENCE;
LISA HOFFMAN LEADING A BROWARD COUNTY BRAND WORKSHOP
80 / SUPPORTING THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY
16 S O U T H F L O R I D A
C H A R I T I E S
CHARITIES/ S O U T H F L O R I D A C H A R I T I E S /
THERE’S A VAST ARRAY OF CHARITABLE
ORGANIZATIONS IN SOUTH FLORIDA, ALL
OF WHOM SERVE DIFFERENT SEGMENTS OF
THE COMMUNITY. THERE ARE HUNDREDS
OF NOT-FOR-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS JUST
IN BROWARD COUNTY, ALL PROVIDING VITAL
SERVICES AND FULFILLING NEEDS THAT
WOULD OTHERWISE GO UNSERVED.
82 / SOUTH FLORIDA CHARITIES
OVER ITS 21 YEARS, A CHILD IS MISSING HAS SAVED MORE THAN 2,600
MISSING CHILDREN AND EVEN THE ELDERLY. THESE NUMBERS HAVE
BEEN DOCUMENTED BY THE POLICE, WHO USE THE SERVICES OF THE
ORGANIZATION TO FIND THE MISSING. THERE ARE LIKELY MANY MORE
Like most agencies, Starmark was able to be most supportive to those noble
organizations by providing marketing services in-kind or pro bono. Since relaunching
in Florida, Starmark has consistently provided $50,000 to $100,000 of in-kind services
to local not-for-profits annually. In addition, donating toys to deserving families at the
holidays has become an important tradition at Starmark, as has the practice of donating
rides on the agency's boat for fundraising auctions.
During its early years in Florida, Starmark focused on children’s charities: Boys Girls
Clubs of Broward County, A Child Is Missing, and Jack Jill. Its support later broadened
to the homeless, including the Broward Partnership and Operation Lift Hope.
A Child Is Missing was just getting off the ground when Starmark joined up with
founder Sherry Friedlander, then the owner and publisher of Business in Broward.
Sherry started the company after learning a three-year-old girl drowned in a canal
in her Fort Lauderdale neighborhood. She felt that using speed dialing technology to
neighbors to ask them to help find the child might have saved the girl’s life. Sherry
found a way to fund software technology and came up with a business model that,
working with police departments, would enable using then “telephone lines” to homes
and businesses. Dan Estes and Brett Circe created the branding program for the
organization, which lives on today.
Starmark has also helped organizations dedicated to helping the homeless
over the years. After serving on the Broward Partnership board for three years,
learning about the challenges of the homeless, and rebranding that organization,
Starmark helped launch Operation Lift Hope, founded by Andy Mitchell.
Operation Lift Hope has an aggressive Crisis Bridge Housing program
designed to work in three phases to assist veterans, homeless families, and
individuals—in that order. Starmark created and launched the organization’s
OperationLiftHope.org website—which won a national MARCOM award in 2018
and is designed to be updated as the program progresses.
From its midwest beginnings, Starmark recognized the social responsibility that
came with being a business—not just to support these charitable organizations,
but to channel the wealth of the area to create a legacy for the community.
84 / SOUTH FLORIDA CHARITIES
17 I N V E S T I N G I N
T H E F U T U R E
/ I N V E S T I N G I N T H E F U T U R E /
This was his report:
1) There are no qualifying advertising agencies to buy in South Florida;
2) There is plenty of real estate and tourism business, but few to no
B2B clients in South Florida.
Thankfully, by the time Starmark opened their Fort Lauderdale
headquarters in 1998, times had changed. With the growing
infrastructure of three major ports and airports, and an increasing
interest from international companies looking to establish their
North American headquarters in the region, the future looked much
brighter than it did in the mid-1980s.
To help maintain this accelerated growth in South Florida,
Starmark worked with the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance
to launch TechGateway. The Alliance’s David Coddington wanted
to create a map highlighting the growing number of technology
“creator” companies and the major universities helping to supply
talent to build the technology workforce. Starmark designed both
the map and today’s website. Stamark has, over the past several
years, supported early efforts to expand into a regional initiative
that includes all three South Florida economic development
organizations, major universities, and organizational sponsors.
IN THE MID-1980S, WHEN STARMARK'S PARTNERS FIRST THOUGHT TO OPEN AN OFFICE
IN SOUTH FLORIDA, THEY SENT THEIR RESEARCH DIRECTOR DOWN FROM CHICAGO TO
EXPLORE THE MARKET AND POTENTIALLY FIND AN EXISTING AGENCY TO PURCHASE.
86 / INVESTING IN THE FUTURE
Starmark joined Florida Power Light as a founding sponsor of
TechGateway, and champions the technology sector as it experiences
rapid growth in South Florida. Major technology creators include Citrix,
Magic Leap, Chewy.com, Modernizing Medicine, Microsoft Latin America,
and many others making South Florida their home. The growth of the
technology sector has attracted more and more interest in software:
telecommunications, online commerce, and education. There’s also been
a marked increase in attention to augmented, virtual, and mixed reality
technologies—all of which Starmark has embraced.
A second major project poised for future growth in South Florida is the
Marine Research Hub and its website, marineresearchhub.org. Designed
as the centerpiece of a global marine research collaboration, the
concept was the brainchild of Phil Purcell, CEO of the Marine Industries
Association of South Florida (MIASF), and Bob Swindell, head of the
Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance.
Having worked extensively with both organizations, Starmark embraced
their collective vision. The agency worked with the Alliance and MIASF
as they prepared a Memorandum of Understanding for the four major
South Florida universities in South Florida with burgeoning oceanographic
research offerings—Florida Atlantic University, Florida International
University, Nova Southeastern University, and the University of Miami—as
well as the other regional economic development organizations, including
the Beacon Council of Miami Dade, the Business Development Board of
Palm Beach County. There is also a planned expansion to include Monroe
County and other counties to the north.
Founding Sponsors: STARMARKFLORIDA POWER LIGHT
YOUR GATEWAY TO A
CAREER IN TECHNOLOGY
85,000 Information Technology Jobs In South Florida
$100,000 Annual Average Salary
For more information about technology companies, academics
and organizations in South Florida visit TechGateway.org
World-Class Software Solutions
STARMARK. FOUR DECADES. FORWARD THINKING. / 87
The goals of the Marine Research Hub organization for economic development are to (a) attract interest and business from target industries (biomedicine
biotechnology, energy, marine engineering, defense, aquaculture, marine recreation, environmental, fishing and fisheries, real estate hospitality) on the
value of pure marine research that can be commercialized; and (b) attract and retain a qualified workforce.
The goals for the universities are to (a) attract capital investment in marine research; (b) improve student retention and out-of state recruitment with
expanded opportunities for experiential learning and internships; (c) facilitate collaboration between the four university partners on complementary projects.
THESE ARE PROJECTS THAT WILL BE OF GREAT VALUE OVER THE NEXT 40 YEARS—NOT ONLY
FOR SOUTH FLORIDA, BUT FOR THE ENTIRE WORLD.
88 / INVESTING IN THE FUTURE
18 W O R K I N G T O G E T H E R :
B L E N D I N G A G E N C Y
C L I E N T E X P E R T I S E
CLIENTEXPERTISE/ W O R K I N G T O G E T H E R : B L E N D I N G A G E N C Y C L I E N T E X P E R T I S E /
In the early 2000s, a General heading up the U.S.M.C. Materiel Command hired
Starmark because he liked the “horizontal” structure of the agency. The General
was on a fast track for advancement, and he believed this multi-disciplined talent
approach would be efficient in implementing a marketing plan for his Command.
Starmark needed to bring together several divisions under the new General—he
wanted a rallying cry to unite everyone, and he wanted to outsource his services
to other branches of the government like the FBI. He told us if we could do all that
he wanted, he would get promoted. We really wanted to work with the General.
The General liked the fact that the Starmark Integrated Marketing Planning
process brought all practice experts to the table to participate in the planning for
each client. Starmark delivered for the General and his plan was implemented
within his two-year window. And, by the way, he earned another star.
Starmark has continually demonstrated the effectiveness of this multi-
disciplined approach to bring both strategic and tactical power to clients. But
the ever-increasing variety of disciplines and specializations required in today’s
communications programs have made integration even more challenging. With
a goal of working even more effectively with clients, Starmark transformed the
agency’s project planning process by embracing Agile.
The Agile methodology grew out of the Deming Quality Process and has been
used by software companies for the last two decades. It’s now being embraced by
knowledge-based businesses like Starmark, and once again, Starmark has been
at the forefront and stayed one step ahead.
Agile brings together agency and client experts from disparate silos to work
together to roadmap projects and campaigns—a process in which everyone
contributes. It’s also, surprisingly, a very analog process that activates memory
retention triggers, such as unique visual handwriting, audio reading and
discussion, and the kinesthetic nature of using index cards, together we call VAK.
The roadmaps supported by Agile have resulted in the most successful programs
and campaigns Starmark has ever produced. The agency has learned that a “Big
Idea” cannot be optimized if all of the players in the process, especially clients,
don’t understand and embrace it on all levels.
Since rolling out Agile in 2015, Starmark has seen exponential results. It’s all
about the big ideas put into action, so the possibilities for success are endless.
90 / WORKING TOGETHER: BLENDING AGENCY CLIENT EXPERTISE
LEVERAGING DATA TO BE SMARTER
When it comes to data, today’s companies are collecting a staggering amount
of it, often in multiple departments with disparate systems and software. Being
able to normalize and use data effectively is and should be at the forefront to help
companies understand their current position and predict the future.
In 2008 Starmark started to expand the use of data science for direct response
campaigns. Over the years as everything became more digital, data has become
a powerful marketing tool. Managing the mountains of data we are now collecting
is as challenging as ever. Clients looking to enhance their data use and access to
better information to help steer better marketing programs, led Starmark to build
our own Data Warehouse and offer it as a service to our clients, similar to our
website hosting services.
It always starts with a data audit, then collection from all kinds of sources, then
we use our programs to normalize that data so it can be useful in marketing
reporting. Many companies spend a significant percentage of their marketing
budgets in collecting data, but stumble when it comes to making that data work
for them. Starmark’s Data Warehouse allows clients to keep all of their data in
their current systems, we only normalize copies of that data to make it useful
for marketing analysis and insights that can help assure client efforts will be
successful from the beginning. And that subsequent data can be gathered and
dashboarded in real-time to provide the information both clients and agencies
need to continually optimize their marketing investments and results.
STARMARK. FOUR DECADES. FORWARD THINKING. / 91
With great work comes great rewards. All of
Starmark’s activities and efforts with clients
and within the community have garnered
recognition in terms of many awards. With
Peggy’s previous service as chair of the
Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, Seafarers
named her South Florida Business Leader of
the Year in 2018, and the Broward Workshop,
an elite group of 100 CEOs in the County,
named Peggy its first woman Vice Chair, with
her appointment as Chair scheduled for 2020.
Dan would have been proud of his business
partner and co-founder.
Starmark is proud to be the marketing
partner of the Greater Fort Lauderdale
Convention Visitors Bureau. Together,
our creativity, collaboration and results
Your work was awarded among
6,000 entries from all over the
world in this competition that
recognizes work transcending
innovation and craft.
Your marketing initiatives were
awarded by the Association of
Marketing and Communication
Professionals, which receives
over 200,000 entries each year
from 100+ countries.
Your marketing initiatives were
awarded among 40,00+ entries
by the American Advertising
Federation, in one of the world’s
largest, most comprehensive
Starmark is proud to be the marketing
partner of the Greater Fort Lauderdale
Convention Visitors Bureau. Together,
our creativity, collaboration and results
Your work was awarded among
6,000 entries from all over the
world in this competition that
recognizes work transcending
innovation and craft.
Your marketing initiatives were
Your marketing initiatives were
awarded among 40,00+ entries
by the American Advertising
Federation, in one of the world’s
largest, most comprehensive
Over 6,000 submissions, making
it one of the largest awards of its
kind in the world honoring the big
ideas that transcend innovation
and craft – work that made a
For our FanWise Technology:
System and method for dynamically valuing
social media influence in remote transactions.
The world’s only global mobile marketing
awards program, honors innovation,
creativity and success by those who push
the boundaries of mobile marketing.
35,000 entries each year,
the mission of the American
Advertising Awards is to
recognize and reward the
creative spirit of excellence
Honors excellence in marketing
and communication while
recognizing the creativity, hard
work and generosity of industry
The Hermes Creative
Awards is an international
competition for the
concept, writing and
design of traditional
and emerging media.
W O R K T H A T W O R K S
The Mobile Marketing Assoc.
ranked Starmark in the Top 5
Creative Agencies in North
America for Mobile Marketing.
92 / WORKING TOGETHER: BLENDING AGENCY CLIENT EXPERTISE
My first boss in advertising repeatedly said, “Problems are opportunities in disguise.”
My first client at Starmark always said, “Luck is the crossroads of preparedness and
opportunity.” And, my chosen partner in business and life liked to say, “If you plan it, it will
happen—and don’t forget to set a date for a party to celebrate.”
This is just a bit of the wisdom passed along to me by people who also imparted their zest
for making every minute of their lives count, whether in achieving business or personal
goals, or just in having fun.
The reason I moved from journalism into advertising was because of the people in the
room. While I admired the intellect, observation, and writing skills journalists brought to
their profession, I realized they were always observing and writing about what someone
else did. Advertising professionals, on the other hand, could be active participants in
helping businesses achieve their goals—also by using their observations, intellect, and
I wanted to be a participant in life and business, and to at least try to make every day count.
After over 40 years in advertising, I can honestly and proudly say that 14,610 days have
counted. Over a thousand amazingly talented advertising and marketing professionals
have been Starmarkers who, like me, have been blessed to be able to help fascinating and
brilliant clients achieve their goals. And we’ve been able to take all that we’ve learned and
earned to help dozens of charities achieve their goals too—giving back in ways that do
good, makes us feel good too.
It’s been our privilege to work with and come to know the many Starmark clients and
friends who are reading this book—and we look forward to many more years of friendship
and success for all.
Thank you! God bless you! We love you all!