Engage, Connect, Convert: The STAR Methodology

Mark Johnson

04 August 2016

Engage – Who We Are 

We are a face-to-face marketing company. Kind of like a marketing agency – but we execute things from custom trade show exhibits, to retail displays, to proprietary corporate events, and corporate interiors. We are good stewards of companies’ brands and identities, and we help our clients bring that to life in a face-to-face world. Why not conduct marketing and branding that complements it? Years ago, I started in this industry by working as a sales person, and fell in love with it. Marketing and helping people sell their products and services became what I am passionate about. At the time it was mostly trade show work, but the range and diversity in industry, specialty, and companies kept the work captivating. It was all so different, challenging, and exciting.

There is nothing more enjoyable for me than seeing a company’s product or service succeed. Watching a company grow and prosper is so fulfilling. While I’m more of a sales and marketing guy, I like the creative side, too. I am not a designer by any means, but I have an appreciation for it and have fun playing in that world. I’ve been part of conversations and brainstorming and sometimes, my idea is part of the grand scheme of things. Being part of collaborative solutions is fun. Plain and simple.


Connect – Why We’re Different

When Tom Pechacek and I started Star in 1993, we were influenced by both Tom Peters and the Deming Principles. We wanted to try something different. So, we made integrity pricing part of our foundation. Star was the first company to introduce that philosophy, and we are one of few who still employ it in business today. Our estimates have a line item for the cost and labor of each element of every project or event our clients propose. Every last detail is broken down. Clients have all the details to make intelligent decisions on where they wish to add or take away from the overall project’s intended design and functionality. It leads to an easier conversation so we can focus on getting to a mutual solution.

This was all part of the integrity and customer service-focused approach Star is based on. It extended beyond the basics of when is your event, how big do you want your exhibit, and what color blue?  When it comes to our clients, we ask more. Why are you attending this event? What is your goal? Who are your customers? What action do you hope your customers take afterward? What brand perception do you wish to have? Who are your competitors? Who do you emulate as a company? Yes, we build exhibits, but with a marketing skew to it. Always.


Convert – Our People are Your People 

Marketing has changed, and should change, because the world has. Brands used to be able to rest more on their laurels versus continually focusing on efforts to stay relevant and committed to customers. There are so many more distractions now in life, and our customers and their customers have to be much more focused. Brands need dedicated teams to help with that. We have always assigned a dedicated team to our clients. It’s important for our people to become an extension of companies and to consistently represent their brand with the utmost respect and confidence.

In business, there can be a lack of innovation. Tell me what to do and I’ll do it. At Star, we want thinkers. We want people who care about what they do, and are passionate about it because what I believe, and what Star believes, is when someone cares, they operate differently. The work is on a different level. If you enjoy what you’re doing, you’re good it, and you’re passionate; you’re going to be a better performer. We’ve always structured our company to be self-directed. In some areas, we want to lead. We want to mentor in others. There isn’t a granular, day-to-day focus of managing tasks. We continue to interview potential team members today in the same manner we did 20 years ago. One of our top criteria is making sure people are thinkers. We value entrepreneurs. We ask our people to take ownership of their job and their part of the company. Make it your own portion of business. This fosters a culture of accountability. We recognize the value of individuals who are coaches, or have experience in the service industry. Even if it was just during college waiting tables, the concept of taking care of other people is important. We have a high standard of service.

Contact Star & Get Engaged

Mark Johnson



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