Marketing firms fight pending downturn with free services


Two marketing agencies in West Michigan are offering free services to businesses that are being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Grand Rapids-based David Kranker Creative is offering free 90-day digital marketing strategies to businesses and Muskegon-based ThrivePOP is offering free resources, advice and recommendations to 25 companies that are affected by the Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s implementation of “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order. The order requires the temporary closure of nonessential in-person operations.

“This isn’t some sort of gimmick, I really want to help,” said David Kranker, owner of David Kranker Creative. “I am willing to do everything I can to help anyone who is struggling the best way I know how, and that is marketing.”

Kranker said he is willing to work with businesses that have made requests on his website on a first come, first serve basis. He is willing to give a recommended blueprint of marketing strategies that are unique to a specific business so the business can improve its online presence.

Some of the strategies Kranker said he hopes to help businesses with are brainstorming relevant blog topics, social media post ideas, establishing related links to business content, paid ad recommendations, enhanced optimizations and conducting business remotely or providing virtual services.

“I have never offered this as a free service before so I am hoping that this will add a lot of value to businesses and that they can execute the recommendations in, unfortunately, some newfound down time,” he said.

However, Kranker said there are stipulations to his offer, which includes exempting businesses that are already working with another marketing agency, businesses that are competitors to his regular clients or if there are any other conflicts of interest. 

He said in order for him to deliver the services to those who are interested, the deadline to fill out a form on his website is April 30.

“I just want to be able to help people,” he said. “If I didn’t need money to survive, I would be doing everything for free. I just really enjoy marketing and helping people.”

Michele Ringelberg is the co-owner and CEO of ThrivePOP, a marketing agency that was founded in 2017. The agency, which has six employees, assists national and local clients with marketing plans, design initiatives and web solutions.

Ringelberg and her team have decided to help businesses digitally. She is offering to do social media statements and press releases regarding COVID-19, assist in remarketing canceled or postponed events regarding COVID-19 and offer recommendations for transitioning the way to do business from in-person to online due to the pandemic.

Also, Ringelberg said the firm will be sharing its web platform with others. She said if businesses would like to promote different specials or discounts, they will post a link to it on their ThrivePOP site so that visitors on the site can see it. 

“Social media is the most popular thing right now, especially during this pandemic,” she said. “This is what everyone is using. There are companies that haven’t appreciated the digital aspect of things and maybe they don’t even have a website yet because they haven’t felt the need, but it is really important to be out there and be digital. It is just the way of communication and this is just the new way that people communicate now.”

Under normal circumstances, Ringelberg said ThrivePOP provides marketing packages that are customized to clients’ business needs and, depending on the type of package, the prices can range between $1,000 to $13,000.

Nevertheless, Ringelberg said she wants to help businesses that have fallen victim to the virus by offering free resources.

“As long as businesses are shut down, we will be there to help,” she said.

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