(Photo above: Wendie Every)
When Newport Avenue Market wanted to create and install a display featuring its iconic, life-size purple cow inside the Redmond airport terminal earlier this summer, Wendie Every didn’t think twice about the best, most efficient, cost-effective way to get it done for her client — she’d do it herself. It isn’t every day that a marketing company owner would hook up her trailer to pull off such a task, but this isn’t Every’s first rodeo, and it goes to the heart of what has made Every Idea Marketing a success in Bend for a couple of decades.
“It’s about truly caring about a client’s business and success, getting to know them and establishing a tremendous amount of trust,” said Every, who launched her business out of the back of her Suburban with no marketing degree in 1991. Since then, she has served hundreds of clients, earning a reputation for ideas that get results. Today, she runs it all with a staff of eight, from an unassuming office tucked away off Third Street. Her clients, many in the food and agriculture sectors, have retained her for a decade or two, an anomaly in the fickle world of advertising.
Those clients frequently tap her expertise beyond her in-house brainstorming, bringing her into their staff meetings. “We become a department of theirs,” said Every. “They can tell me things confidentially, or they ask my advice about how something might affect marketing, and it’s going above and beyond, such as when stuff needs to be hauled. We haul stuff for clients all the time.”
It’s second nature to Every, who grew up on the Running Y Ranch, now a golf resort in Klamath Falls, when it was an extensive cattle and grass-seed growing operation which her father managed. She developed a strong work ethic, setting up corrals and loading into trailers actual bovines, rather than purple display ones. She majored in home economics at Shasta College in Redding, California. “I was going to be Martha Stewart before I knew who she was, but I was going to be more of a ‘Pioneer Woman’ (the top-rated blogger and author),” said Every.
In the late 1980s, she helped start a creative company in Bend, and at the Bend Chamber of Commerce annual dinner, won a competition for the table best decorated to promote Central Oregon (each chair was fashioned to look like a skier, an angler, a cowboy, etc.). “Based on that, Air Life of Oregon called, asked if we could meet, and hired us to help launch the initial membership program in Central and Eastern Oregon,” Every said.
In 1991, Air Life of Oregon asked her to continue working with them. “In two weeks I had an ad agency out of the back of my Suburban,” said Every. She started hiring, and launched Every Idea Marketing, handling Air Life’s marketing and volunteer training. Word of the company’s successful marketing spread, leading to nine more contracts with air medical transportation companies.
Success Spurred by a Lifelong Obstacle
Every’s dogged emphasis on devising effective marketing strategies and building strong relationships has been her formula for success, yet it had another factor driving it. “I’m dyslexic, and I was self-conscious about it, but I found a way to overcome it … by being able to build real relationships where people trusted me with their business, their money, their ideas and their problems.”
Another key to dealing with dyslexia was to develop a loyal, talented staff and a network of industry peers and friends. From longtime Office Manager Penny Eddington who assists Every with all written communication, to Rudy Dory, co-founder of Newport Avenue Market, their support and advice have been indispensable, Every said.
Family businesses are retaining Every Idea even as clients pass the management torch to the second generation. At Newport Avenue Market, CEO Lauren G.R. Johnson, whose parents created the boutique grocery, said Every Idea stood out from the competition 15 years ago. “We felt that we would get more personalized attention, specifically branding our company, from them than other agencies we interviewed. It was all women, the only pure, all-women firm at the time. They were willing to work within our budget.”
Those attributes have prompted Newport Avenue Market to retain the firm over the years, despite the proliferation of marketing competitors in Bend. “She keeps that personal commitment to our business and our family, staying very involved in the direction of our brand,” Johnson said. Sales grew, even during since the 2009 recession. Every works with Johnson’s mother, market co-founder Debbie Dory, on her outside-the-box ideas, keeping the retailer vibrant and garnering industry attention nationally, Johnson said.
Project Wildfire, a Deschutes County strategy to prevent wildfire disasters, was another long-term client of Every Idea. Kate Lighthall, the project’s former program director, said Every helped hone the message, an integral part of encouraging citizens to make their homes wildfire-resistant. The tagline: “It’s quick. It’s simple. It’s everybody’s responsibility.”
“It was at the forefront of what we were doing, because we wanted to change the attitude and behavior in Central Oregon,” Lighthall said. She could measure the campaign’s success by the amount of yard debris and waste collected through the program. “We could document a 20 percent, 30 percent and 40 percent increase, the same as our population growth in the City of Bend,” she said. The program has been effective for about two decades.
Lighthall and Johnson said Every’s passion for their campaigns is evident. Every said it’s a key to success, along with being genuine and daring to be unconventional. Johnson said, “She’s not solely driven by money, she’s well rounded in what ‘success’ means to her, with a balance of family, business and community.”
Every serves several boards, from the Central Oregon Area Commission on Transportation (as an alternate to her husband, Charlie Every) to CAN Cancer. She’s won an American Advertising Federation Silver Medal Award Winner and Every Idea has been honored as a Bend Chamber Small Business of the Year.
At age 63, she doesn’t plan to fully retire. “I may not be so hands-on, but I still want to be a part of what goes on here for several more years,” she said. In the meantime, the former rodeo rider enjoys watching her grandchildren in Pee Wee rodeos, and making strawberry jam and sour cream cinnamon-cardamom coffee cake for everyone at the office — just like a Martha Stewart-Pioneer Woman.
Every Idea Marketing
355 NE Lafayette Ave., Bend