Be Inspired!

“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.” – Peter Drucker


Marketing & Communication Strategies, Inc. (MCS) is a growth strategy firm specializing in the convergent disciplines of marketing, advertising, branding, strategic development, public relations, web development and graphic design. Founded in 1988 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the firm has steadily developed a national and international clientele, providing services to both B2B and B2C focused organizations. The power-packed staff is experienced, versatile and innovative, with emphasis centered on creativity and responsiveness.

MCS employs a comprehensively consultative approach to help clients advance in rapidly changing marketplaces and increasingly short planning time frames.

Meet the Team

Nancy Garberson, Founder, has more than 30 years’ experience; she holds a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications, and a Master’s in Organizational Leadership.

Christa Nelson, Marketing Strategist, Web/Graphic Designer, SEO and Social Media Guru, holds a BLA, and graduated magna cum laude with a Master’s of Business Administration.

Chris Weaver, Webmaster/Senior Art Director, holds a BFA in Graphic Design, and has 18 years’ experience with MCS.

Marc Valenta, Director of Operations/Graphic Designer, holds a BA in Graphic Design, and has 18 years’ experience with MCS.

Tami Garvin, Director of Public Relations, holds a BA in English, and has 11 years’ experience with MCS.

Anna Patty, Communication Strategist and our resident non-profit expert. She has extensive experience in fund development and is a self-proclaimed data geek. Anna holds a BA in Journalism and Spanish.


Typography 101 – Beyond the Subjective

By: Chris Weaver Typography can make or break almost any piece of writing. The fonts chosen for a document can reinforce the information or completely tear it down. Ideally, type should communicate the emotion and feeling of the message in an appropriate manner. Unfortunately, emotion and appropriateness, good and bad, pretty and ugly, are subjective at best. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as we know, but common

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Keeping Brand Integrity on a Shoestring Marketing Budget

By:  Christa A. Nelson, MBA With a tightening in the economy, marketing departments are being asked to find ways to cut expenses. While most marketing professionals would not advise drastically reducing marketing expenditures during an economic downturn, reality often dictates some budget cuts. What can you do if your marketing budget has been cut? Are there ways to do things less expensively and still maintain a high level of marketing

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The Basics of Strategically Driving and Delivering Digital Marketing

By:  Tami Garvin Should Your Business Have An Assessment? It starts with .com Your website is foundationally crucial to your business as a digital marketing strategy. It serves as the first integral frame in building your business’s online presence. To maximize the return on investment (ROI) of your digital marketing strategy, it’s vital to continuously assess and develop your website in order to achieve the highest possible conversion rate. The

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Is it Back to School or Back to the Future?

By: Nancy Garberson, MOL As marketers, we’re always looking at the future! It’s a little like back to school; we look at the old and at the new, and keep the good from the old and add new concepts to improve everyone’s work. Just as technology and consumer behaviors evolve, the new developments change in ways we can’t fully imagine now. If I could offer a plausible forecast for trends

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Back to School; Restoring Meaning and Passion

By:  Nancy Garberson, MOL As we get into August, I start to think about all the kids going back to school. My daughter is a teacher so it’s natural to remember, but I always think of it as a rebirth of sorts, especially for my business and the work I do for clients. This is a time when we can renew our passion for our work, for our families and

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E-Marketing: From Fad to Necessity

By:  Christa A. Nelson, MBA Website, Social Media, and E-Marketing – OH MY! As technology evolves – fads come and go; marketers have the challenge of finding ways to communicate their message while trying to stay with what is hot. Just like fashion trends, there are some fads we want to see revived and popular again and others like fax machines and robo-calls we would love to never see again.

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Caution: The Internet Is Not Your Personal Photo Collection

By:  Chris Weaver To put it bluntly, if you use an image that you saved from the internet without permission, you are stealing it. At the heart of this issue is how easy the internet makes it for EVERYBODY to grab content from just about anyone anywhere. For the purpose of this little missive, we’ll use Google as an example. The Big G has made it easy to search for

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Freedom of Speech and Public Relations

By: Tami Garvin First Amendment – Religion and Expression. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. Freedom of speech may objectively be the one right exalted above all others in democratic society.

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