KMK Team

Our full-service advertising and communications firm employs an extremely talented and passionate team of industry experts.

Note to Schools: Write Home and Write Often

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As a parent, my kids are looking forward to returning to school in person on September 2nd. I think all parents and students are eagerly anticipating the start of school and some sort of routine, no matter if it’s in person or remote learning.

I’ve tried not to fan the flame of social media fires with explosive complaints, pleas for more information or questions about changes to the school day structure. I know the answers will come – eventually.

I also know most districts are completely retooling their business model in the course of several weeks, even making substantial changes on a daily basis within days of school starting due to changes in COVID positivity rates, teacher and family concerns and a host of other issues.

As a marketing professional who works with many schools—both public and private--in our region, I’m hopeful that once the dust settles on carving out solid plans schools will turn their sights to communication with families and never lose that focus in the weeks and months ahead.

Even in optimal school years, the most conscientious kids often don’t remember to communicate information home from schools. My expectation as a communication professional and as a parent is this year will pose an even bigger communication struggle for families. Students have too many worries right now, too many unusual protocols to get used to, atypical schedules, emotional rollercoasters and unknown health outcomes.

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How to Become a Media Expert? Develop a Good “RAP!”

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So, you want to be a media expert? It’s great exposure for you and your organization; it makes you appear knowledgeable, and it lets you delve into the broadcast world just enough to get a flavor of the fun without tumbling into the sometimes crazy abyss.You might think “experts” who are frequently called on by reporters for interviews are more educated, more accomplished and more skilled than their counterparts and, therefore, more qualified to give media interviews.Nope. That’s typically not the story.Often, the reason the same people get called on by reporters for interviews again and again is because they have a good “RAP.”RAP stands for Responsive, Approachable, and Prepared. Let’s break it down...Be responsive. When a reporter calls, he or she is usually chasing more than one story, more than one interview and balancing breaking news with broken gear plus a lack of adequate staffing with a lack of time. The “do more with less” mentality has been alive and kicking in newsrooms across the country for years already; the rest of corporate American is still catching up. The more responsive you are, the more likely you are to snag the interview and receive the first call next time.Be approachable. Share your cell phone and email address with the reporter. If you haven’t worked with the reporter previously, make small talk and find some common ground in sports teams, hometowns or mutual love for hot weather. Above all, be kind, patient and helpful. Reporters are people, too, and fostering a good relationship can be mutually beneficial.Be prepared. You don’t need to have complete knowledge of the subject to be able to give an interview. You do need to know why the reporter is covering the story and what he or she hopes to gain from your interview. You can ask those questions when setting up the interview to help you prepare. Then, jot down three main points you want to get across during the interview and stick to those key messages. If the reporter strays into unfamiliar territory with his or her questions, come back to your three main points or simply respond that you don’t know the answer but will follow-up.Feel like you flopped your interview? It’s okay. For most reporters, having one source is better than having no source, no matter how good. Also, it’s a sound bite—not a speech. Remember that for all your verbal stumbling, there is probably at least one :10-:20 sound bite that is usable and will work for the reporter’s needs.Follow the above tips and you’ll be well on your way to developing a good “RAP” with reporters and gaining traction on your media mentions!

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It was the Best of Times and the Worst of Times. Day 762 of Working at Home.

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Okay, so it’s not day 762 but some days it feels like it. The KMK team is still fully employed, fully engaged with its clients on a daily basis and, dare we say, busy.

Like many businesses, KMK employees could work at home in the past due to sick children, a home repair scheduled or bad weather conditions.

COVID-19 has pushed all of us into a 100% work at home schedule. KMK decided to poll its team members, see how they’re doing, and ask what’s the best and worst thing about working at home. Here’s what we found out:

WORST: Working at home with young children – from e-learning to boredom and always going to mom, NOT dad!BEST: Working at home with my dog.WORST: Not having face-to-face client meetings.BEST: Saving money on hair and makeup—haha!WORST: Realizing how much non-KMK work needs to get done (laundry, cleaning, etc.).BEST: Getting more sleep with no lunches to pack, commute to the office or prepping for work.WORST: Not having in-person brainstorming meetings with other KMK staff.BEST: Being able to work with little interruption and beer in the fridge at the end of the day!

In addition to our Zoom staff meetings to keep connected and enjoy one another’s creative vibe, the KMK team is keeping a sense of humor.

One employee responded, “The toughest thing about working from home is the lack of human contact. I find myself talking to myself a lot and the worst is when I pick a fight with myself and lose.”

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KMK Media Designs 2020 Census Mailing for City of Rockford

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KMK Media Group designed a direct mail piece for the City of Rockford, encouraging residents to fill out the 2020 census form online at MY2020CENSUS.GOV. KMK also handled the printing, regional mailing and distribution of the piece.

The census determines federal funding allocated to the region for more than 100 initiatives such as distributing funds during an emergency, such as COVID-19, plus other programs including school lunches, highway construction and education. Rockford stands to gain $1,535 per person for each person counted.

KMK Media Group is a 20-year-old marketing communications firm specializing in web site development, video production, graphic design, public relations, advertising campaigns and social media marketing. www.kmkmedia.com.

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To Buy or Not To Buy…Your Customer Service Could be Key

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Do you happen to have...

Ticketmaster tickets to a postponed concert?Amazon order question that requires a phone call?Netflix issue where you need to talk to a human being?

Well, too bad. You’ll have to wait. A long time. Like until this Coronavirus thing is over.

All three companies have implemented extremely poor new customer service guidelines of nixing phone call support.

On Monday, I was trying to order something on Bed Bath & Beyond’s website using an unexpired coupon. The coupon wasn’t working. It was 6 p.m. Typically, I should have been able to call customer service, but the company is no longer staffing phone lines at that hour. I couldn’t send an email or chat with anyone either. So, I waited.

The next day I initiated an online chat with an approximate wait time of 35 minutes. I missed my chat as I was busy working. I tried again and periodically checked to see if the chat was active and caught it just in time. I got the issue resolved.

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22 Political Campaigns and Counting…With this one in Rockford unlike the rest.

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Twenty-two.

By my best calculations, that’s the number of political campaigns KMK Media Group has worked on in the 21 years we’ve been in business. City, village, county, township, state and referendum campaigns. Roughly one a year, but it never seems to work out quite that evenly.

The landscape of this primary election, however, is different from the rest...at least from a local advertising standpoint. We’re seeing record ad spending at the national level which is squeezing local campaigns’ pocketbooks and airtime.

Kantar/CMAG, a nonpartisan political advertising research company, estimates ad spending in the presidential race will be $6.5 billion by the time it’s all said and done in November. Billionaire Michael Bloomberg has spent more than half of the $626 million in national political advertising spent so far, with Trump forking out only $18 million in his uncontested primary.

As I write this, one of Bloomberg’s ads just aired on a local evening newscast. “Attacking, distorting, dividing,” Bloomberg’s voice booms, using the ad to attack Trump. It’s just one of 39 different creative spots Bloomberg’s team has made to date, with 64% attacking Trump and primarily running on network TV.

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What do Avocados, Trump and Toyota Have in Common?

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Have an extra $5.6 million in your pocket? President Trump doesn’t.

Well, President Trump probably DOES have an extra $5.6 million in his pocket, and then some. But he has $5.6 million less than he did after his campaign purchased a :30 TV commercial in the February 2 Fox-aired Superbowl. That’s one day before the Iowa Democratic caucus.

By the end of November, 2019, all 77 spots available in this year’s big game had been sold at a record $5.6 million each. Advertisers running multiple spots got a bit of a discount, but not much. The February 2 event is the most watched TV time slot of the year, even though the 2019 Superbowl delivered fewer than 100 million viewers for the first time in 11 years.

I love avocados and Mexico so can’t wait for that pairing this year. Word has it there will be at least five automobile commercials including Toyota and Kia. Anheuser-Busch, Weathertech and Snickers jumped on the Superbowl ad bandwagon, too, along with newcomer, Pop-Tarts.

The NFL and Fox agreed this year to fewer commercial breaks. That means we’ll see the same number of commercials run during fewer commercial breaks, allowing us ample time to use the facilities, grab more munchies or just relax and evaluate more TV commercials at one time.

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Top 5 Tips to Boost Your Company’s Facebook Results in 2020

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Is your company’s Facebook page falling flat on its face? Is it weary, tired, and less than engaging? Are your Facebook insights showing less than stellar growth? If so, it may be time for a “Facelift!”

How Many People Use Facebook?As Facebook celebrates its 15th anniversary, 2019 Pew Research shows that 69% of American adults use Facebook.Interestingly, compare that to 73% of American adults use YouTube; 37% use Instagram, 27% use LinkedIn, 24% use Snapchat and 22% use Twitter. Facebook is where it’s at for adult marketing reach regardless of your end user’s demographic. Make sure you’re doing Facebook well before taking on other platforms.

You Need To Commit the Time to Do It RightBusinesses most often hire my agency to handle their Facebook accounts so we can boost their fans, engagement or brand awareness and to invigorate their page with more creative content and a marketing strategy. Sometimes it’s simply due to a desire to save their own marketing team’s time.

To do Facebook well, you need to allocate several hours a month to it. If you’re committed to that premise, read on to discover some tricks of the trade...

Top Tips for Increasing Your Facebook ROI

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Five Tips for Your Next TV Interview

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If the thought of doing a TV interview makes you think you’d rather schedule a root canal, keep reading. It’s actually far easier than you may think. Here are some tips to make it virtually pain free. I promise.

Identify three main points you want to get across, and practice articulating them, most important first. Make punchy and concise statements. Think “sound bites.”Practice with a colleague or in front of a mirror. Your goal is to maintain eye contact and start and end your statements without droning on.When you begin answering a reporter’s question, restate that question and make sure it’s a complete sentence. Instead of saying, “Really fun and the opportunity of a lifetime,” say “Skydiving for the first time at age 85 was fun and the opportunity of a lifetime.”Be personable and expressive. Look at the reporter or photographer, not at the camera unless otherwise instructed to do so. Speak as if having a conversation, using a smile when appropriate and hand gestures to accentuate your points.Assume the reporter would appreciate any background you feel comfortable sharing. Newsrooms are busy places and reporters are even busier, often given stories to cover with no time to prep. Help the reporter by talking generally about the topic before your interview starts. It’ll also give you a chance to better understand the reporter’s angle on the story.

Ultimately, if you don’t know the answer to a question, it’s okay to say so and offer to follow up with the reporter via phone, if appropriate.

Ask what time the story will air. If you miss it, you can probably catch it on the station’s website. Watch it and remember you’re your own worst critic. Do take note of public comments online to see what points resonated with viewers. It will help hone your message for next time!

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AD AGE ad shows ADAGE to Be True…Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder.

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I have two teenage daughters and a pre-teenage son. They notice people of the opposite sex and tease each other over “crushes” and who is “hot” at school.

As parents, we try to teach beauty is more than skin deep but it’s hard with today’s mass media and ever-changing trends pushed out by modern day celebrities.

Imagine my surprise when one of my daughters told me recently that a larger backside is actually desirable these days—what?! That floored me almost as much as learning “mom jeans” were back in style. Who would have imagined those of us who lived through the mom-jeans era would ever have to see it again? Ugh.

My oldest daughter, who also happens to have Down syndrome, thinks just about any person of the opposite sex is attractive...tall, short, bald, bushy, young, old. At this point in her 17-year-old life, she’s not very discerning.

She’s actually very accepting of others’ looks. (And perhaps a bit boy crazy.)

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PR vs. AD… What’s Right for Your Company?

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So, your boss asks you if you should spend your time writing a press release about a newly patented product or develop an ad campaign targeting your core audience.

Your answer?“It depends.”

(Then duck to avoid the nasty look he throws your way.)

ADSWe have clients come to us all the time wanting to run an advertisement. An ad is great for a new product or service if your goal is to persuade movement on behalf of your targeted audience or to raise awareness of something new. We help our clients run ad campaigns on TV, radio, billboards, in newspapers and online. Repetition in advertising is key to generating visibility and action. For some products and services, you have to be “top of mind” so for some businesses, frequency of exposure rules success as much as effective messaging.

PRWhat about PR? Depending on the target audience and the product or service you’re trying to promote, we sometimes recommend our clients add public relations to the marketing mix. According to prdaily.com, public relations is worth 3x the value of traditional advertising. Since news coverage is third-party opinion, the impact is considered three times that of a paid advertisement because it’s more credible.

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The “Big Bang Theory” Implodes Its Show…and CBS’s Ad Revenue

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I’m dreading the end of the “Big Bang Theory,” set to wrap up its 12th and final season this spring. Those quirky, beloved characters have grown on me and my husband, and we’ve expanded our love of the sitcom to now watching “Young Sheldon,” too, featuring an earlier version of one of the title characters.

An article I read last week stated the final episode of the “Big Bang Theory” had not yet been written.

My wish is they’re waiting to write the final episode while holding out hope that the actor Jim Parsons, who plays Sheldon on the show, changes his mind and decides to reprise his role for at least one more season rather than stop the successful series due to his desire to be done.

My guess is CBS is holding out hope for that outcome, too. The “Big Bang Theory’s” demise won’t just be a loss to my weekly TV line-up (captured via DVR because of our household’s two full-time jobs, three full-time children and one non-contributing dog), it’ll be a huge loss to CBS in ad revenue.

The “Big Bang Theory” has commanded a whopping $285,934 per 30-second national TV commercial for the past two years. The only primetime spot fetching a higher price tag?...NBC’s Sunday night football where the average cost for a 30-second commercial was $685,677 this year.

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Ready, Set, WATCH! The Super Bowl of TV Commercials

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Some of us are looking forward to the football.

Some of us are looking forward to the food.

I am looking forward to the TV commercials as I really don’t care who wins this particular game, and I am responsible for the game-time food in my house so there are no surprises there.

The commercials, however, are a different story. Stress the word “story.”

As part of a marketing firm that create visual and audio “stories” for our own clients using a variety of media, it’s fascinating to watch what global agencies are able to create with seemingly out-of-this-world budgets.

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Who's the Biggest?

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Want to know who spent the most on advertising in 2018?

Easy.

Pull on your Nike’s, hop in your Volkswagen to pick up McDonald’s and a case of Coca-Cola, then head home to watch ESPN on your new Samsung 60” TV.

Get the picture?

All of those brands (plus 19 more) make up the 25 biggest advertisers in 2018 worldwide. They cover technology, personal care, food and beverage, retail, automotive, entertainment/media, restaurants, apparel, travel and telecommunications. Whew.

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The Real Secret to 20 Years in Business

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What’s the secret to successfully staying in business for 20 years?

I know it wasn’t the relationship I had with my business partner at the time. In reality, we were almost strangers, having worked together on a single project through our respective employers at the time. We knew each other for a matter of months when we decided to go into business together. Not terribly smart but, hey, it worked.

Over the years, we discovered we were similar enough to have like minds regarding business ethics, core values and the determination to succeed, and we were different enough to have complementary skill sets that would benefit us in years to come.

I know the secret to our success wasn’t the great strategic business plan we had in our back pockets. We started KMK Media Group with a simplistic business plan. You could even call it “bare bones.” I honestly think our success at the time was fueled by sheer motivation and the ability to recognize opportunity. It was the dawn of the “website revolution.”

Finally, I know the secret to staying in business for 20 years wasn’t the great stash of cash we had ready to sink into our new marketing venture. We contributed a mere $200.00 each which went toward incorporation fees, installation of a single business phone line in my home office and printing business cards.

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What SpongeBob Can Teach Us

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Did you know the founder of SpongeBob SquarePants passed away?

I saw the tidbit on a CNN newsfeed that popped up on my phone last week.

My husband wasn’t aware of it until he read the newspaper the next day.

My 10-year-old saw it on CNN Student News at school.

My 13-year-old saw it on her Instagram feed.

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The End of a "Yellow" Era...

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In case you haven’t heard, 2019 marks the end of letting your fingers do the walking.

In case your nose has been too far buried in your phone book to have heard the news, the Yellow Pages telephone directory will no longer be printed after 2019. Final issues are prepping for press right now and aggressive yellow page phone book sales folks are making their final push for those last commission checks.

Considering the fact that the Yellow Pages is ceasing to print and, therefore, sees no value in continuing to publish its own book, I’d think “selling” the value to advertisers to be included in the 2019 print version would be an uphill battle. I suppose it’s possible some might like to be in the final “collector’s edition,” which I’m guessing will be thinner than ever before.

Yell, owned by the Hibu Group, said the decision marked the company’s transition to a “purely digital business” and aims in 2020 to help a million businesses be found on its online directory.

Side note...Yellow Pages first began publishing in 1966. The rise of search engines like Google in the early 90’s posed challenges for the print directory, resulting in its first web directory in 1996.

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Ready to Outsource Your Marketing (or some of it?)

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Top Tips to Get the Most Out of It!

When you outsource a portion (or all) of your marketing efforts, you’re probably looking to accomplish one of these goals:

Save money on salaries and benefits by not hiring in-houseGain additional skills not available in-houseGet an outside, professional perspective and experienced approach

Over the past 20 years, we’ve worked with clients in all these situations. Time after time, we’ve found the partnership is most successful in reaching the above goals when our clients take the following steps:

Assign Responsibility...when clients funnel all communication at their organization through one person, we avoid conflicting feedback that often increases the project’s time and cost.   Set Objectives...when we begin working with clients, we ask what they’re trying to accomplish (i.e., brand awareness, foot traffic, online traffic, Facebook fans, new customers). Limit your key goals to one or two. Any more than that and it’s tough to create a solution that adequately addresses all needs, meaning any result is diluted.Share Preferences...define any likes or dislikes upfront.  If you hate the color purple and Garamond font, tell us. Otherwise, we risk having to start over due to personal or professional preferences that weren’t shared, potentially increasing costs. Make sure all people who need to sign off on the project have given their input before the project begins.Provide Information...we conduct an initial briefing with clients to gather specifics about products and services. Come armed with brand standards, collateral, recent ads, media schedules, social media and website links. Be prepared to discuss product features and benefits, know your competition and the single most important thing you want to communicate.Respond Efficiently...projects lose momentum and enthusiasm when they drag on. When we receive no meaningful client response on a project for several weeks, it takes time (and often money) to resurrect it, clarify direction again and proceed. The best advice is not to start an outsourced marketing project until you can commit the time to finish it. The end result will be stronger and far more impactful.

Follow the above tips and make sure your partner agency does, too, and you’ll be assured a stronger end product and successful relationship!

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The Color Purple…so to speak.

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I complimented our always put-together graphic designer last week when she strolled into the KMK office wearing a blouse in a lovely shade of purple.

She said she recently bought a flat iron and a hair dryer in the same color, not because she’s infatuated with the shade but because it’s everywhere this year. Why? …a vivid shade of purple is Pantone’s color of the year. It’s actually Pantone #18-3838. (Purple Is The Color Of The Year For 2018). Pantone is now *the* authority on color trends. There isn't virtually anything you can't buy in a Pantone color anymore including paint, plastics and coffee mugs. Every industry is affected by Pantone's color "predictions,” especially the fashion industry, which spills over into design.

Our knowledgeable designer and I then devolved into a kitchen counter discussion on the shades of purple, what shades look good with what skin types, and I pondered whether the color of the year would ever make my husband willingly wear any shade of it and concluded, probably not.

Our talented designer looks great in purple and has designed some awesome-looking purple-inspired brands and creative work this year. So even if the color of the year hasn’t inspired my husband’s wardrobe (he’s more of a “Men in Black” kind of guy), it has infused a swash of beauty across some of our recent design work.

Thank you, Pantone, for choosing a hue that communicates originality, ingenuity and visionary thinking and that many of us “creative-types” enjoy.

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It’s Super Bowl Ad Time!

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Okay. I admit it. I don’t really “watch” the Super Bowl. I watch the TV ads. And that’s what I’ll be doing this Sunday evening as I scurry to get dinner together for our family during playtime until my husband calls me back to the TV when the commercials start.

It’s our business at KMK to keep track of national trends in advertising and, from what I’ve gathered, this year’s TV ads are supposed to be tear-jerkers overall. I look forward to the story-telling, to the TV spot that makes you scratch your head and wonder why in the world an agency convinced a company to waste gobs of money on it, and to the commercials that you know are going to be memorable for many months and years to come.

I also marvel at the obscene amount of money national companies spend to have their moment in the spotlight (a very fast 30 seconds of fame) and hope they’re tracking the return on their investment.  

Super Bowl LII is a big game investment for TV advertisers. Here’s the breakdown:

The average cost for a 30-second commercial in Super Bowl LII is just over $5 million.That equates to a price per second of $168,333. Blink and you missed $168,333.Total spending on ads during Sunday’s NBC Super Bowl broadcast will run approximately $419 million.Marketers have spent a total of $5.4 billion on Super Bowl ads over the last 52 years.The average cost of a 30-second TV spot in the 1st Super Bowl in 1967 was $40,000. ($300,000 adjusted for inflation)

Wow.

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Who We Are?

KMK Media Group is a full-service communications firm focused on helping businesses succeed through consistent creative, message and tone.

What We Do

Our services include award-winning design, web development, social media management, video production, public relations, ad campaigns and more!

Where to find us?

Address
716 North Church Street
Rockford, Illinois 61103
Phone Number
815-399-2805
Email Address
info@kmkmedia.com