Portfolio: Mark J. Sanderson



CONTENT MARKETER at Morgenroth Development

One of the clients I work with at DesignCo Marketing is Morgenroth Development, a general contracting company in Pleasanton, CA. I chiefly write for their Builder’s Blog, but I also provide copy for their website and I wrote their e-book, Remodeling v. Moving.

Below is a list of some of my favorite articles I’ve written for their Builder’s Blog, which include interviews with subcontractors, book reviews, and current housing trends:

  • “Preparing Your Home for Resale to Millennials”
  • “Hardwood Floors: Prefinish v. Job-Site Finish”
  • “Quality Over Quantity — The Not So Big House”
  • “6 Ways to Make Your Home Staycation Ready”
  • “Home On The Range: Gas Ranges v. Electric Ranges”
  • “Man Caves That Match Their Men”
  • “5 Artisan Smore Recipes for your New Outdoor Fire Pit”
  • “Hardwood Flooring: Pre-finished Engineered v. Pre-finished Solid”
  • “3 Rules of Green Building Projects”

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF at Capital Ward Newsletter

A valuable part of my graduate school experience in Austin, Texas was being involved in my church, which had an active student congregation, an Institute of Religion next to campus, and a Latter-day Saint Student Association (LDSSA) campus club.

During my first year, I volunteered as Editor-in-Chief of the Capital Ward Newsletter, a weekly tri-fold with a readership of 100+ that told of the weekly happenings of church members. Now, this wasn’t your usual church newsletter. The Capital Ward Newsletter blended fiction with reality in a fun, Onion-like, photoshopped publication that was known throughout the state of Texas. Each issue featured a cover story, a student spotlight interview, an advice column, humorous quotes overheard during the week, articles about current events, and an inspirational quote.

Church leaders complimented my work for its role in generating energy, excitement, and unity among church members. However, since it made it difficult for people to focus, they requested that it be distributed after the church service. I could see their point, since I had one girl tell me — in all seriousness — that the reason she came to church was to get the latest issue of the newsletter.

capital ward_hassel trough


CONTENT MARKETER at DesignCo Marketing

While big businesses generally steal the advertising spotlight, a lot of innovation is happening at the small business level, where smaller budgets and independent ownership invite more outside-the-box thinking. Much of present day innovation is fueled by the growth of the internet and rise of social media. In the summer of 2015 I began working for DesignCo Marketing, a small marketing agency in Pleasanton, CA, where I’ve had the opportunity to contribute to and observe this innovation firsthand.

In addition to contributing blog posts and web copy to the web design and marketing campaigns of their clients, I write for their agency blog, where I’ve spearheaded the article series, “How Small Businesses Use Social Media Sites.” This involves interviewing small business owners from across the United States on how they use social media sites to grow their business. Below is a list of the small businesses I’ve interviewed:

  • RushTix (March 18, 2016)
  • Aryana Afghan Cuisine (March 12, 2016)
  • Squatty Potty (March 10, 2016)
  • Moravian Book Shop (March 9, 2016)
  • Chi’lantro BBQ (February 26, 2016)
  • Charity Cab (February 24, 2016)
  • Red Iguana (February 21, 2016)
  • A-Lamp Design (February 18, 2016)
  • Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum (February 16, 2016)
  • American Bronzing Company (February 14, 2016)
  • Altra Running (December 23, 3015)
  • Waffle Love (December 7, 2015)
  • Wood Thumb (November 4, 2015)
  • Madonna Inn (November 2, 2015)
  • Beau Ties, Ltd. (October 26, 2015)
  • The Welsh Baker (October 9, 2015)
  • Leninade (October 6, 2015)
  • Pop’nSweets (September 25, 2015)
  • Jeffrey Hale, Artist (September 18, 2015)

In addition, I write articles on current events and trends in advertising:

  • “Podcasts Are a Groundbreaking Advertising Medium” (April 8, 2016)
  • “Taylor Swift and the Magic of Marketing to Millennials” (April 6, 2016)
  • “Find a Need and Fill It: Jim Bachor’s Pothole Mosaics” (April 6, 2016)
  • “Texting, Emoticons, and the Death of the Period” (March 25, 2016)
  • “Infographic: Local Giving is Good for Business” (March 23, 2016)
  • “An Interview with Adele Revella, Author of Buyer Personas” (March 14, 2016)
  • “Should Cinemagraphs Be Included in My Brand Messaging?” (February 11, 2016)
  • “Poop Sells: Viral Squatty Potty Video Increases Sales 600%” (February 9, 2016)
  • “Pat’s King of Steaks and the 6 Surprising Secrets to Marketing Success” (February 6, 2016)
  • “The Coming Winter Yellow Craze” (February 5, 2016)
  • “Peeps Targeting Millennial Moms” (February 4, 2016)
  • “Dr. Zizmor, Dermatologist and Ad Pioneer, Retires” (January 28, 2016)
  • “Should I Be a Blogger?” (December 9, 2015)
  • “REI and the New Black Friday Rules” (November 4, 2015)
  • “How to Design an Effective Logo” (October 28, 2015)
  • “Banking on Back to the Future Day” (October 22, 2015)
  • “Embracing the Snark: A Lesson from China” (October 21, 2015)
  • “Cinnamon Toast Crunch Breeds Controversy with Selfie Spoon” (September 28, 2015)
  • “Are Buyer Personas Useful for Small Businesses?” (September 22, 2015)
  • “How Often Listicles Show Up in Blog Title Generators” (September 15, 2015)
  • “17 Reasons Listicles Are Dead” (September 11, 2015)

BLOGGER at Sanderfornia

In January 2012 we packed up our belongings and, at sunrise, drove west across the Brooklyn Bridge and through the Holland Tunnel. Our destination was the San Francisco Bay Area, three thousand miles away on the other side of the country. Once we were situated in California, we decided to start up a new blog about our adventures in the Golden State.

Here are the top 5 most read posts on Sanderfornia:

5. Piñata Fun!

4. Mt. Tam(alpais)

3. Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve

2. Briones Regional Park (Old Briones Road Trail)

1. Wreckchasing in the Santa Cruz Mountains (F2H-4 Banshee)


CHEF at S’MORMONS Artisan S’mores

“Peanut Butter Caramel S’MORMON”

S’MORMONS Artisan S’mores grew out of a creative exercise to develop S’mores for regional areas of the world. The first creation was the ‘Utah S’more’ (or ‘S’MORMON’), featuring pioneer-esque molasses cookies and a Ghirardelli Toffee Crunch square, along with a dab of marshmallow creme. The tasty success of this idea led to others until I had many ideas inspired by different types of cookies, flavors of chocolate, and holidays. Through it all the S’MORMON name stuck and became the general name for all varieties. As the list of S’MORMON varieties grew, my wife and others encouraged a blog, which I dutifully obliged.

BLOGGER at Talent Zoo

In 2011 I was recruited by Talent Zoo to write for their “Beyond Madison Avenue” advertising blog. My posts ranged from interviews, to current events, to insights from a variety of books. Here are a few of my favorite posts:

BLOGGER at New York City in 60 Seconds

size_does_matterDuring the two years my wife and I lived in New York City, we kept a detailed blog of our activities. In the end we published over 100 posts on topics ranging from the well-known to the obscure in New York City culture. In addition to being a fun way to share our adventures with our family and friends, it also became a resource for locals to learn about their own city and for tourists to plan their upcoming “trips of a lifetime”.

Here’s a list of our top 10 most read posts:

10. FAO Schwarz – Home of the Legendary Toy Company

9. Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

8. The Hispanic Society of America

7. Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square

6. NYC Christmas Trees

5. Hiking Mt. Beacon

4. Ebbets Field

3. “Size DOES Matter” (Curated by Shaquille O’Neal)

2.  Jackie Robinson’s Grave

1. Michael Jordan’s Birthplace

In the years ahead it will be fun to reread and remember the good times we had in the Big Apple. We’re hoping it will continue to be used as a resource for people interested in New York City culture.

RESEARCHER/WRITER at Brigham Young University

During my last two years at Brigham Young University, I was hired by Dr. Fred Woods to be his Research Assistant. Thus began an exciting period of tutelage in historical research and scholarly writing that has left an indelible impression upon me. Below is a list of the two books and six articles I assisted him with.


Fire on Ice: The Story of Icelandic Latter-day Saints at Home and Abroad tells the story of the immigration of Icelanders to the American West in the 19th Century. My main responsibility for the book was compiling sources used in Appendix A. I also reviewed historical documents used in the text.

One of the exciting aspects of this project was attending the dedication of the Icelandic Monument in Spanish Fork, Utah. In attendance were the President of Iceland and the President of the LDS Church. It was a memorable event. Another exciting aspect was that the book was later turned into a 30-minute documentary, Fire on Ice: The Saints of Iceland. When I first saw it at the private debut screening, I thought it was flawless and beautiful.


A Gamble in the Desert: The Mormon Mission in Las Vegas (1855-1857) tells the story of the original settlement of Las Vegas (in what later became the state of Nevada). For this project, I helped lay out each chapter, reviewed historical documents, and wrote the appendix (biographical sketches of the first 31 settlers).

The book was released in 2005, the centennial year of the city of Las Vegas and the sesquicentennial of the original settlement. That summer, Dr. Woods participated in the festivities at the Old Mormon Fort and the book was placed in school libraries as a resource for K-12 students and teachers.


1. Fred E. Woods, “‘I long to breathe the mountain air of Zion’s peaceful home’: Agnes Campbell’s Letter to Brigham Young from War-Torn Virginia,” BYU Studies, vol. 46, no. 1 (2007): 84-94.

2. Fred E. Woods, “An Islander’s View of a Desert Kingdom: Jonathan Napela Recounts his 1869 Visit to Salt Lake City,” BYU Studies 45, no. 1 (2006):23–34.

3. Fred E. Woods, “Surely This City is Bound to Shine,”: Descriptions of Salt Lake City by Western-Bound Emigrants, 1849-1868,” Utah Historical Quarterly 74, no. 1 (Fall 2006) 334 –348.

4. Fred E. Woods, “‘Pronounced Clean, Comfortable, and Good Looking:’The Passage of Mormon Immigrants Through the Port of Philadelphia,” Mormon Historical Studies, 6, no. 1 (Spring 2005):5–34.

5. Fred E. Woods, “The Voyage of the Timoleon: Launching Latter-day Saint Missionary Work in the Pacific,” The Log, Mystic Seaport, Mystic, CT, 56, no. 1 (Spring 2005):12-21.

6. Fred E. Woods “Mormon Migration and the Fort Bridger Connection (1847-1868) Annals of Wyoming vol. 80, no.1 (Winter 2008):2-14.

Later, when I was a graduate student at The University of Texas at Austin, I organized a speaking engagement for Dr. Woods at the University Catholic Center. He presented “Kalaupapa: Uncommon Service on Common Ground,” the story of interfaith charitable efforts at a Hawaiian leprosy settlement. Here’s a link to a televised version of his presentation and another link to a documentary he later produced on the same topic.

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