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BusinessInterviews .com: What inspired you to leave corporate heights to launch your own marketing firm that concentrates on smaller business?
Rob: We wanted to really concentrate on ‘challengers’ of any size — so our clients are big and small – the commonality is that fire to want to win in new ways. For us, that fire was easier to spark in a more nimble, SWAT team approach outside of corporate structure. We’ve always loved the creative process of inventing and executing custom solutions with each business challenge: 40 Soap box boys in Times Square for big buzz; tiny messages in glass bottles for a pharma firm to get to doctors; a huge cowbell to be rung in field offices for pumping up sales. Our boutique enables that nimbleness. So we can handle big ideas and execution but at a greater value, and with the right people and resources vs having to use those sitting around twiddling corporate thumbs. We’re better set up to challenge, and win, on every level.
BusinessInterviews.com: Where does your passion for entrepreneurship come from?
Rob: Curiosity. Creativity is a mode of curiosity – how does that work? How can that be solved better? What makes people tic? Marketing today is really exciting – scary, but thrilling, given all the options online and elsewhere for engaging. Tough on those companies who are scared of change and doing something different, but great for those willing to try new, learn fast, and win bigger. That’s why we love entrepreneurs – or intrapreneurs – of any size.
BusinessInterviews.com: What advice would you give to a startup in need of an online marketing strategy?
Rob: Generically speaking, test, test, test. It’s generally the way smart startups work on every level. And marketing should be no different. Take a calculated risk, look at results, alter, risk again and repeat. Frankly, that’s why startups should hire startups. We know how to test and risk. I’m surprised how many, once they grow, are eager to hire a big name marketing firm that’s a horrid fit for them. Insert shameless plug here!
BusinessInterviews.com: Can you expand on how you’ve recently scaled your practice areas and what that means for the direction of the company?
Rob: We are specialist generalists, so we love the ability to come in, consultatively, learn partners’ biz objectives, buyers and budgets, and THEN formulate a plan vs. only offering 1 or 2 specialties. We’ve found most don’t know exactly what they need, or it changes the more we find out, so being nimble and multi-talented helps. That said, we’ve built out Shopper Marketing in a big way, as well as digital capacities given the critical nature of both for almost every one of our client partners. We’re also getting into creating our own products, as the challenge is more multi-dimensional, and gives us appreciation for the heaps of challenges on our client partner’s plates. Marketing’s just one pie piece.
BusinessInterviews.com: What are some trends in the marketing industry that you’re excited about or think that our readers should be paying attention to?
Rob: Content creation is still a very interesting space, in social, viral, even ‘broadcast’. With Netflix and Amazon becoming producers, it feels like there are even more opportunities for smart brands to engage and entertain beyond simply pushing products. Red Bull’s a great example of that. Love seeing when brands add to their distinct personalities, and provide for their acolytes. Hey, Soap Operas were called that way back when for a reason. The more things change….
BusinessInterviews.com: Do you think that traditional Direct Mail methods are still a useful marketing strategy?
Rob: Whatever gets one in front of a potential interested consumer in a way that is clever, adds value, and provides information or engagement is great. DM is one method, and it can work. It can be great for B to B, when a targeted approach is key. Solutions that break through the clutter in a clever way win, because so much B to B creative doesn’t. There’s no thought, or guts, in the concept or delivery. That’s a bonus for us, because when we bring our creativity to, say, a new corrugate company we’re working with, and do something unexpected and engaging, the sales wins prove out. Hey, corporate American wins with innovation – and innovation is what great marketing and fresh tactics are all about. But to stay in the forefront, you’ve got to have the Bandwidth….