I started my agency career 17 years ago this month and worked at four different Des Moines-based agencies that focused in the B2B space. Throughout my career, I’ve had the pleasure of working with several great people, equipment companies and industry media professionals. I’ve also been fortunate to have had two absolutely wonderful mentors along the way, both who challenged me to become the person I am today. I've been part of some fun and exciting product launches, as well as have helped some really great people execute their marketing efforts. And most importantly, in my heart I believe I have helped people and manufacturers.
It has been a really fun ride, but there has always been a desire inside of me to be in the driver seat. That’s why back in August I made the decision to partner with one of the hardest working and dedicated marketing professionals that I know — Amber Reed. I’ve had the pleasure of working with her at two different organizations before she ventured out on her own a few years ago. While she was focusing her attention on the needs her clients, my career path took me in a little bit different direction. I spent a lot of my time taking care of the needs of the agency.
There was nothing wrong with that path — it just wasn’t where I really wanted to spend my time. I’ve been fighting the urge to start a company since I was 26 years old, and this past year, I finally worked up the courage to do it. So, I left the security of the J-O-B world and partnered with Amber.
The game has changed
One of the biggest challenges facing advertising agencies today is that clients don’t see the value in paying the rates that agencies charge, and agencies are having a difficult time showing the clients the value of their rates — ROI can be a tricky story to tell.
The full service model is still a valid one, but anyone sitting inside of the walls of an agency knows that technology has changed the game dramatically. In many cases, agencies aren't just competing with other agencies for work — they are competing with freelancers, and not just on pricing either. The construction, rental, landscaping and turf industries are full of some great freelancers and niche organizations that are able to beat full service shops on both price and experience. And, they can often deliver the work faster because they don’t have work within the agency corporate structure.
Sure, it’s not the one-stop marketing shop that full-service agencies can boast, but then again not everyone likes buying groceries at the same place they purchase fishing equipment either. Sales and marketing managers need to decide what works best for them.
What are we building?
We believe there is room for another model — a virtual one. It’s a model that brings great freelancers together and provides a network of support that these individuals can’t get on their own. Our goal isn’t to replace full-service agencies. We just simply want to provide companies with an alternative option to accomplish their marketing needs.
And, we believe we can be a great resource for those full-service agencies too. We can supplement their client teams, taking on special projects or helping with overflow work.
Amber and I both have a public relations background — we believe that every brand has a story. However, our expertise extends beyond PR. We have spent thousands of hours brainstorming ideas for new product launches and customer events, helping to create clients’ annual advertising plans, working with creative teams to develop strategic marketing campaigns and assisting with brand development and strategy exercises… So, we know a few things beyond the world of PR.
In our virtual agency model, our goal is to bring together a network of professional marketing people based on our clients’ immediate and exact needs. Think of it as an extension of an in-house marketing department. We do not have employees or a building, which means we can keep our billable rates affordable and can do more with a client’s budget.
Yep, that means I’m working in my basement (it’s wonderful), but in today’s world, most of the tools us marketers really need fit inside a bag — a computer bag. I’m just as connected with other professionals as I ever was, but now I spend less time sitting in a conference room talking about how we should fill out timesheets and more time talking with clients about what projects they need to get done.
But what’s most important about this agency model is that it allows us to put our focus on our clients’ needs because we have eliminated distractions.
What you can expect from our blog
This is our first blog post. Thank you for reading it; we really appreciate it!
I promise that this blog won’t always be filled with ramblings about myself. Amber and I will be both sharing content that we hope you’ll find interesting and perhaps helpful in doing your job, as well as will be sharing client stories (with their permission) that will offer you unique insights into their sales and marketing successes.
If you like what you’ve read, I would love to hear from you. Perhaps we can create a brand story together.