I recently went to an event where I ran into 6 people that I have known for many years. As we were catching up I received the following question from 4 of them.
"So what is your business these days?"
What hit my brain was "I don't know what you do for a living." When you are in the marketing business where you market other businesses along with marketing yourself this causes alarm!
First off please know I own this result. If you don't know what I do for a living then that is on me. We attempt to teach business owners how to use Internet marketing tools to brand themselves. I feel it is important that every post is not about your business. Apparently not enough of my posts are about my business. So if you have ever asked yourself "What the heck does Chris Reed do? I hope through this blog post I will help you understand.
What do you do Chris? I own a marketing firm called Cast A Bigger.Net.
What is Cast A Bigger.Net?
I am so glad you asked. We are a marketing and business strategy firm for small to medium-sized businesses. We operate as a full service outsourced marketing department for companies who can’t afford an in-house team but need full service marketing to grow their business. We act as your marketing director and work with you directly as part of your team.
Cast A Bigger . Net has a huge network of local talent which we have solid experience and history working with. Our low overhead and ability to connect with local talent on an as-needed basis means you can get enterprise level production with a small business budget. A year with Cast A Bigger . Net is usually less than or equal to a full-time marketing director, but you get a whole production team worth of talent!
Now that explanation was taken directly from my company's website which you can review the rest of the explanation here - Cast A Bigger.Net - Who We Are
So what do you do at Cast A Bigger.Net Chris?
I do business development or account development.
What does that look like? I meet with business owners and listen to their goals for their business and the challenges they are facing. Then I discuss with them general concepts that have worked for other clients to market the company which causes more people to raise their hands and ask them for help. My title is Idea & Strategy Guy. This is because I help people envision new and creative strategies to create awareness of their company.
Then what happens next?
We have a proven process that we have used for almost 4 years now, but to be frank this has been used in the marketing business for many many years. The process consists of 4 steps.
1. Discovery: This means we ask a lot of questions. We have been doing this for many years, so we have gotten really good at it. It can seem like Detective Columbo is on the case and you might be his #1 suspect. I assure you madam we are only doing this for your own good! The more we know about your business, competitors, market, sales cycle, pricing models, challenges, successes, technology implemented and so much more the faster we can get up to speed.
SECRET REVEALED: If you're not doing this with your current marketing firm then fire them!
2. Strategy: We then take all the information gathered back to our secret lair (ok its not a secret lair but that just sounded fun to say) and we analyze the information. We use cool agency tools (ok we think they are cool) to gather data. The data is on your website, competitors, market segments and much more. We then present this strategy to the client. Showing them the low hanging fruit we have identified, the near term items that need to be achieved and the long term vision we see that will aide the client in achieving their goals.
3. Implement: Then our team of strategists, writers, graphic designers, coders and any other specialists that are needed, work together to put that strategy into motion for our client. This team is scaled based on the budget and the needs of the strategy developed for our client.
4. Results: We gather data on the results of the implemented strategy that demonstrates to the client that we are on the right path. Then we continue to work with them to adjust the strategy to take into account market response.
Wow that's pretty involved Chris, how long does that 4 step process take?
Step 1 and 2 are usually accomplished in the first 30 to 60 days of an engagement with a new client. This does depend on the clients ability to complete the discovery process and provide information needed.
Step 3 can take 60 to 90 days depending on the complexity of the strategy and the needs of the client (where they are at prior to our engagement). Step 4 is ongoing as we continue to implement for the client. We tend to like status meetings about once a month to every other month. Again depending on the clients need and availability.
How much does this cost?
We like to say the real way to ask that is... What sort of investment will I need to make to make this work for my company?
The standard answer is... Not as much as you might think. We like to gain an understanding of our clients current budget and meet them where they are.
Internal Hire Example: If you were to hire a graduate from a marketing school you would pay them an annual salary of $30-40k. I marketing director with 5 years experience tends to command a $55k to $75k salary. Here is the trick. Then a business' budget would be impacted by benefits, withholding and then the marketing person would want a budgetary amount to actually market the company. Our services tend to fall into a monthly retainer that ranges from $1500 to $4000 a month. Again this depends on many variables like the budget and size of the company, and the company's goals. If you do the math we are a valuable resource and a cost savings for a company.
Project Management Example: If you are trying to cut costs as you boot strap your business you might be considering or actually doing your own project management. Lets use for example a new website project. You are going to need a graphic designer, a photographer, a writer and finally a coder to implement your final website project. If you spent 1 hour with each candidate and met with 3 candidates for each team member on your project you would spend 9 to 12 hours just in qualification meetings. What is your time worth? We have a deep bench of qualified talent in each category. We select team members based on our experience working with them and how their qualifications match up with your project. In the end we are accountable to our clients satisfaction. A successful project starts with proper goals, then sets realistic expectations, and the right team under promises and over delivers.
What size companies do you work with?
I like to tell people the company we work with has 0 to 3 marketing people on staff. Another way to say it is the company is generating more than $500,000 in annual revenue. So far we have worked with companies doing up to 12 million annually. I take that back. We did training and coaching for a company that was on track to do 30 million.
Whew I know that's a lot and thanks for hanging in this far!
I know it is hard to remember what people do for a living. My only goal of this blog is you might have gained a bit more insight into what I do. I'd like to think what I really do is encourage and connect people. If there is a chance I can help you or someone you know, even with just an introduction please contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 317-218-7990 I'm at extension 3