Marketing with creativity

“Some of our clients don’t have their business ducks in a row,” notes Kristine Jacobson, founder of Conveyance Marketing Group. In 2016, she realized that she was in the same pond. Her marketing firm had been in business for five years but was “not quite at break-even.”

“Whenever we have a client that’s new, I tell them to head to the SBDC,” she says. Then Kristine followed her own advice and began meeting with Eric Byrd at the SBDC at MEC-Leesburg. “There are a lot of things I knew I don’t know,” she admits.

“I knew we needed to answer the big question: ‘What do I have in my house?’” She explains, “In other words, we needed to know what was working and how we could leverage that. We also wanted to know what was not working, and what to do about it. Were we being driven, or were we being led?”

Kristine’s goal was to grow aggressively. Eric helped her analyze her client base, which includes technology companies, consulting companies, consumer product companies, companies selling information technology services, and companies selling managed services. “We work with folks who are very analytically minded,” Kristine says. “We add the creativity that they don’t have to their messaging.” Kristine suspected a dose of creativity might be in order for her, too.

Next came the redesign of the sales process to focus on profitable clients and the addition of new services. “By digging into our financial statements, we were able to identify where our margins were suffering and where money needed to be spent to get those areas of the company growing,” Kristine relates. “We also profiled our existing ideal clients and built strategies and messaging around attracting more like them.”

In late 2017, Conveyance Marketing added public relations to its offerings. “I talked with Eric probably a year before I decided to put my toe in that pond and launch PR,” Kristine says. “We met to discuss what it would look like, who would buy it, and how we would package and communicate the offering. He cautioned me to take it step-by-step and not to just jump in.” She has found this and all of the SBDC’s advice to be sound.

As 2018 drew to a close, her business, as she put it, was “taking off like a rocket.” Revenue increased from $300,000 at the end of 2016 to a projected $1.2 million for 2018. “And we’ve hired six new employees,” Kristine adds. The now 17-member staff had to move to a larger building.

“I recommend the SBDC all the time,” Kristine concludes. “It isn’t just for starting a business; it’s for the whole life of your business. It’s not only a free resource, it’s a good resource. The fact that the SBDC can help from beginning to end — and everything in-between — that’s awesome!”

Virginia SBDC