Previously, I interviewed Brian Rouff with Imagine Marketing and this is the second part of that interview. The response to part 1 was excellent and I’m sorry it’s taken so long to get part 2 to your inbox. Thank you for your patience and support.
In part 2 of our interview Brian answers the following questions based on his experience as a business operator in this new economy?
What have you done to cope with the problems of running a business in today’s economy?
Brian – Hard to believe, but I’ve been in marketing for 32 years. Although the basic rules are the same (know your target market, appeal to them in an interesting way, look for an emotional connection), everything else has changed. Especially the delivery systems. The Internet and related innovations have sped up the process exponentially. Clients are also looking for faster, more cost-effective results, particularly in this economy.
What services or products do you offer?
Brian – We’ve tightened up our operations considerably. It’s amazing how much fat can be trimmed without negatively impacting client service or internal morale. Internal and external communication is a key factor. We’ve found that being open about the challenges we’re facing is helpful. It reduces uncertainty, which can paralyze a business.
How important is marketing to the success of your business?
Brian – Of paramount importance. Of course, we’re a marketing firm, so what else would I say? But seriously, all businesses should be marketing-driven. It simply means that the customer or client comes first. That’s why we’re here.
How important is your website to your overall strategy?
Brian – Extremely important. For many prospective clients, it’s the first contact they have with our organization. It’s a great place to start the relationship and dialogue. They can also see our virtual portfolio to get a good idea of the quality work we do.
How do you use the Internet to communicate your message to prospective customers?
Brian – There’s definitely some education involved. Because we test all of the new methodology on ourselves first, we’ve already made the mistakes and figured things out before we’re comfortable recommending a new program to our clients. Then we incorporate their feedback to continually fine tune the offerings.
What strategies seem to be working best for your clients during this down economy?
Brian – The whole bag of tricks. Website, monthly e-newsletter to our own database, blogging, tactical use of targeted social media. Lots of sweat equity with a minimum amount of investment.
What long or short term goals have you set for your company for the next 2 to 5 years?
Brian – We’d like to stay ahead of the curve in technology; be seen in the market as a forward-thinking firm with creative solutions. Personally, I’d like to see us continue to branch out into areas like publishing, public speaking and even movies.
Is there anything you would say to business owners who might be considering an exit strategy during this recession?
Brian – My dad used to tell me, “Keep your chin up.” A positive attitude is important. I know that’s easier said than done, but if business owners see this as an opportunity to correct mistakes and really provide value to their customers, they’ll come out of this stronger than ever. I guess the bottom line is, never give up.
Is there anything else you’d like to add that might be helpful to other small business owners who might be feeling discouraged in these tough times?
Brian – The game has changed. Learn the new rules. Who knows? You might even have fun.
If you would like to be considered for an interview in future newsletter please call or email Andrew Hall with AMI Studios.