Perfecting Personas

Justin Ramb, President and Sandra Marshall, VP of Client Services, Bigeye (Orlando, FL)

Justin Ramb is President and Sandra Marshal, VP of Client Services, at Bigeye, a full-service B2B and B2C agency that focuses on audiences, creative work, media and analytics, and data. 

  1. Understand audience: 

  1. Use primary and secondary research to discover who they are, where they consume media, what they look like, and what triggers them to convert
  2. Develop marketing personas that match two or three target audience personas
  3. Test strategies against those personas to ensure activities align with objectives


  • Use current customer data to develop lookalike audience and personas based on existing data
  • Develop personas based on where company wants to head. Is it looking to capture new clients or new types of clients? Supplement data with key stakeholder interviews, additional research, online research, and quantitative/qualitative research.

B2C: Bigeye utilizes specialized tools to learn about a client’s audience and customers

  1. Creative:

  1. As part of persona development, the agency tests messaging, colors, headlines, and photography for optimal audience response.
  2. Rather than resent the parameters of defined personas, the creative team appreciates understanding the target audience.
  3. Media and Analytics 

  1. As part of persona development, the agency explores media usage.
  2. Media develops a persona-based media plan and begins placement in that media
  3. Utilizing Google Analytics and custom dashboards, the Analytics team tracks establishes targets and KPIs
  4. Data 

  1. 24/7 analytics data provides information about how things are performing. 
  2. Data answered the questions: Where can things be optimized? How are conversions going? Do the real audiences align with those targeted? 

Bigeye started in 2002. In this interview, Justin describes the chaos of those early years and the ultimate discovery that the agency’s greatest success was driven by hiring team members who were committed, skilled, and aligned with the agency’s direction. Sandra added that the agency also has to “arm” new employees with “the appropriate support,” foster a sense of collaboration, and avoid over-siloization. 

Justin outlines the updated review and review cycle program (structured through a program called Lattice) the agency uses to keep everything running smoothly. Every two weeks team members submit a four-question online survey that covers how they’re doing, what roadblocks they have, and anything they want their manager to know. Every quarter, team members submit three or four agency- and personal-growth goals. These are used to project the agency’s direction in the subsequent quarter.

Finding a mentor, someone a step or two ahead, can help a startup avoid pitfalls. Justin comments that if you find an outside counsel and can afford that person, it’s probably not too early. He also mentions ways to find such help for free. He says strategic, balanced growth is healthy growth and believes that a company that is not growing is dying.

Justin and Sandra can be found on their agency’s website at, where visitors will find an “incredibly updated” blog. 

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Bridging the Gap for Big Market Enterprises

Justin Gray, CEO and Founder, LeadMD (Scottsdale, AZ)

Justin Gray is CEO and Founder of LeadMD, a performance marketing consultancy. The agency concentrates on achieving tangible, holistic business goals – defining a buyer, launching a product, increasing revenue – to produce bottom-line impacts, rather than focusing on middle-process goals such as website or cost-per lead-optimization. Most of LeadMD’s over 3,500 clients are B2B and B2C considered-purchase organizations – big market enterprises of $100 million and up. 

A “considered purchase” is a complex buying decision, fraught with emotional and financial risks and potential rewards – one that requires extensive pre-purchase research and evaluation. In B2B, this space might include software purchases, but it is more than that. LeadMD’s clients include technology providers (50% of clients are software providers), healthcare, manufacturing, financial services, and “anyone with a channel sale type of go-to-market.”

LeadMD bridges the space between being a global strategy consultant and providing regional implementation. The agency has data science, strategy, and go-to-market teams – who set strategies, plug those strategies into a broad range of systems and marketing platforms, build processes that work for clients, measure results, and optimize performance over time. Justin says that broad scope of function is rare in the B2B space. LeadMD’s consultants find the diversity in clients, the variety and unpredictability of problems and solutions, and the challenge of cobbling together customized solutions . . . exciting, and average 5 to 10 active, and widely-different campaigns a month. Close client relationships are critical. 

New clients may come to LeadMD with a particular goal. The agency uses its “Catalyst Marketing Framework” that clearly states the client’s objective and then provides a “laundry list” of what the client will need to have solidly in place in order to achieve the stated objective. This helps them align their activities to the objectives, and, in the end, produce significant, relevant outcomes. 

Justin has discovered over the years is that many clients believe they already have a full understanding of their buyer profile. Often that “full understanding” is only superficial. Do they really know who their buyers are? All of them? Then, do they know the platforms where their buyers “hang out”? Probably not. Yet that information is critical to know because those platforms are where LeadMd’s clients need to focus their marketing efforts. 

LeadMD’s 3-person data science team digs in at a deeper level that its clients have – researching the market, defining buyers, assembling ideal customer profiles – and then translates that information into engagement and messaging frameworks.

LeadMD utilizes role-based psychological/personality profiling to select candidates who will strengthen the organization—either by reinforcing role-desirable traits . . . or by bringing a new direction to the role. The hiring process can take as long as 2 months. Fifty percent of the organization is employee owned.

Justin can be reached on LinkedIn, on Twitter @jgraymatter or on his agency’s website at:

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Marketing Wellness: When Food is Medicine and Movement is Life

Alana Sandel, Chief Experience Officer, Marketing for Wellness (Chicago, IL)

Alana Sandel, Chief Experience Officer of the agency, Marketing for Wellness, has a deep passion for helping people “to be well.” Her personal health struggles inspired her to create her agency, which focuses on quality of life, healthy foods, and fitness. “better-for-you products” – “to build brands for a better tomorrow” – especially brands with solutions for people with chronic health problems. 

Alana notes that 60% of our population suffers from chronic health issues. COVID-19 is dangerous, but even more of a threat to people with diabetes, asthma, cardiovascular diseases, and other ongoing health issues. 

Marketing for Wellness works to link “best fit” social media influencers with client brands. Media events have been crippled by the pandemic, so the agency is exploring virtual and augmented reality options (for education and entertainment) to replicate the experiences audiences used to have with high-touch media events, where such events balanced digital-touch social. Alana anticipates an unprecedented expansion of companies’ use of augmented reality and virtual reality technologies to create meaningful experiences for their prospective clients. 

Alana believes that the companies that survive will be led by people whose work “resonates to the core,” drives them, and feeds their passion. With the strain of the times, a lot of talent will become more affordable. People will develop common goals to help each other through this crisis. Companies not prepared to go digital will need to act quickly if they are going to survive. And right now, Alana notes, there are some great deals in both digital and traditional format channels.

Today, people’s immune systems are the only protection they have against COVID. When will we get a vaccine? When will we have a treatment? How is this virus going to change? What other viruses are going to plague us? When? Alana emphasizes, “The only thing that we can rely on is our immune system.” Many niche brands, Alana says, are developed in people’s garages or kitchens, out of inspiration or desperation. Because these small-time innovators understand their customers’ “pain points,” their brands come across as being “authentic.” She expects to see a lot of innovative product development, both in foods and beverages, with a strong shift toward healthier ingredients.

For the future, Alana expects brands already in foods, beverages, and wellness will expand their offerings in support of our immune systems. Companies not in those industries may support their communities by investing in health and wellness initiatives. Smaller brands will increase their corporate citizenship contributions and make a tangible difference to society through the products they create. 

A lot of people will continue to support their wellness experience digitally, but Alana does not put her trust in health gadgets. Devices may measure some vitals, but the most accurate and complete picture of an individual’s health is in the bloodwork. Simplicity – eating better, thinking of food as medicine, eliminating toxins and artificial ingredients from our diets, and “moving more” are the way to win health, even without the gadgets.

Alana can be found on LinkedIn at Alana Sandel, and on her agency’s website at:

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PR Surround Sound and Taking Clients to the Light Bulb Moment

Tara Murphy, Owner, 360 Media (Atlanta, GA)

Tara Murphy owns 360 Media, an entertainment, lifestyle, and hospitality agency that focuses on public relations, event planning, and digital marketing. In the last couple of years, the agency has expanded into hotel work and commercial real estate. 360 Media will have been in business 25 years as of next January.

In this interview, Tara describes how her agency utilizes a variety of complementary narratives, images, and quotes layered on different platforms (social, email, print TV) to build a “big picture” storyline and cadence a client’s message. Tara explains that a lot of companies have ineffective PR because they fail to link their messages across the various platforms. 360-Media often educates clients on how to figure out message cadencing and how to make everything work together.

360 Media’s expansion into the commercial real estate market segment came about when the agency was tasked to promote Atlanta’s Krog Street Market, one of the first “food halls” to gain global recognition. Tara explains that Krog Street Market could have been a glorified food court, but it became much more than that . . . and was pivotal in rejuvenating the neighborhood around it. 

Understanding a client’s goals and objectives, mapping out a strategy, and then building a PR program with integrated story-telling, place-making, and branding components can change commercial real estate from a B2B proposition into a personal “what’s coming to my neighborhood” lifestyle play. 

Tara provides tips on how to write and submit press releases in today’s environment, what makes something newsworthy, and how to help a client find the unique “angle” that makes a “me too” announcement stand out. (This understanding is the light-bulb moment.) Less is more, Tara says. You have to target your audience, then customize the pieces for each of those targeted audiences.

Tara notes a couple of things she might have done differently when she started:

  • She feels she should have been more ready to follow her intuition, 
  • She made the mistake of extending too much credit to financially-strapped clients

The things that have helped 360 Media succeed for almost a quarter decade:

  • Being open to morph and willing to take on new challenges
  • Keeping a diverse client base

For the past 2 years, 360 Media has published the Atlanta 100, an end-of-the workweek e-newsletter and website (, which each week features twelve 100-word stories and 100-second videos on topics of intrigue in the Atlanta area. Lots of information . . . quick and easy access.

Tara can be reached on her agency’s website at or on Instagram at 360 Media, Inc (@360mediainc).

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Focus Faster, Leverage Success

Matt Weber, President at ROAR! Internet Marketing (Altamonte Springs, FL)

In 2007, after nearly a decade of experience in numbers-focused direct-response marketing, Matt Weber used a business broker to buy a small jack-of-all trades agency that provided sales training, traditional media marketing, and a small bit of web development. Over time, that agency became ROAR! Internet Marketing, where Matt is now President. The agency’s forte today? Measurable actions.

In this interview, Matt explains what a buyer can expect from a business broker, how to select one, broker limitations, and a broker’s role in facilitating business acquisitions. He warns that it will be challenging to evaluate transactional opportunities in the next few months. But, he also expects to see a lot of merger and acquisition activity as companies adjust to the COVID-impacted business environment. Matt’s general tips? Agencies will need to be more aware of costs now, “throttle back” on anticipatory hiring, , and eliminate “tool bloat” (buying multiple tools with the same functionality). 

Matt is no stranger to change. In 2007, websites were little more than glorified brochures. Matt shed virtually everything of the original business, rebranded it, and focused heavily on digital marketing conversions and direct response. Early on, 85-90% of the agency’s revenues came from web development.

Today, 80% of his agency’s revenues come from recurring digital marketing services, primarily for three verticals: elective medical (almost recession-proof), recurring-business home services (need-based), and manufacturing (which has a completely different cycle than consumer-based marketing). Matt says, when you focus your efforts on a limited number of verticals, you “leverage your success more effectively,” and follows that with the comment: “Diluted focus yields diluted results.” 

Matt has created a free tool,, which he compares to a car’s “check engine” light. (It won’t tell you what is wrong, but it will tell you when to take a look.) Twice a month, Smylelytics evaluates a company’s Google Analytics, translates the information into memorable, themed photographs, and emails the company with the (good/neutral/bad) “news.”

Matt serves as a national trainer for the Grow with Google program, where he presents small- to medium-sized businesses with a one-day class that covers Google My Business, Google Analytics, and Google Data Studio tools. He also speaks at conferences, frequently on the topic of, “5 Things Your Website Is Trying to Tell You but You’re Afraid to Ask.” Here, he provides a brief overview of those 5 things:

  1. Does your website, as a salesperson, feel confident in selling your business? Is it effective in turning leads into sales?
  2. Where should you focus your limited time and budget?What do the analytics show you about which efforts are paying off and which are not? 
  3. Is your landing page making a good first impression? What does your landing report say about what your first-time visitors do on their first visit?
  4. Who likes you best? Focus your efforts on communicating with those who like you the most.
  5. Are certain pages repelling your customers? Stop serving the bad pages.

Mayt is available on his agency’s website at: or on Twitter @BestWebDesignFL.

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A Million-Brand Mission in a Post-Covid World

Deb Gabor, CEO and Founder of Sol Marketing (Austin, TX)

As a bestselling author and keynote speaker, Deb Gabor, CEO and Founder of Sol Marketing, has, herself, become a “brand.” She defines Sol Marketing as a brand-driven, strategy-led marketing firm in the business of creating irrational loyalty. Irrational loyalty means people are indelibly bonded to a brand. 

When Deb talks about her agency, she does not list the provided services: she feels marketing services have become commoditized. Instead, she presents a passionate vision of what the future could be. She tells people she is on a million-brand mission – to impact a million brands in her career. She believes that the best brands in the world are truly unique – in why they do what they do. Her goal is to strengthen brands: making businesses more sustainable will up-level communities, and, ultimately, help people. 

When the Corona virus hit, Deb’s speaking engagements for the next 6 months were cancelled. She is sheltering at home . . . but not sheltering in her mind. The question was: how was she going to generate income when she could no longer speak at face-to-face events? What could she do? How could she help her company? She mobilized her team and made her personal brand a “client” of the agency. “Figure out how this has impacted us,” she told her team, “and then what we need to do.” 

Deb referenced an interview with James Stockdale in Jim Collins’ book Good to Great. Stockdale was held for 6 years in a Vietnamese POW camp. When asked how he managed to survive, Stockdale explained that he faced the brutal facts of his situation, but also kept up his hope and optimism. Prisoners who were over-optimistic, but refused to face the “brutal facts,” did not do as well.

Deb’s team identified around eight “brutal facts” about how Deb’s brand was impacted by Covid-19. Some issues were solvable, some were not. 

The company pivoted and, got Deb back on track in a new direction – creating information products, building online courses, building sales funnels, and building webinar funnels. Deb identified the assets she needed her team to build, established a schedule, and set targeted monthly income goals for the information products, her speaking, and her book sales. Then, taking things a step further, the company prioritized a something new: authority marketing services for professionals, who, like her, were facing the same challenges. The assets her team built for Deb became a product that could help other speakers, authors, experts, coaches, and consultants. 

Deb says she has never seen a better opportunity than now for “smart people with expertise that can elevate other people in their own businesses, in their lives – I’ve never seen a better opportunity for them to share generously that expertise with other people.” She challenges people to think about: “How can I be indispensable to people at this time? How can I share something that I know or that I can do in a way that helps another person?” In reaching out, Deb says “be helpful, be authentic, be true to your brand.” She now spends around 6 hours a day, every day, presenting public or private webinars, and consulting one-on-one with business leaders, marketers, creators, or people with personal brands who are interested in setting up their brands to thrive during these unusual times.

Deb can be reached through social media and on her website at:, where Deb is posting thought-provoking webinars that explore a post-Covid world. Deb’s books, Branding Is Sex: Get Your Customer Laid and Sell the Hell Out of Anything and Irrational Loyalty: Building a Brand That Thrives in Turbulent Times are available on Amazon.

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Changing Behaviors to Improve Public Health

Jeff Jordan is President and Executive Creative Director of Rescue: The Behavior Change Agency. Rescue offers a broad range of marketing services for government agencies (public health departments, state and federal agencies) and non-profits seeking to promote positive changes in public health related behaviors.  Jeff started his agency when, as a high school student, he volunteered for his local health department’s youth-targeted anti-tobacco program. He transitioned from volunteer to contractor, tweaked the anti-tobacco program to approach teens in an innovative way, and grew the agency through “a lot of referrals.” He opened his first office while he was in college and continued his focus on behavioral change for social good.  In this interview, Jeff tells us that marketing tactics that are used to sell products don’t necessarily work in changing “fundamental behavior.” His team has to be expert, not just in marketing, but also in behavior change theory, psychology, and sociology . . . and know how to appeal to different subsets within targeted cohort groups. Jeff says that it can take years for a consistent message to bring measurable change, and although there is nothing equivalent to “sales data” to gauge message impact in “real time,” he has found there are some measurable interim “markers” on the path to behavior change. Tracking and measuring specific behavior-related attitudes or beliefs or pieces of knowledge over time can predict subsequent behavior changes. About 7 years ago, Rescue won a $150 million FDA youth tobacco prevention contract. These funds allowed the agency to increase in size from 50 to 150 employees in 3 years. Today, Rescue’s 175 employees work out of 6 offices around the country. They serve government agencies and nonprofits in 30 states. Rescue creates programs for these organizations, but also has a library of campaigns that can be licensed. Over the years, Jeff has learned to say “no” to opportunities that are not right for his agency. Budgets that are too small can limit a campaign’s success . . . . and blame for poor results will invariably fall on the agency . . . not on the tight budget. The smaller a client is, the more they tend to demand. Jeff has observed that agencies end up over-servicing smaller accounts to keep them, tie up senior personnel in servicing these smaller clients, and underservice their larger accounts. Jeff warns that really small accounts can hold an agency down. Jeff applauds the move away from condemning people who choose unhealthy behaviors and the increasingly broad awareness of underlying lifestyle situations that contribute to these behaviors. Jeff’s agency attracts employees who want to do something good in their careers. He describes the agency as “responsibly rebellious,” and explains that is manifested in the way the agency encourages clients to take risks in a responsible way. Jeff can be reached on his company’s website at: The agency runs what Jeff describes as a “pretty robust YouTube Channel” at: Continue reading “Changing Behaviors to Improve Public Health”

Why KPIs Don’t Work . . . and What Does

Keith Perhac is the Founder of SegMetrics, a once-upon-a-time marketing agency that pivoted from marketing services to a suite of analytical and reporting products. Today SegMetrics builds and refines digital testing and tracking tools that provide marketers with critical information on where “leads come from, how they act, and how much a marketing program is really worth.”

In this interview, Keith explains that KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) tell a company if it is doing something better or worse than at some time in the past. However, KPIs are about averages – they do not explain what is wrong or right – or what action to take next. Keith says it is important to look at the outliers, follow your leads through their entire customer journey, and dig beyond top-level KPIs to get a deeper understanding of the contribution different components make to a KPI.

Before SegMetrics, Keith worked as a developer at a marketing/development agency in the middle of nowhere Japan. Fed up with long hours, Keith decided to quit to do “something on his own.” He started freelancing, “building awesome software” for great marketers, including Ramit Sethi, author of I Will Teach You to Be Rich. Keith claims Ramit taught him most of what he knows about marketing. Back then, agencies built their own metrics and testing tools.

Ramit’s focus on data, customer experience, and the customer journey brought a new dimension to Keith’s understanding of marketing: He had to go back to his college psychology lessons on “how people think.” How could a company measure every touchpoint, every experience? How could it split-test design or copy position? What could it do to test whether people were converting?

Keith’s agency focused on expediting client launches and optimizing their marketing funnels. Keith says that, often, the biggest value the agency provided was in pointing out customer journey disconnects, fragmentation, and “holes” in funnels. The launches were exciting . . . the retainers not so much. Still, the agency expanded to twelve employees in four countries. 

During a two-week period of client-free downtime, Keith’s team built the software that is the foundation of SegMetrics today. A month-and-a-half later, the product launched. Keith intended to transform the agency to a product-oriented company over time and as the product increased in popularity. Didn’t happen. The product did not “take off” until three years later, when they started a SegMetrics marketing campaign . . . and shut down the agency. Skillsets, tools, the business model, and staffing needs changed overnight.

Today, SegMetrics provides done-for-you services, facilitates client agency onboarding, and offers a lot of customer support for its software. The biggest challenge is educating agencies that “think they already know what they know.” Keith is believes that setting up solid tracking and UTM implementation is critical for understanding where to best spend marketing dollars. An Urchin Tracking Module (UTM) is simple URL-linked code that generates Google Analytics.)

Keith discusses the impact of Covid-19 on various business segments . . . and highlights the surprising number and kinds of businesses that are seeing tremendous business growth. While brick-and-mortar companies have suffered, Keith has seen increased traffic for companies providing entertainment, digital media, telecommunications, online information products, and Masterclasses.

SegMetrics is releasing its first printed book this May: The 90-Minute Guide to Building Marketing Funnels That Convert. The book will be available on Amazon. Keith can be contacted throughs his company’s website at: and on Twitter (Keith Perhac).

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Client Tech Education, Deep Data Study, and Micro-Testing: a Formula to Boost Business in Uncertain Times

Brian Lawson and his brother left their jobs in engineering, IT, and software development to found WebMO (Web Marketing Optimizer), a digital marketing agency. From the beginning, they focused on optimizing organic visibility/SEO and doing Google search ads, not just studying digital marketing tactics, strategies, and analysis, but digging into the “behind the scenes” mechanics. Today, WebMO is heavily data-driven, does everything digital marketing, and serves a large number of diverse and predominantly small-businesses nationwide.

WebMO’s “super-detailed” understanding of Google Analytics, conversion tracking, visitor engagement metrics, and the conversion heuristic enables the agency to fully understand clients’ market spaces. Over the years, the agency built their own analytical tools. The combination of three major Google data points – Google Analytics, a company’s Google Search Console data, and the data compiled in a company’s Google my Business listing – provides a clear understanding of a company’s “true space in the market.”

Education is the beginning of WebMO’s relationship with its clients. Brian loves to break down complicated technical concepts. He is used to speaking to groups of people, and loves running free workshops to help business owners understand complex concepts. As a result of this proactive training, WebMO became a Google Partner. When Google introduced the Grow with Google program, which encourages small business organizations, chambers of commerce, public libraries, agencies, and other organizations to participate in live feed educational workshops, WebMO was on board. Because of the huge number of people who have gone through WebMO’s workshops, Google recognizes the agency as a “high impact partner.” 

Education on how Google works, Brian says, “is absolutely critical.” After defining a client’s market space, the agency evaluates the client’s unique situation, and then makes recommendations.

Because Brian’s agency works with smaller companies with smaller budgets, “testing” the market and quantifying the response works well. Instead of spending thousands of dollars for a huge campaign, the clients may spend a few hundred. WebMO is then able to quickly show them the ROI on that investment. Brian says, “If it’s going to fail, fail fast and fail cheap.”

Covid-19 changed the agency’s operations. Although WebMO has been unable to meet with clients in person, it continues its educational outreach through weekly updates. Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Yelp are constantly tweaking their policies . . . WebMO is working to keep clients aware of these changes. One of Brian’s more recent presentations covered “how to look at Google Trends to truly understand the impact that this [Covid-19] situation is having on your business.”

Brian explains that Covid-19 has affected businesses in several different ways. Companies that provide such things as bartending services for parties are devastated. For other companies, like air conditioning repair companies and plumbers, it’s business as usual. For the last category, exemplified by companies that sell cleaning supplies, provide in-home nanny services, and medical professionals who are still working, traffic has gone “off the charts.”

In addition to having its own clients, WebMO partners with agencies that need an invisible number cruncher. When asked what he would have done differently when he started his agency, Brian said, he should have been “a little quicker to respond to where our clients were probably needing us most.” He seems to be doing that now.

Brian can be reached on his agency’s website at:

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Let Ego Go: Be Honest, Transparent, and Try Not to Pretend

Ty Largo is Owner and Creative Director at Awe Collective, a full-service agency providing branding, advertising, public relations, digital strategy, content marketing, social media, video and photography services to diverse industries across the US.

Sometimes the agency does (awe) inspiring work. Currently, in the face of Covid-19, the whole agency has shifted to “show up for clients in a different way.” Ty has been on phone calls, comforting clients crying about having to cut shifts. He has written emotionally difficult letters communicating a client’s “hard messages” to their staff, vendors, and/or guests. He feels this kind of PR service is a privilege, an honor . . . and a burden. Even in these “weird and uncertain times,” the agency’s role is much the same as in better times . . . to provide guidance.

Ty recognizes that no agency can excel at “everything,” and wants every tool used for its clients to be “best in class.” He uses the analogy of a Swiss army knife: a tool made of many tools . . . none of which work particularly well for what it’s purported purpose. Ty believes it is a strength to know where parts of his agency work like a Swiss Army knife and to be willing to reach out to a partner agency whose tool is “best in class.” If the client wins, then so does Awe.

Ty explains further explains: The ideal situation for Awe is that they always have a good network of great partners to partner with in order to provide optimal client results. Awe can pass over clients to these same partner agencies when it is already working at capacity or when the client needs services Awe cannot provide.

What has Ty learned over the years? In the past, when he was more “ego-driven,” he would tell a prospective client that his agency could do everything, and then “white label” work contracted through other agencies. Today, he just tells clients what his agency can and cannot do, recommends when a partner is best added to the mix, or admits, kindly, “Hey, this is not a fit for us,” and then refers the client to another agency. He says it’s a relief “to be honest . . . transparent . . . not to try to pretend.”

Business owners often feel they should say “yes” to everything. Ty reminds us there are other options:  you can compromise and you can say no.

Ty went to college to study music, dropped out in his third year, and never returned. He hopscotched around industries and quit his job as creative director at a poorly-managed software firm on February 14, 2008 – the same day he bought his first house. 

Ty started freelance marketing consulting, growing his business client by client. (He had no training in marketing, and this was during the recession of 2008) He never planned to have a business. (He had no training in business and he thought he was going to be a nerdy band teacher.) In 2018, Awe Collective was named the #1 “Best Place to Work in Arizona” by the Phoenix Business Journal. Ty attributes that award, and his agency’s success, to his obsession with team wellness. “Are they happy? Do they feel like they’re in an environment where they’re being challenged and they have opportunity?”

Ty can be reached on his company website at:

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