John Vuong, owner, Local SEO Search (Toronto, Canada)
John Vuong started his Toronto-based agency, Local SEO Search, in 2013 with the goal of helping small- to medium-sized businesses in North America, UK, and Australia improve digital presence in their local communities.
John had ten years in advertising and sales for print media directories with their online performance-based networks and then worked for 5 years at Yellow Pages. Through this experience, he honed his understanding of how to dig out a business’s gaps, opportunities and challenges, its potential customers, where those customers were located, what those customers wanted . . . and what businesses themselves were looking for in an agency. John explains that product characteristics, physical proximity, convenience, and/or services are only the beginning of the variables to consider in “positioning” a company. Whatever it is that a company’s customers want needs to be prominent on its website. John says, “Make it easy for people to realize what you offer.”
John Limotte, Founder and CEO, Mustache Agency (Brooklyn, NY)
John Limotte, Founder and CEO of Mustache Agency, started his career as a film producer making indie and arthouse films. When that business became more difficult (impacted by, among other things, the rise of the internet), John looked for a way to use his skills doing something that looked more like a real business. He saw potential in the field of marketing for “more cinematic . . . epic . . . more longform storytelling.” So, he started a very small video production agency and took jobs one by one to see where things would go.
Ashley Logan, Founder and CEO, Yakkety Yak (Chicago, IL)
Ashley Logan is the Founder and CEO at Yakkety Yak, a full-service purpose-driven content marketing agency that provides blog writing, social media marketing, video production, and website design and development for brands and organizations that want to make the world a better place.
Carl Fremont, CEO at Quigley-Simpson (Los Angeles, CA and New York, NY)
Carl Fremont is CEO at Quigley-Simpson, a direct marketing/direct to consumer marketing agency with its roots in longform television infomercials. The agency has pivoted numerous times from informercials to shorter form direct response TV to full-service media with a focus on digital marketing.
Chad Crowe is CEO at Techwood Digital, an employee-owned agency that provides B2B, e-comm, and lead generation services for around 100 clients in a variety of U.S. industries. Founded on SEO, Techwood has over the years added paid search, branding, and some design elements and development – in a gradual transition to becoming a full-service agency.
Melanie Querry, owner of Beyond Spots and Dots (Pittsburgh, PA)
Melanie Querry owns Beyond Spots and Dots, a full-service advertising agency that frames its work around analysis, keeps client budgets on target, and utilizes proven marketing success in one industry to help businesses in other industries grow. Spots and Dots has been on the Inc. 5000 list five times.
Brian Phillips, Co-founder and CEO, The Basement (Indianapolis, IN)
Brian Phillips is Co-founder and CEO of The Basement, an integrated (technology + creativity + measurement) B2C and B2B marketing agency with its roots in production. Brian dabbled in art and worked in architecture before he took the artistic principles of rendering positive and negative space to marketing. He explains, “The positive space, the consumer journey, is one we can see and everything works.” He believes marketers can get a lot of understanding out of identifying and analyzing negative space – the things that don’t work – and that these, too, can help define the client journey. He believes “Negative space helps define and form the positive space.” His interests today remain diverse. For the past year, he has avidly read scientific books, pursuing ideas related to how genetics might impact buying and selling.
Phil Case, Chief Client Officer, Max Connect Marketing (Salt Lake City in the heart of the Silicon Slopes)
Phil Case, now Chief Client Officer, joined Max Connect Marketing after running an agency for nine years – one that consistently lost clients to this highly performance-based digital agency. One key to Max Connect’s success is that 90 percent of its 47 employees are compensated based on the performance of the campaigns it runs. At Phil’s previous agency, the sales team would work 6 months to close a new client and then hand the client over to the digital team. The digital team would complain about the extra time they had to spend running the campaign without that effort generating any more financial compensation. Aligning compensation with performance boosts the Max Connect team’s motivation to go “above and beyond” to produce outstanding results.
Omi Diaz-Cooper is CEO at Diaz & Cooper Advertising, a digital “growth agency” that focuses on developing tight strategic plans and transforming client websites into top-performing salespeople. Omi says that websites are no longer “set it and forget it”—they are “living things that need to be producing” for clients. Since Covid, even companies that used to have “catalog” websites have found the need to proactively nurture prospects along the customer value journey.
Leah Norton, Managing Partner at Fishhook (Indianapolis, IN)
For 15 years, Leah Norton, Managing Partner at Fishhook, has been leading this communications team which focuses on “getting out the message” for churches and faith-based ministries. Leah had left her previous agency to stay home and raise her young daughters. She started working part-time at Fishhook, coming on board to build out the founder’s ideas and work on long-term client relationships. Last March, with her girls in their teens and in the midst of the pandemic, she bought out the founding partner, Evan McBroom, and brought in a new partner, Shayla Kenworthy