We recently had the opportunity to catch up with entrepreneur Jennifer Dodson. Jennifer is Owner and Chief Creative Officer of Adashmore Creative. She is active on the Chamber’s Business Development Council and members of her team serve on the Marketing Committee.
Later this month, Jennifer will be honored by The Daily Record for her professional accomplishments and civic involvement as one of the publication’s 20 in Their Twenties. We learned about how she got started and asked her for some marketing advice.
1. How did you get your business started? What were some of your challenges?
I started by researching online and putting some ideas on paper. Relying on some savings and my perseverance, I went full time with only a couple clients. The biggest challenge was figuring out what we should be known for and hiring the right people to get us there. Being a generalist only works for so long.
2. What’s one of the biggest mistakes businesses make with social media and branding?
Many companies don’t take the time to get to know their audiences. Instead, they try to craft one message to reach everyone and end up reaching no one. Ultimately a brand is what your audience thinks of you. The more disconnected your message and product is, the harder it is to build a brand.
3. Many professional service firms are members of the Maryland Chamber. What is your No. 1 piece of advice for professionals who want to use content marketing to showcase their expertise and build their brand?
Try to reuse things you are already creating. From the sales presentations that describe your product to the questions you answer in an email, there is plenty of content already available. Use analytics to see what your audience responds to and find ways to improve your content moving forward.
4. When it comes to your company, what marketing or business metric do you obsess over most?
Our pipeline is critical to our business. Not only does this represent our incoming work, it also shows how well we’re serving our current customers. You don’t get 90% of new business from referrals by accident.
5. What is the most important question a small business owner should ask their marketing person?
Are we looking at how everything works together or only evaluating individual outlets? Integrated campaigns drive much higher results overall.
6. What is the first question you ask a prospective client?
No matter how the conversation starts, I want to know “What are the business’s goals?” This helps us understand if marketing is a priority and if Adashmore Creative has the capabilities to serve those goals.
7. What is the most important question for a small business owner to ask a prospective agency?
Present a marketing challenge for your company and ask for feedback. This provides insight into how the agency thinks and if their solutions could be a good fit. Just don’t expect a free marketing plan for an answer.
8. Name a good book you would recommend to other creative business owners.
My absolute favorite book is Rework by Jason Fried. It challenges conventional business thinking in a creative, quick read.
9. When you’re out of the office, what is your must-carry productivity device?
We’ve set up our business in the cloud. My smartphone connects me to email, files, calendars, and even project management tools while on the run.
10. What do you like most about being a member of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce?
It gives us the chance to learn from businesses around the state with programs like the Business Development Council and Annual Meetings.
Categories: Think Tank