Welcome to Rankwatch’s Marketing Lego thought leader interview. Today we will talk toDr. Amy Osmond Cook, founder of Stage Marketing, about her journey of creating a successful full funnel marketing agency. We also talk about Effective Content Marketing Strategy that helps grow your business.
Hi, everyone. I’m so excited to welcome you all to today’s Marketing Legal Fat Leader interview. My name is Harshit and I’m the director of the business alliance of two amazing marketing SAAS tools Rankwatch and Websignals. We have a very special guest with us today, Dr. Amy Osmond Cook. Amy is the founder of a full-service marketing agency called Ospon Marketing, which is now named Stage Marketing. She’s also CMO of Simpler and Emphasis Company and a regular contributor to big media houses like Daily Herald and Folks. Amy, so happy to have you with us today and welcome aboard.
Perfect. Amy, please tell us about your journey. What were you like as a child and how did you get to where you are today?
So I got married and then I got divorced, and then I got married again. And I had just moved to California with my cute husband, and we had two kids that were younger than two from my previous marriage. And my husband got a job at Lehman Brothers one month before Lehman Brothers went bankrupt and before the financial collapse. And I was like, oh, no. I was so worried because I had all of these little kids and I was staying at home with them and I hadn’t worked for several years and I didn’t know what to do. And so Jeff and Jeff is my husband, and we were thinking about what we could do, and we had a $10,000 tax return. And he said, okay, we’re going to split this in half, and we’re each going to take $5,000 and we’re going to see who can make the most money. And so Jeff put his money in real estate investment, and I put my money in Stage marketing, and, guess who won? It turned into this amazing agency. And we’ve been around for twelve years and we have been growing really fast for many years and it has just been such a wonderful opportunity.
It was so great. And so then one of my clients was Simpler and the CEO, Ryan, came to me one day and said, Amy, I need an inhouse marketing lead. Will you come to join me over at Simplest and leave your agency? And I knew immediately it was such a good opportunity. This was about five years ago. And so then I said, okay, I’m in. I cannot wait to learn and to learn what enterprise operation looks like, and how to serve in marketing in different departments. It’s been like drinking out of a firehose and it’s been absolutely amazing. So my husband and I still own stage marketing and it continues to grow and do really, really well. And then I spend my time over at Simplest and service their CMO.
And this was much before like when Infosys acquired Simplest, right?
In your agency business, what is the scale of businesses that you mainly get? Is it mainly small and medium enterprises or like a good blend of almost all business sizes?
Got it. I think even the growth that Simplers had in all these years, like even that itself is a big case study. Right? How is the shift from owning an agency to working in a job? I’m sure like, that must be a really all-new ball game for you as well. So what was the experience of that transition like for you?
And, like, let’s talk a bit more about the service offerings of Stage marketing, what it does, and who’s an ideal fit as a client for you?
Or different things like that. And so we added channels as the client asked for them, and I was able to hire people specifically for that expertise. So we do the full-funnel marketing, and then we also have recently added inside sales and business development services like cold calling and emailing and serving as an appointment-setting team, because we have been pretty successful in taking an account-based marketing approach and using our marketing abilities to really integrate that and sync it into move it into an appointment setting and move the leads forward.
Got it. And how exactly is the typical client journey in your agency? And what exactly was the first 30 days? Because that’s the most crucial time, right? Look like your friends.
Got it. And what are the main challenges even for the entry project that you do, say you do it for free, what are the main channels you utilise for that specific project? And, also like the core expertise or specific channels that the agency mainly leverages to cater to the ground?
Got you. And since content marketing is your core for tip right, it has always been taking for you. Can you share a few useful tips that kind of like every business can use when it comes to content marketing?
I’m also seeing a new trend in healthcare called social manipulation. Not just in health care but in a lot of industries, right? And that is something like you basically create multiple personas that could be done by a marketing agency and you try to drive the conversation happening in a group or a particular community towards your client’s business. And that is something that I’ve seen work for a lot of businesses. Is it something that you do?
So basically since we’re talking about content and one of the biggest challenges that the businesses face is how do you basically go about planning the right content for you and then measuring itself and kind of like improving onto your marketing message and marketing content over together? How exactly do you do this?
Got it. Any specific KPIs that you keep track of while measuring the success of your content marketing?
Gotcha! Any other very successful case study of Stage marketing that you would like to share with us? I know, simpler maybe that or any other success too?
So it enables them to grow their brand a lot faster. We have also had a great experience working with Advanced Management Company, also here in California. They have apartment buildings of about 40 people, 40 different locations, and actually, you know what? Now they’re up to 55. And so we service them on the SEO and the Web, and we do some Google Ads for them and basically help them increase their census and their occupancy. So in skilled nursing, you call it census, and in apartment buildings, you call it occupancy. But their Occupancy, they have a goal of 96%, and they’re at 98%. So we’ve been really good at that.
How long have you been taking care of their marketing?
They’ll have like a $5,000 service management fee, and I don’t see them servicing anything. So what we did instead was we decided to try to become as much like an in-house employee as possible. So rather than try to compete with the agencies, we started competing with the employees. So we dropped our agency rate down to 75 to 100. And ours is the same as an employee, and then we bring in when we give them an invoice, every single hour is allocated so the company knows that they’re getting 100% utilisation and an entire team instead of one employee for the price of an employee. So it’s a pretty amazing system, and not a lot of people want to leave that.
Yes, and even this is one of the biggest problems and challenges that the agencies face. In agency businesses, I think somewhere around 60% to 65% and dragging that down to such a great level is actually pretty remarkable.
I am sure, like, because you guys have been in such a good environment and usually attracts good talent as well?
That’s perfect. Now, since we shared a really good experience, let’s talk about the negative part as well. Any horror stories that you would like to share with us because you’ve been in business?
There were plenty of printing houses in China that were fantastic, but this particular one used the wrong glue. So I learned how to be more careful in how I source and take risks. I learned to get samples beforehand. I learned to use known commodities. I learned to use brokers. I learned that, you know, to use manufacturing companies that other people had used before. And then I also learned how to be honest and replace books if they were broken and take the hit if I needed to, to deliver the highest quality for the customer. So that was a really, really good first project that I failed.
You did well. Lesson learned. Coming to an end here, and I would like to have a quick, rapid-fire with you. Are you ready for that?
One advice that you would give to your younger self.
Got you. And when are you most productive?
Same happens with me. What scares you the most?
What’s the first thing you notice about someone when you meet them?
When were you the happiest in your life?
Any final thoughts that you’d like to share with our viewers?
Thank you so much. Thank you so much for all your time and all the valuable information that you have shared with us about GM, the company, and marketing. Thank you so much.
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