Corrections or additions?
This article by Kathleen McGinn Spring was prepared for the May
21, 2003 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Help Clients Make Money, Not Save It
Her license plate reads "AdLady," and she is
new in town, banking on creating a PR and marketing niche by catering
to the advertising needs of mid-size businesses. Freddi
shop, Strateg-e, has taken offices at 379 Princeton-Hightstown Road
(Building 2, Suite 5, Cranbury 08512, 609-443-3500) after a move from
"Most people find a job and then look for a house," she says.
"I did it the other way around." After attending Princeton
University basketball games over the years with a good friend, she
and her husband decided that this was the area in which they wanted
Silverman had been in business in the northern part of the state for
some 25 years. A journalism major at Bradley University in Peoria,
she has worked as a reporter and an editor, but moved to public
when her two children were young. She says she didn’t see how she
could combine a 9 to 5 job with child raising, and thought that the
entrepreneurial route was a better solution.
"People think you make lots of money running your own
she says, "but you don’t." What the life does deliver, she
found, was "lots of freedom." Still, there wasn’t quite as
much freedom as she first thought. "The company grew really
Three years ago, she sold her marketing and PR firm and became a PR
consultant. The move didn’t work out. "People want both,"
she says. "I would go in to do PR, and clients would want
too." In her new location, she will combine the two strategies.
Within her niche, companies with sales of between $5 million and $20
million, Silverman says she aims to attract clients by being
She serves all kinds of companies, but has specialties in community
banking and in professional practice consulting for law, engineering,
and architectural firms. "They’ve all begun advertising,"
she says of professional practices. They have to. "The competition
is fierce," she says.
No matter what the service or product, there are ways that small to
mid-size companies can prosper through smart marketing, even in a
down economy. Here’s how:
was a car dealer who grew from one dealership to 15, amassing one
of the largest network of showrooms in the northeast. "When the
market got tough, he’d spend more," she says. He would tell her
that "when everyone is pulling back, I’m going forward."
owners strive to survive by cutting costs. "Don’t save money.
Make money," advises Silverman. She cites current trends in
as a case study in what not to do. Trying to save a few dollars on
copywriting costs, any number of companies now have their marketing
managers and product managers turning out newsletters and writing
ad copy. It would be far better, she says, if these creative
spend their days concocting campaigns to bring in more money.
money is wasted and no one is fooling around. But a boss chained to
his desk is a boss who is not developing new business. "Take your
clients out to lunch," says Silverman.
and mid-size businesses deliver what they think their clients want.
Often, they miss the mark. Conduct surveys, says Silverman. Find out
what your clients really want. If a company is too small to commission
a customer survey, phone calls to 10 to 20 clients can be nearly as
good. Find out what is on their minds, and avoid some expensive wheel
enough. "Continuously be there," stresses Silverman.
an ad doesn’t seem to be bringing new business. "People get
she says. "They just stop." Don’t. Instead, realign, try
different. But do not let your name slip from sight.
But neither alone is ever enough, says Silverman.
"It’s your whole being." It is of paramount importance to
develop a brand and then to stick to it — "right down to the
phone answering." Every piece of advertising in every medium must
project a unified brand, and everyone in the organization must
just exactly what the message is. "You can have a great ad,"
says Silverman, "but fall down with the person who answers the
comes from 20 percent of your clients," Silverman says. Keep up
your relationships with these clients no matter what. Doing so is
a lot easier than building relationships with new clients.
in the first place, have followed her into it. Her son, now working
in Japan, is a branding specialist who began his career in her shop.
Her daughter runs a film editing company in Manhattan. "I’m so
proud," she says. "Both kids love what they do. In my
you have to love it."
— Kathleen McGinn Spring
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