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VOL. 128 | NO. 12 | Thursday, January 17, 2013

RedRover Uses Numbers, Strategy for Growing Client Roster

By Sarah Baker

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When it comes to a traditional agency model, RedRover Sales & Marketing is anything but traditional.

Founded seven years ago this month, the firm has added four new hires and three new service lines since last summer, notched impressive year-over-year revenue increases and is almost at capacity with its client roster.

That’s why RedRover is projecting four more hires by August when it relocates from its 2,100-square-foot space at 415 S. Front St. to potentially 5,000 square feet elsewhere Downtown.

“It’s fun to see because we are just 10 people, we’re not a big shop,” said CEO and founder Lori Turner-Wilson. “The way the phone has been ringing and the awareness of our brand in the marketplace, you’d think we were a larger firm than we are. One day we’ll get there, but we’re still boutique, we’re still small and nimble, but we create a lot of noise for such a small firm.”

The majority of RedRover’s growth is due to new clients that have been referred by existing clients, such as Lucite International, Thomas & Betts, Bleu Restaurant & Lounge and Christian Brothers University. That’s in addition to RedRover’s portfolio of existing clients, which are growing 10 to 20 percent year over year, as well as a pipeline of potential clients.

“As soon as one of them signs, it’s going to be a two-month lag time (for our services) probably,” said Melissa Thompson, RedRover director of client service. “It’s a good challenge to have.”

RedRover has also brought in specialists to grow its social media, public relations and international communications elements of its firm over the past year.

Turner-Wilson attributes RedRover’s success to its talent-driven business. Whereas a traditional agency may make the majority of its money based on media commissions, RedRover is selling consultancy and experience to mid-sized companies with somewhere between $5 million and $50 million in sales.

“We’re still small and nimble, but we create a lot of noise for such a small firm.”

–Lori Turner-Wilson
CEO and founder, RedRover Sales & Marketing

“A lot of our clients refer to us as being an expansion of their C-suite,” Turner-Wilson said. “They are of the size where they need a seasoned chief marketing officer and a head of their sales division that’s a real veteran in the business, but a lot of times they aren’t to a point where they can afford to bring in those two six-figure salaries. And so they’re hiring us on a fractional, outsourced, part-time basis to fill both of those roles for them.”

RedRover’s sales and marketing strategy model allows clients to compete with big national and international companies that have much larger budgets, but at an affordable rate where they can still maintain their margins. RedRover does this by means of its “60-day discovery and plan development period,” followed by the execution of that plan if it’s cost effective for the client.

To Ty Skinner, recently hired account manager/sales trainer from Colorado, it’s about lending “fresh eyes” to a business. A veteran in sales training, she said it “seems silly” that anybody has ever used a different approach.

“It’s funny, I’ve owned a business before myself and you think you know what your issues are internally, what your opportunities and strengths are,” Skinner said. “But many times when someone comes in from the outside who knows absolutely nothing about what you do and takes a look at it from a 40-foot-view, it’s astounding to me how much difference you see what those wins are.”

RedRover’s revenue in 2012 was up 90 percent from 2011, and 192 percent compared to 2009. Tracing that growth back even further to before the recession, RedRover in 2012 saw a 971 percent increase from 2007.

Numbers are certainly what RedRover is most proud of and accustomed to. The firm re-launched its website in October, touting its metric-driven formula and growth figures from its client Bleu, which saw a 46 percent increase in six months following a rebranding campaign.

“A traditional ad agency probably has beautiful creative on their site, but we put numbers,” Turner-Wilson said. “That’s really where the rubber meets the road and that’s what the mid-sized companies that we’re targeting are really looking for.”

To celebrate its seventh year in business, RedRover is holding a seven-year client appreciation bash at Bleu on Thursday, Feb. 28, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. That “blowout” party will feature live entertainment, food, a video presentation and “some fun surprises,” Turner-Wilson said.

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