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VOL. 127 | NO. 88 | Friday, May 4, 2012

Childs-Potter’s Venture Aims to Connect People

By Andy Meek

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In a world where technological advancement means people find themselves increasingly connected to each other and to information in a rowdy immersion of content and community, let us pause to consider the hyphen.


It represents the connectedness of anything from people to ideas, all condensed into one abrupt dash. And Apryl Childs-Potter, who has a background in journalism, marketing and customized research for organizations, decided there’s no more fitting symbol than the hyphen for the new market strategy company she’s launched and which has just moved into the EmergeMemphis building Downtown.

Her new venture, Hyphen Market Solutions, is in some ways an extension of the entrepreneur herself. She’s passionate about connecting people and organizations around the city with the understanding they need to engage their target markets.

Childs-Potter – whose own name is hyphenated – also thinks even more broadly than that.

She’s a major civic booster, for example. Professional conversations with her are liable to veer down discussions of demographics and of how to convey that data in the form of an arresting story.

Her newest blog post at hyphenmarketsolutions.com is titled “The Psychology of a Great City.” Her fandom of the city’s NBA team goes way back – she met her husband, Jason Potter, at the very first Memphis Grizzlies game she attended.

And the way she tells it, she moved to Memphis years ago en route to Chicago, but ended up falling in love with the city and staying put.

“I’ve always questioned things,” she said when asked how she came to start her new venture. “I’ve always thought there were certain things I’d do a certain way. There’s a fear barrier with a lot of people, where they just don’t know if they can do it, but over time I began to build that confidence.”

“What I do is help people connect the dots. We do the kind of research that helps clients and organizations understand what makes their customers tick.”

–Apryl Childs-Potter

After dabbling in journalism, she shifted into public relations and has worked with clients including the Memphis Redbirds, Medtronic Inc., Merry Maids, Terminix and more.

“My aha! moment was five or six years ago, when my husband was marketing director for the Redbirds,” she explained.

He’d been given a more than 200-page report that was packed with information. The ball club had been part of a research study at a time when both ticket sales and walk-up traffic were down.

The trick, though, is turning a report like that into something actionable, and that’s where Childs-Potter has decided she can serve clients.

“What I do is help people connect the dots,” she said. “We do the kind of research that helps clients and organizations understand what makes their customers tick.

“Generally speaking, a lot of smaller companies don’t have access to staff to do research for this kind of thing. What we can do is help companies by going in and helping with analysis to better understand who’s really in their market and how can those groups be segmented so that the company can better market to and position themselves to reach those groups.”

Said another way, Hyphen Market Solutions is about blending journalism-style data-gathering with more traditional research techniques.

Harkening back to her husband’s old marketing study, Childs-Potter said too often she believes market research comes back in a form that’s massive and hard to wade through concisely.

“I help tell stories in a way you can share with your team,” she said.

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