This week we feature Larry Meador, CEO at Evok Advertising. Evok Advertising Agency Orlando is a full service, award-winning Orlando advertising agency with strategic planning capabilities proven to deliver results.
In this interview, you can read more about his work at Evok Advertising, favorite marketing tools, productivity tips as well as his advice for budding marketers.
Your location: Orlando Florida (headquarters) with satellite offices in Tallahassee Florida, Memphis and Los Angeles.
Your favorite gadget: iPhone X
You start your day with: A ride on my Peloton, preferably with Jennifer Jacobs (rockstar Peloton instructor/coach/guru)
Your favorite time-saving trick: delegate - it's not passing the buck - it's trusting your team.
Describe an average day at Evok?
We strive for no day at evok to be "average" - we strive for each to be excellent. The best thing about evok is the people who we're lucky enough to have work here, and they make every day interesting, engaging and different. There is no typical day, which makes my job so exciting. I never know what great idea, initiative or campaign will be conceived by the team. I'm always impressed with their ideas to help our clients achieve their goals.
As a Founder what are some of your favorite productivity hacks?
As the Founder, my primary purpose is to be there for my my team with an answer, a question, or maybe just to be a sounding board. To do this, I have to have a clear calendar with as few interruptions as possible. The biggest interruptor, I believe we all would agree, is email, so I use an Auto-Responder that reads "Thank you for your email. Primarily, I check my inbox before 9 am and after 5 pm EST so there may be a delayed response. If this is urgent please call, text or reach out to one of our team members directly. I look forward to connecting with you soon." So, if I don't get back to someone from outside the organization right away, they will understand. My commitment is to the team.
As a person who is well-versed with online marketing/ inbound, I’m sure you rely on a few marketing tools to automate your efforts. What are the top 3-5 tools you use?
Personally, I use Boomerang. It allows me to bring an email notification back to the top of my inbox when I I have carved out some time to address all inquires. I also use it to send emails out at a reasonable hour. As an entrepreneur, I'm often burning the midnight oil, but I can't expect my team to be up when I'm up, so I create the emails at night, then schedule them to go out the following morning, making best effort to space them out as to not flood an inbox. For evok, we are big believers in the creation and dissemination of original content - it's an opportunity to learn the latest trends through our research and position the agency as a thought leader. To disseminate the information, we utilize multiple channels, but the highest automated is our email program - SharpSpring. We've partitioned our database into 11 subsets, each representing clients, vendors and agency partners who have a specific interest in an industry we service, from healthcare to travel & tourism, financial services, restaurant marketing etc. This ensures that the information we're sending out is relevant to the receiver. It's a big undertaking to produce 11 unique newsletters per month, but SharpSpring makes it a lot easier. In addition, SharpSpring allows us to monitor and measure content engagement on our website, so as we post across social media, we can analyze what content is getting the highest engagement, by whom, and whether that level of engagement merits consideration by our new bsuiness development team.
Your company has a growing community of users. How do you use this treasure trove of customer insight to power your marketing efforts?
The brand that takes the greatest nurturing in our four walls is our own, and being a believer that your brand is not what you think it is, but rather, what the target audience believes it to be, it is essential, if not critical, that we tap into customer insight for our own marketing efforts. At a high level, we have a team that monitors our own social media channels with sentiment analysis software, and at a granular level, our VP of Client Services calls each client on a monthly basis to ensure we're exceeding expectations.For our own marketing, we use a fishing analogy. Yes, we can netcast (social media, email marketing SEO etc.) and we can long-line fish (RFPs), but the best, and typically most profitable work comes from spearfishing (going after a specific client or target industry) or from the hatchery (cultivating business with existing clients with whom we've built trust and earned additional opportunities).
What is your strategy for getting people to your site and then converting them to a customer?
All part of the aforementioned netcasting, we utilize a myriad of channels, tactics and strategies, but they all revolve around content marketing. Our original content posted to the site is shared across social media channels, boosted to ideal target audiences, disseminated via email to industry-specific target lists and strengthens our organic search results - our SEO.
Is there any advice you'd like to give to budding marketers to help them work smart and stay productive?
Stay current. The industry is always evolving, and the best brand marketers are nimble and adapt to the changing climate. Our blogs help us do that, as does our continuing education program and our bi-monthly Food-for-Thoughts, where we bring in a subject matter expert to share their experience with the team.
How do teams at Evok have fun at work/ make work fun? OR Describe one fun activity you did recently that energized your team? Please share any images.
Our team is always working hard at play. It's a tight-knit team, and culture is a big part of the agency and agency environment. We have our Food for Thoughts, but we also do Beer and Bravo on Fridays - a quick beer and kudos to team members who really made an impact that week. For #evoklife to truly be all it can be, we always have to be coming up with great ideas to bring the team together - the bowling event for charity; celebrating National Ice Cream Day; or participating in Central Florida Basket Brigade to provide meals to those in need over the Thanksgiving holiday. But, an annual event at evok is the Halloween Costume Contest, where each participating, and competing, team member dresses up as a brand, voted on by their peers, our clients and across social media. Some of the costumes were great this year!
A big thanks to Larry for taking the time out to answer these questions! If you haven’t already, we highly recommend that you check out evok.
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