Women Empowerment • March 2019
A few years back, And One Marketing was a baby being born. It was starting to move from a concept in my head to tangible reality. I initially started the company because of several situations and a seemingly unquestioned modus operandi that I was only fully able to explain a bit later when I read John Gray’s book Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus. In the book he says, “
On Mars there is a very strong belief and instinctive tendency not to deviate from a formula that works. If throwing the ball a certain way wins the prize, then why risk changing it? ‘Don’t fix it if it isn’t broken’ is a fundamental Martian strategy.
Women do not realize this difference because on Venus it is just the opposite. If something works well, then they think, ‘Let’s see how we can make it better’.
OHHH. Now I understand it, men just think differently. I also understand why sports fans were so mad when Jim Valvano came up with the idea to foul the opponent’s poorest free-throw shooter in closing minutes of basketball games; which his NC State team did in six of 10 games on his way to win the 1983 NCAA Championship. (It’s March… and we’re And One… so… basketball.) I respect the decision to stick with what works because there are certainly risks involved in changing the formula but personally, I’ve always been more wired to take a Valvano approach.
Two and a half years ago, I created my logo, decided on brand colors and type, built my website and finally started passing out business cards hoping for the best. More frequently than I would have guessed, I was given unsolicited advice such as having the brand colors of pink, navy blue and black, or another example, having ‘a woman-owned digital marketing and PR company’ on my business cards “may not attract your target audience”. Wait… WHAT?!
I am not sure who the assumed target audience is and how statements like that were meant to be interpreted, but I took it as “your colors are too feminine [I remind you, pink & NAVY BLUE & BLACK] and having a woman-owned tagline on your business card will scare away any men clients”. I won’t lie, as a weeks-old company with just printed business cards and a completed website, it placed a tiny nugget of doubt in my head for a moment. But our customers and partners have so far exceeded even my expectations. I always love being right but this especially, I could not be prouder to say how wrong those well-intended advice givers were. If I were to go back, I think I would respond with these two points:
I had a (since proven correct) faith in business owners, male and female, to want to partner with a good marketing company, regardless of the marketing company being owned by a woman who likes pink for her brand. Consider that you are advising a company who is anticipating having paying customers to exactly understand a target audience and deliver brand and messaging appropriately.
UPDATE: Thankfully, at And One we have been able to work past my love of pink and help create brands like ALERT, a division of WR Systems. An acronym for Advanced Lifecycle Electronics Repair and Testing, ALERT is a division of WR Systems focusing on advanced electronic repair and testing for a myriad of military and commercial customers. They are strong, bold, advanced, fast… and that is what their logo, colors, messaging and site display. Listening to what the client wanted was key there, and we like listening.
Maybe you assume women are not And One Marketing’s target audience. And you’d be half right. Our target audience consists of successful and growing businesses, owned by any gender. According to Yahoo Finance, women-owned firms are growing at double the rate of men’s. So, those companies are certainly within And One’s target audience, as are the successful and growing businesses owned by not-women.
Women-owned firms are growing at double the rate of men’s.
Neither here nor there but almost all of our non-local customers found us by searching “woman owned marketing company” on Google, for which we rank high. Turns out, it is something people search for.
As today is International Women’s Day, I wanted to share my experience thus far as a woman entrepreneur. And in sum, it’s been amazing. The various women-owned businesses I have partnered with and worked with along the way have served both as clients and collaborators. The companies not owned by women who don’t even think twice about the fact my colors are pink and I proudly state “woman-owned” on my business cards, they only care about results, you don’t even know how much I appreciate your mentality. And the city of Virginia Beach, VA, where we are based, recently committed to investing more of their contracts and support to small, women and minority- owned companies. As a business owner, there are good days and bad days. As a woman who owns a business, I’ve loved it, and look forward to what the future holds.
Thank you all for believing in And One Marketing,
a woman-owned Digital Marketing & PR Company.