written by: Zanne Lamb-Hunt Rich
Austin attended The School of Visual Arts in New York City prior to transferring to Cornell University where he earned a degree in history. His goal was to enhance his perspective as an artist through a better understanding of the world.
He moved to Maryland in 2001 and worked in design and marketing for a small Baltimore business. Over the next four years, Rich gained valuable experience in design, marketing and marketing project management. He then honed his skills for another eight years at T. Rowe Price, mostly as a marketing project manager.
In 2014, his newly formed partnership with VoxPop Communications soon evolved into sole ownership. Rebranded as Trembling Giant Marketing, it’s now a rapidly-growing branding, marketing services and public relations agency that provides professional and affordable complete marketing solutions.
Rich resides in Carrol County with his wife and two daughters, 4 and 6. He shares, “Honestly, they are what I love to do. When I’m not working, I love spending time with my kids doing things outside. We love going on hikes..we love museums. I enjoy watching them learn and grow and seeing them really become people.”
And, on the business side of life, he loves to share his expertise. Here, he shares the 6 top benefits of working with a marketing company.
“When you work with someone like us, or any agency that provides full solutions, you get consistency in everything that you do. Everything has the same voice, the same feel, the same look.”
Full solution agencies develop relationships “.. with all these vendor partners in all these different media outlets. Everything from outdoor signage to mobile advertising or digital advertising, sponsorship, community groups, print, direct mail publications and magazines.”
Special agency pricing is available to purchase media for the clients through these business associations.
#3 Expert Advice and Experience
“By going through an agency, especially one that can trim the costs down to keep it competitive to going direct to source anywhere else, you get that layer of expertise and experience that comes with it. That’s really invaluable.”
Giant Trembling Marketing can help you to find all of the right solutions. “Whereas, if you’re going direct to source, usually that source is just that one solution.”
#4 Time-Saving Agency Connections
Aside from the discounted buying connections, “it saves you so much time. To say ‘I want to do X’ and have this team go out there and they’re going to talk to the contacts for you — they’re going to manage the process — they’re going to get the pricing and everything for you and report back to you with all of the details that you need to make your decision.”
Rich continues, “It is such a weight off your shoulders! On top of that, to know there’s not an additional cost — the cost is built into it — it’s a win/win!
You might as well go through us. We’re not going to try to sell you on something you don’t need. It’s about getting an effective return on what you do.”
#5 Quality — Wholistic Quality
Teamwork by talented professionals who have specific specialties. Put designers, writers and marketers to work for you, all at the same price as someone who offers only one specialty.
#6 A Local Owned Business Using Local Connections
“We are a local business. It’s important for small local businesses to support other local businesses in their community. All of our creative talent, whether staff or freelance, are all local.”
Rich Expertly Rebranded His Own Company
When Rich became the owner of VoxPop Communications, he knew he had to differentiate himself from the prior owner. He gave the business a new name — Trembling Giant Marketing — and a new logo. He retained the same business contacts and the same business model.
“We’ve been growing by leaps and bounds! We were working out of my living room but now I’ve got a great office here in Sykesville. We just hired our first full-time employee on top of several long-term contractors we’ve got.”
Rich adds, “We have a constantly growing network of other locally-sourced freelancers — designers, writers, videographers and photographers from all across Carroll County, Frederick County, Howard and Montgomery. It’s exciting!”
Rich’s Greatest Challenge As An Entrepreneur
“You go to a lot of agencies and they can be very expensive. And, believe me, I can tell you why they need to be very expensive. A lot of work and a lot of effort goes into creative consultation and creative work.
One of the biggest things I struggle with is being able to deliver this high-quality content at an affordable rate and still make all of the finances work. It is tight tough margins.
But, the accolades and the happy clients and seeing the people that I work with — to know that I’m significantly enabling them to make a living — that pays me more than cash.”
What Advice Would Rich Give To His Former Self?
“Process. Process. Process.”
“You should have a plan for everything. When it comes time to hand a task off to somebody else, you want to make that seamless…make it easy.
Nothing is more difficult than needing help, having to call on help and then realizing that you need to spend all this time figuring out a process for that person to be able to pick it up and run with it.
Make sure you have this stuff buttoned up for yourself so you can easily hand it off to someone else later.”
Trembling Giant Marketing Is Making A Difference — One Client At A Time
A perfect example quickly pops into Rich’s mind. “We took this small business owner and turned things around for her. It made a real difference and it was great.”
“She had a business. Her brand — her logo, her name, everything about it — was kind of generic. Kind of bland. It didn’t speak to her passion. It didn’t speak to who she was, why she did what she did, what made her business different from other people. It really just spoke to what it was technically that she did.”
When she approached Rich for marketing materials, he initiated a discussion about her brand. He critiqued some of her promotional materials and mentioned some things he would do differently. He went on to talk about her brand and her logo. “She got really excited about the idea of rebranding to make a bigger impact.”
After an intensive brand development exercise, they identified the root of her business and rebranded it. “We gave her a new name and a new look and feel. It just re-energized everything.”
Rich Sees Facebook As An 800 lb. Gorilla That He Can’t Live Without
“Being a professional marketer and helping other people with social media, it’s the 800-lb. gorilla. It’s a bigger social media platform than any other platform. It breaks into all demographics.
More than 80% of pretty much every demographic is an active daily user on Facebook. You can’t beat it. You can talk about all these other guys all day long but, in comparison to Facebook, their market share is tiny.”
The Quote That Challenges Rich To Keep Moving Forward
The following quote by Henry J. Kaiser drives Rich to be better and he’s happy to share it with everyone:
“Live daringly, boldly, fearlessly. Taste the relish to be found in competition – in having put forth the best within you.”
Want to be re-energized? Inspired? Rebranded? Promoted? Reach out to Rich today for a complimentary review and marketing strategy recommendations. There’s absolutely no obligation. He wants to see you succeed and he’ll gladly share some solid professional advice to help make that happen.
email Rich directly: firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 410- 925 – 2454 “That’s a direct line to me and I’ll be happy to talk to you!”
Contents Provided by Frederick Advice Givers Podcast #41: Eric Verdi Interviews Rich Austin