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Title: Vice President of Business DevelopmentCompany: ADsmith Communications Education: A graduate of Glendale High School, Felton spent 32 years in roles including cameraman, production supervisor, account executive and local sales manager at KY3 Inc. Not ready to retire: Felton joined ADsmith Aug. 1 after a brief retirement that lasted the month of July. “You know, you can only mow yards for so long,” he said. Contact: robert@adsmith.biz
Title: Vice President of Business Development
Company: ADsmith Communications
Education: A graduate of Glendale High School, Felton spent 32 years in roles including cameraman, production supervisor, account executive and local sales manager at KY3 Inc.
Not ready to retire: Felton joined ADsmith Aug. 1 after a brief retirement that lasted the month of July. “You know, you can only mow yards for so long,” he said.
Contact: robert@adsmith.biz

A Conversation With ... Robert Felton

Posted online
What is your role at marketing firm ADsmith Communications?
Working with some of the existing clients that ADsmith has, and helping them with projects and their needs. At the same time, we’ve been very blessed with a lot of referrals, and I’ve been following up with those, and following up with some of my own personal contacts that I’ve had through KY3. During my years at KY3, toward the last five or six years, I created the programs “Focus on Home,” “Keys and Wheels,” “Our Children, Our Future,” a lot of the nontraditional revenue programs you see on KY3. The strength of designing those programs will definitely help me over here, because I’ll be designing more programs that can be used by other companies.

Where do you see new business opportunity for ADsmith?
Research, serving as the client’s marketing bridge – between the client and the consumer – public relations, Web design and media placement. One thing I have found since coming to ADsmith is the importance of how focus groups shed a tremendous light on a company’s marketing bridge. Surveys are fine, but focus groups, when you can get the people in there and they can really talk … just listening to the perceptions that people have in regard to the business (makes) a difference for a lot of ADsmith’s clients. … The research we do not only shows strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats that a business has, but also it lets us know about competition, the market (and) pricing.

What drew you out of retirement to ADsmith?
[ADsmith owner] Angela Smith and I have been dear friends for many years, and during the course of that time, we’ve talked about being able to work together. We’ve worked together in the past on projects, but I was with KY3 and she was with (an agency). … When I let her know that I was going to retire, just slowly there was a conversation that started to grow in regard to if I’d like to have an opportunity to come over here and work. I took the month of July off and just really tried to determine what I wanted and to make sure that I wanted to get back into the work force. I did, and it worked out well. … This also gives me an opportunity to work from the agency perspective and to look at the new challenges and opportunities that advertisers face in this new economy.

What are some of the biggest challenges that companies might face in reaching potential customers?
Finding the right message mix – things are changing so rapidly. Look at the breakthroughs in the last 36 months with smart phones, iPads, the Kindle. … Look at how technology is racing. Right now, everybody’s talking about social media, social media, social media. Social media still has to be part of a marketing strategy. It’s still just one component of many that work hand-in-hand together. Companies today have to move from being a spectator to a participant in their marketing plan. … Goals need to be defined a little better, and so do expectations. Marketing plans today have everything from broadcast, to print, to radio, social media, Web design and graphics. It’s just everything.

What do you see as the pros and cons of social media?
It’s something that younger generations coming up are more familiar with. They’re used to it, but it does offer a lot of benefits. It can help build relationships (for) a business. It does give personality to a company. It provides feedback, both positive and negative, and it can be a very low-cost marketing tool to help clients with their advertising. When it comes to advertising, there can be a lot of different approaches (for) success. But (social media) can be time-consuming, and it can open up your business to negative messaging, and it needs to be more conversational rather than a hard sell.
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