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Adsmith owner Angela D. Smith credits her employees with bringing various talents to the task of spreading clients' marketing messages. She has not had to lay off employees in 10 years.
Adsmith owner Angela D. Smith credits her employees with bringing various talents to the task of spreading clients' marketing messages. She has not had to lay off employees in 10 years.

ADsmith adds new media to marketing repertoire

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After 10 years in business, much of ADsmith’s work remains in traditional media such as television, but owner Angela D. Smith said her full-service advertising agency is evolving with the times.

“My background is in media placement, but we diversified within the last five years, adding research, Web design and social media,” Smith said. “We also do all of our own (high-definition) video shooting and editing in- house.”

Traditional advertising work still accounts for 60 percent of ADsmith’s business, but Smith said more companies are looking for help with new media, including online marketing.
“I think more companies realize social media isn’t going away,” Smith said.

That’s the case for Ozark Power Center Inc., a client that ADsmith is helping to move toward online marketing.

“We’ve pulled back some on the TV and are focusing more on shifting toward Internet marketing,” said Randy Hoffman, general manager and vice president of Ozark Power Center.

The growing prevalence of social media isn’t the only change Smith has seen since she opened ADsmith in November 2000. At the time, she had about a dozen clients and was the only full-time employee.

Now, the company’s client roster has grown to about 40 – including Rick’s Automotive, Ozark Empire Fair and RGG Law – and Smith has nine full-time employees, two part-time interns and enough work to add summertime staff.

Foundation for growth
Before starting her own firm, Smith built her résumé at local firms Perkin-Watts Advertising and TPS Media Group. She had thought about opening her own company in the 1990s after she left Perkin-Watts, but she ultimately decided to take advantage of the opportunity to work at TPS Media Group, which she joined in 1997. Three years later, when her desire for a firm of her own resurfaced, she took the plunge.

Originally, ADsmith opened in temporary offices on East Bennett Street, but by February 2001, Smith relocated to 1736 E. Sunshine St. in Plaza Towers, occupying 600 square feet.

“I think we’ve expanded here four or five times,” Smith said, noting that ADsmith now occupies 3,300 square feet of leased space.

“I’ve at times thought about owning or building, but through all of the expansions, my office has remained the same, and I enjoy the view from the eighth floor,” she said.

One thing that hasn’t changed, Smith said, is the tradition of meeting with regular clients at least once a week.

“We want their perception to be that we’re as easy to access as if we were right down the hall,” Smith said.

The firm’s services can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars a month to several thousand dollars.

And as a full-service agency, ADsmith can help with everything from helping new businesses choose names or color schemes, branding, building Web sites or making media buys for clients’ advertisements.

While she declined to disclose revenue figures, Smith said the company had a record year in 2008, exceeding its projected goals by nearly 41 percent. In 2009, she said, the company exceeded its goals by 32 percent, and she expects 2010 revenues to outpace projections by 6 percent.

Multifaceted approach
RGG Law signed on with ADsmith early in the advertising firm’s history.

“We decided to take part in an experiment with TV ads, and we did that for a year,” said Sam Coring, a partner with the firm. “We then decided to go back to more of the traditional model of the Yellow Pages.”That method worked until 2007, when RGG Law decided to do some in-house marketing to promote its Social Security practice and the addition of Martin F. Spiegel, a former Social Security Administration administrative law judge, to the firm.

But when RGG Law expanded into the Kansas City and Tulsa, Okla., markets last year, firm leaders decided to seek the assistance of a full-service advertising agency.

“We interviewed eight different ad firms,” Coring said. “Our goal was to find someone local with the resources and knowledge to help us in multiple markets.”

Ultimately, the law firm returned to ADsmith, which had introduced it to TV advertising earlier in the decade.

“I think the first campaign was before its time,” said Coring. “Who knows what would have happened had we persisted.”

Coring said the new marketing campaign, which integrates traditional media ads and social media with the company’s Web site, www.rgglaw.net, has helped the firm increase its client base by 44 percent.

The talent connection
Smith attributes her company’s capabilities for helping clients with myriad types of marketing to her employees. Her staff, she said, has varied talents but works as a team to integrate clients’ messages across all mediums.

While attracting talent hasn’t been a challenge, Smith said retaining that talent during the recession wasn’t always easy.

One of her major achievements, she said, is that she hasn’t had to lay off any employees.

“I saw a lot of businesses laying people off and I didn’t want do that,” she said.

Smith, who is 52, would once have considered herself close to retirement, but now, she just wants to keep working with customers and adding new ones.

“At one point, my goal was to retire at 55, but I’m just having too much fun,” she said.[[In-content Ad]]

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