How did my catalog of fundraising books for nonprofit executives become today’s integrated marketing services agency?

By pivoting, again and again, just as so many of today’s biggest brands have done.

Early Years of Our Small Business

As a young entrepreneur, I created a catalog which sold books by mail for two dozen publishers. We learned that I am good at researching and picking responsive direct mail lists. So, the first pivot was to offer list broker services to other companies who wanted to reach the same customers as us. Within a few years we shed the catalog to focus exclusively on our rapidly growing mailing list business.

The next pivot was to expand our market segment specializations beyond nonprofits and higher education to include B2B areas such as Management, HR/Training, Sales and Marketing, and Public Relations.

Internet Marketing

Then came the internet and email, and the explosion of new marketing techniques that completely revolutionized direct marketing. And enabled us to provide even more ways for our clients to find new customers. In rapid succession, we had to adapt to the new marketing technologies of Google AdWords, SEO, and CRM and Marketing Automation systems.

Our latest pivot is towards Social Media Marketing, with lots of cool tools which our clients can use to put their sales message in front of clients nearly 24/7. We’re working now on strategies for clients to grab new customers via Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

It’s difficult to pivot, and requires much confidence and patience to allow the new marketing services to flourish.

Keys to a Successful Pivot

The 3 keys to successful pivots are:
1. Each new technology provides new marketing opportunities.
2. The new product or service must be useful to both your existing and new clients.
3. The pivot must increase your sales and/or your profitability.

My advice to fellow entrepreneurs, regardless of your age:
To grow your business you must pivot or perish!