Where Are They Now? Follow Up with Digital Marketing Partner Founder Rob Kwasnicki
Innovation Destination Hartford met with Digital Marketing Partner (DMP) Founder Rob Kwasnicki in May 2016 (read the interview: Connecticut Startup Provides Marketing Services for Small Businesses).
DMP’s niche is small- and medium-sized businesses, specifically helping local entrepreneurs, small businesses, and startups develop effective marketing initiatives.
Since its launch in fall 2015, the startup has added new services and continued to grow its customer base. Rob shared updates about his entrepreneurial journey.
INNOVATION DESTINATION HARTFORD: What’s new?
ROB KWASNICKI: DMP developed key strategic business relationships and alliances to provide expanded services to our clients. For example, in addition to graphic design services, we now provide competitive, commercial print services of virtually any size and scope to any client across the country.
We also developed a strong relationship with a seasoned media-buying firm in Connecticut, which complements our clients’ marketing and advertising strategies by ensuring they obtain access to more comprehensive and competitive advertising assets.
IDH: Have you experienced any major pivots since we featured your story?
ROB: We are actually in the final stages of developing a portfolio of services tailored specifically to the restaurant and bar industry, which expands past marketing and advertising into operational and financial support services. Other than that, we continue our original trajectory.
IDH: Have you been involved with any startup resources in the Greater Hartford region?
ROB: Since we last spoke, I’ve consulted a couple Hartford startups as a courtesy. Staying connected with investors and the startup community simply aligns with my passion for business innovation and entrepreneurship. I have a deep respect for people putting it on the line to pursue their vision and dreams and enjoy staying connected to that community. It also helps me keep a pulse on trends and opportunities.
IDH: How are you building a customer base?
ROB: DMP has been incredibly blessed with a healthy volume of business. Our customer base has grown to date through strategic networking, personal interactions, and by consistently demonstrating a willingness to provide value.
By the way, we preach what we practice—a couple DMP clients were advised to pause any additional marketing investment activity to focus on the “old-school” marketing, like personal interaction and networking. If done right, it produces solid results, but it must be done with an appropriate, genuine attitude and intention.
Moving forward, the business is now in a position for greater capacity and will be investing in appropriate advertising. DMP will also produce and distribute an informational newsletter targeted at business owners who have a more hands-on approach to marketing their business.
IDH: Where do you see the entrepreneurial landscape heading?
ROB: There is going to be a shift in the entrepreneurial landscape, with more trades-based business starting up over the next five to 10 years. We’ll continue to see and hear a lot from the tech entrepreneurial landscape, but there has been and continues to grow a serious shortage of qualified skilled trades people, such as electricians, plumbers, HVAC, tile installers, and machinists.
Within the tech space, artificial intelligence (AI) is going to be something to watch as it develops, along with the virtual and augmented reality space. Visionary trades entrepreneurs will transform their industries with applications of AI, virtual, and augmented realities. It’s going to be a fascinating decade or two.
IDH: Tell us about the importance of encouraging entrepreneurship in Connecticut.
ROB: Entrepreneurship and business ownership is absolutely vital on both a macro and micro level.
Entrepreneurship and small business ownership bring vitality to an economy through innovation, job creation, and opportunities. There’s a certain “buzz,” optimism, and creativity that accompanies a vibrant entrepreneur and innovation community. That’s the macro level.
On a micro level, individuals learn, hands-on, about more things than they could being students or employees. By extension, opportunities for personal and professional growth are abundant, maybe limitless. Working outside the theoretical and in the real world, I think, matures entrepreneurs and business owners and provides a more sophisticated, outward perspective.
IDH: Aside from funding, what do you need most to move your company forward?
ROB: One of DMP’s biggest challenges is getting in front of more small businesses before they are talked into “quick-fix” marketing, advertising, or sales solutions that are not sustainable or long-term appropriate.
For the business, what is needed most to move forward is resourceful and smart-working associates, and better systemization of our operations to maintain efficiency and market dexterity, not to mention scalability.
IDH: What’s next?
ROB: DMP will be updating how our services are packaged and modifying our operations with an eye toward sustained scalability. With it, our marketing assets and marketing strategy will soon be updated.
Overall, the online marketing and advertising environment is incredibly dynamic. Business and sales fundamentals are relatively stable and well-established. Effectively merging the two is what will continue to set us apart in the market.
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READ: Connecticut Startup Provides Marketing Services for Small Businesses
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