Small Business Spotlight of the Week: Copper Penny Marketing Amanda | October 5th, 2011

A penny isn’t much.  It doesn’t buy anything really and the amount of copper in it is pretty negligible nowadays.  However, as Melinda from this week’s Small Business Spotlight points out, most everyone has a pretty specific, penny-centric memory.  For me, it’s collecting pennies with my dad and bringing to the bank for some extra spending cash.

Copper Penny Marketing believes marketing should be like a penny:  subtle, relatively inexpensive, but highly evocative.  Melinda has a ton of experience working in the world of agriculture and learned that small farmers have only a small voice when it comes to conversations about food.  Yet, they often have stories that reach back generations.  Copper Penny Marketing focuses on celebrating this kind of heritage, primarily in B2B relationships.

Melinda answered a few questions I had:

How would you explain what you do to somebody’s grandmother? 

 Just one short month ago, I left my previous position to start my own marketing and PR company, Copper Penny Marketing.  Our goal is to  helps small business in agriculture, food or any segment of small business, bring voice to their ideas and their products.  What I understand is that small businesses have nominal resources in both staffing, time and financial inputs and they need affordable creative solutions that provide direct ROI and make significant impact.  That’s the whole premise behind Copper Penny Marketing.

What made you use crowdSPRING? 

I use in-house and freelance designers, but I’ve also been using crowdSPRING for the past several years.  It is often an opportunity to jumpstart creative and get a lot of ideas on the table for a reasonable amount of money.  Single designers often only present a few ideas and have a very specific style.  Having multiple designers participate in a project opens up the boundaries of what’s possible.

What are some industry specific challenges you faced?  

Budgets for many clients continue to be the biggest hurdle when implementing new marketing projects.  Many clients are often inexperienced and underprepared for the cost of marketing.  It’s also sometimes difficult to quantify marketing in dollars and cents.  A production change can be quantified by a cost savings, efficiency, etc.  Marketing often just looks like an intangible expense since the results of success and brand impact take time to build.

What was your biggest learning curve/experience? 

My biggest learning curve throughout my career has been understanding the continual importance of educating those around.  People want to learn.  They want to understand what you know, how it impacts them and why its important.  Many clients in the last few years know Facebook is important, but they don’t necessarily understand why if they aren’t on Facebook.  It’s important to sit with them and walk them through the process of creating their own accounts, getting them connected and letting them experience the result.  The education creates a new perspective that helps justify future activity.  Many projects and ideas are similar.  People don’t want to know about what you sell.  They want to know about what you know…people connect with people.

What’s the craziest story you have from starting your own business?  

My craziest story really comes from the fact that I operate my business from my home.  I’m pretty Type A and I want to be responsive and take every call.  I had a client call fairly early in the morning just as I had gotten out of the shower.  I took the call wrapped in a towel and 30 minutes later I was able to get dressed for the day.  Thank goodness we weren’t on video chat.  It reminded me that I have voicemail for a reason and I could have returned the call a little later.  I still haven’t decided if it was professional because I took the call or unprofessional because I was in a towel.

Six words of advice to those looking to start their own company.

Passion (do what makes you happy).  Persistence (keep at it).  Curious (always be learning).  Fear (great motivator).  Personality.  (Be yourself).  Change.  (embrace whatever happens).

If you could go back, would you do anything differently? If so, what and why? 

I would have spent a little more time getting my brand position complete before I hung out my shingle.  My transition from one job to my new business was rapid and left me a little “the shoemaker has no shoes.”  So 5 weeks later, the business cards just arrived and the website is still under construction.  It makes it difficult to promote your company when there’s nothing to look at.

How do you see your company growing in the future? 

I see my company on an upward trajectory driven by great word of mouth advertising from happy clients.  Small business and entrepreneurs know the importance of word of mouth success and if I can help clients achieve results, they were recommend my work to others.

What’s your working relationship like now with the crowdSPRING designer’s project you chose?  

I have two active projects on crowdSPRING currently.  They are the same project – but with different creative positions to get different creative results.  The designers have been very responsive to feedback and making changes to their submissions so we can get the client exactly what they are looking for.  It’s been a very positive experience for the client.

Copper Penny Marketing’s most recent project, for Val Verde Co., received 86 entries.


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