Up close and personal with marketing industry veteran
Today, I'm on day two in the marketing industry and have been given the chance to pick the brain of Marketing Eye founder, Mellissah Smith – it’s a slightly daunting ask, especially when you consider that she was little older than I was when she first branched out and went solo in her first agency.
“I’ve been in marketing for 20-odd years and was 25 when I started my first agency – what inspired me to start was an account opportunity falling in my lap,” Mellissah said.
“It meant that I’d make more money out of owning my company, compared to a year of salary, so doing it made perfect sense.”
Mellissah is no stranger to taking risk and actively encourages her entrepreneurial clients to think outside of the box when it comes to their marketing strategy.
She also has a true passion for Marketing Eye’s clients and says they are a constant source of inspiration for her.
“I love the creativity of our clients and being inspired by other entrepreneurs,” she said.
“A lot of our clients are entrepreneurs or people who run large corporations with an entrepreneurial spirit, so they take risks, are passionate and think outside the square. And they also believe in marketing.”
Mellissah’s passion for her clients shines through as she meets with them and shares their success stories.
In her opinion, the margin between small business marketing and traditional corporate marketing is narrowing as human nature and the World Wide Web take over.
“Everyone loves the Cinderella story – people always go for the underdog whether it’s The Voice or Dancing with the Stars,” she said.
“It’s part of being human. The internet is really growing it as well, because anyone from a one-man band or Justin Bieber can become global superstars thanks to the web.”
Despite the positive signs, encouraging small business clients to take the leap can be a challenge at times, so Mellissah often shares the tale of her own personal risk with them.
After going it alone in her mid-20s, she still believes that rolling the dice to start Marketing Eye was her biggest gamble yet.
“The biggest risk I’ve taken was making the decision to start Marketing Eye – it was a huge risk because I already had a very successful business, which was doing well and growing year on year,” Mellissah said.
“Taking your eye off the ball of a successful business to focus on another is something that people will say is stupid, but I saw a real niche in the small business marketing and knew we could take it global, so I went travelling for a year and did lots of research before starting the business.”
Spending more than two decades in the industry was not without its trials and setbacks for Mellissah.
She has learnt many lessons but credits the best piece of advice she’s received to Canadian/Australian entrepreneur Jack Cowin.
“He told me that the new girl is always more beautiful than the girl you took to the ball – it means sometimes a new idea seems more exciting than what you already have,” she said.
“You have to reflect on that sometimes and have a good think about what that means before making a decision.”
Eliza Sum is a former News Ltd journalist and joined Marketing Eye as a marketing communications executive this week. Just before Mellissah flies back to Atlanta US, I caught her for 10 minutes.