Published on VoyageATL
Today we’d like to introduce you to Mellissah Smith. Mellissah, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My first job was in an advertising agency that managed accounts like Nissan and other large corporations. I fell in love with advertising, but also the role marketing played in promoting a company, product or service. That was 28 years ago. As I climbed the ladder, I found that marketing was so much more than advertising, promotions, public relations and direct marketing – and that’s where it really got interesting. I started on a typewriter and am now using my voice to do the same things – which highlights just how far marketing has come over the decades. At 25 years of age, I was given an opportunity to start my own company specializing in technology and biotechnology marketing.
For the next five years, I saw this incredible dotcom boom that had the world very excited until it didn’t. What I realized from that was it came too early because only years later, our entire lives would be online. At 30 years of age, with the help of the then Chairman of Deutsche Bank in ANZ, I started Marketing Eye. My vision was to provide small to medium sized businesses with an outsourced marketing department, with all the relevant skills to execute everything from marketing strategy through to branding, design, websites, public relations and digital – all for a fixed fee. From starting this company in Australia, I expanded to the US with great success. Three years ago, the real ah-ha moment occurred. I had 15 years of marketing strategies written in the same format and recorded marketing workshops, as well as their detailed execution plans and information on their successes and failures. With the help of QUT University, I produced a prototype for Robotic Marketer, the first automated, artificial intelligence-based, machine learning marketing strategy technology platform that develops marketing strategies without a human.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
No entrepreneurial journey is smooth and that is what makes it so special. I’ve learned to never, ever give up, always stick to my values, and never “bet the farm”. I learned a lot about people that I would not have otherwise had the opportunity to do so. I’ve seen good ideas fail and bad ideas succeed. I’ve weathered the storm of the dotcom boom and consequent crash, Y2K, the Global Financial Crisis and technology changing the way we do almost everything. Being an entrepreneur, I realize that ‘cash is king’ in every situation, that something things are just not fair, people will disappoint you and it’s always harder than you ever imagined or are prepared for. At times I have felt defeated, alone, isolated, and without hope, only to find that one kind gesture from another is all that is needed. Talent will take you so far, but resilience and strength and a willingness to learn can take you all the way.
Please tell us about the business.
Marketing Eye is an international marketing consulting firm providing an outsourced marketing department to small to medium sized businesses. We have in-house skills in marketing, public relations, content, journalism, branding, web, search engine optimization, direct marketing, advertising and technology. We largely specialize in helping businesses with goals, reach them through having a well-thought-through marketing strategy and activation plan that is implemented – as it should be. What sets Marketing Eye apart from others is our proprietary technology. Not only do we develop marketing strategies faster, smarter and more data driven than any other company in the world, but we also encourage creative thinking, innovative ideas and the use of technology in everything we do. What makes me most proud of Marketing Eye is its longevity in the market and the way the company embraces change. We have so many times been the leader of changing marketing practices and disrupted the way marketing is done, to the advantage of the customer.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My favorite childhood memory is walking for hours by myself as a young seven year old on our property in rural Queensland, Australia, sitting under a tree and writing for hours about my dreams, none of which were about business and career, but nevertheless they were my dreams. After writing them down, I buried them right under that tree.
- 18 hours per month of a full outsourced marketing team for $3,000 per month
- 15 page website design and development for $4,990
- 60 page marketing strategy and complete competitor analysis for $5,000