Letter from eWareness' Brian K. St.Ours
Ok. So I guess a "before" photo deserves an "after photo".
Here I am during a pick up game of soccer during a recent business trip. As this photo shows, I'm not afraid of a "little" pressure!
My name is Brian K. St.Ours. For nearly 15 years now I have been directly and indirectly involved with the marketing of products, services and companies utilizing the Internet. I am a certified Yahoo Ambassador and a Google Advertising Professional. I am also a WebAward Judge and an Internet Advertising Award Judge.
After spending 4 years in the US Navy as a Medic, I went on to complete my Bachelor’s Degree in Business and Advertising from the University of Baltimore. Upon graduation, and after an internship with a downtown firm, I headed to the streets of Madison Avenue for a short stint with an advertising agency. Eager to attend Graduate School, I moved back to my hometown in New Hampshire to study for an MBA at New Hampshire College. While studying for my Master's Degree, I performed various marketing functions for a New England based communications company in their promotions department.
I completed course work for a Graduate Certificate in Marketing and eventually took MBA classes part time while I took a full time marketing position with a manufacturing software company headquartered on the Seacoast of New Hampshire. At this growing technology company, I was responsible for various marketing and sales functions in order to help grow market share. I was involved with everything from public relations to trade shows. One area I found both exciting and opportunistic involved the Internet. I had been involved with it directly and indirectly going back as far as my military years. There I collected and consolidated medical records electronically into one, main location. At the advertising agency it was used to submit and view display and classified ads in real time with such publication giants as the LA Times and the Chicago Tribune. It wasn't, however, until I got into more of a marketing role that I got involved with the web as a way to create awareness, generate leads, reduce the sales cycle... eventually leading to increased sales... all while actually decreasing marketing and sales expenditures.
Most companies at that time were spending big bucks exhibiting at trade shows or staffing a telemarketing department. The cost per lead back then easily ran from hundreds to thousands of dollars per prospect. It's what it took to compete! Like a handful of companies then, the company I worked for had created a support place for customers to access through the Internet. There was, of course, some basic information about the company, but primarily the site was being used as a channel for technical support. First we jazzed up the business portion of the site. Then we started adding more and more sections (pages). Soon this support vehicle became an overview of the company. Those were the good old days. Forget about PPC or even waiting 6-8 weeks to have your site indexed. Back then, you'd submit your web site to a search engine like AltaVista for free on Friday and on Monday you'd have a stack of emails from people interested in your products and services. This was also about the time where two Stanford students changed the name of their little web directory from Jerry and David's guide to the World Wide Web to what is now Yahoo, eventually, helping to legitimize the web as an effective business tool. What would once cost thousands of dollars to get now cost pennies. I'm talking about business, folks.
I left that company, eventually relocating to Central Florida where I was hired as the marketing director for a growing telecommunications service company. But before I did, I was able to help that company sell more than $1.5 million dollars of product and support from web leads alone. Not only that, but I was able to help them grow their sales force by helping add international distributors. It was an exciting time. I remember speaking in front of the entire sales force and the top brass prior to my departure about utilizing online resources to market their products to their target market. I was nearly mobbed after my presentation on online marketing by dealers who were willing to give me a "finder's fee" for putting their location ahead of the other locations. The year was 1995.
For my new company, I spent nearly five years finding affordable ways to help them grow. I applied my web marketing knowledge to get the company to the point where they would get more leads in one week from their web site than they would get from doing an expensive trade show. Through creativity, passion and hard work, I was able to average more than 2,000 email leads a year. While this may not sound that fruitful, keep in mind these emails came from all over the world. That, and the fact the average cost of service for this company's products and services started at $50,000 and would often time climb into the $1,000,000+ range per project.
I eventually moved on and became the marketing and sales director for a technical support company. This company, like the other companies I worked for, worked hard and spent a lot of their budget to obtain leads. After spending a little bit of time on what past employers call "working Brian's magic," I was able to get the email prospects flowing. It was around this time I came up with the idea for eWareness. Going back to the mid 1990's I had been contacted by companies, organizations, head hunters, recruiters and more about jobs and contract work to help their respective businesses, organizations and more maximize marketing on the web. While I did help friends' companies and a few non profit firms, I really didn't give it much thought until late 2002.
I realized everything I had been doing over the past 10+ years with web marketing wasn't just about helping a company reduce its marketing and sales budget (some didn't even have one) or about making sales, it was about helping a small business compete with the big boys. The entire time I worked with these small businesses I was being tasked with finding ways to compete against the big boys all while working with a marketing and sales budget that was virtually nonexistent. Talk about cheering for the underdog. It was bad enough some of these companies ran full page ads and had two story trade show booths, but it was really bad when a sales person for a competitor would stop by the booth and ask what we did. What do you do at that point? You don't have the budget to jump in with them. You have to work with what you've got! I did. And several of my prior companies have gone on to be recognized as some of the fastest growing businesses in their respective industries.
I have worked with many wonderful people over the years. Some I have learned from; others have learned from me. I'm lucky enough to have been able to entice some of these people into join me in finally trying to grow my own company.
One thing I have learned at every company I have worked for is to make the customer happy by giving them excellent service. I promise you we will do everything in our power to make you happy to be our customer. We also promise you we will do everything we can to help you grow your business online. Nearly every project we've worked on has paid for itself within the first few months. Excellent service! A phenomenal return on your investment! Pride! Professionalism! And Passion!
eWareness Inc.... Open Up and Sell to The World!
Brian K. St.Ours
President & CEO