Help & FAQs
Common questions about the program are here for your enjoyment.
What is Foundations First™?
Our Foundations First Marketing program was born of necessity. Over the years, we’ve watched businesses struggle with the traditional agency model: companies paying for new marketing tech with no thought to training the staffs who actually use it; entrepreneurs trying to implement marketing tactics without breaking the bank or burning out staff. And we discovered a common disconnect between what companies really needed vs. what solutions were available.
What started nearly 10 years ago as a tactical solution has now evolved to solve these larger marketing problems common among growing companies with small marketing teams. We first tried the traditional agency route and offered full-stack marketing services from strategy through SEO and even down to social posting and ads management. On the management side, we worked as a fractional marketing firm to help scale clients. While we and our clients realized success, we knew something was missing.
Being an external resource meant our skills, solutions, and excitement for the brands were for rent. That didn’t sit well with us. We wanted clients to feel the excitement about their marketing that we felt. That meant they needed to “own” their marketing, and to do that meant we needed to help them achieve an independent and sustainable marketing approach.
When we began testing the Foundations First program, we saw immediately the magic of “ownership.” We received an after-hours call from a client with whom we’d been working. Nothing was broken. The website hadn’t gone down. Instead, our client, a one-person marketing “team,” had called to report that after working with us, she had scored a hot lead from her first LinkedIn ad campaign. Not only was she excited about the lead, but she went on to talk about how she planned to adjust the campaign.
The Foundations First Marketing program trained her to analyze and think strategically about how to best reach her ideal client. The result: she took a proactive approach to marketing rather than wait passively for an agency to “make it better.” She no longer struggles with a scattered marketing approach, unsure of what to do next. Now she’s a focused, strategic, and confident lead generating machine!
We now work to help our clients critically examine their visions, assess and develop their marketing foundations, and train them so they can sustain effective marketing in house. In short, we empower clients so they can confidently fly solo. And how it works!
Cindy’s expansive career includes 15-plus years in various director-level marketing roles at Time Warner Cable, 8 years of sales and marketing leadership for mid-sized businesses, and 3 years of marketing consulting for SMBs. She is passionate about marketing to connect people with the goods and services they need or want.
Cindy is a big fan of Entrepreneurial Operating System®, and she has experience serving on the leadership team of a company running on EOS®.
Michelle Tresemer, MBA
Michelle has worked in digital marketing for over 20 years. To say she is a modern marketing nerd is an understatement.
Her experience ranges from in-house digital marketing manager for a SaaS tech company to director-level positions at non-profits. She has worked as a consultant, coach, and digital strategist for more than 120 companies giving her an extensive breadth of experience.
Who do you work best with?
Our clients are typically B2B companies who want to grow but have gone as far as they can without professional marketing help. They typically have small marketing teams (one or two people or no team at all). Regardless their size, their existing setup isn’t getting them to their goals. They come to us to find out what’s missing, so they can craft a more profitable path forward.
If you have a small marketing team or are ready to hire, the good news is that small teams work best, for they tend to be agile. Small marketing teams likewise commonly have energetic individuals who are primed to skyrocket their professional development. As our client, we will help you and your talented staff level up your marketing efforts, and we will do it focused on your company’s goals.
If your company’s leadership (owner, CEO, COO) manages your marketing, we take your vision and translate it to marketing strategy and tactics. That way, you can focus on what you do best—lead.
Given our collective marketing experiences, we probably have. Just as every business is unique with its own target, message, and means of reaching customers, so too are the obstacles to growth.
Each client has a unique set of assets, successes, gaps, challenges, and opportunities. The best marketing practices translate across industries. As we work with your company, we’ll help you articulate a brand vision, strategic plan, and specific supporting tactics.
We are committed to helping you discover unique ways to utilize your resources and use the skill sets you already have. This looks different for every client.
If you’re looking for a specific list, here are some of the industries represented by companies we’ve worked with:
Business Coaching/Executive Services
Construction (residential and commercial)
Fitness & Health
Food & Food Processing
Healthcare & Medical Practices
Travel, Hospitality, Tourism
Other marketing firms want to do it for you. These firms court you with promises of “taking it all off your plate.” They benefit by developing codependent relationships. While it may sound tempting, you’re really doing nothing more than renting skills. If they leave, they take all the intellectual property with them, and you have to start over with onboarding yet another agency to your business. We know how this works. Remember, we started as a full stack agency.
It’s tempting when you’re overwhelmed with day-to-day operations to just “get it off your plate.” And in the short run, that might feel good. But our clients who’ve been down this road tell us they felt trapped in a cycle of paying an agency, and often times they weren’t sure what they were even paying for.
We believe in an informed big-picture strategy. We offer you a comprehensive diagnosis and customized action plan first and then help you build the needed technical skills and staff/vendor makeup to get your foundations in place.
Our most successful clients are serious about marketing. They have made the decision to grow and are ready to "do" marketing right. They’re realistic, open to new expertise, and down-to-business practical. In other words, like us, they don’t have time for a lot of BS.
They also like what they do. They enjoy their work, their business, and want to get better. Our best-fit clients love the journey of growing a business and building their own skills. Not to mention, they love their clients and customers as much as we love ours.
Honestly, we’ve said no to working with those whose expectations are driven more by ego than data. So, if you want a huge increase in leads but aren’t willing to allot time, money, or staff resources to get those leads, we’re not your shop.
Also, if you want to “do” a tactic just for the sake of sounding cool for doing it, then again, we’re not a fit. We'll help you get your foundations in place the right way so absolutely everything you do for marketing is more powerful and effective. We're not about vanity metrics.
What are the program details?
Our clients tell us that they are more confident and productive in their day-to-day marketing decisions. They tell us they’re more strategic and effective in their marketing efforts. And because they’re using data to determine where to spend their time and money, they’re wasting far less of both.
As a leader, you get:
- Accountability for your marketing spend.
- Clarity on what your marketing spend is bringing in.
- Trustworthy numbers to make data-driven decisions.
- Confidence your business is growing in the right direction.
As a sales team, you get:
- Invaluable support to drive new qualified leads.
- Customer retention and upsell/cross-sell support.
- High quality leads from open communications with marketing.
- Partners throughout the entire sales process and customer journey.
- Message clarity and target market alignment.
As a marketing team member, you get:
- A clear tactical roadmap to guide day-to-day tasks.
- Tactical and technical training.
- Strategic and tactical guidance and mentorships.
- Access to an on-call digital marketing stunt brain.
- Access to a heavy hitter marketing director.
“Our marketing efforts have gone from good yet misaligned to GREAT, synchronized and strategized! Now, we have a solid foundation that helps us put our best marketing foot forward, we have a system for tracking and analyzing campaigns to determine their success and make any necessary tweaks, and, most importantly, we have a strategized vision for our future marketing.”--Tatum Garino, Marketing Coordinator, North Scope
Clients typically see immediate cost savings as we turn off programs that aren’t needed or working. Sometimes this means ending vendor contracts, and sometimes it means not renewing software subscriptions that are no longer needed.
Once your foundations are set up, you’ll likely see further cost savings in the first 1-2 months of implementation. As you continue to focus on your data-based strategy, you stop leaking cash and discover what works. As you better utilize your resources and fine-tune what works, you can expect to see exponential growth over time.
What does our relationship look like?
Due to the nature of our customized and in-depth program, we are limited to how many clients we can engage at a time so we can focus all of our efforts and attention.
When you work with us, you can be assured our attention is on you. Yes, that means we are thinking about your business "off the clock" as if it were our own.
Generally, we can get started within a month or two and will work with you to schedule your kick-off call.
Phase I – Discovery
During our kickoff meeting we learn about your budget and skillsets; we talk about what you’re doing right now, and that includes identifying your competitors. Most importantly, we discuss what you hope to accomplish. After our first meeting, we dive into our research. We may reach out for clarification and ask for documentation during this phase.
Phase II – Findings and implementation roadmap
During our next meeting, we present our findings and recommendations. Based on our research and analysis, we recommend prioritized and specific steps forward and draft your implementation plan.
Phase III – Coaching and training
Once you choose which support package works for you, we'll get started!
Yes. Sometimes, after a client completes their implementation plan, their circumstances change. Perhaps they’ve added new marketing staff, or a new CEO comes in. Occasionally a company will work on their implementation for 6 months to a year and decide they’re ready for the next phase and want to do it all again to reach their next level.
In addition, we offer stand-alone programs to keep the momentum going after your initial coaching and training program - just ask Cindy or Michelle when you're ready:
Quarterly planning workshop:
Get a checkup and realign your efforts. We meet with your team to review what’s been done, what is left to do, adjust priorities, brainstorm new initiatives, and build an implementation roadmap for the upcoming quarter.
Reporting check-up and data analysis:
Whether you meet every quarter, every 6 months or annually, sometimes it’s nice to get some help analyzing your data. Clients especially love the assist before a board meeting. We can help put together your brag stats to showcase how far you’ve come. Or maybe you just need to know internally or want a refresher on how to look at your numbers.
Sometimes you need a sounding board. Whether it’s to make sure you aren’t getting hosed by a vendor or just need to talk out a new strategy, we’re here. Schedule a 50-minute meeting whenever you need.
When you dive into making change with us, expect an energetic, fun, and collaborative relationship. We laugh a lot, and we get things done! You’ll feel empowered and reenergized. That’s how we operate best, and that’s what our clients tell us it’s like to work with us.
We've been told many times our energy and enthusiasm is contagious.
We feel you. Your time is important. To answer this as honestly as possible, let’s break down some of the variables.
We make this as painless as possible. During the discovery phase we need the leadership and marketing teams for 1-2 hours for the kickoff. After that, it may take another 1-2 hours to gather up and send us additional documentation. Then it’s another 1-2 hours for our findings presentation and we go into the coaching and training phase.
Every department has different skills and staffing. Therefore, when we build the implementation plan, we take in to account how much time you have for implementation. At a bare minimum, figure setting aside at least 2 hours a week for new initiatives.
Remember, we build the implementation plan around your needs. We will conservatively build a doable plan together, which will allow you to move as fast as you want without burning out. If you only have 30 minutes a week to dedicate, just be honest and we'll build a plan that will work for you.
Great! Jot down any questions you have and let Cindy know you’re ready to get started.