Marketing is the base and the strongest point of a business as it covers how the products/services are spread throughout the market and in a way that it makes a difference to the people and slingshots in their hearts, so not only the products/services solve their problems, needs, and requirements but also revolutionizes one looks at certain issues and predicaments. Marketing is simple to understand yet very complex in practice as it involves dealing with a lot of things right from the planning to implementation and right down to execution. Marketing is a very serious business department as it not only directly affects the sales but also the overall growth and development of the company. Marketing agencies are growing and booming year-to-year owing to the same reason, businesses and their marketing strategies are better handled and worked by professionals as a step wrong in the marketing strategies could cost one their business and these specialist agencies not only accurately plan and implement these strategies but also make it very profitable for the business and that too in a scalable and efficient way.
Kiwi Creative is a leading marketing agency that is not only efficient but highly skilled and experts in the field for providing immaculate and unmatched marketing solutions for B2B software and technology companies. They are a platinum HubSpot solutions partner who make sure that their services are not only accurate but also one-of-the best in a class suited and tailor-made to their client’s needs, demands, and requirements. Their customers not only love them for their service standards, quality and finesse but also how they implement their services taking their client’s company to a new level of growth and development. Kiwi Creative not only revolutionizes the way traditional marketing agencies work but also takes the competition in the market by storm with their unmatched services and unrivalled implementation.
In conversation with the CEO of Kiwi Creative, Jen Lombardi. Let’s hear more about the company, the journey, and her professional journey.
- Please tell us about Kiwi Creative, the initial challenges, and the factors pushing the company’s success through the roof.
Kiwi Creative is the go-to marketing agency for B2B software and technology companies looking to grow better. We’re a HubSpot Platinum Solutions Partner based out of Cleveland, Ohio, but have clients across the USA. Our clients range from start-ups going through Series A funding up to enterprise technology companies with locations around the globe. We are celebrating our 10th anniversary this summer!
Most agency founders didn’t go to business school, so while they are good at their craft, running the finances and operations of their venture can come with a steep learning curve. For a relatively small market, Cleveland has an excellent entrepreneurial support system that I was able to take advantage of. Through programs like Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses and EO, I was introduced to business mentors and training programs that have shifted my mindset from a creative person to a true business owner.
That said, it’s been a 10-year journey to get to this point…but I like to think that any initial challenges we faced have been instrumental in shaping the way we operate the agency today. For example, like any new company we initially struggled with attracting right-fit clients and employees who would take us to the next level; today, we’ve developed the type of culture that is appealing to top-notch talent, which in turn drives client success.
Shifting from a “generalist” agency to one focused exclusively on software and technology was huge. Being a specialist in a vertical allows us to expand beyond our local region and service clients across the country. This is also the timeframe where we signed up to be in HubSpot’s agency partner program, which gave us the street cred to bring on a whole new type of clientele who used that software.
More recently, we took a chance by bidding on an RFP for a huge technology corporation that frankly seemed a bit out of reach at the time. They were impressed by our skills and gave us a chance and the rest is history. We’ve been working with them for close to two years now and they continue to send us larger campaigns and refer us out to different divisions within the company. It was the confidence booster that we needed to prove we could service enterprise-level clients even if our agency was smaller in size.
- Tell us about the services the marketing agency offers, new additions, and the factors that set your company’s services apart from the competition in the market.
We’ve developed a company culture founded on our four core values: staying innovative, communicating with clarity, taking initiative, and creating raving fans. When all of our employees exemplify those qualities daily, client success is practically guaranteed.
We’re also firm believers that our agency should be a consultative partner, not simply an order taker. There are plenty of freelancers who can execute on a client’s specific idea at a much lower price point…we want to add value by working as an extension of the client’s internal marketing team where we’re able to bring great ideas to the table that contribute to the client’s success.
As a full-service agency, we group our services into four main areas: branding, inbound marketing, websites, and sales enablement. While the services themselves may not be unique to our agency, the fact that we have deep expertise working with software/tech clients and come from a design-focused background means that our work is highly specific and engaging from both a content and a design standpoint.
I come from a graphic design background, so the agency started as an extension of my freelance career. Over time, the graphic design grew to website design/development, branding, and eventually full-blown inbound marketing services. This natural progression of our skillset allowed our clients to grow along with us…we have some clients who have been with us the whole 10 years our agency has been around!
- Tell us about your professional journey.
I graduated with a graphic design degree and spent the first six years of my career working as an Art Director at a large agency in the Cleveland area where I was the lead designer on high-profile accounts, like Verizon Wireless, Ocean Spray, Hyatt, and more. Ten years ago, I decided to make my freelance gig into a full-time job and officially launched the agency in the summer of 2011.
- Tell us about the work culture at Kiwi Creative.
Creating a positive work culture has been our primary goal for the past several years and our efforts are paying off: we have a team of high-performing, self-motivated employees who are doing amazing things for our clients.
Some highlights include:
- We offer (semi) unlimited PTO and schedule flexibility, because life happens during 9-5, too.
- We hire for cultural fit first and train for technical skills as necessary.
- We’ve all completed personality profiles and have cards on our desks highlighting our strengths and weaknesses.
- We encourage all employees to grow beyond their primary role and take on projects that will stretch their skills.
- We are constantly gathering 360 feedback and addressing any issues as they arise instead of waiting for them to grow out of control.
- We have dedicated channels in Slack called #kiwi-kudos to give compliments to deserving co-workers and #help-me for when people need support from a co-worker.
- Each employee can give out a “core value coaster” to a co-worker during our monthly meeting as a shout out for doing an excellent job in that specific area in the previous month.
- Full-time employees get quarterly profit-sharing as a token of appreciation for keeping the agency profitable.
- Pre-COVID, we had a regular team “fun events,” from weekly lunches at Chipotle to quarterly outings for glass blowing, charter sailing, escape rooms, and more.
- Your take on the competition in the market and your way of handling it.
There are thousands of marketing agencies in the country, so competing on price is a downward spiral toward the bottom. You don’t need to be the perfect fit for everyone, you just need to be the best fit for your ideal clients. For us, that’s knowing our strengths and being empowered to say “no” when a client or project isn’t right. It’s also easier for us because we can get clients from a national stage because of our vertical specialization in software and technology, so we rarely come up against the same agencies over and over again in pitches.
In the HubSpot ecosystem, agencies are more friends than competitors. Within that group,
agencies will regularly refer out projects that aren’t a good fit and will offer up advice or best practices when other agencies are struggling. We understand that every agency has a slightly different specialty (whether it be a specific vertical, geographic region, or skillset), so the odds of overlapping with someone else completely is low. There’s enough work to go around and we’d rather see each other succeed than get pitted against one another.
For us, competition is usually just against ourselves. Can we do a project better or faster? Can we bring on higher-value clients? Can we win more awards?