Former Martin Branding partner launches own firm

Local marketing consultant Jake Crocker has left Martin Branding Worldwide to start his own firm, Crocker Strategic Marketing.

Crocker was a partner and director of brand marketing at Martin Branding. He left in December and decided to go into the new year with a new beginning as his own boss.

“This is something I had been contemplating for a while,” Crocker said. “I wanted to focus on a little bit different model.”

Crocker Strategic Marketing will focus purely on consulting, while Martin Branding offers both consulting and agency services. The agency side is responsible for implementing the strategy developed by the consulting side.

“An ad agency always wants to get that work in, because they want to charge for the production,” Crocker said. “Being a consultant allows me to make unbiased recommendations and use the resources already in town to implement those recommendations.”

The solution for a client might not always be traditional advertising, but using an approach such as social media might be a better way for a company to enhance its brand awareness, Crocker said.

He said that as an independent firm he will be able to partner with different marketing agencies in Richmond to best fit the needs of his clients. Crocker said his target customers include everything from small start-ups to Fortune 500 companies.

He is in talks with several potential clients but said it typically takes two to three months of negotiation to secure a contract.

Crocker has worked in Richmond’s marketing industry for the past decade. During that time he has served as president of the Richmond Ad Club and as a board member for the local chapter of the American Marketing Association. He has developed strategies for such clients as Pfizer, Royal Caribbean, Hamilton Beach, Duke’s Mayonnaise and AMF Bowling Products.

He also has his own blog.

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8 Comments on "Former Martin Branding partner launches own firm"

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Matt Hanson
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Good writing. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed my Google News Reader..

Matt Hanson

Ted Truth
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The irony of Mr. Crocker’s attack on advertising agencies as written here is that one-person “strategy” firms like his are still totally reliant on those “traditional” firms to actually implement any strategies they put in place. My experience with many solo strategy practitioners has been that they can develop some great looking stacks of paper reports. But they can’t create any actual marketing tools. Which is why so many of their clients still end up hiring traditional agencies at the end of the consultant’s “planning” process. I understand Crocker’s need to position himself against larger firms. It’s just a shame… Read more »
Jake Crocker
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Mr. Truth, The truth is the agency model, based on generating production fees and 15% media commissions is simply not as viable model in 2009 where commissions are not longer commissions because the media outlets cut that out in the 90’s, but their now rather mark ups by the agency and ad production is limited due to the decline of print and rise of the internet. I’ve operated in that system for 3 different firms as an account executive and media planner and was president of the RIchmond Ad Club for 2 terms and can tell you first hand it’s… Read more »
Chris Miller
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Mr. Truth & Jake, I believe you both have interesting points about the changing market place. I would, however, point out that Mr. Truth appears to have missed the point of Jake’s approach to market, and statements. As I read it, Jake was merely pointing out that many clients may benefit from an ‘independent’ opinion and plan that could then be implemented by ‘any agency’ or production studio that was deemed appropriate by the client and the consultant (Jake). This is simply a separation of ‘planning/strategy’ from ‘implementation and production’ method. There are certainly strengths (and perhaps weaknesses) to this… Read more »
Jmac
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Chris well put. You should write professionally. So eloquent with your words and analogies. Mr. Truth I think it is unfair to criticize Jake for saying he is bringing something to the table that other agencies do not. To say that is to know for a fact that he is not. To know that you must clearly know and understand his strategic process, and be able to say with a shadow of a doubt that it is not unique and other firms offer the same value based strategic process and outcomes. To my knowledge no one can attest to that.… Read more »
Peter Kaufman
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A few random thoughts on all of this: 1. Painting all agencies with the bad brand positioning brush is ridiculous. You said, “an area every client needs but agencies simply don’t do” is naive. If that were true, not many would exist. You don’t have to look further than Martin to find a big agency that certainly DOES get brand positioning. 2. To say that a sole practitioner is better at getting to the truth is a gross simplification. Some sole practitioners stink. Some are terrific. 3. Whether fees are generated by 15% media commission, or by marking up consulting… Read more »
Jake Crocker
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Agreed Peter, The Martin Agency certainly knows good brand positioning, better than most large agencies that’s for sure. The new Walmart position “Save Money, Live Better” is dead on and they have the creative fire power, strategic planners and the clients $286 Million media budget to make it stick. You and I combined have been through half the ad shops in this town and know that the first question we asked to the client can be summarized in “what do you want to say”, well most of the time they really didn’t know and left it to an agency brainstorming… Read more »
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