A veteran of Richmond’s marketing scene is using his local connections to get into the matchmaking business.
Peter Kaufman has launched the latest iteration of his on-again, off-again consulting brand, HoopleWorks, as a service to connect businesses with local ad and marketing firms.
Where previous iterations have focused on the financial services industry, Kaufman, whose marketing experience has included jobs at local ad agencies and financial advisor firms, said this version of HoopleWorks will help clients in need of marketing find the right firm for them from among the many in Richmond.
“There’s so much talent in this town that people don’t know about,” Kaufman said, “and if you’re a company or an individual that’s doing something, unless you’re in Rotary with someone that you know who’s in marketing, you have nothing to compare it to.
“I know how hard it is (for agencies) to get new business. What I’m trying to do is help these folks build relationships with agencies that last more than one project.”
While matchmaking for marketing firms is not a new service – Glen Allen-based AgencyFinder, for example, connects advertisers and consultants with various agencies – Kaufman said a difference with HoopleWorks is that agencies are not charged for his service unless they’re selected by the client. The only upfront cost to agencies is time spent on a meeting and work put into a marketing pitch.
“There are other businesses out there where you pay-to-play for everything,” Kaufman said. “As a former agency owner, I don’t like that model, because everybody’s paying. This way, it’s very clean. The only people that pay me is the agency that wins the business.”
After consulting with a client on the business’s marketing needs, Kaufman recommends and sets up meetings with a selection – typically three or four, he said – of agencies he thinks would be a good fit or would pitch appealing proposals.
His selections are based in part on connections he has made in the local industry. Starting out as a copywriter, Kaufman later transitioned to business development and strategy work with jobs at Charles Ryan Associates, where he worked two years as a vice president and director of business development, and at Big River Advertising, where he worked for seven months.
He spent two years as a vice president for marketing at Wachovia Securities in the mid-2000s, and more recently at Merrill Lynch as a financial advisors engagement manager. He also organized last year’s The Festival of the Laugh, a stand-up comedy competition held in Shockoe Bottom.
Since starting this version of HoopleWorks last year – the name is a tribute to his favorite rock band, Mott the Hoople – Kaufman said he has focused on businesses that have $10,000 or more to spend on marketing.
His latest client, E.V. Clarke of management consulting firm EV3 Solutions, is currently deciding between four prospective agencies that Kaufman suggested for his business: Free Agents Marketing, Response Marketing Group, Elevation and 93 Octane.
John Lindner, owner of 93 Octane, said Kaufman’s services are welcome in an industry where business leads can be hard to find. While he doesn’t know yet if Clarke will pick his firm, Lindner, who worked with Kaufman years ago when they were both at Response Marketing Group, said the service complements his own marketing efforts.
“We’re in advertising, and we don’t have a dedicated sales force, so it really falls on all of us – and on me in particular – to spread the word,” Lindner said.
Of Kaufman’s new service, Lindner said: “It kind of levels the playing field, because Richmond has a ton of agencies.”
Kaufman said his fee for service is generally a percentage of the business over a certain amount of time. He said clients can bow out of the process at no cost if a first round of references does not pan out, though he’s considering a kill fee for jobs that do not connect a client after so many hours involved.
Sounds like a winner Peter! Best of luck to you!