Events can be a great way to market a business. But it takes a special type of entrepreneur to really make the most of event marketing Suzan McDowell discovered her love of marketing and event planning by accident while working for a radio station. Read about her journey and how it led to her company, Circle of One Marketing, in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.
What the Business Does
Provides integrated marketing, public relations and event services.
McDowell told Small Business Trends, “Circle of One is known especially for engaging events and brand activations on behalf of our clients. Bringing their brand, services and products to the public in an effective experiential manner affords greater engagement opportunities for our clients.”
Creativity and multicultural messaging.
McDowell explains, “Our creativity and execution makes these events and activations memorable which affords our clients the benefit of having their brand, services and products become memorable. Our expertise in event management is also enhanced by our fluency in multicultural messaging and engagement.”
How the Business Got Started
Because of a successful event.
McDowell was previously a successful account executive selling radio advertising for a top tier station. While at that job, one of her clients asked her to help execute a promotional event for her business. That event helped McDowell realize she had the skills and ability to do that type of work full time.
McDowell says, “That was over 15 years ago, and Circle of One Marketing has used this foundation to assist numerous companies of varying sizes and types grow their businesses.”
Delivering great results to a big client.
McDowell says, “The biggest win for Circle of One Marketing was getting the contract to market the Jazz in the Gardens festival in Miami Gardens. As the Circle enters its 13th year of marketing the festival, it is amazing to reminisce about the first year that we were involved. It was a desperate situation for the young event, and ticket sales were not moving. Circle of One Marketing took on the challenge and helped to drive 1800 attendees to that year’s festival. Fast forward over a decade later, Jazz in the Gardens has garnered as many as 70,000 attendees. The work with Jazz in the Garden solidified the Circle as the “go to” agency for event management and marketing. With the continued growth of Jazz in the Gardens, Circle of One has been able to offer quantifiable evidence of undeniable expertise in developing and executing marketing and Public Relations strategies that deliver results.”
Taking on a big project at the last minute.
McDowell explains, “The biggest risk that was taken by Circle of One took place in 2016 with the acceptance of the Many Rivers to Cross concert in Georgia. Sponsored by legend Harry Belafonte’s social justice organization, Sankofa, Circle of One was contacted 30 days before this mega concert after the coordinators realized that they were tremendously underselling tickets. The event was on the brink of disaster, so Circle of One went to immediate Code Red, all hands on deck mode. With a significant social media and PR blitz, we were able to scale engagement in short order. With some strategic alliances and creative connections; the concert gained significant momentum in the final weeks and it turned out to be an amazing and well-covered event.”
Be more financially disciplined.
McDowell explains, “Though fiscal responsibility has improved throughout the Circle’s evolution and maturity, realizing this discipline earlier in the process would have positioned the company on a more solid foundation sooner. Time management has also been a work in progress. Servicing clients effectively requires a mastery of time management, and in retrospect, that would have been an operational priority in the earlier stages of Circle of One’s development.”
How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000
Hiring key team members.
McDowell says, “The extra 100K would be used to hire both a full time Business Development Director and affiliated sales assistant. Ideally, there would be a percentage left to put into financial reserves to be used on a discretionary basis. The primary deployment in Business Development represents an investment on the Circle of One attention to growth. Investing in a full time committed effort to develop more business opportunities and increased revenues would position the Circle to purchase a building that would serve as our official headquarters and diversify our assets to include a substantial real estate holding.”
Favorite Team Treat
McDowell says, “In addition to the endless cups of coffee which are typically the mainstay of any creative organization; The Circle is obsessed with tacos. We don’t really know how it evolved, but in our most stressful times, tacos are often brought in to calm the masses and get us back on track.”
The one who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the ONE doing it – Confucius
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Images: Circle of One Marketing — Top Image: (left to right) Kimberley McDowell – Executive Marketing Assistant, Suzan McDowell – CEO/President, Flora Sweet – Director of Special Events, Gabby A. Reid – Assistant General Manager/ Overtown Performing Arts Center (OPAC); Second Image: (top row, left to right) Tariq McLean – Executive Assistant, Andrea Cookhorn – Managing Director, Circle Rising, Sidney Hannibal – Intern, Richard McCulloch – VP, Brand Development, Carlos Shiera – Intern, (Kneeling) Kimberley McDowell – Executive Marketing Assistant; Third Image: Calvin Hughes – Anchor, WPLG/Channel 10, Suzan McDowell – CEO/President, Robert Townsend, celebrity comedian