Pole Position Marketing: Creating an Industry of Their Own

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When Stoney deGeyter started what would become Pole Position Marketing 16 years ago, the industry he works in today didn’t even exist.

In a recent interview with Small Business Trends, deGeyter explained:

“I would say we’re a full-service Web marketing agency.”

Once, it was a one man operation run out of a single room. Today, it includes a team of seven specialists. They work in fields like Web development, Search Engine Optimization, analytics and more.

About his business’s slow but steady growth, deGeyter recalled:

“It started in the bedroom and quickly expanded into the living room.”

But ever the cautious entrepreneur, he admits it was quite some time before he hired his first employee.

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For deGeyter, the odyssey began after reading a book about how to learn HTML (the markup language of the Internet) in 24 hours. Before he even finished reading, deGeyter became convinced he could improve upon the website for his dad’s business, BatteryStuff.com — and did.

But, of course, that’s not where the story ended.

It wasn’t long before his father was back. This time he was talking about something he’d heard of called Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It was (and is) a way to get websites found online.

In an effort to help, deGeyter again threw himself into learning new skills. What he would emerge with was an understanding of the principles of a whole new industry. He explained:

“My dad’s business started out more as a hobby. They traveled to sell their products and their goal, after building their new site, was to sell enough product online so they didn’t have to travel. That goal was hit in a year. The next goal was to sell $100K in profit. We hit that one too.”

Though deGeyter’s father would eventually sell the business, the company remains a Pole Position Marketing client to this day.

Not all online marketing companies are created equal. And as deGeyter’s business began to grow, it took on some very unique characteristics that set it apart. Some of those characteristics have remained strong while others have changed with the evolving industry.

A Team of Specialists

One characteristic that lives on is deGeyter’s concept of a team of specialists rather than online marketing generalists. It’s a way he says his company differentiates itself from competitors in the field.

He claims many other online marketing firms have a team who all dabble in a range of online marketing specialties. These include analytics, content strategy, social media, pay per click and more:

“That does not make sense. When we come together as a team, we have so many different opinions.”

He says individual team members at these firms each take on a group of clients. Each member then handles their clients’ campaigns by providing a menu of services.

But at Pole Position Marketing, each member brings their own expertise to every client as needed.

National and Big or Local and Small

In the beginning deGeyter, based in Uniontown just outside North Canton, OH, also admits he wasn’t interested much in local clients. The Internet was not local in those days. His best prospects seemed to come from companies that understood what he did and didn’t care where he did it from.

They were also large and able to pay big.

Though a small business owner himself, deGeyter’s website still describes his firm as an “SEO Company for Enterprise-Level Businesses.”

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He said recently:

“I was never much for local networking. Traditionally, we’ve been a national company. I’ve always liked year long contracts. The local model is more about more little services for various clients.”

Those big national clients include websites like WinterKids.com and WinterWomen.com, both based in Denver. Other clients include Rawhide Fire Hose LLC of Orville, OH, and Sierra Instruments, a Monterey, California company with offices all around the world.

But his company’s view of big national clients over small local ones is beginning to change, deGeyter admits. With increased opportunities created by social media and mobile marketing, deGeyter has hired his first local sales rep and is conducting more local workshops for businesses.

The theory is that, with a smaller potential audience, local businesses may not need to do nearly as much to see very profitable returns, deGeyter says.

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iCIMS, a leading provider of talent acquisition solutions for growing businesses, is proud to be the official sponsor of Small Business Trend’s “Small Biz Spotlight” of Pole Position Marketing. Like iCIMS, Pole Position Marketing understands the value in a team of specialists rather than generalists to consistently exceed their clients’ needs. iCIMS is delighted to have the opportunity to support the passionate drive and dedication of companies like Pole Position Marketing through the sponsorship of the “Small Biz Spotlight.” (Visit the “Small Biz Spotlight” series archives and stay tuned for more small business stories there.)

Shawn Hessinger Shawn Hessinger is the Executive Editor for Small Business Trends and has been with the team for 17 years. He is a professional journalist with more than 20 years experience in traditional and digital media for trade publications and news sites. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and has served as a beat reporter, columnist, editorial writer, bureau chief and managing editor for the Berks Mont Newspapers.