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Owners Take Different Approach To Marketing Communications
by Ron Ameln

ST. LOUIS (April 2002) - The principals of Red Rock communications understand what it takes to build a successful business: Give your customers something they can't find elsewhere. In the case of Red Rock, it all boils down to experience. Principals Lee Taylor and Don Hiemenz have utilized their vast experiences in both corporate America and as entrepreneurs to help build the marketing communications company. Both Taylor and Hiemenz have more than 45 years combined experience in sales and marketing, and both have owned successful companies. Red Rock, often considered an outsource marketing department, designs strategically based sales and marketing programs to build businesses.

"We (staff) have pretty diverse backgrounds," Taylor said. "If you got into the bios of our staff, you would see our vast experience. To me, that's a key to our success. You can't sell it (experience), but when our clients start talking bout issues, we understand what they are going through."

Said Hiemenz, "Lee and I both owned our own businesses. We can walk around the desk and tell our clients we know what it's like. We understand what a bank loan looks like, and we understand receivables."

That understanding comes in handy because of Red Rock's approach to marketing communications. Unlike some advertising or marketing firms more interested in promoting the product, Red Rock's philosophy is based on the client's bottom line.

Red Rock insists that every project is based on a sound strategy and ends with an action-oriented deliverable. "We not only understand marketing. We hit the pressure point - we hit the target," Hiemenz said.

"We don't come in and ask how much money you have, or tell you about the advertising you need. We come in and say 'How can we grow your business?'" Taylor said. "We are not the good looking, 28 year-old's you will find at the advertising agencies. They don't know what its like to run a business."

The company first meets with clients to discuss goals through a variety of business development tools. One of the company's most popular business development tools is the Mission Maker Series, a series of interactive sessions designed to help management prioritize and identify business-building initiatives. According to Taylor, Red Rock uses structured creative exercises to pinpoint effective solutions and formalize key operating strategies and marketing initiatives to grow a client's business.

The company's creative department then makes those goals come to life in the form of direct mail, advertising pieces, brochures, etc.

In just on year as partners, Taylor and Hiemenz are slowly building Red Rock. The company, a spin- off from Ralston Purina, started in 1996 as Red Rock Studio, designing communications programs. Taylor joined a few years later, and Hiemenz joined last year by combining his sales management firm, StrataForce, into Red Rock. The initial owner of the company has since left.

Red Rock places a heavy emphasis on sales and marketing working together hand-in-hand. After working in corporate America, both owners can tell horror stories how marketing and sales were never on the same page, costing the corporations money and opportunities. They vowed to create a company where the two worked together.

"We see sales and marketing together," Hiemenz said. "Sales are hand-to-hand combat. The marketing is the underpinning that supports the sales. It helps to increase your hit rate and shorten your selling cycle. Marketing helps the salespeople when they are not there. If marketing is not working in conjunction with sales, the whole process isn't going to work.

"We see all of our marketing efforts from a sales perspective. I think this is a different approach than you'll see from other communications firms."

Because of their vast experience, the owners of Red Rock hope to become the outsource marketing department for their clients.

Said Taylor: "We want companies to rely on Red Rock full time or use us as a complement to their existing marketing staff when there is an increased workload or special project."

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