Title: “Marketing For Manufacturing The Automation Industry”
Guest: Georgia Whalen – Rivergate Marketing
Interviewers: Jeffrey Davis – MAGE LLC & Craig James – Vistage
Click here to read the transcript
Well, hello, everybody. Welcome back to Radio Entrepreneurs and we continue to stream stories of entrepreneurship, leadership, and business in this incredibly fast changing economy. Again, for over seven years over a million people have connected with the show. And one of our new relationships for 2021 is our relationship with Craig James, a board chair at Vistage international. He will be my cohost for this segment. Welcome back, Craig.
Thrilled to be back here, Jeffrey.
Right. And if you don’t mind, I’m going to introduce your guest, Georgia Whalen, founder of Rivergate Marketing. Welcome Georgia.
Thank you very much. Great to be here.
Good Georgia. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about Rivergate?
Okay. Well, back in 2009, I found it Rivergate Marketing and we’re a company that’s solely focused on the marketing and public relations needs of highly technical companies like engineering companies, industrial automation companies, that’s it. And I’m not shell.
Jeffrey (1m 11s):
And, and can we, can you define within that sort of engineering category a little bit more specific for us, what you really, you know, what you love to work on or what you’ve liked to work on so far?
Georgia (1m 24s):
Sure. Our main focus has been on control systems integrators that do industrial automation in manufacturing facilities or, and or industrial facilities. So they’re making automation with a manufacturing facility integrate with the many different types of technologies that are used on the plant floor, so that automation can be streamlined. And then industrial facilities such as water and wastewater facilities in energy companies, oil companies, they work in that space as well with making plants operate smarter and faster and more efficiently.
Jeffrey (2m 15s):
Interesting. Unless you have a question, Craig, I will jump in with another one,
Craig (2m 20s):
Keep on going Jeffrey. You’re doing great.
Jeffrey (2m 23s):
Well, you know, I find this all very interesting that whole category. Can you give me a little bit Georgia of your background, how you sort of, you know, I always say the way back machine because I watched Rocky, you know, Rocky and Bullwinkle.
Georgia (2m 34s):
Sure. Well back in 2009, well, first before that I have a marketing degree and I had worked in marketing and sales for mostly food service companies and for some of the major ones, such as the Krafts of the world and Carnation at the time, which then became Nestle, who knows who they are now. But anyway, that was my background. And then I decided after having the third child to stay home with my kids for awhile. So I decided I needed to reenter the, the workforce in 2009.
Georgia (3m 18s):
Actually I started my process of trying to find something 2008, but as we can all remember, the economy had hit the skids and there were a lot of very well qualified people that weren’t out of the workforce for 10 years. So I had to recreate myself. I had the sales and marketing background and I happened to have a brother who’s a control systems integrator out in the Michigan area. And if anybody remembers the Michigan area with the, the big auto companies, it was his, the way he used to put it is the last one out of Michigan turnout light.
Georgia (4m 3s):
And he owned an integration business. I had a lot of, you know, 36 or so employees working for him. And he was very stressed at the time cause he had slow paying customers. Business was, you know, at sort of a stand still in the Michigan area. He was trying to expand out of that area. So this, this is how I recreate it myself. I went to my brother and said, Hey, why don’t you let me do some marketing for you? And you know, you don’t owe me anything unless this thing turns around. So he was giving me an opportunity to go to work for an engineering company in marketing.
Georgia (4m 50s):
And he didn’t have to pay me unless the thing turned. So fortunately for both of us, it turned and he wanted to hire me as an employee. And I decided that, you know, I want to keep it separate. So now I have four employees and we do the same type of services I’m doing for my brother for many other integrators that have similar businesses to him. And we do it for integrators across the country. We have a couple of clients in California. We have in mobile, Alabama, we have them in Kansas.
Georgia (5m 32s):
We have ’em in to a New Jersey. So we’re all over the place.
Jeffrey (5m 41s):
Craig, do you have a question?
Craig (5m 43s):
Yes I do. As a matter of fact, so Georgia, you are one of the more recent additions to our Vistage group. Maybe you can tell the audience what led you to reach out and do a search for a peer group?
Georgia (5m 57s):
Sure. Well, number one, my brother who’s, you know, been in business for since 1991. He had told me about Vistage a while back and that it was very instrumental in helping him be able to grow his business. So I, I knew that from years ago and, and then when I took a look at, of course the pandemic year, everybody was nervous and I was nervous. My clients were nervous. We had, you know, work with our clients to make sure they stayed on, on board.
Georgia (6m 36s):
And we actually ended up picking up a couple new clients during a pandemic. And when I came to the end of that year, I realized that even though I was very nervous about being able to keep my employees and keep everything going, our business had actually grown by about 40%. So, so I’m like, okay, maybe I have an opportunity to take this even further and, and be able to help more companies with their marketing because it seems to be successful. And I was able to grow in a pandemic year and I knew to be able to get to the next level, I needed help with that and be able to figure out systems and processes and strategy around how to grow.
Georgia (7m 29s):
And so with that, I looked into Vistage and found Craig and joined the whole Vistage community.
Craig (7m 38s):
So, and that happened back in may or June Greg, right. Or right around that. Absolutely. And you’ve made a somewhat fundamental decision, I believe in terms of your business, you’ve pretty much been running it, you know, as a lifestyle business. And why don’t you share with the, with the audience where you want to take it and how the group has been helping you so far?
Georgia (8m 5s):
Yes. Well, I would like to be able to expand a little bit beyond the control systems. Integrators can a unity. I want to, I want to expand within that community as well, but to be able to bring it to, and I don’t, I don’t want to go too far out of my niche, but to other industrial automation type companies, I’d like to be able to expand. I’d like to be able to put in systems and processes to be able to help my team manage expanding. And the group has been very, very instrumental in giving me some great ideas about how to go about that regarding, you know, whether it’s ideas around some different platforms to use, to, to implement processes or just strategy around, you know, if a business issue comes up.
Georgia (9m 8s):
And recently we talked about a business issue that I had on my side of things. And what I found interesting is the issue that I brought was around, you know, a customer not being as happy as another customer. And it ended up being the issue turned. It, it changed throughout that process of working through it and getting everyone’s feedback. And what I learned is that, you know, it’s very important for us to standardize our processes and make sure that we’re having a standard way of delivering services and being able to keep all of our customers fully aware of what all we’re doing for them keeping the metrics in front of them.
Georgia (9m 56s):
So they know how the needle is moving for them so that we can keep our custody, our clients happy and keep them on board. So
Craig (10m 8s):
I’m going to kick it back to Jeffrey,
Jeffrey (10m 10s):
Oh well, it’s interesting how time can fly. And we’ve been speaking with Georgia Whalen, founder of Rivergate Marketing and also Craig James chair at Vistage one of our Radio Entrepreneurs partners. So you can find Craig always on Radio Entrepreneurs on our site, but Georgia, if somebody did want to find you and learn more about your services, how you could help them in this changing economy, how to navigate, how would they find you?
Georgia (10m 37s):
You can go to our website at Rivergate Marketing dot com and pretty much it give you a little look at our, our overall services. And you have the ability to give, give us a call through the 800 number as well as shooting us a contact form.
Jeffrey (11m 0s):
Oh sorry. And I think that’s great. And I think I’m connected with you as well. And Greg, if somebody wants to find you and also the services of Vistage as a support, how would they find you?
Craig (11m 10s):
Yeah. So vistage.com is the website by email address is first name dot last. So Craig James at Vistage chair.com, not vistage.com, but Vistage chair.com.
Jeffrey (11m 26s):
You are the chairman. What can I say of that, of that group? I want to thank you both for being on the show today. I know that Greg, you’re going to be coming back, Georgia. We hope you come back as well because maybe clients’ stories we’re always interested. And again, I want to remind everybody, this is Radio Entrepreneurs.
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