Silver Spur Marketing just celebrated its 5 year anniversary. We sat down with the owner, Bradley Joseph, to reflect on the agency’s success.
With a career that started in events, how did you make the switch to marketing?
B: You know, that’s an interesting question because we always enjoyed the marketing aspect of events and creating the aesthetic, the invite, and the branding. I’ve always told the non-profit community that when you launch an event it’s like starting a little company. You are trying to get in front of an audience and you have to create an identity for your event. So, to make the jump from events to branding and marketing was a natural transition.
What inspired you to open your own marketing agency? Was there a defining moment?
B: You know, I did business development for Three Tomatoes Catering for ten years, and then I did venue marketing at Kroenke Sports for events at the Pepsi Center, Dicks Sporting Goods Park, and Paramount Theater for seven years. I really enjoyed marketing a venue and decided to take it to the next level. The transition happened in 2008 after Kroenke Sports. I took an inventory of what is it I love to do. I didn’t just want to be an independent contractor; I wanted to brand myself. Then, through branding myself, I realized that I had a suite of services that I could turn into an agency. When I was narrowing down what I wanted to do, a couple of things came up. I’ve always been passionate about film—independent film and independent filmmakers—so I really wanted to learn about that. I knew with the advent of the digital age that online video (this was even before Social Media) would play a large role in marketing. It was fun to immerse myself in that world and learn all that I could. I’m still learning, and I embrace that. Social Media was this wonky hobby at first and we at Silver Spur were early adapters in understanding what a great way it is to connect with people inexpensively.
Describe Silver Spur’s first project.
B: That’s a great question; our first client was actually the SaddleUp! Foundation. A mutual friend referred us to Shery ‘Bear’ Galbreath. She had started an equine therapy in her backyard in Cherry Hills. ‘Bear’ was looking to market and expand the program so we helped create a logo, an identity, a brand, and started out with non-profit strategic development and press materials. They were our very first client 5 years ago.
Was it coincidence that this was a horse-related project?
B: Everybody thinks that we always prospect horse-related projects. You know, its funny, the exact opposite has happened. Those projects come to us. For example, the American Mustang Film project, it was just strictly coincidence. But, you know, you look at our services and our clients like Duke Beardsley who is comes from well-known 6-generation Colorado family and is a contemporary western art painter; again it was just very serendipitous that we got connected with these people. I guess we secretly gravitate towards the spirit of the American West.
Describe you most rewarding (or difficult) project at SSM.
B: One of the biggest projects we had was the launch of ViewHouse in Ballpark District. It was a massive undertaking from day one. It was about a nine month consulting project. The landscape was competitive for rooftop bars and we were the next big player to come onto the block. We knew we had to land very strategically and launch it in the right way. We launched on the Colorado Rockies opening day two years ago. It was a very intense project and we knew that we had to knock it out. I mean, we are talking 20,000 square feet so we needed 2,000 people at the grand opening. Well, we knocked it out of the park and we had over $223,000 in opening day sales. We had insane tracking, insane media coverage. We had three rooftop live remotes on opening day. It was a really fun project. Very stressful.
In what ways has SSM developed the most in the first 5 years?
B: You know, I think we have gotten very strategic in asking our clients about their needs and listening carefully. I think a lot of times agencies have their own agenda and it should not about the agency’s agenda, its really about leveraging and positioning the client and tailoring their program to match their needs. We’ve learned to be really good listeners and execute on what we hear.
Statistics show that most small businesses fail in the first five years. How did you keep SSM in business?
B: Well, I think it is pretty simple economics. They are just simply underfunded. The second part is that I’ve learned from business coaching that most entrepreneurs don’t charge enough money, which reflects their self-confidence. They are hungry for business and eager to get things going and they don’t really understand the valuation of their services. We have watched some people come and fail and we have stumbled a little bit ourselves, but once you have a clear understanding of what your value proposition is it’s easy to justify your prices. And you are able to deliver traction and results for clients.
Can you tell me about a project you are working on now?
B: We are doing a new project with our client Hyde Park. They are working with OMEGA Watches to celebrate the 45th Anniversary of the moon landing. OMEGA is the official watch of NASA and the only one to be worn on the moon. Hyde Park and OMEGA are hosting a memorable celebration with a replica of the lunar landing vehicle and two former NASA astronauts. We are working closely with OMEGA corporate out of New York and Hyde Park, our client here in Denver for the launch. That will be really exciting; it will have a lot of buzz in the Denver-metro community.
What do you envision for Silver Spur Marketing in the next 5 years?
B: You know, I think we will continue to penetrate the market in terms of hospitality, retail, and understanding our niches while continuing to embrace digital assets. We see video production as a huge opportunity for us to do marketing. As print publications become fewer and fewer we realize that a corporations and organizations need to become their own media outlet. I was talking with Randy Weeks before he passed and he said, you know, we don’t have the film critics anymore and we don’t have the resources that we once had and so we have learned to become our own brand ambassadors. We are our own marketing machines. Our goal is to partner with individuals like Denver Center Attractions and to help them get their message out in a unique and effective way.