For Small Businesses and Non Profits in the Region and Beyond
Marketing and advertising agency talent in Northeast Indiana tends to gravitate toward lucrative accounts with larger clients, in many cases leaving small businesses and not-for-profit agencies out of the equation. Fort Wayne Marketing bridges that gap. It brings an entire creative team to provide consistent and effective branding and business communication for makers and difference makers in Fort Wayne and across the country.
THE NIIC: What problem was your company formed to solve?
John Paff: In my 30+ years in the marketing, communications, and public relations field, I began to see a gap in services for small businesses. A lot of great agency talent in the region gravitates toward larger accounts, leaving small businesses and nonprofits behind.
That’s where Fort Wayne Marketing comes in. We serve organizations with 50 employees or fewer. We offer them the ability to benefit from an entire creative team that can meet their needs for consistent and effective branding and business communication.
For about the same investment as an individual hire, companies teaming up with Fort Wayne Marketing gain a complete team of story tellers, art directors, web developers, social media content creators, and public relations specialists. These services extend far beyond what an individual hire might bring to the table.
THE NIIC: What triggered the launch of your business?
John Paff: I had been a partner at a well-established agency here in Fort Wayne. My partners wanted to pursue healthcare and major manufacturers, while I wanted to serve small businesses and not-for-profit agencies. We agreed to give each other space to pursue our different goals. I accepted a buy-out offer from that agency and used those resources to launch Fort Wayne Marketing in 2019.
In just three short years, we’re well on our way to achieving our vision. Most of our clients, whether in Northeast Indiana or across the country, are family-owned businesses. Many are in the manufacturing sector. We also serve mid-size nonprofits. We like to say we serve “makers and difference-makers.”
THE NIIC: How does it work?
John Paff: Here’s an example: One of our clients is an inventor who called us in November. He had developed a new product and wanted to take it to market. Within two months, Fort Wayne Marketing developed a company name, brand position, and branded product lines for his company. We also created packaging design, an e-commerce website, and a social media presence, all within seven or eight weeks. He was online and selling by January.
Another of our small-business clients had been a fixture in downtown Fort Wayne for decades. They wanted to refresh their retail brand and turned to Fort Wayne Marketing for help. We redeveloped their look, brand position, website, and in-store experience, re-energizing their company and driving new clients to their business as a result.
Or consider our client on the West Coast, specializing in selling used metalworking machinery. This family-owned business was quite successful in Southern California but wanted to extend their reach with digital marketing. We refined their brand, produced a new company video, and helped them maximize their social media and digital-marketing efforts.
Closer to home, we helped a caterer and food truck operator launch their very first website and social media presence. The company trebled their revenue in that year and made a big splash in their niche market.
As these examples demonstrate, Fort Wayne Marketing offers services to companies that are ready to create a significant boost in their branding, marketing, and growth potential. When they work with Fort Wayne Marketing, they are truly engaging a team of creative people who will embrace their business goals and organizational mission as their own. We tailor our experience around their challenges and become a close working partner to meet their needs.
THE NIIC: How has Fort Wayne Marketing leveraged the services of The NIIC?
John Paff: We interact with The NIIC in multiple ways. First, The NIIC is our landlord. We started out in a small office in 2019. The NIIC has offered us a very scalable and adaptable workspace, and as we’ve grown, we moved into larger facilities, complete with a photography and video studio. It was so helpful to grow our workspace just by moving down the hall.
In addition to our office space, The NIIC gives us an opportunity to host our clients here, thanks to an abundance of conference rooms and training spaces. It’s really an ideal location. It’s conveniently located, and the environment is second to none. We’ve enjoyed engaging with the business development experts here, and we’ve gained a lot of encouragement from our coaches and mentors at The NIIC.
We also need a strong IT service, and The NIIC provides that as well. And their business concierge services are first rate. They are so courteous and really help with the nuts and bolts of running our business operations.
Finally, we’ve been given an opportunity to bring our creative talents to The NIIC and its clients, telling their stories and helping them grow their reach. We love hanging out with other entrepreneurs who are in the process of building business. At The NIIC, we’re surrounded by creative people who are solving problems for their clients.
THE NIIC: What’s on the horizon for your company?
John Paff: Fort Wayne Marketing is really growing. We started as a solo entity. We added a senior art director in December 2021 and a lead brand storyteller in January 2022. Many of our clients are seeking to build a social media presence, so we just added a full-time digital media account manager last month.
We’re also developing an effective internship program. We have so many talented students in our community. It’s a privilege to train and coach them with real-world experiences. I’m an adjunct professor at Huntington University, where I teach courses in social media and public relations to undergraduates and marketing and branding to students in the MBA program. I’m excited to extend this teaching experience at Fort Wayne Marketing through our intern program.
THE NIIC: What’s one thing people should know about Fort Wayne Marketing right now?
John Paff: While our name is Fort Wayne Marketing, our reach extends across the country. Located here in the Midwest, we can deliver tremendous value. We have the privilege of serving clients in Los Angeles, Seattle, Denver, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Baltimore, and greater Washington DC. In other words, we’re a local agency with a national reach. We remain firmly rooted in Fort Wayne, bringing our clients solid midwestern values. That means we offer a fair deal and real value. We treat people with integrity, honesty, and kindness. It’s just how we do business.