Q&A: Suzan McDowell, CEO of Circle of One Marketing, On the Marketing Basics and Building a Brand

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August 1, 2012 ‐ By Rhonda Campbell

Suzan McDowell, CEO and President of Circle of One Marketing has worked with companies like the City of Miami Gardens   “Jazz in the Gardens” festival, the City of Rivera Beach Jazz and Blues Festival and the AHCA Medicaid Reform along with Fortune 500 companies and community organizations. She talks with us about working with clients, building a brand, and the basics of marketing.

MN:  What initially attracted you to marketing? 

SM: I was attracted to marketing because my father told me to hurry and pick a major when I was at the University of Texas, so I chose the one that was farthest from math: advertising. But it turns out that I’m a natural-born sales person, which is a big part of being a marketer. I love [moving] people from point A to point B. I get really excited about the creative process, about getting to work on a project from inception to crazy success.

MN: Why did you decide to start your own marketing agency rather than work for a large, established firm?

SM: I did work for large established firms for years: Harte Hanks, the LA Herald Examiner and Cox Radio. Those combined working environments prepared me to do what I’m now doing. I decided to start my own agency because just selling radio became too limiting for me. I wanted to be able to create marketing campaigns where I had input in the entire process. South Florida is one of the largest Black markets in the U.S and [when] I opened The Circle there was (and still is) only one other Black owned agency in Miami.

MN: Visitors see these words when they visit your official website, “Though we’re a small agency, our size has very little to do with our might.” Which business strategies allow you to add large-scale services for your clients?

SM: Well, as one of my former staff members said to me, “Suzan….you girls work like ants!”  That’s the first thing. I think we have a good reputation for turning out a quality product and being fastidious with our presentation, especially when it comes to an event that we market and manage. We have really tried to establish a brand [that is] resourceful, unafraid to try something different, and sometimes crazy in order to get done for our clients what is most effective.

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