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Meet Matthew Smith of Modmacro

Today we’d like to introduce you to Matthew Smith.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Matthew. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I started Modmacro in 2010 when the economy was depressed. I figured if I could create a successful brand in that economy, things would get even easier as the economic climate improved. Before starting the company, I was the director of Venture 5, the web design division of an established software company in San Diego. I was able to purchase that division’s existing contracts and those became Modmacro’s first projects. Since I was already working closely with those clients, the transition was seamless for everyone.

Initially, Modmacro was an only website design and software company. We built sites and handed them off to our clients. If they then wanted SEO or ongoing marketing services, they had to go elsewhere. That proved to be a point of frustration for both our clients and ourselves because we had a hard time finding trustworthy, results-oriented marketing companies for them to work with.

Over the years, we’ve methodically added services to further extend our ability to provide the things small businesses need when it comes to branding and digital marketing. Now we have specialists in place in the areas of branding and design, content creation and marketing, website and software development, search optimization and public relations. We’ve won international industry awards in all of these areas. Most recently, we’ve added a publishing partner to our team, which has allowed several of our clients to become published authors, and we’ve created a national publication, Business Magazine, that we leverage to gain exposure for our small business clients.

Over the years we’ve also honed our niche. We now partner mainly with small businesses and nonprofits, most of whom are service companies. We rarely choose to work with larger organizations these days. They are simply too slow at making decisions.

Everything has to be done by committee, and the results rarely justify the sluggish process. We also find that small businesses are looking for a marketing partner, not just a marketing company. They want to work with people who have truly invested their business and its success and are more interested in developing deep, long-lasting relationships than large companies.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
We’ve been very blessed, and to be honest, it’s been a pretty smooth road so far. We are constantly evaluating the marketplace and shifting the tactics we employ for our clients. We’ve found it incredibly important to recognize when new technologies or cultural shifts are afoot and adapt accordingly. So, while our history has been smooth and successful, it’s not been without constant attention, forecasting, and navigation.

We did have one bump in the road in 2014 that was a great learning experience for us. We are always looking for ways to expand the services we offer to better encompass everything that our clients need regarding design, websites, digital marketing, and public relations. To that end, we merged with a boutique design company, whose specialty was in graphic design for print and environmental graphics. We soon realized, however, that while our small business clients appreciated the very high-quality design work were able to offer, they didn’t need it frequently enough to justify us maintaining the level of overhead required to keep that level of talent in-house. We’ve since partnered with award-winning designers who we can call on when needed, but don’t require us to carry the overhead.

Over the years we have successfully absorbed a few local web design/SEO companies. We don’t actively look to acquire companies, but sometimes they come to us. In the cases where we’ve chosen not to make the acquisition, it’s typically for one of two reasons. The most common is that our approach simply won’t be a good fit for their clients. In other words, their clients have become accustomed to things being done a certain way, and when our approach is vastly different, it would likely shock and frustrate them. The other reason is when they are asking way too much for their company.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Everyone knows a web designer, a graphic designer, an SEO specialist, or a marketer. We’re everywhere. And for businesses trying to find the right partner, it can be quite challenging to distinguish one from the next. How do you know which company to trust with your marketing needs? And why does pricing differ so vastly from one company to the next?

I believe that results speak the loudest. That’s why we’re most proud of the companies we’ve helped to grow through our strategic marketing efforts. For most of our clients, we are their marketing arm, handling everything for them. They typically don’t have an in-house marketing person or team. So, when that business sees serious growth, it’s easy to know who made that happen.

Over the years, we’ve grown into a full-service digital marketing firm. That means we handle just about anything that small businesses need under the umbrellas of branding, marketing, public relations, and publishing.

What sets us apart from other digital marketing firms is that we don’t offer pre-packaged marketing solutions. We approach all of our clients as a unique case, with their own sets of business goals, market dynamics, industrial environments, and budgets. We don’t believe that social media is the magic bullet for all marketing challenges. We make ourselves readily available to clients—we respond quickly and provide support right away. We approach clients with the heart of a teacher, sharing what we’re doing and explaining why. We regularly turn down projects when they are either not a good fit or would take too much attention away from existing clients.

On the technology front, one of the things that sets us apart is our software development capability. Unlike many web design/development companies, we have a strong software background. I did my Masters in business information systems and I’ve been building highly customized business software applications for well over a decade. That means our company is able to provide just about any advanced website functionality a client may request—from custom CMS applications to business software, database systems and multi-system integration. Where many other website companies are using modules and plugins to deliver projects, we are writing them specifically to our clients’ needs, while keeping the code clean, fast-loading, and secure.

We create durable brands, both for our clients and for ourselves. We’re not a flash-in-the-pan advertising agency. We’re a marketing firm that understands that brands last when they are built slowly and strategically.

 What role has luck (good luck or bad luck) played in your life and business?
We’re opportunistic, and as technology evolves, we adapt. Often, we create opportunities for our clients by identifying things their competition isn’t doing. We’re always looking for ways to position our clients so that they stand out in their industry, not just with the best marketing, but by actually being different. Sometimes that means publishing books and other materials. Sometimes that means building a client’s website into a massive consumer education resource for prospective customers to learn from. Sometimes, it’s doing social media in a completely different way.

Ultimately, our success is based completely on the value we bring to clients, and not on good luck, or the bad luck of our competitors. Louis Pasteur said that “chance favors the prepared”. Diligence and persistency are attributes we hold, and we apply them to the way we market our clients.

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