We're kicking off 2024 with a look back at our incredible journey in 2023! Last year was a blend of milestones for PRowl Communications. From launching Telltale Studios to welcoming new team members, we've grown in every aspect.
After being in business for over 35 years and in the marketing industry for over 40 years, I didn't think one year could see so many changes, not only in the business but in the marketing industry as well.. Hello new office, and look out world - AI is here!
Having an office I think scared me more so than what AI will mean to the marketing industry going forward. Working from a home office with me, myself and I for all these years, and suddenly transitioning to an office, a photography studio, and a team of people to support the work we do -- all in one year -- WOW! I have to admit, I'm loving it (well except that, the days are definitely not long enough now)... I thought the drive to and from the office would bother me more than it does - but I find it actually gives me time to plan the day and review the day (while driving). I'm a planner - so my days are pretty well planned out the night before -- but there are always hiccups!
Well, I digress -- back to the year in review!
Hard to believe 2023 was the start to my 17th year as a Constant Contact Solution Provider - a great product for those looking for an easy to use email marketing tool with tons of bells and whistles. See it in action by subscribing to the Communicator - Prowl's weekly newsletter - it is always filled with marketing tips, tools and success stories. I love it - and so do our clients. In fact, I have clients still using Constant Contact that I signed up way back in 2006/2007.
On that note - these two are really not a look back, as much as a celebration for 2024.. Did you know, Clients & Cocktails Networking group will be 10 years old this year. And, 2024 also marks 10 years of being a Zoho Partner - Wow! Time flies when you're having fun! 2014 was an awesome year for firsts!
Also in January of '23 I became the President of Business Builders Niagara, a local referral group that meets weekly to learn about each others' businesses and provide referrals from each of our own connections. This is such a great group with some of the members having been in the group for over 20 something years! I'm looking forward to another year as President in 2024. I started a few initiatives I would like to finish with the current executive. There is always something keeping me busy! I also sit on the board of Niagara Board of Trade & Commerce - the Thorold Chamber with big plans, a great membership and tons of networking opportunities. Mackenzie also joined the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce and enjoys attending the Next Niagara gatherings for the entrepreneurial youth.
It All Happens Because of Our Clients
Of course, nothing I or 'we' do would happen without our phenomenal clients. The projects are always interesting and they keep us on our toes.... We launched numerous websites, helped with an Open House and photographed the day, designed and created a few catalogues, and logos and of course a never-ending supply of social media graphics. We also found solutions for two really unique projects - oddly enough both were in the 'booking space' and equally as challenging even though the projects were for two different industries. We setup multitudes of Zoho accounts and are working with several franchises, keeping their franchisees organized and growing their businesses.
What I love about marketing and our clients --
'everyday is unique, with new challenges, new projects and new successes'! I love what I do and the people and businesses I work with!
Thank you for supporting us year after year! I appreciate your business!
Telltale Studios By PRowl
The biggest news of 2023 was moving the production office to St. Catharines and opening Telltale Studios - a photography studio and small venue rental space. This was a dream come true for Mackenzie. Telltale Studios gave him a space for the photography he does for our clients, but he has always wanted a studio open to other photographers to use. Niagara Region has an abundance of photographers, and many do not have a studio of their own, now they can use ours. But more than that -- the space can be rented by all businesses for photography purposes (and yes, you can even bring your own photographer), or use it for meetings, book clubs, yoga classes... the possibilities are endless.
So what happens when you get a mother and son with two very different styles together to name a business and then create a logo? I can tell you - it was a lot of back and forth, hundreds of names and discussions... I thought naming the studio was tough, well as it turns out, that was easier than creating a logo we could both agree on... it was weeks of designing, modifications, starting over, but we did it! I learned a thing or two about millennials throughout the process!
We opened the office and studio in June of 2023 and at the end of that month held an open house and Business After 5 for the members of the Niagara Board of Trade and Commerce. We had a mini-trade-show for clients and friends to showcase their businesses. It was a fun event with over 50 people attending.
Since the opening of the studio, it has been used for tons of product and headshots for our clients, it has been rented by an agency from Toronto for a day of shooting, many photographers have booked and love the natural lighting and ambiance offered in the studio. Mackenzie has been constantly adding equipment and props - all available for use when you book the studio.
A Return to Mentoring
With a physical office, I could finally return to mentoring - something I have always loved doing. In September our team grew by two. We added 'Bones', a Laura Secord High School Co-op Student, and Fadwa, a Humber College Marketing Intern. Bones helps in the studio and creates sets for photo shoots, has designed a few graphics for use in-house and works on some administration work as well. Fadwa's strong marketing knowledge had her working in research and strategy throughout her time with us. She also created a variety of social media content. Fadwa's placement finished in December (she is now looking for work in the marketing industry -- I highly recommend her), and Bones' placement ends within the next couple of weeks. I'm looking forward to meeting our next co-op student!
I love teaching, mentoring, providing guidance and helping people realize their potential. So much so, I often do myself out of paid work because I give too much away without charging for it... But that's me!
This year has been exciting with various awards and nominations bestowed on us. Both PRowl, myself, Telltale Studios and Mackenzie received Readers' Choice awards this year, made more exciting for us as it was the first year we were nominated in St. Catharines, and the first year for Telltale Studios. PRowl and myself have received numerous Readers' Choice awards in the Welland Tribune over the years including this year for our community site Connecting Niagara. Thank you again to all who voted for us!
Further, I was appointed to the Niagara Region's Women's Advisory Committee and a big one, nominated for the Women In Business Entrepreneurship Award. It was very exciting to attend and be part of such a well-organized event with so many talented and deserving business women.
Growing Our Team & Business
In the late fall, we added Aaron to our team as our Implementation Specialist - if it is online, used with a computer and tech -- Aaron has a solution and the means to get the job done! My day just isn't long enough - adding another to the team who works like I do, and has the ability to figure it out without me writing pages of instructions has helped tremendously.
We also welcomed Leah for social media assistance, her content is well-thought out and gains engagement consistently.
And finally, in December, we welcomed Steve to the team in Business Development and as another Marketing Strategist to assist myself and Mackenzie. Steve's corporate knowledge, and executive level sales and marketing experience will be a benefit to us here at PRowl, but more importantly to our clients.
We are looking forward to a very productive 2024 and tons of successes for our clients.
Up & Coming
I am looking forward to a great year with PRowl Communications and Telltale Studios and our newly formed team - all dedicated to the growth and success of each of your businesses throughout 2024. We have new initiatives planned and as always new ways and the latest tech to keep your business moving forward in 2024.
For January, we are focusing on New Beginnings and Timeless Wisdom - a mix of digital and traditional marketing tied in to the themes for the month which include:
- Get Organized Month
- International Creativity Month
- National Hobby Month, and
- National Clean Up Your Computer Month
As always, if you need a guiding hand, book a complimentary strategy session with myself, Steve or Mackenzie! We're here to help!
2023 was a great year!. 2024 is going to be even better!