Gerry Bogatz had learned a lot about the education field while working for ETS (Educational Testing Service), and had been applying that knowledge for eight years as a freelance consultant to clients, including her former employer. She concentrated on performing education market research and developing industry-specific marketing plans in the PreK-12 and higher education market.
In 1995, one of her clients was so impressed with the marketing plan she created for them that they requested that she also be responsible for its implementation. They felt only her deep understanding of the market and its needs, combined with her encompassing vision, could see the project through to its successful conclusion.
It was a massive project, and Gerry knew she couldn’t accomplish it alone. So she contacted a colleague whose work she admired and proposed a partnership that would allow them to share resources and get the project done. That was the beginning of MarketingWorks in 1994.
In the first year, MarketingWorks won three major industry accounts: ETS, Children’s Television Workshop, and Time-Life Publishing. On the strength of these anchor clients, the young company began to take off.
Five years had passed when Gerry’s original partner decided she was ready to explore other opportunities. After lots of thorough business analysis and personal soul searching, Gerry decided the time was right to make one of the biggest commitments of her life. She gathered the resources necessary to buy out her partner. She hasn’t looked back since.
The company, by concentrating on its core competencies, has built itself to an industry powerhouse. MarketingWorks celebrated its twenty-second anniversary in January 2016, and Gerry had this to say about its success:
“Everyone at MarketingWorks has a good, practical understanding of the education field’s realities. We’re not looking in from the outside and guessing — we’ve all been there and done it. Our rich mix of skills and experiences gives us a broad vision that allows good overall strategy and planning. And we take a more holistic view of the work, because everything that happens affects everything else.
“For clients that come to MarketingWorks, the challenge is almost always about selling more. But it’s the approach we take to bringing our clients to their goals that sets us apart. There are so many possible solutions that the trick is in knowing what’s likely to work. Maybe it’s not a sales problem. Maybe the solution takes the form of a new business structure, where to do business smarter, less expensively, much more bottom-line oriented. Do we have all the answers? Of course not. We may not know it all, but the secret is that we know how to find out.
“The market has changed so drastically over the last few years, with the need for data-driven decisions and the legal demand for accountability, that lots of companies serving education are overwhelmed. We specialize in providing informed guidance through the maze of market requirements they have to meet to continue working in the field.
“A lot of what we originally did was telesales and marketing support. We still do that through one of our partners, who has the best-trained force in the business. But what I’m really excited about is that we offer so much more. We’ve attracted such incredible talent to the interesting projects we engage in. Because we’ve built such a rich network of talent, we really are a full-service agency.
“MarketingWorks can take our clients from a plan to a successful implementation, and they never have to go outside our doors for any of those professional services. And they don’t, because our proven track record gives them an uncommon level of trust and confidence that our work produces results. For people in a field as busy and constantly changing as education, that’s real value.”