ITA Spotlight: Simple Machines Marketing
Monday, August 12, 2019
Posted by: Gary Hotze
Charles Nadler, Strategic Director, Simple Machines Marketing, @SmplMachines
We like helping B2B companies grow. And we’re good at it.
In 25 words or less, what is Simple Machines all about?
We provide the plan, the processes, the time and the talent that B2B companies need to achieve sales and marketing success.
What problem do you solve and how do you solve it better than the competition?
Typically we’re helping clients with at least one of the following problems. One possibility is they’ve done some marketing but have no real plan. Another is they just need more awareness and leads. Many need help communicating what makes them better than their competitors, which really gets into positioning. And there are some that have a good marketing plan but simply need the expertise and resources to execute it. Occasionally we’ll start by addressing a more focused problem – maybe they need a new website or help leveraging HubSpot – but that usually evolves into helping solve deeper marketing and sales challenges.
By combining a focus on strategy and advisory services with the team to execute campaigns that generate results, we tailor our approach to provide our clients with everything need to solve their marketing problems and grow their business.
How did you get started?
My background is in copywriting, strategy and media. When I came on board as a marketing strategist in 2011, it was for the marketing department for Switchfast Technologies, a managed IT service provider here in Chicago. The department had formed in 2008, when Switchfast launched a marketing campaign to stay competitive in the midst of the recession. The campaign was so effective that Switchfast’s clients noticed they were growing while others shrank and asked if they could get help with their own marketing.
By February 2012, the marketing department had grown enough that it made sense to spin off into our own company – and Simple Machines officially launched.
How has your company culture evolved as Simple Machines has grown?
I’ve always thought Simple Machines has had a great culture since we started. The people here are all hard workers who take pride in what they do, but we also have a pretty relaxed, comfortable vibe at the office and we like to do happy hours and stuff like that — so it’s a healthy balance. In the past few years we’ve definitely done some soul searching in terms of why the team likes coming to work every day and what our goals are for the future, and that’s helped crystalize our values more (initiative, helpfulness and a can-do attitude) and has led to some cool perks like our continuing education program.
What are your primary goals for Simple Machines?
Our primary goal is to command the marketing space for B2B tech, manufacturing and service companies in Illinois.
Where do you see Simple Machines in two years? Five? Ten?
We’ve got a number of three, five and 10-year goals that we set and regularly assess to make sure we’re on track from a financial and hiring standpoint. Ultimately, I see us growing here in Chicago at a sustainable pace. To command the space for our industries, I see us working closely with partners like ITA, continuing to be more involved in the community and sharing our expertise on a larger scale through quality content, events and training.
What’s the No. 1 thing on your to-do list?
Collectively, our primary focus is to make our clients our so happy that they not only stick around but tell others about us. My role in that is working with the strategy team to make sure the deliverables are up to our standards and that client expectations are being met — and regularly exceeded. That usually makes for a pretty long to-do list.
In your opinion, what are some of the pros and cons of being an Illinois business?
As an agency that works with a lot of tech companies, Illinois is a great place to call home given the industry growth here. It’s also a huge plus in terms of having access to a diverse, skilled talent pool — especially being located in Chicago. The taxes and state budget issues over the past several years have obviously created some economic uncertainty for some businesses, and yeah, we can all agree, the winters are pretty miserable.
What are the biggest challenges you face as you scale your business?
There’s a ton of competition in the digital agency space, and it seems to multiply every day. Not only are new agencies constantly popping up, but the big consulting groups have been targeting this market as well. On top of that, the technology, tactics and channels change fast, so there’s a feeling that there’s always more you can be doing in the race to get ahead. We’ve systematized things to an extent through initiatives like our partnership with HubSpot and our continuing education program, but the bar is always being raised so that keeps things interesting.
This one is all you… anything else you want to tell us?
Earlier this year, we rolled out a few new services that we’re excited about: training and workshops (which includes things like HubSpot training for sales and marketing teams and positioning workshops to refine brand messaging) and our Marketing Plan in a Day and Website in a Day services. The training has been a really good fit for both current clients and businesses who need to arm their teams with certain skillsets, and we’re especially happy with the positive feedback we’ve received from the “in a day” offerings, which help businesses that need to get these projects off their plates as quickly as possible.