30 Years of Verticalized Wisdom w/ Brad Gillum

“If you think about it, there really is an association for everything.”

This was the founding insight for today’s guest, Brad Gillum, who found a niche providing marketing services to membership-based companies and professional associations.

Brad’s company, Willow Marketing, has been in business for over thirty years. However, it did not start out offering marketing services. 

In fact, his agency originally provided product and sales training for Philips (the technology giant). When the economy dipped, their brand trimmed its marketing team, and that provided an opening for Brad’s agency to step in and offer outsourced services. And that path eventually took them to win more clients of similar scope.

Today, Willow mainly serves associations and member-based organizations, and about 60% of their business comes from this niche. They help associations with member recruitment, member engagement, and attrition with full-service marketing offerings.

In this episode, Corey and Brad dive into the genesis of his agency, the trials and tribulations along the decades, and most importantly, we get to extract a nugget of wisdom or two on building verticalized agencies.

Here’s what Corey and Brad cover in this episode:

- Going from a generalist offering to a verticalized business.

- How the economic downturn in the 90s pushed Brad to find his niche.

- What it is like to serve a niche that isn’t competing against each other.

- How thought leadership and events helped Willow cement their footing in his vertical.

- How to leverage your current expertise to open a new vertical.

Here are some actionable key takeaways for agency founders:

- If you’re burning the candle at both ends, it’s time to re-evaluate your business model.

- Seek out advice from those who’ve done it before.

- Branching out to a secondary niche is an investment and can take years to complete.

- C-level should be doing the selling at a niche agency.

The resources mentioned in this episode are:

- Connect with Brad on LinkedIn Here

- Learn About Willow Here

- Connect with Brad via Email: [email protected]

Join us as we dive into the world of association and membership marketing.

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