The Sun – San Bernardino County’s Newspaper – Monday, April 12th, 2004 – Page E1 & E2
Redlands Marketing Firm Leads the Way to the Internet
By Jennifer M.Dobbs, Correspondent
She followed her husband to California after a job transfer.
“We were fortunate enough to find Redlands,” She said. The search involved driving in concentric circles looking for a home. “So many people that you run into, came here to retire. How lucky to already be here.
“I still have nightmares about how cold it was in upstate New York, about waiting outside for the bus with knee-highs and a short skirt on. I never want to live in that again. I don’t think you get used to that.”
Molly Burgess has become used to living in Redlands and running RedFusion Media, a division of her husband’s company- Burgess Management, consulting.
The RedFusion office sits upstairs in the historic J.C. Penny’s building overlooking State Street. It is a long, narrow space designed to move from quiet on one end to noisy on the other, allowing for creative work space that lets ideas flow.
She said her job is fun- a mixture of directing photo shoots, writing, bookkeeping and meeting with clients. But no more than six days a week of work for Burgess, who keeps sets Sundays aside for family conversations around a table filled with good food.
How did you get involved?
Her husband Ron owns Burgess Management Consulting.
“He has been consulting with his clients on Web-related functions starting in 1995. He was outsourcing for his clients for Web Work, design work, print work.
“In ’98, he realized he was not getting the kind of customer service and response from, webmasters that he needed for his clients.
“So in 1999, I came to work for him and we formed this other division under Burgess Management called RedFusion Media.”
What is the mission?
The official philosophy of RedFusion Media is “along with our parent company, RedFusion Media provided a full marketing strategy production team. We provide the people with the broad expertise required for professional marketing campaigns. By establishing long-term client relationships based on trust and mutual understanding, we can coordinate design and content in a seamless and economical fashion delivered with tools that makes sense.”
Ron Burgess carries a full load of consulting clients and he does strategic marketing planning with them.
“Really what we are is a marketing content company,” Said Burgess.
Marketing content, she said, is all the skills that go into telling the story for an organization – storytelling, images, design, and production.
“Production might end up being newsletters, postcards, magazine ad placements, newspaper ad placements, the kind of traditional things you think of an ad agency handling,” she said. “But we don’t act like an agency.”
Burgess said her company sits “ on the same side of the table” as the client and helps them find the best tool for marketing their business.
“Web site work is a lot of what we do simply because it is an economical tool for a lot of our clients. They can tell a whole lot about their business in the Web site while at the same time using traditional marketing to continue to expose their business and send people to the Web site for more of the story.”
Burgess said many clients come to them when they get serious about communicating through their Web site and using it as a serious, marketing tool.
Most small businesses can’t afford a marketing department, she said.
“If they didn’t they would need someone to do writing, designing, graphics, strategic planning, scheduling, regular updates- all of these things.
“We pull together all of that talent here and provide a marketing department for the small business.
“That’s where we feel our niche is, not for businesses that are not very small, but small businesses who realize they need to get their story told.”
Burgess invites potential clients to visit the office and meet the staff so they know that RedFusion is not just a virtual company at the end of the phone.
“We get to know them and they get to know us. It is an education process for both of us.”
Is the mission successful?
RedFusion Media has about 150 clients. There are four full-time and five part –time employees.
“On the surface, I would say our business is growing, and we are attracting the kinds of clients who are serious about their business and serious about their Web site.”
Burgess said the company has lost only about five or six of their clients.
“Most of them have been clients that just went out of business.”
She also attributes the company’s success to the happiness of the employees.
“They enjoy coming to work. And because they have heavy thinking jobs, they have flexible schedules.”
Burgess uses client Longmont Dairy as an example of the benefits of a Web site.
The Company delivers milk in glass bottles to more than 16,000 customers each week.
“They trust us to be able to do their content – writing and graphics for all of their marketing- a business I never knew about before I started working with them.
“They use their web site as a tool for telling people about their company, about fresh milk delivered overnight from the farm, to the doorstep.
“They have also been able to use a customer service portion of their Web site to do order changes. They have saved tens of thousands of dollars in office functions.
“That is an interesting, board story about how Web sites can be used as tools by people who are serious about using it.”
What are the challenges?
One of the challenges of a small business, Burgess said, is prioritizing time- “managing time well so you keep focused on what you should be doing and what’s most important to be doing. It is always an ongoing challenge. It is easy for a small business owner to become consumed with their business.”
What is in the future?
“Every business is looking for growth. But with that, I am hopeful we will be able to grow to a point where the staff we have will be rewarded, and stay in lifelong positions.
“ I don’t see me or my husband retiring, we enjoy our work too much. We may be pushed aside someday,” she says laughing.
If you had a magic wand?
“It is a hard question, because I am very pleased and content and grateful. But probably every small business needs a little bit of that pixie dist.”
Doug Rowand is the president of the Arrowhead United Way.
“We had been wanting to do a Web Site for years,” he said. “But we didn’t know who we were going to get to do it.
“We were pleasantly surprised with RedFusion. I wasn’t sure what they would be able to do, and our experience with them turned out to be much better than expected.
“I was amazed at the end result. Our site had great color and clarity. They were easy to work with.”
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