After spending nearly a decade running a motorsports marketing agency, Tony Scott saw a major hole in the marketing field: There wasn’t an industry-standard online marketplace where clients and professionals could connect.
“I began to explore the concept of a central hub for buying and selling marketing and building a marketplace for the marketing and advertising industry that everyone could use,” Scott said.
Over the next two years, he invested in and developed MarketingZoom, a Portland-based social marketplace to buy and sell local marketing opportunities. The beta site provides a suite of tools for business owners and marketers looking to launch campaigns and generate leads.
“I didn’t want to make it something only for corporate marketers,” said Scott. “I wanted it to be an open, searchable platform, like an eBay for marketing and looked at all the different types of local marketing opportunities that exist.”
We caught up with Scott for this Startup Spotlight, a regular GeekWire feature.
Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: “MarketingZoom is a new marketplace for buyers and sellers of marketing and advertising opportunities to browse, interact and communicate together. Members search listings similar to any other marketplace or classifieds to quickly and easily find marketing and advertising opportunities in their local area.”
Inspiration hit us when: “When we analyzed one simple question: ‘If I was a local business, what options do I have to market my business in my area?’ It all started from that one simple question. People are constantly searching the Internet for creative and affordable ways to market their business on multiple different levels. Being marketers ourselves, we knew there wasn’t any quick go-to source for any business owner to search for all the different marketing or advertising opportunities in their areas. There are millions of ways to market locally and nationally, and we wanted to make it a 10-second-or-less process to find the perfect match.”
VC, Angel or Bootstrap: “Currently MarketingZoom is privately funded by myself. However, we are working with Fundable and will be seeking VC. The reason being is that MarketingZoom will seek large marketing initiatives to boost awareness on a national scale. I also believe in having the proper support, experience and connections that some VCs bring as a valuable and very necessary part of growth.”
Our ‘secret sauce’ is: “Our secret sauce isn’t really a secret — it’s sticking to the core concept of making it easy for anyone to find marketing opportunities in a few seconds, rather than scouring the internet aimlessly.”
The smartest move we’ve made so far: “Taking our time to get our platform ready for a launch — it took two years. We went through multiple changes and will continue to make changes and adapt to how our users want to use our platform.”
The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: “Is there a word limit? The single biggest mistake was not promoting it sooner.”
Would you rather have Gates, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner: “Bezos, because of what he’s done with Amazon aligns in a way with what we are trying to do with MarketingZoom: Providing a marketplace for buyers and sellers.”
Our favorite team-building activity is: “CROSSFIT! Is napping a team building activity?”
The biggest thing we look for when hiring is: “Highly motivated and eccentric personalities and lovers of CrossFit need only apply.”
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: “Just begin, stay positive, be prepared for outsiders to not understand and be prepared to fail and learn from failure. Take one step at a time, identify a problem or a need and provide a solution to it.”