2014 is the 30th birthday of Marketing Plus! We are very proud to have attained this milestone, and a little amazed at what it all means to us. And in honor of our anniversary year, today we thought we’d share a bit of our history. Our newest partners, and even our longtime clients, may be surprised at the unique story behind our agency. A story that is also about you, our clients and friends — we have grown with you side by side over the years, and we literally couldn’t have done it without you.
The Marketing Plus Story
Since its founding in 1984, Marketing Plus has evolved through a continually-changing marketing landscape, offering high-level graphic design, public relations, tradeshow management, social media, print collateral materials and many other services. Its award-winning designs have been featured in contemporary design annuals, school textbooks and numerous media outlets. A number of Marketing Plus’ packaging designs have been PMA Impact Award Finalists. Today, Marketing Plus looks back on its years of service with a true sense of accomplishment.
Marketing Plus CEO Julie Lucido says, “I feel one of our biggest achievements has been to establish long-term, collaborative partnerships with clients, many of whom have been with the company for decades. I think our record of 30 strong years of experience is the reason why companies trust us with their critical marketing needs, and our proven success keeps them here. “
A Unique Partnership
Marketing Plus has its roots in a dynamic partnership with a shared vision.
“Since the beginning of the agency, the focus was on personal, top-quality communications,“ says Susan Hance Hay, one of the agency’s founding principals. “But it also had a very strong foundation in our blended skills.” Susan and her husband Robert combined their artistic talents and corporate experience, and worked together to develop Marketing Plus from a small business to the major firm it is today.
Founder Robert Hance launched Marketing Plus in the Central Valley in 1984, following successful careers with companies like General Foods, Lego Toys and Seabrook Foods. Robert’s first clients in this nascent business were Seabrook Foods, National Raisin Company and Garrett’s Furniture. It was a slow start at first; then Susan Hance joined him in 1989, bringing business and marketing experience with Sun-Maid Raisin Growers, Tenneco West and Pennwalt Corporation, among others.
Marketing Plus immediately began to thrive under the new partnership. Susan had also brought a computer background and national tradeshow marketing experience to the business; these became key elements in the company’s growth.
Her background in high level business-to-business marketing became essential for clients who needed to get their products into national retail and wholesale markets.
By 1991, the agency had grown from a small “boutique” agency to a “medium-size”agency, managing larger budgets and handling major campaigns. Their clients grew in sales, and several new companies marketed by the agency became well-known brands, too. “The early success of Marketing Plus was a key element in client sales and product growth,” says Susan Hance Hay. “Customers could easily see the value of using an experienced agency.”
A New Chapter
In the late 1990s Robert became unexpectedly ill; Susan continued running the business while caring for him in their home. When he passed away in 1998, Susan asked her daughter Julie Cox (Lucido) to join the firm. This turned out to be another fortuitous addition to Marketing Plus. Julie brought an extensive knowledge of the fresh produce business to the agency, as well as her strong creative talents – plus the ability to work well with many types of people. Julie also had a passion for foods and the culinary arts, which was a perfect fit for majority of the firm’s clients during this period.
Julie’s unique upbringing made her an ideal collaborator for Marketing Plus’ produce clients, as she literally grew up around the fresh produce industry. Her great-uncle Edward Guzi was an importer of fresh produce, and also a key member of Standard Fruit and the United Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Association during its early years. Julie’s Father, Robert Cox, was an integral director of logistics for the fresh produce import trade.
Marketing Plus in the Digital Age
Today, Susan Hance Hay sees the history of the agency as a continuum of the creative and business synergy established by her family 30 years ago. This comes with the recognition that a marketing agency is always a work in progress, evolving to meet business challenges, along with changes in culture and technology.
“Marketing is only a general term, but the Plus has always been about using knowledge and resources to customize efforts specific to the products and services of our clients’ customers,” says Hay. “Marketing and creative efforts are not ‘one size fits all.’ Longtime experience brings with it multiple configurations; that is, we have the ability to select the best combination of media for current-day communications.
“Today’s Internet Age has opened up opportunities to reach regions and individual customers in new formats. And marketing has evolved with the growth of internet, from the top down – from digital tools and products to planning distribution of communications. It is more important to understand and implement creative efforts specific to product and target regions.
“I think Marketing Plus has really blossomed in the digital age. It is rewarding to see the next generation moving forward in today’s complex technological environment, and I foresee even more opportunity and expansion in the future of Marketing Plus.”
“We really perform like an internal marketing department for each of our clients,” adds Julie Lucido. “We’re their ‘outside inside’ marketing department.
“We’ve earned the ‘Plus’ in our name and wear it proudly.”