Launching a Growth-Ready Business

Launching a Growth-Ready Business

by Kyle Nations

Bill Leake, founder and CEO of Apogee Results, joins the conversation on the Angel Investor’s Network podcast with host Laura Rubinstein, of Social Buzz Club. During this episode of the podcast, Bill shares his personal insights and experiences as an entrepreneur, business founder, and digital marketer. He also explains how his marketing agency is becoming an incubator for start-ups in their Venture Studio. The full interview is embedded here and show highlights follow.

Some early marketing lessons from Bill’s career as a McKinsey Consultant were: 1) the power of brand, and 2) the value of pattern recognition.


Brand is meaningful, always. Direct response marketers underestimate the power of brand, sometimes thinking anything can be sold if it is sold effectively. However, building a brand, (particularly if you are a small business) is not just helpful, it’s critical. Brand is very powerful, and if you can articulate your brand identity from Day 1, it can be extremely helpful in opening doors and helping achieving scale. People will call you back if they recognize your brand. People will respond favorably to you if they like your brand. People are more inclined to do business with a brand that has invested in building trust and relationships.

Pattern Recognition

Pattern recognition is a helpful tool as well. If you are talking to someone about their business and trying to learn more, you can take shortcuts to understanding their assumptions and how their business model works, by drawing from your own experience and looking for the similarities and patterns you have seen before, perhaps in different or unrelated businesses. Essentially it is applying your collective experience to a business problem by looking for similarities and patterns in operating assumptions, models and outcomes, from other businesses. It allows you to test hypotheses much faster – it saves time, and time can be more valuable than money.

Love What You Do

Bill says, that at this point in his professional life, what he loves most is the ability to gather the top marketing talent not just in Austin or Texas, but in the US to work with every day. The team of people at Apogee consistently cultivate a good mix of creative and communications skills, and quantitative ability. For example, our strategists need to know “how to test” and “what to test.” Top shelf digital marketing talent does not have just an agency profile, nor are they purely engineers. They are a hybrid.

Building Business for Our Clients

Although the details of building business through digital marketing vary by market segment, it all starts with “who is the customer?” It’s imperative to understand your customer and how digital helps that customer along the journey. To do this, it is critical to be voracious about data collection and leveraging that data. Marrying customer/audience data with advertising creative and content messaging is the “secret sauce” of digital marketing. That “secret sauce” impacts the types of human behavior you can initiate. Be intentional, not just getting the right message for the right customer, but also knowing the right message for each customer in terms of where they are in the journey. Account based marketing, retargeting ads to a list, is a specific example of that “secret sauce.” In this use case, we are targeting those who have expressed interest and are already having conversations with sales to get customers all the way to the finish line. Influencer marketing is another flavor, so to speak, of account based marketing. If you are trying to reach the masses with your message, it is important to reach the press, online publications. and niche bloggers too. Influencer marketing is the cheapest and best way to do this in the digital world. But whether you’re encouraging potential customers along the path to a sale or engaging the help of influencers, segmentation and targeting are the most important activities in digital marketing.

Venture Studio

Rather than focusing on growth at Apogee Results, Bill is more interested in optimizing his business to help launch more successful growth-ready businesses. When we look at the Austin based start-up community, we see a lot of companies that are great at developing products and services, but counting on inexpensive and inexperienced marketing and sales teams to take those products and services to new customers. Building a product is not as expensive as it once was, especially in the digital world. What once took 7 figures to create, can now be done in the range of $50k to $250K. Where most companies fail is not product development but getting that product to market. The knowledge base and experienced marketing talent cultivated at Apogee Results in many cases is more valuable that additional venture capital funds.

What Should Be Invested in Marketing

If you are a start-up what should you be spending on marketing? It is not the traditional 8-10% of revenue – that is an old-school rule of thumb. It’s more like 40% of revenue or more for early stage companies. If you are a start-up, and if you are trying to get the word out and you don’t have channels and don’t have viral you need to be prepared to lose money for a couple of years. Ad agencies understand and focus on paid media. PR firms focus on earned media. If your content/product/service is good, you should do both. You can increase the odds of success and get more people to link back to your business using paid media and realize a good return. If you do well with the earned visibility, pour some paid on it.

Your Baby Is Ugly

For new ventures, it is important to know if “your baby is ugly.” Don’t just evaluate the product and the market for it, also evaluate the process necessary to complete a sale and get it into the hands of customers. Consider the following:

  • Is there a market need of more than ‘one’ for your product?
  • Is the market large enough to sustain growth?
  • Have you tested your product – not just the idea of your product, but have you tested adoption at all levels?
  • Do you have the right skills, but also the passion for it?
  • Do you know what you don’t know?
  • Do you know how to find out what you don’t know?
  • Do you have the right investment partners and plan?
  • Do you understand the competition?

If you would like to learn more about Apogee Results can help you build your business, please visit our Marketing Consulting page or fill out the contact form here in the blog post.

Kyle Nations has a long career in business development and marketing, He brings both big and small company experience to Apogee Results and our clients.  Kyle has undergraduate and graduate degrees in business and two college-age sons he loves to brag about. A lover of sports, he is both participant and spectator and is particularly fond of the water, hiking, and snow skiing. To get updated information about the team at Apogee Results, please follow us on your favorite social media channels.

2018 Award Winning Work

2018 Award Winning Work

by Michelle Stinson Ross

During the fall conference season, Apogee Results was honored with the recognition of our industry peers for a sample of the work we do all year long for our clients. In October of 2018 the fully integrated work we do on behalf of Capson Physicians Insurance was named one of a handful of finalists for both Best Integrated Campaign and Best Use of Content Marketing for the US Search Awards. We are grateful for the recognition and look forward to nominating our clients for marketing excellence again for the 2019 US Search Awards.

In mid November I had the privilege of traveling to New York City to represent the agency team and Capson for the Drum Search Awards USA. The combined work of our SEO, PPC, Content, and Social Media teams was nominated as finalists for Best Integrated Campaign and Best Content Marketing Campaign.

Attendees to the awards show and banquet were greeted outside the Edison Ballroom in the Manhattan Theater Distct by a drum line providing a smooth groove for stolling down the red carpet.

Opportunities to network with fellow nominees began with a cocktail reception followed by a lovely dinner and entertainment provided by an outstanding a capella group.

It is with great pleasure that I can inform you that Apogee Results and Capson Physicians Insurance received the award for Best Content Marketing Campaign. The award was given by a group of digital marketing industry peers based on the demonstration of excellence in clear strategic thinking, clarity and transparency, innovation, effectiveness, and tangible results.

If you would like to learn more about the strategy and methodology of this winning case study, please view – Content Marketing from Zero to 60.

If you would like to learn more about how the Apogee Results team can help your business achieve best in class results in 2019, please fill out the contact form in the sidebar of this page.

Michelle Stinson Ross is Apogee’s internal marketing strategist. She is responsible for growing our website, blog, social marketing, industry thought leadership and advertising footprints. She is also a key consultant to the internal team and the clients.

Michelle has written about digital marketing for Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Watch, and Forbes. She is national industry conference speaker for SMX, Pubcon, Digital Summit.

To get updated information about the team at Apogee Results, please follow us on your favorite social media channels.

Apogee Results Nominated for Several Industry Awards

Apogee Results Nominated for Several Industry Awards

US Search Awards

The US Search Awards is regarded as the premiere celebration of SEO, PPC and content marketing in the US and celebrates and rewards the expertise, talent and achievements of the search industry. Launched in October of 2013, the awards attract hundreds of entries from the leading search and digital agencies from across North America and to those based elsewhere around the globe who are delivering work for the US market.

Apogee Results has the honor of being among the award nominees for Best Integrated Campaign and Best Use of Content Marketing.

The Best Integrated Campaign highlights how successful marketing campaigns leverage multiple disciplines over the full customer journey. Whether that is a joined up PPC and SEO campaign to maximize search impact, or some perfectly timed search activity to jump capitalize on reach of TV advertising. The winner of this award demonstrated how innovative, integrated activity lead to outstanding results.

Nominees for Best Use of Content marketing need to demonstrate how links, coverage, social shares and engagement combine with site content to achieve outstanding search results. Only the best examples of content being used for search success will be in with a chance of taking this award.

The winners of the US Search Awards will be presented at a gala dinner  this week on Wednesday, October 17 in Las Vegas.

The Drum Search Awards USA

The Drum Search Awards, established in the US market in 2017, recognize and award the most creative, effective, and innovative search campaigns across PPC and SEO. Organized by The Drum, a marketing communications publication, winners will join an exclusive group of top marketers.

Our submissions, Content Marketing from 0 to 60 and Marketing Integration from 0 to 60, along with our very own Clarissa Fonseca, have all been nominated for this year’s The Drum Search Awards.

The following are the 3 categories Apogee Results have been nominated for; Best Integration Strategy or Campaign, Best Content Marketing Campaign, and Rising SEO Star.

Each campaign will be judged on evidence of the following criteria:

  • Clear strategic thinking
  • Clarity and Transparency
  • Innovation
  • Effectiveness.
  • Tangible results


Clarissa Fonseca – Rising SEO Star Nominee

Stay tuned in for our next blog posting to find out the final results! Awards will be announced on November 14, 2018, at the Edison Ballroom in New York City.

To get updated information about the team at Apogee Results, please follow us on your favorite social media channels.