I recently had the opportunity to talk with Cathy Pringle* who is a branding and marketing expert and executive consultant with Ascend Marketing in the Dallas Fort Worth area.

Ascend Marketing is an outsourced marketing firm that focuses on “the full marketing continuum, beginning with brand strategy and market development, but extending all the way through the execution piece, including sales support and measurement.”

Although the company is only 5 years old, it has a powerhouse staff of professional marketing talent in their offices in Fort Worth and Grapevine, Texas. (In fact, I couldn’t believe how much talent they’ve accumulated in a small staff!!)

Cathy walked me through their business model. Because the Ascend team brings expertise from telecom, technology, travel and hospitality, B2B services, consumer packaged goods, retail, and health care, they have a very broad knowledge base of experts to draw from who have lived branding and marketing through real business experience, not just a study.

Ascend has clients ranging in size from entrepreneurial start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, spanning a wide range of industries including telecommunications, manufacturing and hospitality, but it’s their analysis and metrics work for both marketing and sales that really sets them apart.

For example: Check out their First Annual CRM Conference Retail Marketing Spend Study where Ascend Marketing and Forrester Research partnered with CRMC to present the first annual Retail Marketing Spend Study. Wow!

I believe that their business model could revolutionize the way the Fortune 500 staff their marketing departments for their various divisions. Unlike the ad agency model that is very heavy on right brain creative (with designers, writers, traffic, production and web developers), Ascend Marketing is really heavy on the left brain analytics with experience and backgrounds in brand strategy, sales analysis, data base segmentation and retail ROI projections. Check out their team of talent here: (I’m especially impressed that one of their graphic designers has twin majors in marketing and finance with a minor in Japanese. Wow. Not your typical ad agency fluff, that’s for sure!!)

Ascend Marketing really seems to pull together both sides of the brain. Yes, it’s a unique business model, but it only makes sense if you think about it!

Why pay for top in-house talent for a very specialized, top-level importance project, when you can hire top outsourced talent for a FRACTION of the price? As Cathy said, “It would take you two or three times as long just to build a team as it would take to do the project with Ascend. We just draw on the skill sets needed for the project from the deep bench we already have in house!

The client has the all benefits of relying on top marketing talent without the headaches of recruiting, hiring, and training top level marketing employees.

And the big value-add for the client? When the project’s over, they’re not stuck with high priced marketing talent with the wrong skill set for the next big marketing program.

Do you know of other branding and marketing firms that are set up like this? You know “the type”. It’s a company who uses fractional shares of marketing talent in developing metrics and process, or who specializes in analyzing sales and marketing metrics, or another other small business marketing outsourcing firm who helps with creating the process for sales development.

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Let me know by leaving a comment below and linking to the firm’s website. Thanks!

*Cathy and I met in 1991 when we were both working for Rubbermaid’s Little Tikes division.

Ascend Marketing’s Cathy Pringle: “Clients Reap Huge ROI Benefits with Outsourced Marketing”
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