Why Relationships?

When we first started out as a marketing agency, someone asked me what our niche was. They, also an owner of a marketing agency, shared that their focus was on businesses in the medical field, along with health and wellness companies. To tell you the truth, I had no idea what our “niche” was or even what it was supposed to be! I found myself, suddenly bashful and insecure, ready to leave the conversation as I had no real response.

What was our niche? Did we have to have one? Is it necessary for a marketing agency to “specialize” in something? 

My journey of planning for the future began at this exact moment— it was so defining and I will never forget it. The biggest question I had to ask was: what makes us unique as a business? And the answer was plain, staring me right in the face! It was Jay.

Now, before you think I’m going all mushy, please allow me to unpack that thought. Jay, as a person, is a fairly unique character. If you talk to his friends, family, mentors, even people who don’t like him all that much, they all agree: that Jay Oakes is pretty great! And, while this is a fairly basic statement, the fact that it is said about Jay, is what makes it so intriguing.

I met Jay about 12 years ago, married him, traveled with him, and had a couple of kids with the guy. You could say I know him pretty well. 

So, I took this knowledge of him and compiled this list of what makes Jay…well, Jay:

  • Jay has this uncommon ability to remain friends with people regardless of distance.
  • He can tell a person, with a smile on his face, that he disagrees with their decisions or behavior, and when he walks away, they all say, “That Jay Oakes, he’s just such a nice guy!”
  • He can read people so well that within 5 minutes of meeting them, he knows if they are fun, trustworthy, reasonable people.
  • When traveling, even across the country, there is always someone (usually a person I don’t know) that comes up to us and says, “Is that Jay Oakes? Hey man, how’s it going?!”
  • He hires people based on this criteria: if he would enjoy camping with them.
  • He never wants a person to feel as if he is trying to get their money.

I have found it so interesting that a person can say things, potentially offensive (yet kind) things, in a way that leaves the listener feeling refreshed, encouraged, and ready to take on the world. Believe me, if he knew I was writing these things, it’s likely he would feel weird about it and ask me not to post this article, but there are important points to be made here!

As I was pondering our niche, trying to find a way to communicate what made us as a marketing agency so unique, I kept being interrupted by my our team, by our friends, by a desire to go places, do things, be a parent, achieve my dreams, see the world, etc. It was these things, along with Jay’s distinct skillset, that led me to Relationship-Based Marketing. Not only was our desire to connect with our clients on a personal level, but to deepen the connection between our clients and their customers. 

In the world of marketing, there is one constant: People. And while you can argue that people aren’t constant at all, it is a human’s desire to connect with other humans that remains so powerful in our world. 

Jay’s official title on his business card is Owner/Curator of Creativity. He has curated a team of talented people that believe in the value of relationships, that work hard to connect with someone regardless of distance, that care enough to challenge someone’s thinking in a positive way, and that know how to enjoy a good camping trip.

Not only have we applied this mindset to our internal team, but we find strength in intentionally choosing to work with clients we believe in. It is in that relationship that we find a sense of purpose: encouraging and building up other business while helping them thrive.