September 15, 2016

What’s in a Name?

I finally made the leap!

For the past five years I envisioned what this would look like—starting my own business, running a marketing company the way I think it should be run. It’s taken a lot of hard work to get to this point (and it’s a little terrifying), but here I am—and I’m excited.

When I first started working at the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, it was just launching its Big 5 for a Greater Kansas City. One of those ideas really spoke to me: Making Kansas City America’s Most Entrepreneurial City. It was during my tenure at the Chamber that a business idea started to germinate in my brain after speaking to several business leaders about their marketing challenges: They either hired an agency that didn’t understand their business, or they hired an FTE who didn’t have the skill set they needed.

And then during my time at a local ad agency, my idea really started to take shape. Little did I know I was taking my first steps toward what would become Crux.

Time for a new approach

Through work both on the client side and the agency side, I quickly realized traditional agencies aren’t one-size-fits-all. I saw an underserved world of small- to mid-sized businesses and professional services firms that knew they needed to make a marketing investment but didn’t really need the added extras of a large agency.

All of these owners and business leaders were busy running their companies and frankly didn’t have the time to spend on marketing—even though they knew they should. Some of them may have been burned in the past by a large marketing investment—one that was too expensive, or maybe one that had plenty of bells and whistles (and pretty design) but no real strategy. And even if these business leaders wanted to hire someone in-house to handle the role, they often didn’t know what to look for in a sea of candidates.

Everything you need, nothing you don’t

Recognizing this gap really was the catalyst to pull the trigger on Crux. As I was brainstorming names with our good friends at Ruckus, I kept coming back to that word. The simple concepts it conjured for me – substance, nitty gritty, the bottom line – resonated with what I wanted to do, and how I wanted to help. It’s about getting to the point without any sugar coating.

Our business model reflects my areas of expertise—to work with a business leader to understand their business, analyze their marketing needs, develop a smart strategy and marketing plan, and implement that plan for them with monthly touch-base meetings to keep everyone in the loop. It’s a simple methodology, but it’s one that’s about getting clients what they need (and leaving out what they don’t).

Ready to run

Taking this big leap has not been without a little fear. Anyone who’s started their own business knows just what I’m talking about. But to paraphrase Nelson Mandela, the brave woman is not one who doesn’t feel afraid, but one who conquers that fear.

They say the first step is the hardest, and I’m pleased to say that not only have we taken that first step but we’re off and running. I’m confident our approach to marketing and strategy is one that’s sorely needed in the marketplace, and from what I’m hearing from the executives I’ve had the pleasure of meeting with, it’s a perfect fit for so many businesses in need of a partner who truly understands them.

If you’re ready to define your brand, create messaging that tells your story, and build your marketing team, I’m here to help you find your crux!

About the author: Melea McRae is a marketing strategist with 25+ years of B2B and B2C experience leading client-facing marketing departments, where she earned the reputation as an insightful brand strategist. As SVP and CMO at the Greater KC Chamber of Commerce, she led the organization’s marketing and business development efforts. In July 2016, Melea launched Crux KC, providing an in-house marketing team, outsourced – the “un-agency” – for her small-to-mid-sized clients. As founder and CEO, she builds marketing, communication and business development strategies for her clients, while positioning them for sustainable growth.

Read More

View All Blogs