Marketing Partner: Planning for Geoff Johnson

Jun 15, 2015
Consulting Case StudiesMarketing

Sometimes you have an idea of what you want to do with your business (or your life, or your photos, or your vacation…You get the idea), but aren’t entirely sure what to do to get the desired results. Here at WM, we’re familiar with this problem. And we’re here to help! Sometimes it takes a few steps and some time, but we love solving problems and getting results. And thus begins our story about Geoff Johnson.

Geoff, an Agricultural and Industrial photographer based in Omaha, approached us last year about consolidating his brand and coming up with a plan for how to market himself. After having him fill out our Marketing Questionnaire and speaking with him, we decided a Branding and Marketing Plan would be the best place to start. 

Our BaM Plans are a comprehensive report that analyze a photographer’s overall business, including logo, social media accounts, website, blog, current marketing plan and promotional materials and prospective clients. We talk with the photographer about what goals he has set for the following year and help him to consolidate what specialties he should be concentrating his work around and what clients to target. It’s a great place to start for anyone who wants a fresh start, needs a refresher for his brand or for someone who is just starting out in the photography world.

After completing Geoff’s BaM Plan, we agreed that he was going to focus his marketing efforts around his agricultural and industrial (think energy/gas companies, large manufacturing brands, etc.) work for the next year, focusing his marketing efforts on ad agencies and corporations nationally.

With this information, we proceeded to help Geoff with a List Build. For this project, I used Geoff’s Agency Access account to compile a list of ad agencies nationwide that would be a good fit for the work he is currently doing and wanted to continue with. In the end, we found about 475 new companies for Geoff to reach out to. I then combined that with the list of clients who had opened his agricultural emailer in 2014 (tracked within his AA account) and the list that Geoff had provided me of his current clients. Overall, we had a list of around 650 contacts from around the country that were very appropriate for Geoff’s work. He took this list and sent out a new emailer, to showcase new work and keep his name at the top of the creatives’ mental list.

So that brings us to the most current project Geoff and I have worked on. A few weeks after the emailer went out, Geoff sent over an email: “I have some time in the coming month and was thinking it would good to set up some portfolio meetings.” I absolutely love working with photographers to help set up these types of meetings because I see it as a challenge of me against the world. And I like winning. “Of course,” I emailed back. Where were you thinking? And then he hit me with his full idea: “Would it be crazy to visit six cities?” And he sent over the cities he was thinking, along with clients in each city that he was interested in meeting with.

Needless to say, I was beyond excited for the challenge. I’m a Midwest native and a sucker for a road trip, and he was proposing the ultimate Midwest adventure. Because Geoff is located in Omaha, he’s within driving distance of some pretty large metro areas. We hopped on the phone to discuss what time frame he had available for the trip and what order he should schedule the cities, to be the most efficient with his time and mileage. Geoff had a shoot scheduled in the evening on the first day of the trip, so we decided to start there. After about 20 minutes and some quick Google maps consultation, we landed on six cities in two weeks: Kansas City, St. Louis, Chicago, Des Moines, Minneapolis and Sioux Falls, before heading home to Omaha. This order meant Geoff wouldn’t be driving more than 4-5 hours between locations, breaking it into manageable chunks.

So I got to work, finding contacts at each of the agencies to reach out to with emails. I got some responses right away, which was great. From the initial round of emails, I was able to schedule four meetings. I then followed up with each contact through a phone call. All in all, I was able to schedule 11 meetings in five different cities, and Geoff scheduled his own meetings in Sioux Falls. Our final schedule was as follows:

Monday & Tuesday: Meetings (3) and shoot in Kansas City

Wednesday & Thursday: Meetings (2) in St. Louis

Friday & Monday: Meetings (2) in Chicago

Tuesday: Meetings (2) in Des Moines

Wednesday & Thursday: Meetings (2) in Minneapolis

Friday: Meetings in Sioux Falls

Of course, no project comes without challenges. Ours was that we struggled to schedule meetings in Chicago until the last minute. Geoff ended up driving back to Omaha on Thursday afternoon and went to Chicago Sunday evening instead, since we didn’t have anything scheduled for Friday.

The best part of the process was when Geoff called me three days into the trip to check on the status of the Chicago meetings, and proceeded to tell me that one of the agencies he had met with the previous day had already called him to do an estimate on a major project they had coming up, and he was out scouting locations! Now, that’s a quick turnaround.

Geoff had a great time on his trip and had this to say about our work together:

“Jillian was great to work with. When I first started working with WM last year I wasn’t quite sure of how it would work out. Now I’m really feeling like it was a smart decision; you really need to partner with people who know the markets better than you do, especially coming from a mid-sized market like Omaha. Jillian was great and pretty thorough on responding to me about the questions I had. We had a bit of an issue about getting the right names on the list build, but eventually worked through it. And the meetings were an awesome experience - I can’t wait to set up more meetings through WM!”

So if you, too, have an idea for something you think might be a little crazy, let me know! I’m always happy to confirm that you are, in fact, not insane and help you refine your idea into a manageable plan. Geoff and I made it work, and I’m sure we can too. And make sure to check out more of Geoff’s work - visit his website at 

Tags: branding and marketing geoff johnson jillian pekel marketing services