Genr8 Marketing is having a big impact on the bottom line of small businesses in Nebraska and beyond.
When Holly and Jason Petersen started the company almost 12 years ago, they set out to leverage their experience in the digital marketing sector and passion for helping small businesses grow. Jason, who was born and raised in Lincoln, has worked in digital marketing for 25 years, giving him the expertise needed to successfully come alongside clients to get the most out of every marketing dollar they spend.
Genr8 Marketing uses a blend of traditional and digital products to create a system of measurable marketing initiatives that result in a lead or referral for their clients.
“We work with small businesses in a cost-conscious and transparent way,” shared Jason Petersen. “There are no contracts with any clients that we work with. Think of us as an investor, we figure out which stocks — in this case, advertising products — are going to give our clients the best leads and referrals. It’s a combination of focusing on people, focusing on relationships, in addition to evaluation — looking at the data and trends.”
The eight-person team at Genr8 Marketing offers a variety of services to help their clients introduce their brand and business to the world. The company first analyzes the client’s website to determine if it’s vibrant and engaging, then they figure out how to maximize Google and social media for advertising. Genr8 Marketing also provides email and video marketing services, in addition to branding and graphic design. Its goal: to provide a system of measurement and consistency that drives traffic to each client’s business.
“I believe the No. 1 priority and responsibility of a marketing firm is to ensure the recommendations I make are having some sort of impact on the bottom line,” Petersen said.
The company has experienced tremendous growth in the last five years. This is partly due to how it has evolved its method of becoming less of a ‘vendor’ and more of a ‘coach.’
“We are here to help our clients get somewhere that they can’t otherwise,” Petersen said. “We produce results. And when we’re not helping someone, we’re not forcing them to stay with us. It creates a much more honest, upfront relationship.”
Transitioning to this business model has been effective. Since 2018, Genr8 Marketing has almost doubled in revenue, and even amid the pandemic, it has continued to grow. This year alone, Genr8 Marketing revenue is up 20%.
Petersen attributes the experience of the company’s team to that growth. Many of them have been with the company for upwards of five years.
“Our success is entirely hinged on the fact that we have an amazing team,” he said.
Advocating for Local Business
While Genr8 Marketing has a national client base of businesses in more than 20 states, the heart of the business is in the Midwest. Petersen said his commitment to the economic growth of Nebraska is deeply personal, too. Growing up, he saw what small business ownership looked like, having had many family members that had businesses in small towns surrounding Lincoln.
“We definitely feel like our commitment and role in the community is to advocate for and represent the small business community,” he said. “We are succeeding in the community because we care. We care about the well-being of our clients … it’s not lip service. If they succeed, we succeed.”
Genr8 Marketing has faced its fair share of challenges along the way. Six years ago, because of the changes in the industry and the commoditization of website development, The Petersens realized they needed to re-brand and change up their business model. That decision, in addition to networking with other business professionals in the area, allowed the company to not just survive, but thrive.
But one thing is certain: empowering people to win in business will always be their focus, no matter what future changes happen in technology and within the marketing world.
“Trust is a huge thing for us. We are here to, in many cases, get our clients to spend the least, to get the most,” he said. “We are intentionally conservative to ensure that we gain traction through evidence of engagement. At the end of the day, it’s about passing the baton between marketing and sales, and asking ourselves ‘are we doing everything we can to get people to your doorstep?’”