Linzie Venegas: Marketing Maven with A Mission

Linzie venegas headshot1 cropped

I found that each of my Tuck experiences added immediate value to my leadership toolbox. My best Tuck take-away ever was when I realized the importance of my company’s operational mission statement and integrated it in all our marketing materials and presentations. This single change led to a 20% increase in sales and a solid team that understands and executes our mission.

– Linzie Venegas

Linzie Venegas: Marketing Maven with A Mission

By Anita Warren; Getting Ink Done


Marketing struck a chord in Linzie Venegas at an early age. She was only seven or eight years old when her father, Frank Venegas, Jr., recruited her to help with his direct marketing effort. “He would attach Jelly Bellies to the letters he sent out,” she recalled, “and my job was to take a package of Jelly Bellies, staple it to the letter, fold up the letter, put it in the envelope, and then put the label on it. Every week I’d have a box of 300 or 400 envelopes to stuff.” It was the Reagan era, and Jelly Bellies—the president’s favorite candy—were highly popular. Linzie says she remembers clients asking when they could expect to receive their direct mailing. It was her first lesson in Marketing 101: get people’s attention.

Flash forward 25 years. As chief marketing officer for the Ideal Group companies, founded and now chaired by her father, Linzie has replaced envelopes with e-blasts, and jelly beans with Google AdWords. Her focus: get people’s attention. Today that means taking full advantage of whatever digital tools are available. Linzie says Google AdWords have been a wildly successful marketing tool for her company. She estimates that every dollar she spends advertising online with Google generates $22 in sales for Ideal Shield (a manufacturing subsidiary of Ideal Group), where she serves as business unit manager. That kind of ROI made Google executive chair Eric Schmidt sit up and take notice two years ago. The Internet search engine giant later featured Ideal’s success with AdWords in one of its own promotional videos.

As successful as online advertising has been, it is just one of many tools in Linzie’s marketing toolkit. She also has successfully leveraged YouTube, posting a variety of videos on Ideal’s YouTube channel. “It helps out with our search engine optimization plan. It helps us educate customers on our products, like how to install Ideal Shield’s bollard covers. And we make videos for our salespeople to use when they talk with our distributors,” she says. Linzie adds that contrary to popular belief, video marketing doesn’t have to be expensive. Ideal purchased a relatively inexpensive camera for the task and gets an intern to shoot the videos.  

Venegas makes sure her team closely monitors Ideal’s website performance and analytics. They have discovered leads from the website usually have a 60 percent close rate, about 40 percent higher than the rate for other leads, such as trade shows and direct mail. Social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, have proven less effective as sales tools but are highly useful for maintaining visibility and communicating corporate community involvement.

Although she’s garnered public recognition for her success and innovation—singled out by Crain’s Detroit Business and dBusiness as one of Detroit’s up and comers—Linzie is always seeking ways to improve. In 2004, she attended two of Tuck’s minority business executive programs and returned in 2010 to attend Growing the Minority Business to Scale.

“I found that each of my Tuck experiences added immediate value to my leadership toolbox,” reflects Linzie on her Tuck experiences. “My best Tuck take-away ever was when I realized the importance of my company’s operational mission statement and integrated it in all our marketing materials and presentations. This single change lead to a 20% increase in sales and a solid team that understands and executes our mission.”

This June, Linzie performs a role reversal, serving as a business coach in a new program collaboration between Tuck and Google. The Digital Excellence Program for Minority Entrepreneurs will take place at Google’s offices in Cambridge, MA with the goal of ensuring that businesses of all sizes and backgrounds have the digital toolkit to compete in today’s market.

This program—aimed at minority and underrepresented entrepreneurs—will feature sessions that cover the spectrum from constructing a digital strategy, to marketing businesses online, to managing digital communities. It will also include multiple intensive sessions on analytics. Participants will have access to one-on-one consultations provided by Google experts to help them gain hands-on experience as they learn about topics like website design, maximizing Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and understanding what makes a digital business model successful.

This is the world where Linzie Venegas thrives. Providing guidance to other minority entrepreneurs is one of the ways she can give back. “Tuck has taught me so many critical lessons, and Google has helped catapult our company’s sales – this is a chance for me to bring it all together and help other entrepreneurs succeed in the digital realm.”

 

Facts About Ideal Group, Inc.
Established: 1979
Founder: Frank Venegas
Headquarters: Detroit, MI
Executive Leadership: Frank Venegas, chair and CEO; Loren Venegas, president
Subsidiaries: Ideal Contracting, LLC; Ideal Shield; Ideal Setech; Ideal Setech Spare-the-Spare; Ideal Surplus Sales
Labor Force: 450 employees
Annual Sales: $250 million


More Resources:

Minority Business Entrepreneurs
Digital Excellence Program for Minority Entrepreneurs
Building a High-Performing Minority Business
Growing the Minority Business to Scale

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