At the heart of good marketing is good business. And at the heart of Stratagon, an integrated marketing agency here in High Point, are Alex Moore and Ryan Burkett – co-founders who understand marketing for the sake of good marketing doesn’t cut it.
“When we step through a client’s door, we're typically thinking, ‘What's the impact on the business? What are we trying to really accomplish here?’” says Alex.
Headquartered in High Point, with another office now in Charlotte, Stratagon serves a wealth of clients, equipping them to be successful economic contributors in their community. But the idea for their integrated marketing agency in High Point started out much more simply. Alex and Ryan, who met while in the MBA program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, saw a gap that a lot of small businesses in High Point had: access to basic, core marketing strategies. Their first consulting project with a woman-owned business eventually led that business to pull in seven-figure revenue.
“When we step through a client’s door, we're typically thinking, ‘What's the impact on the business? What are we trying to really accomplish here?’”
Alex Moore, Senior Partner of Stratagon Inc.
“Like most marketers, we never really went out marketed,” Ryan says. "People kept calling and hearing about our clients’ experiences and our offerings."
At that point, before founding Stratagon, Alex worked for a major agriculture company, and Ryan was working as a senior vice president at a financial services company. But it soon became clear to the two friends that they had complimentary business perspectives to solve client problems through measurable marketing.
“Up until 2013 or so, we were still by and large working with major corporations in middle-management,” Ryan notes. “We had the luxury of being in management positions that allowed us to have real impact with the larger scale of our corporations, but there was still an opportunity for us to benefit other clients differently.”
“Those clients were smaller clients,” Alex adds. "We got to bring some of those things Ryan and I had learned over the 10 to 15 years prior working with really large enterprise organizations.”
Ryan also points out that all businesses should focus on their industry and the work they do best within their industry; that’s why outside experts in the field of marketing are needed.
“Focus on the things that you do best and engage those around you to help provide what they do best to make your best better,” he advises clients.
So what started as two friends working as independent business consultants for a handful of clients eventually led to the growing multi-site company that Ryan and Alex affectionally call, “Stratagon 2.0.”
“We started and invested in an organization that grew, and through that growth cycle, like humans do throughout their lives, we figured out what we're really good at,” Alex says.
Because of their deep backgrounds in the world of business, Alex and Ryan both approach their agency from a holistic perspective of business growth. While many agencies typically focus on deliverables in one specific sect of marketing – creative material, web development, search engine optimizations, or advertising – the team at Stratagon zooms out to understand first and foremost what a business needs to be successful.
“Those things are all tactical deliverables. You could go get a freelancer to do any of those things in isolation,” Alex explains of the creative, web, and technological elements they use in marketing strategies for their clients. He likens what Stratagon does to baking a cake:
“You can have really good sugar, flour, and butter, but it's understanding the ratio of all those things and how to cook it. Those other things are really just individual ingredients or tactical elements for us.”
While Ryan, who lived in Charlotte, eventually opened the Charlotte-branch of Stratagon, Alex remained in High Point to operate the Stratagon HQ on English Road. And while the offices serve different clients, the unity between the two remains the same, serving their clients in each area with the best possible talent and solutions.
“Ultimately we want to be a solution provider for any customer that walks through our doors and visits with,” Ryan says. “And if that means that it is a solution that we can provide within our, great. However, there's nothing better than the feeling of getting a call from a client who has an issue, and they want to bend your ear on solution to that issue. We want to be problem-solvers.”
“Sometimes consultants get a bad name and being consultative doesn't even mean always billable,” Alex adds. “It just means that you've earned the trust of your clients, such that your perspective matters. They seek our organization as a thought leader, even if it may not be our space, because they know that we're highly connected to a number of areas. If we make the recommendation, it's going to be sound.”
And as Alex, Ryan, and their team have gained that kind of trust and collaborative problem-solving identity with their clients, they want to make sure they’re investing in the businesses and industry that matter so deeply to the DNA of their city. With High Point serving as the bedrock of the home furnishings industry, there is also no shortage of industry-related clients.
“We wanted to leverage our proximity and begin to become students of that industry,” Alex explains of the home furnishings and textile industries that remain in High Point. “We have done that over the last four to five years through clients as well as just through diving in deep.”
Another reason Stratagon remains centered in the heart of High Point is because of our talent pool. With our centrally located universities, there is no shortage of new talent for Stratagon to add to their team.
“The student pipeline in the Triad is second to none,” Ryan says. "It's a bit of a hidden pool of talent that exists here."
And more than wanting a team of talented individuals, Alex and Ryan want to deeply invest in young professionals who will be able to grow with the organization and make investments in their own community. While they tease that they never want anyone to leave the Stratagon team, they do want to see young professionals thrive.
“We’re only as good as our colleagues are,” Ryan says, noting that Stratagon has never been “the Alex and Ryan show.” “Seeing someone come and dedicate themselves to growing while they're here... that is a good feeling. Once you come here, you're part of our family and we want to see you be successful.”
The continuous growth of the High Point business community also excites the Stratagon team. Ryan jokes that he is jealous, being stationed in Charlotte, of all of his High Point counterparts who get to be a daily part of the High Point community.
“Ultimately it takes not only the business community, but the community at large to really fulfill the vision that everyone has for High Point going forward,” Alex says.
“We want to have a greater impact on the community as well,” Ryan notes, saying that Stratagon wants to make sure High Point continues to be a place where businesses want to come, plant roots, and grow, so that the community and population continue to have access to the best possible businesses and careers.
Alex points out that what is happening within the High Point business community is similar to what Stratagon aids their client base with daily: identifying solutions, maximizing impact, measuring results, and reaching customers. With strategists like Alex, Ryan, and the Stratagon team developing stronger businesses and more innovative solutions, High Point’s ROI is only going to keep rising.
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The HPD Team