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Meet Amy Cole

Today we’d like to introduce you to Amy Cole.

Amy, before we jump into specific questions about your work, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I began my career in marketing at Hotels.com right after I graduated from college from the University of North Texas. I worked as a media buyer and marketing manager for a little over three years and then took a few years off of work and started a photography business while I was raising my young daughters. A few years later, I opened a restaurant in Frisco, One2One Restaurant and Bar.

We designed and built the restaurant from the ground up and I spent the next ten years (the restaurant was open 8 and 1/2) marketing One2One. I learned a lot about the ever-changing digital marketing world as a grew and developed the brand. Owning and operating a restaurant was an exciting and challenging time, but late last year I decided it was time to move onto something else. Since I had been working in marketing for the majority of my career, I decided to start a digital marketing consulting business, Hashtagme Consulting.

I built a website and began marketing and networking the business. Currently, I help small to medium-sized businesses grow and market their brands with a variety of digital marketing initiatives. With the use of Google ads, social media marketing, web design, and optimization/SEO, I love using my creative mind to help tell their brand stories and see the growth and potential of their businesses. As a single mom, it is very challenging and rewarding to own a business, but I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit and love owning my own businesses, it gives me the flexibility to travel and spend time with my family and friends and most of all allows me to be involved and present in my daughter’s lives.

Has it been a smooth road?
Starting a business is rarely easy or smooth. The restaurant was by far one of the most challenging experiences of my life. I went through a divorce while the restaurant was still open and for several years operated it alone while also raising my children and trying to continue to market and grow the business. Most people know how challenging the restaurant industry can be, but it is also a lot of fun and I met some incredible people along the way. It is an experience I will never forget and although I am happy to have moved on, I miss it and the employees and customers who became like family.

It was scary deciding what to do after I closed the doors of my restaurant, and starting a brand new business all over again has had its challenges and obstacles. The biggest challenge is continuing to grow and find new clients. I have had months where I am busy with several clients at once and others where I am struggling with the fear that I won’t succeed because I am not as busy as I want to be or growing as quickly as I would like to. I am networking and marketing myself daily and trying to be patient as I know you have to be anytime you start something new. Realizing that it takes time and staying patient is definitely a challenge for me as I tend to want things to move along quickly. But it is also a lot of fun to grow another business and it is giving me the flexibility and extra time to write, travel and spend time with my girls.

Tell us more about your work.
Hashtagme Consulting is a digital marketing consulting business. I help small to medium size businesses grow their brands through a variety of digital marketing initiatives. Depending on the business and their needs, I do everything from create their websites, help them with optimizing the site and with SEO, I build and grow their social sites and create content and ad campaigns on the different social platforms as well as Google ads. I use the different metrics and analytics for each site to help the business continue to improve on their results and optimize their ROI.

I am most proud of helping small businesses really grow and expand their brands and helping my customers learn to market their own business and although I am happy to work with them ongoing, I love when I can show them how they can manage most of their advertising needs, especially their social media marketing on their own. I also love to write, and I am proud of being able to use that passion and skill to help companies with their creative content and sometimes blogs.

I think it is unusual to have a consultant who sets one of their goals to be eventually letting go and setting free their clients. Obviously, there are some companies that really just want to hire someone to take over their marketing, which is great for my business, but there are also plenty of people who just need to learn how to do it and manage it and ultimately it helps their budget if they can eventually cut the cost of someone managing it for them. I would say that sets me apart from most consulting businesses and is one of the things people tell me they appreciate about how I do things.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
The marketing industry is constantly changing. I read almost daily about the new trends of not only how to market, but also how we as consumers are receiving and reacting to the ever-changing and improving digital world. Telling an authentic brand story and telling it well, across several platforms is more important than ever. I think over the next five to ten years as the newest generation, Gen z’s set the trend and become one of the largest consumers we will see a different style of marketing and businesses will have to adjust their strategies to fit into the narrative of Gen Z’s story.

We are already seeing that change as influencer marketing has become extremely popular. Consumers are able to search, research, and influence the market all while instantly making purchases directly from their devices and quite often from their social sites, information about almost everything is instantaneous.

Given the ability to obtain an enormous amount of information and to react to and review or comment on that information influences consumers and their purchase making decisions in a much different way than ever before Therefore, the way brands will need to effectively market will continually change, which means marketers, my company included, must stay up to date on the latest marketing trends and the changing emotive and rational needs of the consumer as a whole. It is a very fluid industry.

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