To celebrate its seventh year in business, RedRover Co. fittingly held a 50th dog year anniversary and client appreciation bash at Bleu Restaurant & Lounge on Thursday, Feb. 28.
The event included entertainment in the shape of a photo booth by Gary Baldwin, as well as performances by the Mud Flap King and violinist Donna Wolf.
RedRover’s Memphis office left to right: Kitty Keller, LeeAnn Christopherson, Brandon Herrington, Lori Turner-Wilson, Pete Rizzo, Melissa Thomson, Ty Skinner and Vicki Dye. Not pictured: Silvia (Meewis) Brasher.
And it was a story worth commemorating. As evidenced by our January write up on the sales training, marketing consulting and PR firm, RedRover is different breed of agency in that it has bucked recession-era trends and achieved impressive growth – for itself as well as clients.
RedRover was founded in January 2006. Its revenues since the end of 2007 have seen 971 percent growth, with the last year alone resulting in 90 percent growth.
The success is not something founder and CEO Lori Turner-Wilson takes lightly.
“We remain absolutely committed to crafting smart strategies and achieving real, quantifiable results for our clients,” Turner-Wilson said.
Along with steady growth comes the need to expand operations. Turner-Wilson said at the party that RedRover is on the market for 5,000 square feet of office space in Downtown or Midtown by August, which is more than double the size of its current location at 415 S. South Front St.
RedRover is also hiring for two full-time staff positions in marketing and sales training, and expects to hire two more full-time employees this fall. The company’s current staff size is 11 people.
What sets RedRover apart from traditional agencies is how it aligns its staff with small- to mid-sized business owners to add affordable, fractional (part-time, outsourced) sales and marketing veterans to its clients’ management teams.
Most of RedRover’s clients fall in the range of $5 million to $50 million in revenue. The RedRover team, which Turner-Wilson said is the firm’s “secret sauce,” allows its accounts to rely on it from standing in as part-time chief marketing officer to a seasoned sales manager to a coach when such full-time internal roles are not possible.
“RedRover has been a critical part of our growth strategy at DreamCatcher Hotels,” said Greg Hnedak, principal of Hnedak Bobo and managing partner and founder of DreamCatcher Hotels. “They have made a significant difference in how we we’ve been able to position our brand.”
The firm now known as RedRover began to take shape “one fateful night in the fall of 2005,” Turner-Wilson said. That’s when her and her now business partner Julie Lunn were contemplating their futures over a game of pool.
“We … felt that we had more to give creatively,” Turner-Wilson said. “We had tossed around the idea of starting an agency for months, but that night was different – there was a white board and wine – clearly all the tools we needed to map out our strategy. Two months later, we walked away from the corporate careers we’d spent more than 15 years building and hung our shingle.”
While part of EmergeMemphis from 2008 to 2010, RedRover reached its revenue targets in half the time expected and graduated in two and a half years instead of five. Turner-Wilson thanked Gwin Scott and Eric Mathews, the latter of which was in attendance at Thursday’s event, for their support.
Likening EmergeMemphis to a “stand-in board of directors,” Turner-Wilson credits the entrepreneurial incubator for its hands-on approach across the full range of strategic business planning, including review of financial projections and staffing plans.
Seven years later, RedRover attributes its growth to new clients that have been referred by existing clients, such as Lucite International, Thomas & Betts, Bleu and Christian Brothers University. That’s in addition to RedRover’s portfolio of existing clients, which are growing 10 to 20 percent year over year, as well as a pipeline of potential clients.
Additionally, RedRover has also brought in specialists to grow its social media, public relations and international communications elements of its firm over the past year.
RedRover also donates pro bono staff time to selected charities in the Memphis area for a one- to two-year term. The firm currently serves Memphis Area Legal Services, and was one of 10 Pro Bono award recipients at a recent recognition event as part of Celebrate Pro Bono Month in October.