Your business needs a website, Christina Muñoz Madsen says, just before explaining why hers doesn’t have one.
“Word of mouth has been so good, and we’ve been so busy, we just haven’t gotten around to setting a site up. When a client is happy, word gets around.”
Madsen, a former TV news anchor and associate VP of marketing and public relations at the University of Central Arkansas, has been partnered with branding and marketing specialist Michelle Pugh of Little Rock for a little over a year.
Their firm, Muñoz Pugh, is “completely mobile,” with no office expenses, Madsen said. “We go to the businesses, wherever we need to go to tell a client’s story. “We don’t need square footage.”
The agency got some unexpected buzz when Ken Vaughan, president and COO of the Purple Cow restaurant chain, gave them a shoutout in Arkansas Business two weeks ago. Vaughan, discussing restaurant trends with Managing Editor Jan Cottingham, noted evolving strategies for reaching diners in a fierce market.
“The bulk of our marketing spend is now on social media,” Vaughan said. With Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram constantly changing algorithms, he praised Muñoz Pugh for cutting through the thicket, capturing eyeballs once lured organically with the Purple Cow’s own Facebook posts, for instance. “Most impressions are paid impressions now,” he said. “Facebook and Twitter and these other outlets have changed the way the game is played.”
Over a chai latte at Blue Sail Coffee in Little Rock a couple of weeks ago, Madsen explained her firm’s division of labor. Madsen goes before the camera or microphone and handles media relations; Pugh, a Harding University graduate and former Eric Rob & Isaac brand manager, handles “everything else,” including social media and business functions.
“Social media marketing is about results,” said Pugh, who is from Wynne, also hometown to Little Rock advertising executive Millie Ward. “A lot of strategy about paid content goes into that,” she said, but she warned all strategy fails if the advertising content is low-quality.
“For us it’s all about driving results for clients, and a lot of that is about creating engaging content,” Pugh said. “All of these adjusted algorithms show the best content possible, so businesses have to do a better job of creating that content, and most of them need help. Once you have excellent content, you can work with the algorithms so that people will engage with the message. Sometimes businesses need to spend money to put an ad in front of people,” she said. “But if they don’t click, watch or listen, the impression is not as meaningful.”
Content is where Madsen comes in, reliving her days as a TV reporter. Facebook Live segments are modern live shots, and her storytelling for clients recalls the feature reporting she did at KATV in Little Rock. She’s done TV commercials for 18 years, including some La-Z-Boy ads during her UCA days that drew fire from critics suggesting her $130,000-a-year state job should preclude moonlighting in furniture sales.
Now making ads is a passion.
“One video we did for Gastro Arkansas featured a man whose colonoscopy saved his life,” Pugh said. “We told that story, and we reached over 30,000 people with that video. Facebook Live segments and videos are popular and perform really well in marketing. They also let us utilize Christina’s on-air skills and pair them with clients who need live content.”
Madsen recently went live with an orthopedic surgeon from Saline Health System giving tips for athletes to avoid injury and heal quickly. “We even had a high school teacher who signed on with his health class,” Pugh said.
“It’s been fun for me, too,” said Madsen, who left KATV for UCA in 2014 and is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Twin Cities in Minneapolis. “Where does that skill come into play elsewhere, outside of the news? It’s a huge part of what I used to do, and it’s fun.”