JOHN COOLEY, 50, of Chadds Ford, is founder and chief executive of The Marketing Department (TMD) Worldwide. Cooley and his partners are building a national and international network of corporate and franchise retail stores and offices to provide affordable marketing for small businesses. Cooley, a University of Delaware grad, started the firm in 2008.
Q: How'd you get the idea?
A: I had a boutique ad agency here, and we had clients like Comcast and Pfizer. I had a vision of creating places where a small business can walk in, meet with a consultant, and we would deliver the same [services] as a large agency but at half the cost.
Q: How's the biz model work?
A: We want to be the marketing department for small business. We act as your director of marketing and create a marketing strategy for your business over six to 12 months, manage and execute it.
Q: How much do services cost?
A: For a new, fresh brand, logo, website and marketing materials, the starting price is $2,500.
Q: What about more services?
A: We can work on a project basis or we can work as your marketing partner where you pay a retainer of $1,500 to $5,000 a month, depending on the number of hours required.
Q: Who are your clients?
A: Our client is an emerging-growth business, a [business-to-business] company or professional-services firm, who sees value in a brand.
Q: How do you and business partner Rich Caserta share job responsibilities?
A: I manage the business and oversee the growth strategy. The plan is to franchise this concept. So we have individual franchisees for single locations who [buy in] for $30,000 and area developers who typically buy the rights [for $100,000 fee] to open up a three-state area of 20 stores. Rich, who is chief creative officer, worked for global ad agencies in New York. We have about 12 web designers and programmers at our creative center in Manila.
Q: Why the Philippines?
A: That's how we can deliver a world-class marketing program for the price point we do.
Q: With whom do you compete?
A: Small digital shops or consultants or small ad agencies. We have everything under one roof to fit all needs.
Q: How many employees?
A: Each store has from one to three. We have about 16 or 17 in the various stores now, plus 15 on the creative side. I think 12 employees work in the Philadelphia area.
Q: How big a business is this?
A: By the end of 2013, we should have gross revenue of $800,000 to $1 million for all stores.
Q: What's next?
A: We plan to open 25 more stores in the U.S. by the end of the year. We're also partnering with a firm in Cairo; the first store opened there this week. More Middle East stores are planned, including Dubai. Our goal is 500 locations worldwide in five years, with $500,000 to $1 million in annual revenue per store.