Bobbie Bailey is the Owner and CEO of M Agency, a full-service creative marketing agency based out of the Pacific Northwest. The agency helps impactful brands with meaningful marketing through brand identity and advertising design, specializing in interactive, digital, and print media. They work with a wide variety of companies from dental offices to airlines, helping them become staples in their space.
In this episode of the Smart Business Revolution Podcast, John Corcoran interviews Bobbie Bailey, the Owner and CEO of M Agency, about how she transitioned from the tech industry to build a marketing agency. They also discuss servant leadership styles, the process of creating a brand story, and the evolution of digital media.
Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:
- How Bobbie Bailey got a job as a teenager and the lessons she learned from the experience
- Bobbie’s entry into the media industry
- How Bobbie started M Agency and the company’s evolution over the years
- M Agency’s process for creating a client’s brand story
- Bobbie talks about being a mom and business owner — and how starting a collective giving group has impacted her business
- The evolution of Bobbie’s leadership style
- The peers Bobbie acknowledges for their support
Resources Mentioned In This Episode
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Welcome to the revolution, the Smart Business Revolution Podcast, where we ask today’s most successful entrepreneurs to share the tools and strategies they use to build relationships and connections to grow their revenue. Now, your host for the revolution. John Corcoran.
John Corcoran 0:40
All right, welcome everyone, John Corcoran here sitting in as host. We’re going to push this episode out onto two different podcasts. So you might be listening to this on the Smart Business Revolution Podcast. You might also be listening to it on the Smart Agency Masterclass Podcast and if you haven’t seen any of my past episodes, you can search for my name in your podcast player of choice. And I’ve interviewed lots of smart agency owners, CEOs, founders and entrepreneurs ranging from Netflix to Kinkos, YPO, EO, Activision Blizzard, LendingTree and many more. And I’m also the co-founder of Rise25, where he helped connect b2b business owners to their ideal prospects. And my guest here today is Bobbie Bailey. She’s the owner and president of M Agency based out of the Pacific Northwest, which helps impactful brands with meaningful marketing. They work with a wide variety of companies, from dental offices to airlines. And we’re gonna be diving into kind of her story, how they started the agency, how she started the agency, coming from a background in restaurants and yellow pages of stint in yellow pages into the world of digital, and all the things that she’s learned along the way.
Of course, this episode is brought to you by Rise25, where we help b2b businesses get clients, referrals, and strategic partnerships with done for you podcasts and content marketing. And you go to rise25.com to learn more about what we do. Alright, Bobbie, pleasure to have you here. And let’s start with this story about how persistent you were at 15 years old. Now, at 15 years old. I don’t know about you, I was out playing with my friends, but you decided you’re gonna get a job. And you started calling around to local restaurants until they were willing to give you a job. And finally, I love this. A restaurant finally said, well, in order to get her to stop calling, we’re just going to create a hostess job for her. Is that right? Is that what happened?
Bobbie Bailey 2:31
Yeah, that’s what happened. It was a restaurant. I grew up in Auburn, Washington, a restaurant called vetos town and country at the time. And I had gone through the Yellow Pages, really looking and motivated to get a job at that age. And I just kept calling specific businesses that I thought that I would have a shot at. And so yeah, then I got the job. And, and to this day, the owners would tell you that story. And they just, yeah, it’s it’s one of a kind story for them. So it’s kind of reflection for me
John Corcoran 3:03
how many phone calls to this day, there’s still time to start, like, how many phone calls did you make?
Bobbie Bailey 3:07
I mean, they make it sound like I called 100 times I’m imagining, it was probably, I don’t know, 15 times like it was it was enough times to make them create a position for me.
John Corcoran 3:19
So you’re honing your sales chops at a young age at 15 years old. That’s impressive. I love the impress the persistence. I actually worked at restaurants, in high school and a bit in college. And I say that everyone should do that works food service at some point in their life, because you learned so much about human nature and customer service and all that kind of stuff. Do you ever think about that, like what you learned from working in that restaurant and what you apply to the world of business today?
Bobbie Bailey 3:47
Yeah, absolutely. I think I agree. In fact, if someone that applies at my business has restaurant experience, I’m actually more hopeful that they might be a good candidate. Yeah. But I think a couple takeaways from working at restaurants. And this wasn’t the only restaurant because sometimes I would work multiple jobs at one time. I think he really learned how to read people and just help adjust to support people where they’re at, along with I feel like there’s a really good level of responsibility and memorizing that you become very capable of after waiting tables. So yeah, yeah,
John Corcoran 4:27
you’re constantly walking around, you’ve got your, you know, five to 10 tables, however many it is. And you’re walking up and down and thinking like, oh, ketchup for this table, Diet Coke for this table. For for this table. A couple of straws for this table. Gotta make eye contact with that guy, because I haven’t in a little while to see if he needs anything. Am I right? That’s going through your brain the whole time.
Bobbie Bailey 4:48
Yeah. And body language is telling you when you need to get over there quicker, right? Yeah,
John Corcoran 4:52
yeah, totally. Right. So yeah, so and you end up going on and studying computer science and then eventually The into working for a company that produced the Yellow Pages. Now for our younger listeners, we’re gonna have to define what the Yellow Pages was. I’ve certainly remember it. I remember sitting on them. I remember like, lots of yellow pages, and there are still some around. But you studied computer science and then what brought you from computer science to the world of media?
Bobbie Bailey 5:21
Yeah, so it is funny. First, I want to say I remember not having a car seat, but sitting on a yellow page book, I think absolutely safe. So I actually yeah, I was doing an internship in my computer science course. And it was at a local business called cares Tech, we did hardware and then also programming. And the woman that owned it, her name was Pam, which I think it was awesome that I had this experience with a woman owned tech company at the time. She was really into kind of brain types and superpowers and shrinks. And she she taught me a lot. First of all, she offered me a job, but with the kind of caveat of but Bobbie, I think that you could really do something more, you know, suited to yourself, though you can do this, I don’t know if this one is what you should be doing. So she was amazing and had really hard conversations with me about all the options that I had one of the first people to really explain to me how brain types work and how to really leverage that. So I think that’s really then what made me decide to go and start looking outside of the computer science field. So it did,
John Corcoran 6:39
what was it Do you think she saw and you that made her think that you had some kind of bigger potential? And did? Did she know what that was? Or was it just she she felt that computer science wasn’t the end all be all for you?
Bobbie Bailey 6:53
Yeah, she really saw me working with people. And she couldn’t see me sitting behind a computer. Yeah, programming. And so she just really pointed that out, and in a very gracious way. But it made a lot of sense to me. And I had all this excitement around the bigness of you know, what things could be. And so really the creation that we talked a lot about,
John Corcoran 7:18
yeah. So you end up going to decks media, which was published the yellow pages at the time, and what were your roles there?
Bobbie Bailey 7:28
Yeah. So I’ll just first point out that at the time that I got that job, that was a big deal, it was hard to get into Dex media. And so I got it was a little bit of nepotism, if I’m being honest, a woman was gracious enough to kind of put my name and a hat for interviews, I got hired in what’s called prospect Rome. And so the prospect role, I would just really call people and it was cold calling all day long. So I started out the very bottom role. And I would I would call like, 70 people a day, again, that like tenacity that I had when getting that restaurant job when I was 15, I was coming out in that role. So I grew from the prospector role to then what was called premier sales rep, which was the largest advertisers that they held in the phonebook and digital marketing services that they offer.
John Corcoran 8:22
The largest. So like, we’re talking like companies that are spending 10s of 1000s of dollars a month on their yellow pages ad, right.
Bobbie Bailey 8:30
Yeah, yeah, I would have clients that were spending $60,000 a month in yellow page advertising, believe it or not, and it’s it seems unreal, but it’s really one of the only mediums back then that people knew where to really focus on directional marketing.
John Corcoran 8:45
And this is not that long ago, because you founded an agency in 2009. And so even as late as 2008 2009, companies are still spending. I mean, probably today there are companies that spend that amount of money on the Yellow Pages.
Bobbie Bailey 9:01
Yeah, yeah, I think the yellow pages have changed quite a bit. They used to be pretty thick, right? When I was there, now when I get a yellow page, which I don’t actually get one anymore, because I think I opted out. But also, people will tease me occasionally and send me pictures of them. And they’re, you know, maybe a couple 100
John Corcoran 9:20
Yeah, just he used to be super thick. Yeah, so
Bobbie Bailey 9:23
um, but I am sure people are still spending good money, but at that time, huge amount of monies in a dying medium is what was happening. So therefore, you know, just struggling organization that I was working for going through a ton of changes. So
John Corcoran 9:41
that you saw kind of the handwriting on the wall, you saw that the future was not in the Yellow Pages. It was in digital. And so you have your first child and you start thinking about what your next step is. At that point. Did you decide is that when you decided, I’m going to start my own age? I’d say,