Conversation with a Leader

Wednesday, December 14, 2005 at 1:00am

Paula Milam is president of Milam Results Marketing, a Brentwood-based company with nine employees. A native of Buffalo, N.Y., Milam honed her marketing skills in Philadelphia before founding her company in 2002. Under her aleadership, company revenues have increased substantially, with projection for growth to double for 2006.

What does Milam Results Marketing do differently compared to similar companies in the local market?

Milam Results Marketing's core strength is fusing brand advertising with direct response marketing to measurably improve results for our clients. We do this by conducting controlled tests of the most advertising variables. We test media, offers, creative and audience, and then we analyze costs and results to learn what works.

Describe Philadelphia's marketing industry.

The Philadelphia market is part of the Northeastern corridor and a center for the advertising industry. It is large and extremely competitive with dozens of medium-sized agencies ($50 million and up) and hundreds of excellent smaller boutique shops across all media and disciplines. Philadelphia is considered the birthplace of direct response advertising for insurance, healthcare and pharmaceutical marketing. It's an incubator of top copywriters in very competitive industries - and an excellent place to hone strategic thinking and creative skills.

How have you addressed Milam Results main challenge?

The biggest problem we face today is acquiring direct-response-savvy advertising executives from within the Nashville market. We have addressed it with extensive inside and external training. In addition, we work with seasoned professionals from other areas to train our staff. We have been fortunate enough to have Mary Buckner, one of the finest copywriters in the country, join us as creative director. And she is a Nashville native. And, recently, we added Rick Korn, a seasoned broadcast producer to the team. Rick left New York City to move to Nashville.

What is the company's main shortcoming?

Unlike many of the agencies in Nashville, we partner with other companies to handle our public relations. PR is not a part of our core strengths.

What is your management philosophy?

My management philosophy is "everything is your responsibility." We like to work with team members who constantly identify areas for improvement and take action to do so. Our company culture is fast-paced and fluid. Things change quickly, and we all need to be ready. While each of us has our specialty and function, we work as a team in order to provide high quality work product by challenging one another and helping out where traditional job functions might end.

How does Milam Results function?

Milam Results works closely with its clients to help build their businesses. We understand their objectives and develop innovative strategies and campaigns to meet them. Then, we "test" these in a small and measurable way utilizing proven techniques to isolate variables. This reduces client risk and maximizes return, as we "roll" the successful elements out. This way, we know the strongest message, offer, opening lines, headlines - you name it - for generating the client's desired response. Our clients see real improvement in response and in their bottom line. And they grow their budgets with us as they grow their business. We grow by making our clients successful in a measurable way. And our clients also refer us to others.

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