[quote style=”boxed”]A small business can’t compete with the bigger guys in the business so you really need to generate leads from the internet and email marketing.[/quote]
Bob Bentz is an experienced entrepreneur with expertise in mobile marketing, IVR, online dating, and internet marketing. He is the president of Advanced Telecom Services, where he has worked for 23 years.
Since 1989, Advanced Telecom Services (ATS) has been providing interactive telephone services to its advertising, advertising agency, and media customers. While the company continues to call on the same customer base, its medium has evolved from the landline phone, to the internet, and more recently to the cell phone. ATS’s sales reached $61 million during its peak year.
Bentz also serves on the board of directors of an Advanced Telecom Services’ spin-off company, Advanced Mobile which provides mobile marketing solutions for the auto and real estate industries. He is also the Director of Marketing for internet marketing company Overture Interactive and the publisher of several fantasy sports sites owned by Olympic Internet. Bentz can be heard on the radio every weekend on 19 sports talk radio stations talking about fantasy baseball and fantasy football.
An avid sports fan, he is a season ticket holder to the Philadelphia Phillies and Philadelphia Eagles and is an avid West Virginia Mountaineers fan. He is also an American Legion and ex-AAU baseball coach who has coached five players who have gone on to play professionally. He also is a volunteer for the Almost Home Dog Rescue organization. Bentz has a B.A. in journalism from West Virginia University and an MBA in marketing from Marshall University.
What are you working on right now?
Besides recovering our websites from the Google Penguin update, we are expanding our mobile marketing capabilities to include enhanced features to our mobile marketing product line.
Where did the idea for Advanced Telecom Services come from?
In the late 1980’s, I was working in the television advertising business in Hartford where I personally witnessed the power of the new 900 number technology. At the time, most of the commercials featured girls in hot tubs, but I thought there was a bigger and better use of the new pay per call technology so I joined up with a couple of other guys and we started Advanced Telecom Services.
What does your typical day look like?
I feel my most important job is to help generate leads for the sales team so I spend time on creating group webinars and I believe in social media networking as well. I will often do the prototype sale for a new product offering and I work on prioritizing the work efforts for the company.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I’ve always believed that our people are our greatest resource. I don’t bring the ideas to life, they do.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
We’ve been in some exciting spaces over the years with 900 numbers, dating, and ringtones, but there’s never been anything as exciting as mobile marketing is today. There’s a reason why the New York Times called it “the most powerful advertising medium ever invented.”
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
My first job out of college was driving a potato chip truck for Frito-Lay. I wasn’t very good at it and I hated it so I had a bad attitude. I learned that, at least for me, I would never be good at something that wasn’t interesting to me. Working in media and with advertising and promotions is exciting. I remember being in Vegas one time for an internet show and a cab driver said: “are you here for the concrete convention?” and I thought, “how boring would that be?”
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
Good question. In the early days, I would have evolved into a sales manager sooner and given up handling my own sales accounts. It’s hard to lead well when your day is filled with administrative duties on accounts.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
A small business can’t compete with the bigger guys in the business so you really need to generate leads from the internet and email marketing.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
The hardest thing for a small business in the technology field is to keep up. It seems like you no sooner have a new product in place and its outdated in 18 months. When I look at other companies in our industry who were once strong competitors, they disappeared because they didn’t keep re-inventing themselves like we have.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
If you really want something done, give it to the busiest person in the company. He’ll find a way to get it done for you.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
Geez, that sounds like a Miss America question. I’m involved with rescuing dogs. It’s a terrible crime that over 4 million dogs are put down each year, because their owners don’t get their dogs fixed. There needs to be more education in rural areas and affordable veterinary care to improve this.
Tell us a secret.
Cuba is soon going to offer an enormous opportunity for American businesses.
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?
Well, everybody’s first answer to that has to be Google. Search has changed our way of life and mobile search offers Google a huge opportunity of consumers that are not researchers, but buyers.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I suspect most of your readers have read “Moneyball.” I think there are a lot of business parallels to what the Oakland A’s did to compete with the New York Yankees. It’s the same way that small businesses compete with larger ones every day.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
Bob Bentz – I tweet a lot about mobile marketing, but also mix in some baseball tips and some jokes.
Jonathan Bentz – My nephew. If you want your website rankings to improve, he’ll give you the tips to help you get there.
Ask men – Covers everything from gadgets to sports to health to girls.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
I love rap, but in some ways, I’m old school. I still laugh out loud at Seinfeld and Family Guy repeats.
Who is your hero?
That’s an easy one, my Dad. He was in a wheelchair, but ran his own business and went to work every day. He and my Mom definitely taught me something about work ethic.
How do you keep a personal and business life balance as a busy entrepreneur?
I’m pretty sure that I haven’t mastered that one yet, but one thing I do is always take a lunch break so I can have a break and do something that you are passionate about like coaching baseball or saving dogs so that there are some days that you have no choice but to leave the office early or on time.
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Bob Bentz on Skype: ballparkbob
Bob Bentz’ Email: bobb(at)advancedtele.com
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.