[quote style=”boxed”]Ideas come to life through hard work, collaboration, and never being satisfied![/quote]
Scott Harkey is a partner and Head of Media Buying Services at Owens Harkey Advertising. Owens Harkey sets itself apart from its competition by promoting a balanced approach to help its clients generate results beyond their expectations, rather than focusing their efforts solely on the “glamour” of the creative side.
Harkey began his career as a media sales representative for several radio groups, including CBS Radio and Emmis Communications. He later worked as an executive for a medium-sized billboard company, which became a regional player in the Phoenix and Las Vegas markets. His experiences have given him a market-savvy knowledge of rates, inventory, seasonality, and placement to ensure the very best use of media dollars. At the agency, Harkey works with big-name companies, including DeVry University, Barrett-Jackson, and other clients in the automotive, sports, healthcare, and retail industries. Follow Scott Harkey on Google+.
What are you working on right now?
I’m currently working on new business pitches in the automotive and luxury industries.
Where did the idea for Owens Harkey come from?
The father of my business partner, Matt Owens, started Owens & Associates, an advertising firm, in 1960. He built an advertising empire, with offices in Las Vegas, Albuquerque, Tucson, and Phoenix. When Matt and I started Owens Harkey five years ago, we wanted to keep his father’s legacy alive. We still have past employees come in and talk about advertising stories from the past, like the AMC series “Mad Men.”
Where does Owens Harkey add the biggest value for its clients?
We help put together systems that reliably track results for television, radio, and out-of-home digital advertising. It ensures that clients get the most bang for their buck.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Ideas come to life through hard work, collaboration, and never being satisfied!
What’s one trend that really excites you within the advertising space? Why?
I’m excited by putting together integral media partnerships with traditional partners. This includes endorsement deals, product placements, and social media integration. Television and radio advertising have evolved so much beyond the 30-second commercial. Putting together 360-degree promotions and content marketing strategies with traditional media providers is the future.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I started a sports memorabilia business when I was in high school with my dad. I learned pretty quickly that working with your parents can be a challenge. As an entrepreneur, I like to challenge the way things are done. My dad is extremely intelligent and has a system of doing things his way. I wanted to look at getting memorabilia on our website, cutting out the eBay fee. I was a little ahead of the curve. My dad was right to keep working the eBay system in those days.
As a leader, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Constantly improve your craft. The moment you think you know everything is the moment you fall behind everyone else.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Anyone who can find a way to aggregate lots of marketing data and insights for non-Fortune 500 companies will be successful. Lots of large advertisers have access to tons of data, and they also have departments looking for insights from this data. Sales, website traffic, social media engagement, and loyalty programs are all high-quality offshoots from this. When you can find real-time insights in big data, you can find ways to win in marketing. Any software company that can find an easy way to merge all of this data into one graft can make a ton of money. A great example is a program like mint.com; creating something like this for advertisers who are spending $1 million to $15 million a year would be a big moneymaker.
What does your typical day look like?
I wake up at 7 a.m. with my 8-month-old son, feed him a bottle, read the newspaper on my iPhone, go to work, and then let the chaos of the advertising world begin.
How do you approach projects differently than other agencies?
We have a much more collaborative and research-focused approach on the front end, and we look for marketing solutions specific to each client, not a one-size-fits-all approach. There is an old advertising story I heard from a guy who worked for a firm in New York. A large agency in New York had the Tabasco account, and the CEO told the agency he wanted to double the sales of Tabasco in one year. The agency asked, “How about a 20-percent increase?” The CEO refused, saying he wanted to double sales.
Well, the agency brainstormed ideas for months. They came up with a new package design, new flavors, and a better retail program. The first year, it was very successful. The CEO was happy, but he still wanted to double sales the following year. Frustrated, the agency decided to start holding brainstorming sessions with everyone from the company: sales, finance, engineers. The next year, the company doubled sales! Do you know how they did it? The idea came from one of the engineers: They made the hole where the sauce comes out of the bottle bigger! This is a great example of why I believe agencies need to look at everything possible to find answers to marketing problems — not just new creative, better interactive, and more media and commercials.
What are your three favorite online tools and what do you love about them?
Google Trends is a favorite because it tells me where the market’s going; Google Search Ad Tool is useful for specific answers when analyzing new clients, and Media Monitors helps me find out how many times competitors are advertising.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Malcolm Gladwell’s “The Tipping Point” is a must-read. It’s a great book because it talks about trends. One point I love is when Gladwell talks about great leaders having 10,000 hours of practice in a particular field. These people are experts through the virtue of work, like Bill Gates and Michael Dell.
What’s on your playlist?
I love reggae and ‘90s rock. There’s nothing wrong with some Sublime and Beastie Boys!
If you weren’t working on Owens Harkey, what would you be doing?
I’d most likely be working in the media department at a television network.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
Robert Kiyosaki (@theRealKiyosaki) is worth following for effective business advice. Jay Baer (@jaybaer) is helpful for staying up-to-date on content marketing strategies, and Ad Age (@adage) supplies trade news.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
I laughed this morning when I watched my son play in his bouncy seat.
Who is your hero?
Pat Tillman is my hero. I’m a huge college football fan. Growing up, my dad and I went to the Rose Bowl and watched our Sun Devils lose to Ohio State. Pat Tillman was always one of the hardest-working guys on the team. No one thought he could make it to the NFL, but he did. Choosing to join the Army after September 11th just showed what kind of character he had. My wife and I still run in the Pat’s Run in Tempe, Arizona, with 15,000 other people. It’s a very emotional experience. In my office, I have a Tillman jersey hanging above my desk.