Today we’d like to introduce you to Scott Collins.
Scott, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Becoming a CEO was more a matter of necessity than a life goal for me. When I came to work at Aria Marketing almost 15 years ago, I had a chance to help build the business-within-the-business that was the agency’s PR practice. Over the years, as that work grew to become 90% of the company’s total business, my team and I realized that in order to survive and thrive as an agency, we needed to shed some of the company’s legacy components. I had learned a lot over the years about what I thought made for “good” or “bad” public relations for clients and for PR professionals, and I have also had the benefit of really smart colleagues, and together we have been able to apply that to build the PR and marketing agency of our dreams.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
In my career, I have seen a lot of poor PR practices and had a lot of unnecessary corporate superstructure imposed on me, and I knew that I wanted to avoid those things. Those instincts turned out to be pretty solid and that stuff has all been relativity smooth in its execution. What has been challenging more for me has been the business management, which prior to Aria, I had observed but never been formally trained in. So I’ve had a lot to learn about how payroll and cash flow and taxes work. I have also come to appreciate the challenge of having to walk a fine line of having enough business and enough staff – not too much or not too little of each. I have come to the conclusion that there are just two keys to success in this agency business: client retention and staff retention. The longer you keep both, the more efficient you get at producing better results, for lower costs.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
We describe Aria as a thought leadership-driven PR and marketing agency that is focused solely on the healthcare industry. We start with thought leadership because that is what sets us apart and what we think is the real key to our clients’ success. B2B PR and marketing in healthcare are about capturing the attention of busy executives in big organizations. We have found the best way to do that is with big ideas and compelling content that gets and keeps their attention. Because we focus on this healthcare technology niche, we can afford to get really smart about the industry issues, policies, technology, trends, etc. that are shaping the discussions in the market.
That positions us as a unique resource for our clients because we are not just regurgitating what they tell us about their business, we are actually putting it into context and tying it into the compelling issues of the day. Furthermore, our business is partially about coming up with the brand identity, messaging, and thought leadership concepts that are going to drive marketing for our clients, and partially about bringing those concepts to market using PR, social media, content marketing, and other techniques.
Where do you see your industry going over the next 5-10 years? Any big shifts, changes, trends, etc.?
Anyone who has been awake for the last few years can see that healthcare is a very dynamic industry. In some ways its stays the same: people get sick and doctors try to make them well. In other ways, especially when it comes to policy and technology, it is always changing. Everyone hears about the policy stuff, but don’t forget that the technology of healthcare, whether it be information technology or clinical technology like robotic surgeons and personal genomics, is advancing at an accelerating pace.
We like to think that all of that change is good for Aria, because the more things change, the more companies need to change and (re)position themselves for success in the new world order. We certainly don’t think healthcare is going to go away, so we have high hopes for Aria’s future and the future of its clients. In terms of the PR and marketing industry, we also expect that to continue to evolve with new technology, media and social platforms—all of which we will continue to learn about and leverage for our business and for our clients. We see this ongoing evolution of the marketing industry as a good thing for Aria—the 24 hour news cycle, advent of digital platforms and new publications means that we have additional opportunities to tell our clients’ stories.
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