This week on An Agency Story podcast, we have Marta Luvian, Co – Owner of Anchor Marketing – a digital marketing agency based out of Tulsa, Oklahoma that specializes in helping local businesses thrive in their competitive edge through world-class digital marketing and strategy.
While Marta’s career path may not have been crystal clear from the start, her unwavering desire to make a difference in people’s lives has always been a guiding force. It was this innate urge to help others that eventually propelled Marta to establish her own agency, witnessing firsthand the remarkable expansion of the digital marketing realm along the way.
She embarked on her professional journey, starting her first job focused primarily on traditional marketing and content creation. While digital marketing wasn’t the central focus, this experience provided her with valuable exposure to branding and strategic initiatives.
As Marta progressed in her career, she transitioned to a role with greater involvement in digital marketing. Joining a consulting company, she delved into areas such as Google Analytics, advertising, and supporting website development. Later, she ventured into the realm of work where the entire marketing landscape revolved around digital platforms.
Driven by these different experiences and her desire to make a positive impact on the lives of others, Marta’s overall journey has led her down the path of starting her own agency. Along this path, she remains dedicated to fostering genuine connections, offering unwavering honesty, and leveraging data-driven analytics to drive success.
Enjoy the story.
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Welcome to An Agency Story podcast where we share real stories of marketing agency owners from around the world. From the excitement of starting up the first big sale, passion, doubt, fear, freedom, and the emotional rollercoaster of growth, hear it all on An Agency Story podcast. An Agency Story podcast is hosted by Russel Dubree, successful agency owner with an eight figure exit turned business coach. Enjoy the next agency story.
Welcome to An Agency Story podcast. I’m your host Russel. On this episode, we have Marta Luvian. co-owner of Anchor Marketing, a digital marketing agency based out of Tulsa, Oklahoma. While Marta’s career path may have not been crystal clear from the start. Her unwavering desire to make a difference in people’s lives has always been a guiding force. Still early in her entrepreneurial resume. She remains dedicated to fostering genuine connections, offering unwavering honesty, and leveraging data-driven analytics to drive success. Enjoy the story. Welcome to the show today everyone. I have Marta Luvian with Anchor Marketing. Thank you so much for being on the show today, Marta.
Thank you so much for having me.
If you don’t mind, start us off with a quick overview. What does Anchor Marketing do and who do you do it for?
Anchor Marketing was started around six years ago in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We are a digital marketing agency. Our topic services are search engine optimization and Google Ads pay per click. We also support in social and email marketing. We do training and some specific campaigns if needed, but drive is a key component of all that we do as well, and we just love helping businesses win online.
Can’t go wrong with that. As you were coming up in the world what was it that you wanted to do?
I honestly had no clue what I wanted to do, which is the funny part of this too. I had no confidence in what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to help people. I actually thought that I wanted to do international community development. I got into that and I didn’t like the different aspects of it. It didn’t seem fun to me. After I did Model UN. Halfway through college, I got into business and never looked back. I realized you don’t have to be this super confident person all the time to be in business. That was my impression. You’re learning along the way and it is helping people. We get to help businesses every day win online and to see return on investment, to succeed people who are not confident in their marketing. Businesses that may be small, may be large. It’s exciting because at the end of the day, we all have our sweet spot of what we’re good at. Marketing cannot be a strong spot for a lot of people and that’s fine. We love to take ownership of that for businesses and help them succeed in other areas, so that they can better represent their business to their target audience.
What did you end up majoring in, just outta curiosity?
I did international business cause I was already minoring in Spanish. Then I did my MBA with marketing concentration.
What was the early part of your career? What were you doing? What were the lessons you were learning during that time that maybe have stuck with you today?
My first job was in 2013, so I guess I’m aging myself here. It was interesting cause I worked with an oil and gas company that was owned by Honeywell in Tulsa, and a lot of what I did was the traditional marketing. We did a lot of traditional marketing, creating content for our sales teams all around the world. Not a lot of it was digital marketing. The Bible aspect of it was the branding and the strategy was key. The next job had more digital marketing involved. They were a consulting company. I did more Google Analytics, ads, supported a website development, and then my final job was working for a multi-state car company, and that was all digital marketing, which was exciting. It was cool to see how over time the demand for digital marketing grew. When I started Income Marketing Co, that was when people were starting to ask themselves, hey, is digital marketing the place to begin? And the answer is undeniably yes. It’s exciting to see how starting Income Marketing Co at the right time allowed us to grow. It’s allowed us to hone in on the trends and attract our ideal audience and support them in that way. Marketing is gonna continue to grow the demand for it, especially with websites, SEO, Google ads, those are so huge. Obviously there’s a lot of people who are in the social media marketing world, a lot of people who maybe don’t even have marketing experience, and I’m definitely okay with letting people who don’t have a background in marketing do that. But with our experience, especially in these niche expert driven areas, it helps us to bring our experience, to bring our background, to help these clients and show them the ROI that we’re wanting to see.
When did that initial idea pop in your head to start your own agency? Was there something specific that kind of brought you to that point? What was going on in your life that and eventually led to Anchor Marketing?
I’ve always been a very competitive person. I even ran in college. That’s also propelled some competitiveness in me, but I never felt like I was the super confident person would create a business. That actually came out of seeing a need and wanting to help people. At my last job, I was there as their digital marketing manager, when I started working for them, they had actually previously outsourced that digital marketing to a local agency in the area. When I took over that position, I got to take hands with them, see how that whole turn off went. Once I got to see how much they were charging for their services, I got to see what they weren’t doing, which was a lot. They weren’t doing a lot that they were actually charging for. When I had to sit down and talk through some strategy with them, they couldn’t even answer a simple question that I asked them. I was honestly stunned. I was like, how could these people be charging so much money per month and yet do nothing? This is like ridiculous. That inspired me. I was going to become a mother. I wanted to work from home versus go back to working in my marketing job. I told my husband, maybe I could actually start my own marketing agency and we could be a good agency that actually helps people, doesn’t overcharge, does the work that we’re gonna say we’re gonna do, which seems normal. That would be awesome. I can solve that issue. That’s kinda how it started. It was a small idea. I thought I would just be serving clients in the Tulsa area. We predominantly have clients all around the US. It started from me doing a lot of cold calling locally to get our first clients, which is humbling. We’ve just grown from there.
Did you make that transition from your previous job cold turkey, or did you start as a side hustle? You said cold calling and things like that. What was the transition period like?
It was completely cold turkey. Like goodbye, and then I waited six months later and started it pretty much cold turkey. My husband has a lot of experience in sales, which is wonderful. We actually met at my first job. He works full-time with me in Income Marketing Co now. He’s, you gotta do cold calling. You have to just, go to the shopping center. Go talk to these different shop owners and see if they’re interested. I have my little elevator pitch. I had a little sheet of all that we do. Didn’t even have a website for the first year of our business. That’s what I did. When you’re desperate you’re gonna start small and it’s not about charging a lot of money at the beginning. It’s about getting some quality clients that can be developed under your portfolio and starting from there, and that’s how we did it.
I have to imagine, there’s not a lot of folks I talked to that used a cold calling process. Was that nerve wracking? Someone that hadn’t come from a strong sales background, or were you just running on the adrenaline and the desire to get a business up and running?
It was definitely nerve wracking. I would say that I was definitely nervous. I think after the first few ones, I felt a little bit more comfortable, especially if I can find a way to relate to somebody. At the end of the day, I want to solve a problem that they have, and if I can relate to that. I love making friends. If I can just say let’s try to form a friendship here just talking to them, I think that made it more natural and normal versus being super salesy and pushy with somebody.
A good way to look at the sales process, how do I get more friends? Very nice. Given how you started, obviously you had a lot of experience in digital marketing and marketing in general. How has your services evolved from when you got started to where they’re at today?
I would say at the beginning we did a lot more social media marketing. Social media marketing was pretty much the main thing, but demand websites grew and that’s where we started to focus a little bit more on that. Then the demand for SEO grew as well, and we were doing social media ads for a lot of clients then too. We also always did Google Analytics. Google Analytics was always part of that too, cause we always focused on the data. Then the demand for Google ads also grew and so we shifted a little bit more towards the data because that’s an important sweet spot of our background as well. I feel like the social media, marketing agencies, they’re so saturated, but Instagram and all those things are always changing so much too. While we do support some clients with that, I’m very happy to not have that be a very big focus of ours. We’re very strong in some other areas. We are Google partners. We do love to provide our clients with reporting. We love to answer those hard questions and support them in that area too.
This next question makes a lot more sense in terms of how you put it before, of liking to hold your clients’ hand. It makes sense if they’re your friends and that’s something that’s certainly interesting. In what ways does that approach come out and how you work with clients?
Some of our larger clients will sometimes come to us and ask us a million questions because they’re like, okay, this is our bad experience we have with this agency. We constantly had these new people talking to us. We never knew what was happening. We never knew what was going on. They’re frustrated and they have some anxiety and stress from that experience. It was a bad experience for them. With our background in, marketing strategy, we see how important it is to show the data, too. For us, part of the handholding is for any of our monthly clients that want to, we offer a free call to go over the monthly reports with them, where we can talk through what’s going on, answer any questions that they have for us. In our reporting, we also provide key takeaways. It is, in layman’s terms, what’s basically happening right now? What can we do, what things can you practically do to support this strategy? We usually don’t have year long contracts with our clients. We usually have three to six month contracts so that can allow them to see the growth, but also not make them feel like they’re stuck in this contract with us. We want there to be also a mutual trust. We’re always available if they email us, one of our key policies is to get back to them as soon as possible so they can know that we’re willing to answer their questions. They can even call me if they need to, you can text me. We want to be like a family to them in a way. We’re an extension of their business because they’ve chosen to outsource their marketing to us versus doing it in house. We want them to feel like they can talk to us versus who am I supposed to call? Who am I supposed to talk to? They know that they can usually talk to me and we’re gonna solve the problem or maybe they have a great idea, they want to run it through us. We’re happy to do those things. We want them to succeed instead of they’re just putting money in a piggy bank and they don’t know what’s happening to it.
Like a friend. Is there a particular industry sector or anything that’s become your focus?
Yeah, my husband and I, we both have backgrounds in the oil and gas industry, so we love working with clients in that industry or manufacturing. We also seem to attract clients in the e-commerce area. At the end of the day, we have clients in so many different areas, which we’re happy about. We don’t want one niche to work with us. We feel like as a marketing agency you should represent people in different areas and sectors, and our strategy background allows us to understand their area. Obviously with SEO we do a thorough research on the competitive landscape to understand the keywords, the trends, all those aspects. At the end of the day, it’s fun cuz we’re constantly learning new things about different industry areas. It’s definitely a worthwhile job to have.
You mentioned a lot of your early clients were in the Tulsa area. How did you actually eventually expand your client base outside of Tulsa?
What’s interesting is that it’s just happened by referrals at first. I’m originally from the Bay Area, one of our long time clients in the Bay Area, one of my good friends from high school, her brother is a co-owner of this company. I guess she told him about me and they became a client of ours. My husband’s cousin’s friend, she started a PT company, and then her husband started this other company. They contacted us to help with their different marketing content websites. People will refer us. I’ll get referrals from Instagram, and then that referral will become a big connection and that big connection will refer us to other things. It’s constantly growing, which is its amazing network. It shows how important it is to have a good network, how important it is to be supportive of other people, because when you’re supporting other people’s success, they’re more likely to support you as well. That’s what we’ve seen in our experience. We’ve also both taught as professors at our local university, which I think does help with some brand awareness as well.
One of the highlights you mentioned in first conversation as well was when you booked your first big clients, how did that affect your business maybe both tangibly and intangibly?
We’ve had experience with working for Fortune 100 companies in the past, but I think it’s different when you get a big company yourself in your own business. I think it was just through some content that we shared on LinkedIn. LinkedIn’s a great place to market your business because you’re more likely to get people’s attention, business leaders’ attention that make some top decisions in a company versus on Facebook or Instagram, even though they may not get enough engagement there. We had just posted one of our YouTube videos on some type of marketing topic on there and someone saw it, and they had a connection with my husband from one of his old jobs in an engineering company. They were interested, they needed help, and they saw us as a good trusted solution to get there. It’s been an exciting journey and it’s exciting to even see this client growing too. We had recent conversation with them and they’ve been growing tremendously and it’s exciting to partner with companies like that and to see that if we’re diligent in our work and if we’re diligent in our integrity and honesty, it does.
Your husband’s in the business. What’s the good, bad and ugly of working as a husband and wife duo?
Pretty much four years in, before he joined me full-time in the company, he has a lot of experience with sales like I previously mentioned and he would help me here and there. Over time he started helping a little bit more and it was a good transition when he came because he was helping me so much at that time to where it was hard for him to do both. The great thing is that we did do some work with each other beforehand. At my first job, every so often we worked with each other on some marketing, engineering, sales stuff, so I had some experience with that. I feel like having siblings, working with other people, also even being a former athlete, I know what the importance of being on a team and the importance of working together, I think that helps. When he joined, it was awesome. It’s helped us even grow even more because he had such a strategic mind. He’s very forward focused and we compliment each other well in that. As far as the ugly, I would say communication is extremely important. I feel like we’ve grown in our communication overall even more since he’s been working with me full-time. I think it’s important to also figure out if you guys wanna work in the same office or have different offices. We had different offices just because I get on business calls for us and things like that. I feel like it’s nice to have your own space in a sense, so you can focus and zone in on your work. It’s important to respect each other, to support each other. We have our different strengths and I think it’s important to respect those different areas. I’m the one that is the client communication primary person. I do the marketing on that aspect. He’s good on other aspects of the business and I let him deal with that. I don’t try to manipulate my way into that, cause then it would just create a mess. I think it’s important that you know your own roles, know what’s good, maybe even know what are trigger areas that annoy you about each other. I feel like we have good communication in that sense and it’s working out good, which I’m thankful for.
My three takeaways there are communicate, divide and conquer, and if you can get a full-time job somewhere else with your husband or wife or otherwise spouse before you start an agency together, so you can test the waters before you have to test it with your own business. If you can work that out. One of the other interesting things I’ve found about your story is that both you and your husband have European roots. Can you tell us more about that?
My parents are both from Poland. They immigrated from Poland to California when President Reagan was giving out visas at the time before Poland fell from communism. My husband, he was born in the States, raised in Sweden. He also has Indian heritage from the country of India, but he grew up in Sweden for18 years. When he came over, I feel like he acclimated pretty well. I was obviously raised in the US, I went to Polish school every other weekend. Learned Polish. Did all those Polish things, which was fun, and then all my family lives in Poland. We would go to Poland every so often to visit family and that was awesome. I got to see my parents struggle at the beginning when they moved to the US of not having hardly anything. My parents worked hard, my dad to get a better job, then we finally went to private school for high school. All of my sisters and I were able to go to college, which was amazing. A huge blessing. I think both of us have learned the importance of working hard, the importance of, if you have something in your heart, then go after it. At the end of the day you have to not rely on anyone else to make your dreams come true. You have to put in the work yourself and there is a lot of satisfaction from working hard. Sometimes people think that working hard is tiring or, you should just work a traditional job, but working hard is a lot of satisfaction from it too. Just like when I ran competitively cross country and in track in high school and in college, it’s hard to put in all those miles, it’s hard to put in all those hours. But at the end of the day, when you run a good race, when you win, when you break records, it is so satisfying to do, and that’s kinda the same way with owning a business. It can be hard to put in all those hours. I’ve had three kids now since I started the business and that’s hard. Tiring nights, tiring days. But it is very rewarding and it’s amazing to see what hard work can do.
Very fascinating. Speaking of passion, I love working hard at what I’m doing now, but I can tell you one thing I don’t like working hard is running. Glad to appreciate all the people that find passion in that as well out there in the world. As you look to the future of Anchor Marketing, what does that look like for your business?
For us, we are wanting to just grow and scale our business. We wanna attract more of our ideal audience. We’re happy with the growth that we’ve had so far in this amount of time, something I probably would’ve never envisioned five years ago, but I think we have so much more to do. Part of it as well is we actually did some recent training on this with goal setting and things like that. While I am very competitive, I have struggled with limited beliefs and I think it’s important for you to assess for yourself what are my personal struggles? I feel like I’m working through that. I’m focused on that this year, and I’m excited to see what growing in that area is going to do for our business too. I think that we have a lot of potential to grow even more beyond what we have so far. Our goal is to continue to support businesses. We definitely want to scale. We want to grow our team, which I think we are doing already. We want to do that even more so that we have somewhat more freedoms for ourselves since we have a growing family. Who knows, maybe down the line, we may want to sell our company, we’ll see.
When we have you back on the podcast a few years from now, we’ll see where you’ve gotten to. Last big question for you, are entrepreneurs born or are they made?
I feel like I could go both ways, honestly. I feel like in some ways I was born, I just didn’t know my potential and I was maybe afraid to tap into that, but I feel like also you are made because you have to choose to go that route. I could have chosen the safe route of being in that traditional job, but I chose to do something scary so that I could have better and brighter future for me and my family, and so that I could pursue my bigger dream, which was to be a stay-at-home mom.
If people want to know more about Anchor Marketing, where can they go?
They can go to anchormarketingco.com or they can find us on any social media platform, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn at Anchor Marketing Co and find us there.
There you have it, folks. Go to anchormarketingco.com. Thank you so much for being on the show today, Marta. Absolute pleasure to get to speak with you and I appreciate you sharing your story with everyone.
Thank you so much for having me.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of An Agency Story podcast where we share real stories of marketing agency owners from around the world. Are you interested in being a guest on the show? Send an email to email@example.com.An Agency Story is brought to you by Performance Faction. Performance Faction offers services to help agency owners grow their business to5million dollars and more in revenue. To learn more, visit performancefaction.com.
Someone that I know from the local university, she has a class at OSU Business right now, I think it’s an online class. I was on this call with her cuz she just wanted to record my thoughts on social media for her class and unfortunately, my husband wasn’t home, so I had my two older kids watching our baby. I was like, just take care of him please, it was only supposed to be like a 15 minute recording. He was being fussy, and so our son is like bringing him to me and I’m trying not to look and trying to stay focused. He got so fussy that my son was like, you have to take care of him. So I ended up carrying him and she was totally fine with it. She has another baby herself. We were just talking about the raw moments, showing those things on social media, so I guess it was a fitting example in real tense.
Kids certainly give their parents a lot of raw moments for sure. Sounds like you navigate it with a lot of grace, which is awesome.