Even though Gina Ferraro watched her family run a business throughout her childhood, the primary motivation to start her own has more to do with her personality than any genetic predisposition toward entrepreneurship. “In high school, I was shy,” she says. “I wanted to break out of my shyness, so I started a business.”
The Glen Mills-based Ferraro ran C&S Advertising for eight years before selling it to a friendly competitor. Then, after spending several years working as a consultant for companies looking to enhance their trade-show presentations, she saw her opportunity. In 2000, she founded MediaMark Spotlight, a full-service agency that offers advertising and marketing services to clients—with an added benefit.
Within two years of MediaMark’s founding, Ferraro began to retool its focus from a more traditional model to one that specializes in strategy. The standard view of an ad concern is one that leans heavily on its creative concepts and sells that strength as a way of building business. Ferraro wants MediaMark to be known for its skill at helping clients grow directly. “We lead with expertise in business development,” she says. “Other agencies have creative directors running their companies. We outsource our creative, so we can focus on strategy and client growth.”
Make no mistake: MediaMark clients get strong advertising campaigns, sharp graphics and good-looking promotional materials. But Ferraro believes the added value in today’s economy is the ability to provide opportunities for clients to attract and land new business-. Take, for example, an engineering firm that wants to reach out to the pharmaceutical industry. Because MediaMark has relationships in both sectors, it smoothed the way for a client to meet potential customers. “We open doors and help them close deals,” she says.