Michael Newby of De Pere has been in the advertising industry since 2000. During those years, he worked with national and local businesses to help them promote their brands. He found that national companies were well-versed in digital media and promotion while smaller businesses often struggled.
“About five years ago, I started thinking, ‘What would I do if I didn’t work for a company?’ My parents owned an ice cream shop and I had helped with that when I was young and loved small businesses," Newby said. "With the contacts I had from my advertising career, I though I could start a full-scale digital marketing firm.”
That vision, and a romantic interest, led him to the Green Bay area where he began to finalize his business plan.
The initial efforts started earlier when he received mentoring from a Small Business Development Center in Florida. Once in Green Bay, he connected with the small business community, and in January, started Broken Egg Digital Marketing, LLC, based at the Urban Hub in downtown Green Bay.
“When selecting a name, I wanted something different, something that would tell a story, and when networking, it would generate conversation," Newby said. "I thought about how you often have to break something to get to the good stuff inside — to break barriers and penetrate past the outer shell to forge your own path to success.”
His tagline became “Let’s Get Cracking,” and he created a business offering full-range digital marketing services. He says that many businesses feel overwhelmed by the field of marketing and he helps to create individual plans. That is what he considers his niche in a very competitive field.
When visiting clients, unlike many of his competitors, he doesn’t go in trying to sell a predetermined product. Instead, it is his goal to listen and learn about the business.
“I walk in with no pretenses of what their business is and I have no idea of what they are trying to accomplish," Newby said. "I learn about it, and from there, I can help them determine how I can help and what they need. I also offer consulting services because education is a big part of this.”
The process is similar to going up a set of stairs, he says. You go up one step at a time as your business grows with your eyes set on reaching the top. That analogy also applies to his business plans.
In working with businesses, he has seen a large division between independent and national clients and their marketing budgets. The large companies can afford to make a big impact while small companies struggle to get brand awareness. That brings him to the next step in his business plan — joining small businesses together in a cooperative marketing effort.
“While working with individual businesses on all things digital, I also wanted to develop digital concepts that multiple businesses could benefit from,” Newby said. “The first of these will bring restaurants together and is at deliciousgreenbay.com. This was launched at the end of June.”
Delicious Green Bay is a concept that can be adapted, in the future, to cities across the country. He describes it as a place for independent restaurants to join with other restaurants to create impact in promoting their brands. It has a website and social media pages that will be a place for them to tell their stories, feature their menus, blog about trends, offer specials and be part of a weekly email.
On the Facebook page, Newby says: “Our mission is to ensure that consumers are aware of all the fantastic local eateries and great food and drinks that can be found throughout the greater Green Bay area. National chain restaurants need not apply as we don’t truly believe that they have a place alongside small, passionate, independent restaurants that indulge us with some of the best foods we’ve ever tasted.”
There are about 20 restaurants featured as Newby goes through what is called “Proof of Concept.” Those businesses are offered a chance to be part of the launch without paying for it. Once the decision is made to go ahead, a variety of affordable packages will be offered with a goal of having 50 to 100 restaurants on the site being promoted.
“At the end of the month, I will meet with the participating restaurants and ask what they like and don’t like and go from there," Newby said. "The weekly emails, social media posts and digital exposure are all the things they would like to do but can’t because they don’t have the time or budget.”
Networking is a big part of growing both businesses, and he has found Green Bay to be welcoming to entrepreneurs. He recently presented the restaurant concept at One Million Cups and found it helpful “to get out of my own echo chamber and think in different ways about the concept.”
In addition to those startups, he has other ideas he wants to pursue. He doesn’t try to do everything on his own and has writers, digital designers and other “creatives” that he contracts with. He feels like he is doing well in balancing life and work, but struggles with impatience.
“I have an expectation that my businesses can be bigger faster than could be possible,” Newby said. “I had to sit down and plan a growth timeline that makes sense, and I am right on that structure. I won’t have a million-dollar business tomorrow, but I can get there. For now, it is a matter of setting realistic expectations.”
Tina Dettman-Bielefeldt is co-owner of DB Commercial Real Estate in Green Bay and past district director for SCORE, Wisconsin.
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Delicious Green Bay pools digital marketing resources of restaurants