Who knew they could blend so well?
UP Market Media, located in the Market District near East Georgia Regional Medical Center in Statesboro, is this year’s Readers Choice winner of Best Local Marketing /Design Company. Founded by CEO Sharon Persinger, the company specializes in creating the framework and strategy that can drive rapid growth and maximize revenue for local businesses.
But UP has moved way past its humble beginnings. What started at Persinger’s kitchen table has expanded to four full-time employees, one part-time employee, and two interns. The company now serves local businesses in the Boro, as well as clients with large and small companies nationwide.
Persinger is a graduate of Georgia Southern University, where she earned an undergraduate degree in marketing. She wasn’t sold on majoring in marketing at first, but a class in advertising with a particularly interesting and entertaining professor sold her on it.
It was an assignment to watch commercials during the Super Bowl and take notes that did it for Persinger. She’s ridden horses since she was 9, and has always been particularly fond of the Budweiser commercials featuring the Clydesdales. That campaign was what captivated her. It made her say, “Oh, I want to do that for people,” she said.
But after graduation, she didn’t quite land her dream job, so she chose to go back to school and earn a master’s degree. After that, she worked in marketing and sales, knowing that she really wanted to start her own company.
And that’s just what she did, taking the leap to start UP Market Media in 2014.
“Really, that first year was trying to figure out how to structure the business so that we could best help small businesses in Statesboro,” she said. “So that was my main passion, helping small businesses in Statesboro to really understand how to get the most for their advertising investment, and understand what the data means, too.”
Persinger says you can get a lot of information from the data from analytics, but most business owners didn’t really think about that during that time, or how it could be used to grow their businesses. More are in tune these days, but they still don’t necessarily understand how to work that data to their advantage. That’s where UP comes in.
UP offers website design, search engine optimization, Google ads management, social media management, graphic design and Amazon ads management. The company’s main specialization is online advertising solutions. They also offer branding and consultation services.
UP is built on strategy, and the team takes the time to research and analyze the data in their client’s industry, as well as the competitor’s data, before presenting a solid solution for each client. They also track the data from the advertising campaigns, analyze it and use it to help their clients make smart decisions on how to run their businesses.
But UP’s main focus, Persinger says, is digital marketing.
“Our core service is, of course, consulting and analytics, helping businesses understand the data, and that kind of comes with whatever services the businesses what to do. Search engine optimization, I would think, if someone asked me what definitely puts us above other people in the area, it would be our search engine optimization services,” she said.
UP has added the management of Google ads to its list of services, and Persinger says getting that Google Partner badge was a “big thing for our little business.”
“To get it, you have to have the certification and the knowledge, but you also have to manage a certain amount of budget and maintain that,” she said.
Persinger says her team also does programmatic buys, like on Hulu and other TV apps, as well as display advertising. They also manage ads on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and LinkedIn. Organic social media management is also something they offer, taking what can be an arduous task off of their clients’ to-do lists.
“Running a business and trying to manage social media, it can be a lit,” Persinger said.
UP’s website design service is unique, in that they build the sites and host them using WordPress, with the idea that the client may want to manage their own website at some point. Persinger says that one of the company’s strongpoints is that they are able to take someone’s existing website and make it more functional for them.
But Persinger says her team is really just that — a team. And it’s one that will come together and work on each client’s needs. At UP, a client doesn’t just have one person working for them, it’s a whole team of individuals who are willing to take on the toughest task.
“I love taking on those projects where a customer kind of has a complex problem, and they want us to figure out a solution for it, especially when it comes to online,” she said. “That really is what I will spend extra hours doing.”
One of the things that she says her team hears again and again from business owners is that they are doing some marketing, but they have no clue what their return is on what they’re doing. They also hear, quite often, that budget is a concern, particularly for small businesses.
“That’s something we can help with,” she said.
Running a business and trying to manage the marketing can really be too much for many business owners, but that’s where UP is ready to stand in the gap.
“Hopefully we can come in and ease their pain with the marketing side and help them get the data they need, and maybe even help guide their business decisions,” she said.
There’s a lot of girl power at UP Market Media — the staff is entirely female.
Working alongside Persinger are Ashley Whittemore, senior graphic designer; Sidney Fritch, digital marketing manager; Grace Daniels, digital media manager; Bailey Marlow, junior graphic designer; and Kelly Jordaan, marketing manager.
The all-women staff is what Persinger calls a happy accident. There are also interns, something that was important to Persinger.
“I wanted to help college students who are studying marketing to get hands-on experience with digital marketing, because they didn’t really teach a lot of that,” she said of her college days. “Now they do, definitely, but that hands-on experience, it’s really, I would have loved to have had that when I was in college.”
Persinger says an internship can really help a student fall in love with marketing, like she did, or it can help them decide that it’s not for them, once they fully understand what it’s all about.
In the next few years, Persinger wants to see UP continue to grow. She’s hoping her current employees will continue to grow their individual departments, and she wants to expand the company’s reach even further nationwide, but still maintain the high level of customer service. But she also wants to continue to work with local small businesses in the Boro.
“Growing our town is the most important thing,” she said.
As for winning this year’s Readers Choice for Best Local Marketing/Design Company, Persinger says that the validation that what they’re doing is good.
“Hopefully that means we’re helping a lot of businesses around town, and honestly, it also helps with getting a different caliber of interns and employees that work here, because people who are successful want to be a part of something that is successful,” she said, adding that it also influences businesses who might be considering working with UP.
Blending science together with style — it’s just part of what they do at UP.
“Educating people on what options are out there, is an important part of what we do,” she said. “People don’t realize half of what we can do to make life a little bit easier.”
Reach UP Market Media at 912-259-9925, or go online at upmarketmedia.net.