CityView Magazine recently featured Rick Laney Marketing in its “Sultans of Success” issue.
Public Relations Perfection
Story by Rebecca Whalen for CityView Magazine
For Rick Laney, success comes from trusting your gut and telling a good story, and providing real answers to real problems.
Sometimes the best decision for the future is also the hardest one to make – ask Rick Laney about the concept, and he has a story to tell.
Today, Laney owns his own marketing firm, Rick Laney Marketing, LLC, providing clients with advertising, marketing, branding and more. But his journey started well before the doors of his company first opened.
A child of Northeastern Ohio, Laney went to school for photojournalism and within one year switched to mass communication. When he left school, he worked for a daily newspaper and then in television, but it wasn’t long before Laney found himself in a public relations firm. “You were writing and you were telling stories.”
He was hired by the firm’s largest client in Chicago, a holding company where he worked as director and vice president of marketing for almost 18 years. “I got to learn what it was like to be a client of agencies,” says Laney.
Having spent a little time in Knoxville with the company, Laney and his family fell in love with the city and moved, living in Knoxville while keeping an office in Chicago for close to ten years. He became vice president of a PR firm in Knoxville but soon decided he needed a change.
“I was going to do it for myself – the way I wanted to do it,” he says. Soon, Rick Laney Marketing was born.
Ironically though, it wasn’t opening his own company that was the difficult life decision. “To leave the holding company to go to an agency was a tougher decision for me,” admits Laney. “I knew agency business, but I really wasn’t a fan. When I worked at the agency short term, it was an easy decision to go out on my own.”
Due to his work with the holding company and firms, within a few months of opening Laney had nearly a dozen ongoing monthly clients. “There was a comfort in knowing that when we started this business we already had companies that would want to work with us,” he says. “Many of those companies are still with us today.”
Since then, he has worked to broaden his local network by not simply pushing services but providing answers to client problems. “Marketing is about identifying who you want to sell a product or service to and how,” he says, adding that he has worked to bring all forms of solutions in house, including PR, advertising, consulting and digital work. And while he wishes he started his company when he was 30, he knows it happened the way it was supposed to. “I probably wasn’t ready. If you’re the type of person who puts your mind to learning, everything equips you for the journey,” he says. “It all ties together. I have no regrets, because all those parts prepared me.”
The bottom line for Laney is that he’s thankful he trusted his gut. “If you recognize an issue, challenge, or problem and you think you have a way to make it better, listen to that voice,” he says.
Visit CityView Magazine to read the full story.