Raymond is the guiding force behind Crosby’s mission to Inspire Actions That Matter™, which helps clients make a positive impact for individuals, families, communities and society. For more than 30 years, his creative thinking has helped leading national nonprofits, healthcare organizations, federal agencies, and consumer brands measurably improve their reputation and marketplace impact.
His firm’s emphasis on a strong culture of collaboration and creative excellence has resulted in client and staff tenure that far exceed industry averages. Crosby now ranks #34 on O’Dwyer’s list of largest independent firms and #9 for healthcare, and is a Top 15 provider on the GSA AIMS schedule. Raymond currently serves on the Council of Governors for the Mid-Atlantic region of the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As).
How did you get into the PR industry?
I studied Radio, TV & Film at the University of North Carolina and my first job out of college was doing sales and marketing at a radio station. After calling on a lot of ad agencies and PR firms, I quickly realized I wanted to be on the idea side of the business instead of the sales side. At the time, my father Ralph had several business enterprises, one of which was a small PR firm. He asked me if I wanted to join him and grow something together, and I became the company’s fourth employee. It turned out to be a great move for both of us.
Tell us about Crosby Marketing. What inspired the idea and what is your vision for the company?
Crosby has grown from that little local shop to become one of the country’s leading integrated marketing firms. We are now ranked as the #34 largest independent PR firm by O’Dwyer’s magazine. Our entire focus is to help clients “Inspire Actions That Matter” – actions that improve people’s lives. We have three practice areas: Healthcare, Nonprofits & Causes, and Federal Government. Our vision is to help clients inspire behavior change and positive action regarding some of today’s most pressing issues from health care and education to the environment and a host of other important causes.
What strategic partnerships/marketing strategies have you implemented that have contributed to Crosby Marketing’s success?
We have strategic relationships with large media companies such as Google and Facebook to small, highly specialized firms that add value to our team in areas such as market research, analytics, multicultural outreach and PSA campaign distribution. As far as our own marketing, we have a very clear positioning and outreach program that is laser focused on engaging the prospective clients relevant to our three practice areas. A lot of Crosby’s growth comes from referrals and endorsements from our clients.
What industry trends are you noticing and how do you capitalize on them?
There are so many trends to respond to – from the explosion of social media, the importance of data mining and analytics, the changing demographics of America, to emerging technologies like ad blockers and virtual reality. This requires our staff to have more diverse talents than ever. At the same time, the principles of strong marketing and communications – understanding your audience, being authentic and relevant, engaging people in interesting ways, and delivering on your brand promise – remain tried and true.
I don’t have a pithy life motto but one of my favorite sayings was posted in my college lacrosse locker room. It said “Nobody ever drowned in sweat.” I’m a big believer that passion and hard work are primary keys to success, whether it’s in your personal or professional life.
Your greatest success as CEO of Crosby Marketing? Most difficult moment-how did you overcome and what did you learn?
My greatest success as CEO of Crosby is building a culture and capabilities that translate to highly satisfied clients and a great staff that is constantly growing and learning. My most difficult challenge was when we acquired another agency back in 2005. I learned some painful lessons about integrating two organizations with some people who didn’t share the same vision and core values. It all worked out in the end, but there were some sleepless nights along the way.
Your advice to an aspiring entrepreneur?
My advice is to find something you love to do, soak up as much knowledge as possible from mentors and reading about your chosen industry, and have an extreme focus on making your product or service unique to a specific customer need or audience. Also, see success as a journey, not a destination. There are very few “overnight” successes.
Describe the ideal experience using Crosby Marketing.
The ideal experience using Crosby is all about getting to a clearly defined goal and set of objectives, developing an authentic communications platform based on powerful insights, having an open and collaborative working relationship, and sharing in success. We are very fortunate to have many client relationships that span more than a decade, which is very rare when most client-agency relationships average a little more than two years.
How do you motivate your employees?
Fortunately, our employees are a self-motivated bunch who want to get better and do better. Our mission to Inspire Actions That Matter also attracts the type of talent that want a great marketing career but also want to do meaningful work that truly makes a difference. Beyond that, we offer a lot of professional education opportunities, a generous bonus and profit-sharing program, and are very involved in the community. Last year, we did more than 1,500 hours of pro bono work and community service projects.
What’s next for Crosby Marketing?
We are poised to grow in size and stature, but it’s equally important to maintain our positive culture and work environment. If we take care of our clients and our people, success will continue to come.