Founders Friday with Don Dodds

Every other Friday, we sit down with a founder in our space to hear their story. This week we caught up with Don Dodds, Managing Partner & Chief Strategist, M16 Marketing.

Some entrepreneurs are made, others are born. At the age of 13, Don Dodds started a car wash business. He involved his cousins and brothers and built a team to provide a better experience. It’s not surprising that years later he is still at it. This time he’s on a mission to innovate in the world of marketing. As part of our Founder Friday Series, Don shares his story, challenges, and inspiration while building M16 Marketing.

What did you do before you started M16 Marketing?
When I was in college, I was a pre-med student initially. Then I switched to criminal justice. Just like any 18-20 year old, I was figuring out where I could fit in the world and find my space. After gaining some clarity, I started coaching people, helping them define who they are and what they were going to do, so they could present their product and service in an effective way. This is what marketing is: creating value. I just didn’t connect it all back then but it is essentially what I do today. In 1997, after I moved to Atlanta, my first contract was the migration of yellow pages to small business websites with Bell South and that was a major game changer for me. I focused a lot on honing my skills and provided consulting for anyone willing to listen. I had great success with companies in the construction, medical education, and real estate space.

What’s your Pitch?
Building better relationships. For us, it’s not only important to know our customers but it is also incredibly important to build relationships with our customers. It’s about people, processes, and profit.

Technology and AI have altered how businesses market their products. How do you keep up with the pace?
Part of the challenge is to innovate continuously. We are driven by innovation and powered by strategy. We aren’t focused on just keeping up. We are focused on being ahead, seeking out mentors and also serving as mentors. As an award winning marketing firm we combine art (web design and UX-driven, custom web app development) and science (data discovery and predictive analytics) to create value for our clients. We’re helping our clients dominate by using Frand WiFi in traditional brick and mortar spaces like entertainment centers, restaurants, and sporting arenas. As customers log in to WiFi we capture their details and the system automates cultivating relationships, delivering interactive coupons, birthday wishes and incredible analytics not previously available outside of the online space. Our goals are to help our clients foster relationships with their customers and increase their revenue.

Where do you see M16 Marketing five years from now?
We want to build solid relationships with our clients and help them grow through next-level innovation. A lot of marketing companies focus on increasing traffic and leads. We take a very strategic approach and focus more on our clients’ business growth and their ROI.

What advice would you give to a founder who is just starting out?
You need to educate yourself. Make sure you surround yourself with knowledgeable people and find the right kind of resources. As a spiritual person, I have coined this acronym PRAYER-Positivity, Resolve, Action, You, Excellence and Relationships. Those are 6 key ingredients that guide me personally and professionally. You are going to hear a lot of negativity; you need to surround yourself with the right kind of people. I’m a student of The Secret. Like attracts like.