BG Digital Group has come a long way. If you’ve been with us for a while, you know that BG used to be Bellagurl Marketing, and after a lot of hard work and some recent rebranding, this small marketing company has blossomed into a full service digital agency. Meet Cheryl and Andy, the fearless leaders behind our business.
Before BG ever came to be, Cheryl recognized the need for a local advertising agency and publishing company that assisted businesses in niche marketing. With her background in writing, marketing and sales, she was able to start Crystal Coast Parent magazine and soon thereafter, Eastern Carolina Parent magazine.
“I had a vision for what I wanted to do, but I had to start off small. I started in my house first, then once I got a little bit of money under my belt, I was able to build the websites for Crystal Coast Parent Magazine, and then for Bellagurl.”
Now, Cheryl and Andy are sharing all of their favorite stories, and best pieces of career advice, from working together in the marketing business.
Life partners and business partners: easy or not for the faint of heart?
Andy: I always thought, “I don’t know if we want to do that,” but now that we’re here, I love it. I don’t know how it would work if we were both the same personality types. But that’s the same for marriage as it is in business. Opposites balance each other out.
Cheryl: He gives me the devil’s advocate when I need advice, so I get a lot of great feedback. We’ve been married long enough that I know that, even when he’s saying what I don’t want to hear, I know he has our best interest in mind.
You both have your official “nametag roles” at BG – President and CFO – but what do you think your most important role is in the company?
Andy: When the crap hits the fan, it always comes to me. But I’m okay with that because that’s my strong point. My fortes are crisis management, streamlining processes, logistics, and processes.
Cheryl: I like goal setting. But Andy is Mr. Sensible. He’s really good at not squashing my dreams, but he’ll tell me if something is just not feasible, or if we need to hold off for a little while on a big idea.
How do you keep your employees motivated?
Andy: It takes a lot of time. Going to LA opened my eyes and made me realize that we have to get back to our roots. It’s all about building relationships with employees, and that’s difficult. You can be acquaintances with your employees, but you probably won’t develop that friendship that everyone else has, and that’s okay. But there has to be some sort of relationship and open communication. Help them dream and grow.
Favorite memory from the business?
Andy: The first time Cheryl’s magazines came in. They were supposed to come on palettes to make it easy to unload, and when the truck showed up, the magazines had been thrown all around the back of the truck. We spent hours sweating our butts off trying to unload these magazines into the office.
Cheryl: My favorite memory is starting and building this little business around our family. I think the work ethic we’re teaching our kids will really last. When I first started the magazines, I was still a stay at home mom with four kids. Most of the businesses I was selling to were family businesses, so everyone was always very understanding. I can’t know now if it’s made an impact on them, but I hope one day they remember coming to sales presentations and learning good work ethic.
What have you learned that truly surprised you?
Andy: One thing I will say that has floored me is how important social media is to growing your business. I believe in that now. There’s a lot of work that goes into it that many people don’t realize. You have to spend a lot of time curating content, and using each platform as a customer service tool.
What is your vision for where BG is going in the future?
Cheryl: We’re continuing in the direction of digital marketing. I’m always looking for more clients who understand the value of digital marketing because we give our heart and soul in everything we do, and we want clients who appreciate that. We’re not the big box store of marketing. We take time to tailor each marketing plan to our customer’s needs, and sometimes, that time requires a little more investment.
If you could have any client in the world, who would it be?
Andy: Maybe the Red Wine Association. Our entire staff would travel and taste red wine for a living.
Cheryl: That would be so fun, but above all, the company has to give us creative license. Say, here’s your budget, here are our goals, make it happen. No matter how cool the account is, we want freedom to try new things and be creative with our marketing.