Before setting up shop in Olde Kensington, Casey Stanton, who runs CMOx, a “fractional” marketing services company, traveled the country with his wife and dog “dating” different cities to find the right fit.
Stanton had worked in marketing in New Orleans and taught business classes at Tulane University, but was realizing that while he held the title of chief marketing officer at a company, his best, most efficient work was done in about 10 hours a week, he said.
“Instead of paying someone a full-time salary, I backed my hours down to 10, and then the company had cash flow to implement the marketing strategies,” he said.
At the same time he was conceptualizing this concept into a business plan, Tulane stopped running the class he was teaching. While he and his then-girlfriend (now Adelaide Stanton) loved New Orleans, it wasn’t giving them the business energy they were looking for.
So, in summer of 2016, they decided they’d pack up their house, sell their furniture and hit the road looking for cities that might hold that energy. Other major factors? Walkability and a feeling of community, Stanton said.
They first went north to Toronto, Stanton said. It was near enough to his family in Michigan, but after three months, they realized becoming Canadian citizens would have been a strenuous process along with setting up a company. They spent some time in Nashville, and liked it, but felt the neighborhoods were too far apart.
Next came Lowell, Massachusetts; Portland, Maine; and back to Alabama to visit Adelaide’s family, Stanton said. Eventually, they picked up an RV in Ohio, and spent some time living in it in Pittsburgh.
“We really thought Pittsburgh was it,” Stanton said. “But eventually we realized it was the same as Nashville, where it was just too disjointed. You couldn’t really walk between neighborhoods.”
Next came Orlando, Austin and Houston (with a pitstop in Nashville to get married). That was followed by Savannah, Georgia; Charleston, South Carolina; and Raleigh, North Carolina. They were just heading north at that point, Stanton said.
Three years into the trip, they hit Philadelphia. After a day or two here, Stanton said, it was obvious they’d found the right fit.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Technical.ly: What was it about Philadelphia that made you realize, “This is home”?
Casey Stanton: We had never really been to Philly, but everything we had thought about and wanted was here. You could park reasonably close to downtown, and walk between neighborhoods. There were smart young people, cool book stores and restaurants. It also had great commerce and business sector, but I felt like I could also find all the stuff I loved about New Orleans in Old City.
Plus, you could be walking around and just bump into the house where the Declaration [of Independence] was signed. It just felt like a city to get shit done in, innovate and create. And the more laid-back vibe reminded me of the people in New Orleans.
So what came next?
We drove back to Alabama, left the RV with my wife’s family and prepared to move to Philadelphia. We wanted to be here for the Mummer experience so we moved into a short-term rental in Bala Cynwyd on Dec. 30, 2018, and about a month later we found our place in Olde Kensington, where we live now. We’ve been here for about a year.
Tell me about what “fractional” marketing services mean. And what does your team look like?
Most businesses who are doing revenue under $25 million don’t need a full-time CMO, they need the insight and strategy of one. They essentially need a “fractional,” or part-time CMO, that will allow them to have some cash left over.
We straddle the intersection of marketing and sales. We care about tangibly driving revenue through marketing, less so about branding. Right now it’s myself, my wife and two remote folks kind of living the digital nomad life. So, we’re your fractional CMO, your advisor or your training person. And the CMO accelerator is a 14-week program, where in-house marketers learn marketing strategy.
Who’ve you worked with?
I want to amplify; I want to take someone who’s talented as a marketer right now but they know they can’t really help these businesses without a clear framework to follow, so I want to train them in that framework, I want to give them the support that they need to be able to make those ongoing decisions. That’s something I wish I had when I was a marketer inside companies. When I would run into a roadblock, I wouldn’t know what to do or who to ask. I was just stuck.
Do you see yourself sticking around Philly for a while?
Yes. There’s a lot of institutions I want to get involved with and I’m really excited about the events that happen here. There’s a lot of intelligent people working to develop great products and services, really a community of wonderful business owners. It feels like it’s about to boil here, you know?
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