Owners Deidra Langstaff and Mary Beth Hobby (from left) are calling their new marketing firm “a marketing experiment” that will provide customers with a variety of innovative techniques to help drive their businesses forward. (Special Photo)
ALBANY — Albany’s Langstaff Marketing will soon close its doors to make way for a new marketing firm called MADlab.
MADlab, which is a new business partnership between current Langstaff Marketing owner Deidra Langstaff and HeritageBank of South Vice President of Marketing Mary Beth Hobby, has been in the making for some time and the two entrepreneurs see the the collaboration as a veritable “meeting of the minds” and a unique “marketing experiment.”
“When Deidra and I worked together before, we had so much fun, but we did some of our best work,” said Hobby. “And so we consider this to be that meeting of the minds again. We both have a different skill set that we bring in and the combination of those two skill sets together is what we believe is going to be the recipe for success.”
Langstaff further clarified, saying that over time the marketing world has changed tremendously due to the advent and increased use of technology and social media. With that, she said, the needs of her clients changed and the new company will allow for different strategies and increased creativity when designing marketing plans and strategies.
“I think the way to look at it is, Langstaff started 15 years ago,” explained Langstaff. “When it started there was no iPhone, no iPad, you weren’t Googling, websites were sort of a new thing. The tools are completely different, what you’re being able to utilize is different. So, in those 15 years, all of the new technologies that have evolved, that have really come to fruition, that changes how you do business.
“The whole point is this is a marketing experiment that is rolling into this collaboration. One thing that is the constant is the change. There never is an exact strategy. It is an experiment every single time to say, ‘hey I wonder what’s going to work with these guys?’
The answer to that question, Langstaff said, lies in the duos ability to push each other forward and challenge each other to come up with new ideas.
“We both feel strongly about each other’s performance,” Langstaff said. “It wasn’t a matter of not knowing what you’re getting into with Mary Beth. I always said this about her when she worked here, and we were not good friends when she worked here, is that she’s far better than I’ve ever been. And, I think she would say the same thing about me.”
Hobby agrees with that sentiment and takes it a step further saying that the new partnership will allow the pair to branch out in new directions and bring new excitement to their clients, something she feels would have been lacking had she just bought in as a partner to the existing firm.
“We thrive on competition and that’s another thing for us personally which will make us great partners,” said Hobby. “That competition of making it better, of challenging each other to do better work, that’s really what we’re feeding off of. I also think its about the energy level. I could have bought in as a full partner to Langstaff Marketing, but that’s not what we wanted to do.
“We wanted that high energy, that excitement, to not just be mine and Deidra’s, but we want it to filter down to our staff, to our clients, to the communities that we serve. Because that energy of changing your name, re-branding yourself, is addictive; it pumps new ideas into the business, new clients. It’s a beginning.”
While the creation of MADlab certainly marks a new beginning, it also marks significant changes for both partners. For Hobby, she’s having to leave an executive position at HeritageBank of the South that she truly enjoyed to venture into the unknown territory of being a business owner.
The change, however daunting, is something she felt she needed to make to grow as person and to continue to challenge herself professionally.
“I can’t say enough great things about where I’m from and the skill set that I’ve developed by being part of Heritage Bank,” said Hobby. “It has been amazing. I’ve developed so many new skills that I didn’t know I could utilize. The bank’s been great, they truly have, but I’m ready for a change. It’s not so much a change as it’s a new challenge.”
Langstaff is facing a different challenge of her own. Having run a marketing firm by herself for 15 years, she’ll now have to learn to operate with an equal partner, but she said it’s something she had been looking to do for some time. For her, it was simply a matter of finding the right person to go into business with.
“I was at a place where I really wanted a partner in crime,” Langstaff said. “I just didn’t have the energy, I had to have a partner. Where I’m at right now, I just don’t know that I had it in me. I know how hard you have to work to own a business. There’s only one person I could be in partnership with and that would be Mary Beth.”
Now that the partnership has been formed only a few details remain before the pair is ready to welcome the public. The company has already designed a new logo and Internet splashpage and has informed current Langstaff Marketing clients about what is happening.
In fact, Langstaff said, when she told clients about the new company, all of them agreed to continue doing business with them and expressed pleasure in knowing some of what the pair could offer them.
“Right now every single client is staying with us,” Langstaff said. “They’ve all said, ‘okay, yes Mary Beth’s coming back, we’ll stay.’ Anybody that knows us as separate people or knows us from the past or who we are together now realizes it’s only really more magnified you know, bigger, better, the ideas, just everything.”
According to Hobby and Langstaff bigger and better means finding the right mix of traditional marketing strategies and tactics along with newer techniques utilizing social media for each client.
Hobby and Langstaff will spend the month of March taking care of finishing touches to the 322 N. Washington St. location, before MADlab opens on April 1.