I have been in marketing, with a focus on digital and online, for over 20 years. Most people work for a few companies during their career, but my time co-founding two agencies and years of consulting means I have worked with over 100 organizations in some aspect of their marketing. I call myself an "expert" simply because I have had the opportunity to make more mistakes than almost anyone else in my profession.
Truth be told, I hate my industry. I originally got into marketing because I have a passion for communication and sharing ideas. More than anything else, I love helping one person figure out the best way to communicate an idea to another person. In marketing, I get to practice this more than almost any other profession. My greatest superpower is the ability to digest complex ideas and then make their value and purpose clear to other people.
The problem is that while listening and communication are the greatest marketing tools there are, most people think marketing is about lying to, tricking, or coercing people. Marketing agencies tell other businesses they need to pay thousands for fancy logos or cool ads to sell products. Business owners often believe the problem with their sales is that they need to do a better job of making people buy their stuff. In reality, listening to your market to get feedback, using that feedback to improve your product or service, and then doing the work to communicate your value clearly is the only real thing that grows a business... or, at least, an honest business.
All the new digital tools the Internet has given us enables us listen and communicate better than ever before, and I know how to use these tools effectively for this purpose.
Freelance Web Development
I started web development while the Internet was still in it's diapers. During this time, I got to enjoy the wild west of online marketing. No one knew what to expect from a website, or how to use it, so it was a crash course in figuring it all out.
My first salary-position was with a Call Center & eCommerce Services supporting national & international clientele. They had a lot of very experienced developers, but didn't have much experience with user-experience or design regarding websites. My early start came in help here. I have fond memories of this job since I took the time to learn software development and database design from the team.
Ripple AMT, Agency
Broad Ripple, IN
When Capstone got purchased, I started my own web development and eCommerce agency. My most proud accomplishment was an inventory management system for Creative Indoor Advertising (they put ads in restrooms). It was a visual inventory system for sales people and installers to use to know what ad space they had to sell, and where to put the ads. It synced to Palm Pilots!
Fat Atom Marketing, Agency
Co-Founder and COO
Along with the previous owner of Creative Indoor Advertising, we started a digital marketing agency in downtown Carmel. We were a full outsourced marketing agency, and grew because we had a head-start on digital expertise compared to other agencies.
Independent Marketing Consultant
Fat Atom grew to the point where most of our clients were out-of-state. I wanted to get back into working with small business owners and startups. I left to work as a kind of "Mary Poppins" for small businesses as they got their marketing up and running by using a streamlined set of affordable and quick-to-launch marketing tools.
2015 – Present
Another thing I learned at Fat Atom was that I really like working with interns and helping young people get a good start in their careers. I decided to turn this into a non-profit organization that helps match young professionals with businesses that have healthy internship programs and cultures.
2015 – 2016
DATTUS was a highly-funded IOT (Internet-of-Things) startup in Indy that focused on analytics for manufacturing. They started as a freelance client, but their needs grew too quickly, so I agreed to come on full time. They won several Mira Awards, and sold to Plex.
COO and Co-Founder
After DATTUS, another freelance client of mine was a consultant from Pennsylvania with several clients of their own in Indy. We decided to use that client base to start a new marketing agency in Zionsville, run out of zWorks (a co-working space) to stay close to the startup community.
Onebridge is one of the largest data analytics firms in the Midwest. Originally, I was contacted to engage them as a consultant. However, after visiting them, they had such an amazing work culture and their work matched so closely with my own interests that I agreed to come on as an employee. They have been a "Best Places to Work" in Indy for over 5 years, and they deserve it. To be honest, as I get older, being able to focus my attention on a single client has been nice as well.
References and Testimonials
"I have had the privilege of knowing Chris for his entire professional career. Chis is the epitome of my motto: 'why be normal'. He is a deep and quick thinker and artist of thoughts, words, and images. He connects the dots quickly and arrives at practical conclusions for his clients. Those who engage Chris do not get cookie-cutter answers -- they get an answer they would not have arrived at themselves or obtained from anyone else. Each of Chris' engagements is a five-star experience."
- Harry Howe, CEO of Howe Leadership and Mentor-in-Chief of the Failure Institute
"Chris the Brain is equal parts creative genius and technology guru. I've had the pleasure of watching both sides of Chris' brain work in harmony to create amazing processes and content. I'm continually impressed with the quality of work Chris produces - he gets results!!!"
- Cathy Stein, Owner at Seamless Spaces
"Chris is incredibly creative, responsible, timely, and a pleasure to have on our team. He went above and beyond in assisting me in writing my first book; he did all the research on printers, helped me with the structure and formatting of the book, oversaw the graphics, helped me stay on my timeline, and continues to be a great inspiration. "
- JoDee Curtis, Owner of Purple Ink
"Chris, and his team, have been essential is helping us grow a healthy sales funnel and developing our message to a point that quickly communicates our value to potential customers."
- Anurag Garg, CEO at DATTUS
"In my first encounter with Chris I did not know that his moniker was Chris “The Brain”. Near the end of this very successful meeting I made the comment, “I really like the way your brain works!” He and the gentleman who arranged our introduction began to laugh as Chris handed out his card introducing himself as Chris “The Brain”. My immediate thought was “what a burden to place on yourself”. I have a PhD in applied math and I would never set expectation levels this way. There are a lot of really smart people in this world.
As we negotiated fees to get started with our project, he was very reasonable and a seemingly perfect source for marketing help for low budget nonprofits. So, is the old adage, “You get what you pay for” going to fall away? Without any reservations it has. At every turn he leads us in a very helpful and intelligent manner. He has bright and experience tested ways of doing things and he is easy to work with. He thinks out what he proposes and defends he approach but with a style that is easy to take and flexible. We are delighted with our working relationship and look forward to more great ideas. "
- Richard W. Garrett PhD, Founder of Elevate Teachers
"Chris Hoyt developed the marketing strategy for our organization, the Trinity Free Clinic. Before Chris came on board, we had a very poor webpage, and an antiquated donor management system. Chris created a beautiful new website which suited our needs perfectly, along with a very practical and easy to use donation page. In addition, he researched and found the best Donor Management software to suit our needs. Chris also launched our social media campaign on Facebook and Twitter, and as a result increased the number of followers drastically in a short period of time. He truly established the foundation we needed to make ourselves known in the community, both to our patients and donors."
- Dina Ferchmin, Executive Director, Trinity Free Clinic
A Few Other Things I'm Proud OF...
The Children's Museum
Helping Tomorrow's Leaders Find Their Voice
I was asked to help the Museum Apprentice Program put on a TED talks like program called "REX Talks." The goal was to help their young members identify and construct presentations that they were passionate about and was relevant to the community. Before I joined the program, the idea was to get local adults to speak, but I talked them into having the young apprentices do the talks themselves. If you have some time, the results were amazing! Click here to view the videos.
Discovering a Hidden Star
The Creator of the "Tiny Hands" Font
While volunteering as a judge for a student portfolio showcase in Indy, I found what had to have been the most talented typographer I have ever seen. He was hoping to get a job as a "graphic design" but I told him that his talents in fonts and design were far greater and more rare than just generic design. I encouraged him to look beyond Indiana and shoot for agencies that work with larger brands, as they often need custom typography. About a year later, he sent me this:
"Hello, Chris. I just wanted to tell you I landed a job at Font Bureau, a type foundry based on Boston, Massachusetts. They said I should move to New York City, because I’ve been so interested in moving there. Thank you for encouraging me in Indiana. Kind of an awesome story."
- Mark Davis, Art Director at Tronvig
Mark achieved Internet fame by creating a now well-known hand-writing font based on a certain political figure with "tiny hands." You can see it here.