"cross The Water Wednesday" is a feature focused on highlighting some of the cool work, agencies, and events going on in St. Paul. If you know of any St. Paul goodness, deserving of a feature, shoot us an email at: email@example.com
NADA: Nick Tews, Nathan Nerland, & Daniel Williams-Goldberg Star Tribune
Nathan Nerland and Daniel Williams-Goldberg left Caribou Coffee to start the type of agency that a neighborhood shop or small businesses could afford. Which led them to create the St. Paul-based NADA Advertising in 2004. The full-service agency offers website, print, and social media services, including branding, advertising, design, and development. "Daniel and I have endless ideas," Nerland said. "We take such ownership over everything we do that we thought we also might as well go out and use those ideas for our own good."
NADA has three employees, with 10 independent contractors rounding out its services. Each founder serves as relationship manager for his own roster of clients. But they collaborate on high-level project decisions and strategy. Revenue was on track to hit $600,000 this last year. NADA operates virtually, to run as an efficient, lean agency that's affordable to small-business owners. The agency started in a small office on Grand Avenue in St. Paul, then moved to downtown St. Paul. But they gave up the fancy, glass-walled digs to stay lean.
Although they've never met face-to-face with more than half their clients, they have all the work they can handle thanks to repeat business, referrals, and their own marketing efforts. They communicate with clients throughout the country, from Chicago to New York and California using Skype and other online tools, including a proprietary Virtual Office site where they share work with clients. The virtual move came just before the recession, as did a well-timed push to diversify NADA's client base. The agency, which had been heavy on clients in real estate and development, used online marketing and networking to develop new business in health care, restaurants, professional services, and media.
Now, as the new year approaches, Williams-Goldberg and Nerland are preparing to expand. They're considering how to redefine the agency, their own roles and whether to continue operating virtually as they consider making a hire or two. One goal is to do more project-based rather than hourly work. They also would like to license their Virtual Office tool to other agencies and photographers as the first of what could become a number of NADA products. "We've talked about not adding or not reducing but maybe focusing a little bit more on some services," Williams-Goldberg said. "We're so good at design, we're so good at website development and we're so good at print, maybe we'll focus on those three areas and just totally expand those but still be the full-service agency for the clients that want it."
NADA Advertising Website Still