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20 Years in Business

Despite the recession, Tenato is celebrating in 2016, because it marks our 20th year in business!

Keychain YodaI suppose that over the years we have learned a few things about marketing during recessions, because we were able to clock a record year in revenue and continue to grow, despite Alberta’s current economic situation. What’s crazy is that we have been so busy that this is literally the first (albeit brief) blog I’ve had a minute to write so far in 2016!

It’s also enlightening that our team continues to evolve with every passing year. This happens as we get more clarity about the kinds of accounts we like to work with, and how we do business.

When we began in 1996, we pretty much did whatever we were asked. In other words, lots of random project work. About ten years in, we realized that research-based strategy needed to be our main focus. Sticking to our guns on this is what has made us different and valuable to our best clients. Time and again we’ve learned that the best clients highly value market research, and that it is always a prerequisite to good strategy. Accordingly, market research is almost always the best entry point for clients into our business (even when they “think” they have enough research, it is almost never is the right kind of information for building strategy), as it is the basis for key decisions… and therefore, the beginning of developing strategy. And clearly, strategy should always come before creative and marketing media. It’s a philosophy that just keeps proving itself.

What we’ve also learned is that having a philosophical match (or just “clicking”) is essential for every account; we’re no longer afraid to admit a mismatch early on, before we even start. We’re happy to refer clients that don’t suit us to our competitors, as we now view them as valued industry colleagues. And, when our competition is bad-mouthed, we listen carefully. Most marketing companies in town are working very hard, and it’s often the clients who don’t always understand that.

Personally, I am certain that I have learned 90% of what’s in my brain through my hundreds of clients over the years. It’s a perspective I wouldn’t trade for anything.

In a nutshell, after 20 years, we still love what we do, and feel even better and stronger at it. Looking at my wee keychain yoda, which I keep on my desk, I think we have more in common than ever. In particular, the wrinkles on the forehead!  😉




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About the Author - Jacqueline Drew
Jacqueline M. Drew, BComm, MBA is founder and CEO of Tenato Strategy Inc., a marketing research and strategy firm with bases in Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto. With over 25 years' experience in all facets of marketing strategy, she is a business consultant, trainer and speaker who loves to use her superpowers "to help the good guys win."