Martin Holland, a business coach with the Norman ActionCOACH firm, composed a poem one day about what he does while walking his dogs.
McMahon Marketing turned that poem into a national award-winning advertisement. The Norman firm came away from the 2017 American Business Awards on June 20 in New York with a gold Stevie, the name of the awards given to businesses from across the country in several categories.
“We created something that we felt like was top quality, that we were really proud of,” said Korey McMahon, director and principal of McMahon Marketing. “We took a shot, not really expecting to win anything because of the nature of the competition and the quality in the Stevie awards. It was very exciting for our team and all of the hard work that they do.”
The advertisement, titled “The Owner & the Coach,” stars Holland and was directed by 2017 University of Oklahoma graduate Cooper Williams. Holland reads his poem as various video footage — some of Norman locations and some that compliments the words — is played between scenes of him walking.
McMahon won the gold Stevie, its first ever, in the Service Sales category for video awards. They defeated entries from health insurance providers Cigna and Humana, who placed second and third, respectively.
“I just learned the combined worth of the companies we beat is $71.3 billion,” Williams said. “So, it’s kind of amazing for me, being a one-man crew with a budget of $1,000, beating companies like that. I had no idea that sort of thing would happen. It’s pretty exhilarating.”
Williams said the whole process, from idea to complete advertisement, took about six weeks.
Holland wanted to create something that dynamically explained what a business coach is and how it can help small business owners.
“The thing about coaching is people don’t know what it is,” Holland said. “Or if they do, they have misbegotten ideas about what it is. We were trying to show before and after of the stresses small business owners go through and how their lives change.”
Holland’s poem presents a small business owner as their mood changes from downtrodden and stressful to confident and relaxed, thanks to the knowledge they receive. He said the advertisement has already gained him some business.
“I had a guy looking for a business coach in northeast Oklahoma,” Holland said. “He said, ‘I get it, but my wife doesn’t understand.’ So I told him to watch it. He called about an hour later and said, ‘She watched the video; we’re in.’ It [has] paid for itself 20 times over with just that one guy.”
The award also helps the marketing firm as it continues to grow, McMahon said. The boost in morale alone drives the team on to bigger things.
“It’s so important for not only our credibility but also the talent we recruit,” he said. “I feel we have the most talented team around, and this is just validation that we are creating nationally recognized videos and marketing services.”
McMahon will now enter the advertisement in the International Stevie Awards, which will be in Spain. He said the competition is stiffer, but the feedback from entering awards like this is valuable.
“That feedback is so critical,” McMahon said. “Feedback, I feel, is the most valuable things you can get from others. These judges are some of the most recognized marketing professionals in the nation.”
There are about 10,000 entries for Stevie awards. Winning a gold Stevie shows just how high a small firm like McMahon — and those who work for it and with it — can reach, Williams said.
“At the time, I think it was the most proud I’ve ever been of something I’ve made professionally,” Williams said. “It combined a lot of my skills in ways I hadn’t used them. There’s no upper limit for how proud you can be or how impressed you can be. To see it recognized nationally, it’s stunning.”