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Meet Trailblazer Jennifer McGhee and Juli Dimos

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jennifer McGhee and Juli Dimos.

Jennifer and Juli, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
VOCO was born 11 years ago to fill a vacuum that is often left in agency work. We saw time and again marketing start/end with pretty pictures and a catchy tagline. What often happened is companies loved the concept and had no idea how to use the pretty picture and catchy tagline to affect the bottom line.

VOCO has been a bit of an anomaly in the agency world, being a women-owned-and-run full-service marketing agency. From the start, we had the drive to succeed and help support our families, and we were backed by a group of women with a data-engineering, journalistic, marketing, and management background, who also happened to be designers. Scrappy, spirited pragmatists—that’s what we were then, and we have grown into a team— 22 strong—of strategic, savvy, driven veterans.

Data-driven and ROI motivated processes helped us carve out a new path to success for our clients, one that did not die on the altar of creativity, but started with strategy, research and data first. Building the creative on the foundation of our research gave our team a direct sightline to how the campaigns would be implemented down to a single post on Instagram and in a conversation with a consumer at a sampling station. Our team knew what the measures of success were before they started. They also knew how to adjust quickly for maximum impact as the campaign progressed. This has lead to multiple national awards for both creativity, marketing strategy and execution, as well as supporting many of our clients through successful marketing and sales of their companies.

Today, we are working with multiple global/national companies on strategy, execution, and implementation of full-scale marketing campaigns. We have a saying at VOCO, “Change is the only constant”. Leaning into the ever-changing marketing landscape, we are leading/partnering with our clients to show them a path to real results. And we are still always driven by data and ROI.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
We wish we could say we had a formula or a fail-safe path. We don’t. Recently, we were on vacation with our families and were cliff-diving one day. As we were looking at everyone else up on the cliff, they looked first, hesitated, and worked themselves up to jump off. After watching this for a while from the boat, we jumped in the water, climbed up the cliff, walked to where we would jump off, and without hesitation, jumped before looking.

This is how VOCO started, one day, we just decided we would do it. The recession was hitting I (Juli) was having a baby and buying a house, my husband was in the middle of his Ph.D., my new business partner was just quitting her job and we were both the primary breadwinners. None of this was a safe or logical decision. And failing wasn’t an option.

The hardest part for us, as natural people pleasers, was to lean into hard conversations with clients, where either they were missing the mark or we were missing the mark and we had to have “that” conversation. The best advice we got for those conversations went in expecting the highest and best outcome. Visualize what that could be, prepare for the worst and enter into those conversations authentically and confidently, even if the confidence was faked initially.

The other eye-opener we had was on our rates. We started off not charging nearly enough, but we also didn’t know what we didn’t know. Having conversations with friends in the agency world in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles gave us a better idea of where we should be falling. As we implemented these rates, the caliber of our clients went up.

Use what you are, who you are, and what makes you-you. The moment you try to be the “guy” or “that girl that has it all together” in this world, you are leaving so much of the magic of what makes you great in the black hole of comparison. Who you are in this world will be the “magic” of what makes you succeed. Embrace it.

We’d love to hear more about VOCO.
The VOCO Mission is to provide the highest levels of results-oriented creative, technology, and marketing solutions to maximize business growth for our clients.

VOCO strategically creates a voice and a vision for brands – a personality, a soul, a purpose – as a way to connect and captivate your customer. VOCO works with your company as either a full-service outsourced marketing department, as the digital strategy and execution arm, or creating large-scale creative campaigns. VOCO handles all creative, media buying, execution, and creative development in-house, including video and photography, making for a very nimble, cohesive, and seamless experience.

The words most often used to describe VOCO are strategic, responsive, nimble, creative, effective, results-oriented, and data-driven. We are set apart by how all of those words intersect. We pride ourselves on being great partners to work with from responsive communication to looking strategically at the whole picture.

VOCO is generationally fluent, bridging gaps between Boomer functionality, Millennial idealism to Generation Z pragmatism. We are culturally adaptable, playing well with others, fitting in where we are needed most. We believe clear and frequent communication is key.

We are involved with our community and world. Giving back is a cornerstone of VOCO. We are involved with Project I See You (https://www.projectiseeyou.org/), MAC Georgia (https://macgeorgia.org/en/), JDRF (https://www.jdrf.org/), coaching ladies volleyball at a local high school and supporting the school programs of our employee’s kids. This work is especially exciting because it directly affects women’s lives around the world and locally, helping women start businesses, and building up future leaders.

Finding a mentor and building a network are often cited in studies as a major factor impacting one’s success. Do you have any advice or lessons to share regarding finding a mentor or networking in general?
At the end of the day, kingdoms rise and fall on relationships. Mentors and networking are key to building a business. Early on, mentors helped us to focus on the bigger picture, gave us confidence when we felt like giving up, and encouraged us to think beyond the box we had put ourselves in. Everyone is different, but we had mentors come in and out of our lives at different times and for different stages of the company. Finding a mentor was just as fluid. Often it was seeing people just ahead of us on the journey we were on and boldly asking them if we could treat them to lunch and ask them a few questions and how they got to where they are and what pitfalls to avoid. We now find ourselves mentoring more often than not. A great mentor told us that it is never a mistake to be generous with your time. Although the caveat we would add, is that boundaries are great.

Networking is as diverse as you want it to be. We have found clients through other parents at our kid’s soccer games and on the plane from another country. The key is being open to conversation and listening. Listen for their pain points and if there is a place where you can genuinely help out, don’t be shy to let them know.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
VOCO Creative

Getting in touch: VoyageDenver is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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