Palmetto PR profile – Harry Hoover, partner and chief marketing officer for My Creative Team

There is non-stop buzz in the industry that the success of traditional brick-and-mortar agencies may be slowing down and leaving room for virtual agencies to rise and be successful in today’s marketplace. One reason may be that with a full-time staff, it’s harder to create teams of individuals that have experience applicable to a particular project, client or activity.

This – of course – leaves the door wide open for virtual agencies to assemble unique teams of professionals to fit a client’s individual needs. Also, they are typically more cost effective than using a traditional agency, because overhead costs are not factored into the final invoice.

And, until I met with Harry Hoover, partner and chief marketing officer for My Creative Team, a few weeks ago, I had never really spoken with someone who was actually running a successful virtual agency.

My Creative Team is a Huntersville, NC-based network of independent professionals. They offer services that include website development and promotion, email marketing programs, pay-per-click advertising, advertising, media planning and buying, PR – the list goes on an on.

He has figured out the perfect formula for his successful virtual agency, and it’s exciting to profile him this Friday.

I hope he’ll keep us and our audience posted on the Social Media Club in Charlotte he’s launching. (Read below to learn more.) And be sure to check out My Creative Team’s blog, as it was recently selected by PR Week in a competition to be selected as one of the top PR blogs in the country!

o Please provide title and a brief description of what you do:

Harry Hoover, partner in My Creative Team. I’m chief marketing officer and handle new business development.

o How did you become interested in the public relations/advertising industry?

Like so many PR people, I started in journalism. I was too conservative and there was no Fox News at that time. Plus, I had a family and we needed to eat! So, I swerved into government public affairs and then moved into corporate PR and later agency PR.

o What changes have you seen in the industry that is the most interesting to you?

The growth of technology. When I began running an ad agency PR department in 1991 there were three PR professionals and an administrative assistant. Today, I get as much done as we all did thanks to technology.

o Are you involved in any professional associations? If so, what are they and what do you learn by being involved?
I’m no longer active in PRSA or IABC as I once was. You can only go to so many panels on media relations before you start reciting them aloud. I am, however, starting a chapter of the Social Media Club in Charlotte. We plan to hold our initial organizational meeting in late August or early September. This will keep me hooked into the new developments in social media and surround me with young people who are highly adept with the latest technologies.

o What is the one piece of advice you would give students that are interested in pursuing a career in the public relations/investor relations/marketing industry?

Learn to write well.

o What is the best thing about your job?

My clients. They are fun, smart, articulate, and committed to doing good work.

o What is the thing you like least about your job?

I started my own agency so that there wouldn’t be anything I didn’t like. Mission accomplished.

o Are there any exciting announcements you’d like to tell us about (either with your company or one of your clients)?
Yes. Our blog, Thinking (my-creativeteam.com/blog), was just selected by PR Week as one of 32 PR blogs to be included in a competition to select the top PR blog in the country. Voting starts sometime around July 15th so get out there and make us #1.

o How do you balance your professional career with your personal life?

I try to work set hours and I schedule my personal time. My wife and I take ballroom dance lessons weekly, and I go to a weekly wine tasting. These activities are totally outside of my day-to-day work experience and they help me to make a clean separation between work and life. Also, my business partner and I work four day weeks. He takes Friday off and I take off Monday. You can’t be creative, nor can you run your business effectively if you don’t take time off to recharge.

o Anything else you would like to add?

Like journalists, PR people have sometimes been slow to embrace new methods and new technology. I’d like to call on my peers to change that. We have always been the communicators interested in dialogue. New technology gives us the chance to truly have one-to-one relationships with journalists, customers and our other publics. We need to own the conversation, but we can’t if we don’t understand the new enabling technologies.

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