Andrew Dymski and Gray MacKenzie became close friends long before GuavaBox. As roommates, teammates, classmates, and fraternity brothers, they built a relationship that paid enormous dividends when they started GuavaBox out of their dorm room as college seniors.
As teammates on the Grove City College lacrosse team, Andrew and Gray, along with eventual GuavaBox Co-Founder Brandon Jones, invested heavily in marketing the lacrosse program and working to gain national recognition. They built the team's first website, established a strong social media presence, produced high-quality video and blog content, and began garnering local and league-wide attention.
The organizational marketing efforts off the field coincided with on-field success and the Wolverines received their first-ever at-large bid to the MCLA D-II National Championships in 2010.
The marketing success of the lacrosse team, combined with college coursework on Internet entrepreneurship and content marketing, prompted thoughts of a business venture; could the same principles that grew Grove City Lacrosse from "nobody" to "recognized national contender" in 18 months apply to businesses as well?
Before spending a lot of time, energy, and money on a detailed business plan, building the perfect website, finding an office space, or ordering business cards, we took our idea to potential customers. When we found we able to close multiple content strategy, social media, and web development deals right away, and our clients were thrilled with the results, we knew we'd validated the business idea.
This is one of the questions we get asked most frequently: Why the name GuavaBox?
There's not a great story behind the name - we were looking for something unique, catchy, a conversation-starter. We wanted our name to be short (7-8 characters), we needed something that we could own online (domain name, social media platforms, etc. KnowEm is a great tool for this), and we wanted something without literal meaning (knowing that our business model and services would evolve, we didn't want to be limited by being locked in to a name like "Pittsburgh Web Design Company").
After long hours spent searching for the perfect name, Brandon mentioned the word Guava and everyone liked it. Gray tacked Box onto the end, so we had Guava Box. We mashed it together to come up with GuavaBox. It's worked well so far and seems to pique a lot of interest.
We went through the rigmarole of officially launching GuavaBox in early 2011, and operated from campus until May. From the beginning, we agreed that, even if the business model was unsustainable, the knowledge gained from the experience would be well worth the start-up costs of resources, time, and money. Fortunately, the business kept growing.
Andrew and Gray both graduated from Grove City College in May, 2011. At that point, Andrew took on a full-time job at a PR firm in central PA, but spent his spare time working to grow the business. Brandon was in the same position, working days at the FDA and nights on GuavaBox, while Gray took the plunge right away and began working full-time immediately after graduation.
From the beginning, the vision for GuavaBox was to become a content marketing firm. Our goal was to build lasting relationships by helping organizations grow effectively by educating their target markets, establishing thought leadership, and adding value to their customer base.
In the early days, however, we were much more of a web design, social media marketing, and SEO shop than a holistic content marketing firm or inbound marketing agency. That model worked well as we got off the ground and we continued to grow, primarily due to our ability to delight customers and earn word of mouth and referral business.
Despite the growth we were experiencing, the business model wasn't everything we wanted. The struggles of working remotely, balancing additional responsibilities, and doing one-time project work started catching up to us.
In February, 2012, Andrew came on board full-time. Accompanying that transition, we started looking at ways to differentiate our services and better serve our customers.
Website design composed the majority of our business, but for many clients we would finish a great web design project and hand over the reins, but nobody would leverage the potential of that new website and it would start collecting dust rather than collecting leads. It was frustrating to see our work be underutilized, but also frustrating to have to guess about the client's specific return on that web redesign investment. Did we actually help them grow their business?
That question prompted us to shift our business model towards inbound marketing. In a world where so much business is conducted over the Internet, consumer behavior has changed radically. Businesses have to adapt to the shift in order to succeed - and that became our sweet spot, helping B2B organizations generate traffic, nurture leads, and close customers through inbound marketing.
In July of 2012 (shortly after Andrew's wedding, though unrelated) we partnered with HubSpot, a Boston-based marketing automation software company, to start delivering real results for our clients by implementing the inbound methodology through the HubSpot software.
Instead of focusing on one-time projects, we started focusing on serving B2B companies in industries like industrial manufacturing, SaaS, professional services, and healthcare. Our partnerships with clients were focused around achieving the same big-picture business growth objectives, and the move to become an inbound agency jump-started our business.
Our move to the eCenter @ LindenPointe in Hermitage, PA in May, 2013 brought us all together geographically and working full-time to continue grow the business. Shortly after the move, Brandon and Gray got married (clarification: not to each other), and the business settled into a pattern of rapid growth.
While we're focusing on constantly pushing our service to improve and driving even better results for clients, we've also had the privilege of being featured on some of the biggest marketing blogs, case studies, and publications, speaking at industry events, attending conferences, teaching seminars and college classes, and even launching our own software company helping other inbound agencies grow, DoInbound, as a direct result of our success at GuavaBox.
As the GuavaBox brand is thriving, it would be meaningless if we weren't able to deliver on our promise to help our clients grow their businesses as well. We are proud of our proven track record and ability to consistently deliver results, and have developed case studies (like this industrial manufacturing inbound marketing case study) to showcase our results.
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