A Client Q and A with Jody Doele, Thornes Marketplace, co-owner and marketing director
I have been working for about five years with Jody Doele, co-owner and marketing director of Thornes Marketplace, a historic and eclectic shopping center in Northampton, Massachusetts. Recently, she offered some thoughts on what it’s like to work with me and what value I add to her marketing efforts.
What is the work of your mission of your organization?
I feel like a steward of this iconic landmark, and we feel responsible for the success of the community of small business owners who are in the building. That is the essence.
What made you want to reach out to Janice for help with public relations?
I had a realization that public relations—speaking to the public about Thornes and our mission—is an important part of our marketing strategy. I had for years relied on my own marketing background to get that done, and I realized that’s not a competency I have, and there are people who have years of experience doing it. And one of those folks is Janice.
When did you begin working with Janice, and what specific services did she provide for you?
We started working on a structured approach to public relations efforts about five years ago. Janice writes press releases for us quarterly. People think they can write a press release, and they send it off to folks, and they get cranky when the media doesn’t pick it up. Janice knows what the media wants. One of the ways she creates value is she vets our ideas about what is going on in Thornes, and we can ask her, “Which one of those has legs from a public relations standpoint?” What I think is important might not be important to the media or the general public.
What was the quality of Janice’s work?
She creates and delivers in such a high-quality impactful way that is not only important to us but hugely helpful. In practical terms, the money we spend working with Janice creates maybe ten times the impact in the media. Doing this work is another way of reaching your customers or your potential customers, and many traditional means of doing so are very, very expensive. Because of Janice’s pricing and the impact we saw through working with her, continuing that relationship was a no-brainer. It’s one of those easy fixes you don’t always find in marketing.
Did press releases Janice wrote for you attract attention from the media?
Yes. Having done press releases myself and throwing them out into the big, black void of the media community, I saw that Janice’s were attended to on a very different level. I get interest that day or the next day from the folks I hope will be interested. That includes television and print and online. I think the media appreciates hearing regularly from important local businesses, and they know that once a quarter, they will be hearing from Thornes. They know they’re going to get a quality communication from us.
Who in your various audiences benefited from the work and in what ways?
Clearly, Thornes as a brand benefits from the coverage, but almost equally as important is the impact the content has on our employees and the people who work here. Thornes employees benefit from knowing they work for an authentic organization. The messages getting out there are positive and community based. It’s good for employees to see that. It creates pride. Our merchants—our tenants—really appreciate the fact that we frequently highlight them at no cost to them, and they see the building in the newspaper in a positive light. It makes them feel comfortable that they made the right decision, and all their hard work is well-placed.
Do you consider Janice a partner in Thornes’ marketing and public relations efforts?
Yes. In my relationship with Janice, she is the one leading the charge and advising me on how best to proceed. That’s another significant way that working with her has created value for me.