Today we’d like to introduce you to Nikki Ong.
Nikki, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
It was 107°F degrees. I felt heat stroke setting in, but I COULD NOT turn on the A/C. With no job, a newborn baby, and very little money; cooling the air just wasn’t an option. I felt like a complete failure.
I landed my dream job, North American marketing manager for an international company with a great boss who gave me the freedom to do what I do best; try new things and make them work to build sales and market share. I got married, bought a house with my husband and was thrilled to welcome my daughter into this world…and then, my world fell apart. Our company was bought out by a multi-national and they closed down our American operation. Overnight, I lost almost everything. A glimmer of hope came when my former boss and I decided to create a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) focused marketing agency together. The idea was ambitious…too ambitious. Businesses weren’t comfortable with us working on their private customer lists. What is common practice today seemed dangerous back then. With this second failure, I hit an all-time low. With no more unemployment checks coming in and the family savings almost depleted, friends and family advised me to “just get a job.” Combined with postpartum depression, I felt desperate, anxious, frightened…so far from the bright, joyful, ambitious person who had graduated from college. As I looked into the eyes of my newborn, all I felt was despair.
I had to do something, so I began looking for a job… any job. Sweating in our unairconditioned home with me, my husband Roth asked me, “Are you done with building your business?” I responded, “No.” He said, “Then keep at it until you’re satisfied.” His belief in me renewed my belief in myself. I refocused on the business I wanted to create with a revitalized energy and determination. I sought clients any way possible, whether it was running ads or reaching out to my existing friends, family, and connections. I was met with some skepticism, but each rejection just fuelled my resolve to build relationships and find mutual opportunities to build success together.
Through connections from MBA school and my advertising campaigns, I was lucky enough to start providing marketing advice and services for a few franchise locations in Orange County, CA. Just like with my dream job, I was figuring everything out along the way, even when I had never done any of it before. When it came to marketing, there was nothing that I wouldn’t try. I worked on Google Ads, Craigslist, social media, print, Customer Relationship Management technology, and just about anything customers thought would help their businesses grow. With this open mindset and the trust of these initial clients, I started to build a reputation for innovative thinking and more clients trickled in. Slick Marketers began to grow along with our clients’ successes.
Today, Slick Marketers is a thriving marketing agency, representing over 250 franchise locations across the United States and Canada in various industries. We have been thrilled to see our clients succeed and continue to grow their businesses. Putting people and relationships first is still at our core. Our team is personally invested in each of our clients and their businesses. Their success is our success and their hardships are also our hardships.
Our obsession with customer success and the relationships we have with our clients is what sets us apart. We work closely with our clients to understand their local market, ideal customers, and struggles to develop the most impactful marketing programs. We pride ourselves on moving quickly to successfully market our clients’ businesses.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
As our client roster grew, so did our team. Experiencing exponential growth is both wonderful and terrifying at the same time. The key is always finding the right people who share your passion and work ethic. We asked ourselves: How do we scale the business without jeopardizing quality and customer service? How do we improve systems to be more efficient? How do we attract more team members who are passionate about their work and their clients? How do we continue to meet and exceed customer expectations? Steadily, we made changes to improve workflow, streamlined operations, and we began to collaborate more as a team.
Like other small businesses, when the pandemic hit and shutdowns were implemented across the country, we didn’t know if we’d make it. Most of our clients turned off their marketing services in March and April of 2020. Concerned clients called and asked, “Are you going to furlough everyone?”. Although it didn’t make financial sense, Roth and I decided to take care of our employees first. We assigned everyone to remote work and continued to pay them. We kept our faith that our clients still needed us and would return.
Although many of our clients’ doors closed, some saw it imperative to continue marketing their businesses. We pivoted our marketing strategy practically overnight to reflect the current climate of the world. The heart of our approach was to help our clients through these trying times. The messaging and tone of our campaigns concentrated on the “essential” benefits and value of our client’s products and services. The sincere tone of our pandemic marketing campaigns reached our clients’ customers quickly and resonated. Our efforts allowed our clients to not only win back their customers but also grow their customer base.
While most of the world seemed focused on the downside of the pandemic, we saw great opportunities. As some businesses closed, it left more customers for those who held on during the drought. With passion, positivity and constant communication with our clients, our unique marketing campaigns allowed Slick Marketers and our clients to come out of the pandemic stronger than ever.
While I don’t want to relive the time when we couldn’t afford to turn on the A/C in 107°F heat with a newborn to care for; I learned a lot from the failures and obstacles. The experience forced me to pause and think about how I needed to grow and adapt. Today, I feel that there isn’t anything my team and I can’t do to help market and grow a business. Experience taught me that grit, determination, and resourcefulness win out over tough times—every time. It’s a philosophy I believe the Slick Marketers team embodies.
The potential for our clients and Slick Marketers is truly UNLIMITED. We have helped market brand new franchisees who started with nothing more than an empty building to create their multi-million dollar businesses. Not only do we get to share in our clients’ success, but we’ve developed wonderful working relationships with them. Every obstacle is a wonderful opportunity to grow and improve. Working with our clients at Slick Marketers is truly my dream job.
Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Slick Marketers?
What makes Slick Marketers a different type of marketing agency? It’s super simple. For over 10 years, we have specialized in people and are obsessed with our client’s success. While other agencies try to maximize profits with a cookie-cutter approach, our personalized services are our secret. We work closely with our clients. From this collaboration, we are able to successfully build results-driven marketing programs customized to each and every local market.
We currently work with over 250+ franchise locations throughout America and Canada. We specialize in highly customized and strategic local marketing and while our services primarily consist of digital marketing, we continue to evolve and adapt to customer and market demands. Our services include, but are not limited to:
Social media marketing and management
Online reputation management
As an ever-changing marketing agency, the potential for Slick Marketers and our clients is limitless. When it comes to marketing, there isn’t anything we won’t try as long as it is ethical and there is the potential to bring in business for our clients. Slick was founded on the idea of doing something new and different… something that hasn’t been tried before…something that will set us and our clients apart from the crowd. To this day, we brainstorm as a team and with our customers to continue marketing in new platforms and angles. As we celebrate our 10 year anniversary, we look forward to the next 10 years, growing and adapting to market challenges along with our clients.
We love surprises, fun facts and unexpected stories. Is there something you can share that might surprise us?
Growing up in a low-income family, it was very rare that my siblings and I had Christmas gifts. However, one particular year was extremely special. My mom somehow learned of a toy charity drive and was able to pick up a few wrapped gifts for us. I can still remember the bright red and green wrapping paper; the joy of opening the gift and feeling the warmth of someone caring enough to give me something special. This gave me the first-hand experience of how wonderful and important local non-profit organizations are in every community.
In 2021, we put together a $10,000 giveaway campaign, where our clients were able to participate with us to share with others. With a list of handpicked local charities in Orange County, our 3 winning clients choose organizations that meant something to them. It was rewarding to see how much our clients enjoyed being involved in deciding on their charity. As a company built around people, we really have a special interest in the welfare of our local communities.
In addition to our philanthropic efforts, the Slick Marketers team also enjoys personally volunteering to help out local charities and non-profit organizations. As we continue to grow with our clients, our charitable efforts will also continue to develop. We are truly lucky to do what we love and are glad that we can partner with these amazing organizations to share our good fortune.
Interested in taking your business to the next level? Schedule a quick, easy and free consultation worth over $250 today! We’ll get to know you, your business, and the opportunities that lie ahead! Our consultation will include a comprehensive review of your:
Existing marketing campaigns
Opportunities for growth
Call us at 714.510.2736 or head to our website at www.SlickMarketers.com to learn more.
Thank you for reading my story. I hope we can meet someday.
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