It used to be that some messages were better delivered by faxes.
The year was 1996 when the Internet and e-mail were just becoming part of everyone’s method of communication.
“I do remember when a marketing director at a banking firm asked: ‘Why do we need these e-mails? We’ve got faxes,’” said Ron Ray, founding partner at The Crouch Group, a Denton-based full service advertising and public relations firm, about getting their client to use e-mail for the first time.
Back then, Ray said, few people had e-mail.
Ray and his founding partner, Tim Crouch, have seen their business change dramatically since its inception 16 years ago.
“We have seen our video production — that was primarily for broadcast television or cable television — now become more important with social media,” Ray said. “Google Plus did not exist nearly a year ago and now we are trying to figure out how it is going to impact Twitter and Facebook.”
Crouch said the nature of the business has evolved, especially when it comes to businesses that want to launch their social media efforts.
“It’s a challenge for a particular small company, or a medium-size company, to find time to do that,” Crouch said. “We don’t start by saying. ‘Well, you have to do social media.’ We don’t start with any preconceived things because it is important that we do design a plan that is specific for that client.”
The client list at The Crouch Group is extensive. It includes car dealerships, banks, insurance agencies, fairs and festivals, churches, legal clients, attorneys and others.
“For all of our clients, the bottom line is are we helping them tell their story and grow their business? If we achieve that, then we are successful,” Crouch said.
The Crouch team includes Ray, Crouch and nine employees who work at their North Carroll Boulevard location and another five at their Springfield, Mo., office. The Crouch Group originally had its offices at 620 W. Hickory St., moving to 300 N. Carroll Blvd., Suite 101, in 1999, with the last move to the current location at 300 N. Carroll Blvd., Suite 103, in 2003.
“Our landlord, Bill Colville, offered to renovate the space for us to our specs,” Crouch said in an e-mail.
Matt Gohlke, owner of Gohlke Pools, said he has worked with The Crouch Group for about three years.
“Before, we did not manage our marketing funds as well as we should have, so we did a little of everything,” Gohlke explained.
Now, with the marketing firm’s help, he has been able to have a more targeted approach. Gohlke said his business has seen growth in other areas of the county to places such as Flower Mound and Coppell.
“They help us spend our money wisely,” he said. “And we are aware the swimming pools are not a necessity, but we have seen double-digit growth every year since [working with] Tim.”
Another business that continues to keep up with the trends with the help of The Crouch Group is the North Texas State Fair and Rodeo.
Since 2005, The Crouch Group has helped the local fair with many projects, said Nanci Kimmey, executive assistant for the association that runs the fair.
“They have allowed us to be competitive with other fairs in the area,” Kimmey said. “We are constantly winning marketing awards and 90 percent of that is because of the partnership we have with The Crouch Group.”
In January, the North Texas State Fair and Rodeo brought home 13 awards, maintaining its position as one of the leading fairs of its size in Texas, according to the association’s website.
When asked if she ever had any disagreement about the direction of an image campaign or project, Kimmey said they did not always agree.
“But they are willing to sit down and listen to us and why we want to go in a different direction,” she said.
Jeff King with Ramey King Insurance said The Crouch Group has been the company’s overall marketing consultant for about 10 years.
“They are our media buyer, and they help arrange several things for us,” King said, adding that the company also helps him with his social media efforts.
When asked about their first client, Crouch said he remembered reaching out to Bill Utter Ford when he was first starting his business.
“Tim and Ron has been with us for a long time; it is like family,” said Carl Anderson, general sales manager for Bill Utter Ford.
Anderson said Crouch and Ray are community oriented and share the same values about customer service and family.
“And it’s been a great relationship for us,” Crouch said.
Crouch and Ray do devote many hours to the community. Ray participates in various Denton Chamber of Commerce activities and serves on various boards and committees of nonprofit organizations, according to his resume.
Crouch’s community involvement presently includes serving as vice chairman for North Texas Public Broadcasting board of directors of KERA-TV, president of the Denton Parks Foundation and member of the board of directors of the new Serve Denton.
Crouch is a 1980 graduate of Southwestern University in Georgetown. His background includes advertising sales and management, radio and television news, talk shows, sports play-by-play and commercial production. Crouch received the Denton Chamber of Commerce Small Business Person of the Year in 1998.
Ray served as retail sales manager for the Denton Record-Chronicle for seven years before becoming sales manager for the Record-Chronicle, Lewisville News and the Grapevine Sun.
Both partners said they remain committed to the community and understand that when it comes to their clients they always need to immerse themselves in their culture.
“In a sense we become their marketing department because we understand their thought process and we work closely with them,” Crouch said.
Additionally, the partners say they have surrounded themselves with the necessary staff to make their clients’ vision a reality.
“We have created a [work] environment with people who follow their passion on a daily basis,” Crouch said.
Karina Ramírez can be reached at 940-566-6878. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.