For three decades Rick Doran led and advised R&A Marketing and helped shape R&A into the company it is today. We wanted to share more on how we thrived in the furniture industry since 1984.
Rick grew the business from a single-media production house to a vibrant strategy company. He helped many retailers through the recession and other tough situations. Rick is enjoying retirement now, but the new generation at R&A will always have his wisdom and experience to draw on. And more importantly, because Rick’s devotion to clients is a value shared by every employee at R&A, his legacy is in good hands.
In 1984, R&A was started by Ken Roberts as a creative production house for the newspaper. Meanwhile, Rick Doran was working for Tracy Wells in appliance marketing. He utilized Ken’s business for inserts and newspaper ads, building a strong business relationship with Ken. In 1987, Rick went to R&A as Ken’s partner to handle the strategy side of the business while Ken focused on being a creative production resource. In 1989 Rick bought the business because he loved what he was doing and saw potential in the growing the strategy that R&A could offer.
Over the years, Rick began to really love building marketing strategies for furniture. Many of the appliance stores he marketed for while working at Tracy Wells also carried furniture. It was a natural transition because the retail environment was similar to his own experience.
“They need to move forward based off of what is best in their market place. Don’t just follow suit. We know the marketplace and we know the industry.”
One of the driving forces behind R&A Marketing has always been changing. When asked what piece of advice Rick would give to retailers over the years, he says, “They need to move forward based off of what is best in their market place. Don’t just follow suit. We know the marketplace and we know the industry.”.
Rick says that some of the biggest challenges he has faced in this industry were adjusting and fighting the mandates from manufacturers, but R&A always figured out a way to overcome these obstacles. One of those changes was pushing R&A to be the first marketing agency in the industry to offer full-color and customizable newspaper inserts instead of relying on what was provided by manufacturers
So in the early ‘90s, R&A offered more products like TV, newspaper, and radio, but with the advent of computers in the business world, R&A was truly able to build comprehensive marketing strategies for clients. No longer having to build calendars by hand allowed R&A to build a real-time strategy for its clients.
Overcoming the recession…
In 2005, R&A was in full swing as an all-inclusive strategy agency and enjoyed the biggest year since 1987. Rick saw this as a sign that a recession was immanent and told his account executives to start preparing their clients for leaner times. When 2007 hit, R&A encouraged clients to use unique high impact strategies to help bring in all potential customers they could to their client’s stores
Then in 2009 two things happened: social media began cropping up as a low-cost advertising vehicle, and Kyle Doran began officially working at R&A Marketing. Rick saw how he had been able to push R&A to change with new media in the early ‘90s and knew that Kyle would be able to do the same thing for R&A two decades later. In 2011, Kyle and his brother Kevin took over R&A and began offering social media marketing as one of their primary services. The two continue to discover new ways to decrease the cost of marketing with innovative digital solutions while maintaining the R&A tradition of beautiful, custom inserts and print media.
When asked what Rick loved most about his job, he says that he loved to help retailers. He enjoyed that he could help them get what they wanted out of life. R&A likes working with small businesses because we know we are making an impact on the families that own the business and the people who work for them.
As for staying in business for 30 years, Rick says that as a small business owner himself he never took too much credit when things went well or shouldered all the blame when they didn’t. By creating two-way partnerships with clients that allowed for back and forth by either party, R&A built trust that led to results.