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Marketing in the ‘real’ world


CEDARVILLE — When most people think of entrepreneurship, the first thing that comes to mind is the word “product.” Coming up with a product that is unique and creative can be challenging for future business owners.

On the other hand, starting her own marketing agency became a reality for Alexis Barth, a senior marketing major at Cedarville University. However, it was not until six months ago that the Kearney, Nebraska, native first thought of starting her own business. It was her passion for marketing, which began as a senior in high school, that led Barth to pursue a degree in marketing at Cedarville University in Ohio.

What pushed Barth toward opening her marketing agency was the encouragement and classroom instruction by Dr. Kary Oberbrunner. The different assignments in the class allowed Barth to work through different ideas until she landed in creating a marketing agency.

“For one of our projects in Dr. Oberbrunner’s class, we created a story brand, and I decided to create it for a hypothetical marketing agency,” Barth said. “This is when it really struck me that I could help people through marketing and realized that I can do this for my career.”

Taking her vision to classmates and professors, Barth’s marketing agency idea began to crystallize in her mind. She realized how many people need a faith-focused marketing agency, and her excitement to provide this kind of service energized her to begin her marketing firm — Real Marketing.

“I have always thought about it hypothetically and not about actually doing it, but the agency became more of a reality when I started the entrepreneurship class this semester,” Barth said. “The goal of this class is to finish the semester with a minimum viable product and to encourage students to start and become active in the entrepreneurship world.”

Oberbrunner’s entrepreneurship class inspired Barth to take the risk and become an entrepreneur — and the leader of an innovative marketing agency.

“Guest speakers in this class always say, ‘you just have to start,’ and so I did,” Barth said. “It was a bit scary, but I still decided to announce the launch of Real Marketing, and since have been working on different projects with several people in different ways.”

She admits that starting a marketing firm while she is still in college may give her a competitive advantage once she graduates.

“The classes that I am taking now at Cedarville are giving me practical content that I can apply to help the agency grow,” Barth said. “I have been able to directly apply what I am being taught in class as I am still studying and learning from great professors. As a result, my confidence continues to increase as I move closer to graduation.”

Currently, the agency focuses on marketing consulting, but Barth’s plan is to expand the firm into a full-service agency by making connections and employing more people, including photographers, graphic designers and copywriters.

Starting a new business takes vision, energy and confidence, all qualities Barth exudes.

“Fear of the unknown has been the biggest challenge for me to overcome since I don’t know what’s coming or what things will look like in a couple of months,” Barth said. “But in spite of the normal fears of owning my own business, I am confident in my creative abilities to develop relationships with clients and employees. Serving others through creative energy drives me toward professional excellence.”