When Amy Osmond Cook first got into the marketing industry, she had one overarching goal – To help her customers succeed in their respective businesses through the power of creative communication. While Amy may have founded Stage Marketing back in 2008 as a friendly challenge made by her husband, she could have never imagined the heights it would go to and the opportunities it would present her with down the line.
Though Amy’s path had humble beginnings, it transpired into one of the most inspiring career stories ever. Fuelled by a passion for creating innovative communication and digital strategies and always putting her customers first, for Amy Cook, it’s all about generating the highest quality results through the flexible, affordable and transparent dealings with her customers and her team.
At present, Amy holds the prestigious position of Chief Marketing Officer for Simplus, a Platinum Salesforce Partner and the industry leader in Quote-to-Cash implementations, representing 17 nationalities and 20 languages on four continents.
The year was 2002. A newly divorced, 26-year-old Amy suddenly found herself along with her two kids and a pile of debt, living in one room of her parents’ basement while trying to get through grad school. “I found my husband a few years later, got married, and moved to California. We had three more kids, and life was good. In 2008, my husband landed a lucrative job at Lehman Brothers, and I thought our financial problems were over. One month later, they filed for bankruptcy in the 2008 sub-prime mortgage crisis,” shares Amy.
Having already completed her M.A., English, Rhetoric and Composition, Amy had developed a flair for writing and honed her ability to create personalized content and communication strategies for organizations. She started taking content writing jobs on the side to support her family and, when several months later she and her husband received a $10,000 tax return, they decided to take $5000 each “and see who can make the most money with it.”
“Challenge accepted. My husband took his share and invested in real estate. I took my half and started Stage Marketing. Guess who won the challenge? (Wink, wink!)”
Looking back, today Amy fondly remembers how she slowly but steadily assembled a team of some of the best marketers and communication specialists in the area. From hiring her first part-time employee many years ago, Stage has now matured into a team of more than 50 employees, operating from various parts of the country, including the Philippines and South America. “In many ways this has been a dream journey. I remember how unbelievably thrilled I was (and scared) when my first part-time employee asked to come on board full time. My husband and I looked at each other, gulped, and said, “Grow or die, right?”
And grow she did. Presently, Forbes recognizes Amy as an editor and writer with experience in nearly all types of writing—from blogs to articles to full-length books. She received her BA and MA in English and her Ph.D. in Communication. She is an adjunct faculty member at BYU-Hawaii and has taught business and communication courses at BYU, University of Utah, and ASU intermittently for the past 25 years. Amy is a columnist for the Daily Herald and a regular contributor to Forbes, the Orange County Register, and other publications. She received her doctorate from the University of Utah in Organizational Communication.
When she isn’t writing, Amy is usually driving her five kids to their various music and sports lessons, playing the violin or binge-watching shows with her husband.
Stepping into the Spotlight
Over the years Stage marketing broke all boundaries of traditional marketing and communication and established itself as one of the most comprehensive and modern marketing solution providers. Guided by values of kindness and grit, the company made its mark among other marketing giants in the areas of strategic services and experiential marketing.
“For the past 13 years, we’ve tried every day to live the values of kindness, quality, flexibility and especially grit as we have grown this company little by little. It’s not by accident that those values are the four core values of our company,” says Amy.
The differentiator for Stage has been their capability to help customers think in terms of their own customers’ journeys, in order to market profitably and effectively. Aptly named for its expertise in live, on-stage events, its focus on the customer journey; and its strategic, digital transformation consulting, Stage is a full-fledged marketing solutions provider. Owing to its ingenuity and pathbreaking solutions, Stage Marketing is a HubSpot Platinum Partner and Google Partner as well.
Amy further goes to state that there is no agency who can deliver high-quality services with the flexibility, affordability, and transparency that Stage offers. She explains “In terms of flexibility, we are able to pivot from service to service easily with our blended rate.” What this means is that if a client needs a website overhaul in one month and an event managed the next month, Stage’s blended rate would allow them to be able to pivot quickly and easily without additional costs.
“Our affordability is centered in the fact that we view employees–not other agencies–as our competition.” Stage Marketing employees have often gone above and beyond the call of duty, sometimes even providing a five-person team for the price of one in-house person. For this team of marketers, the goal is always to do a stellar job and bring a smile to the client’s face.Finally, to distinguish themselves from agencies who hide pricing in retainers, “we provide a record of every hour and every project so companies can see exactly what they received in exchange for their money,” shares she.
These values combined, not only give the Stage team an upper hand in providing only the highest quality marketing services, but also enables them to do so with some of the most competitive pricing ever.
An Opportunity Comes Knocking
After many years of running Stage Marketing, propelling it to an organization of National recognition, a breakthrough opportunity came knocking at Amy’s door. “In 2017, a client I’d worked with, Ryan Westwood, CEO of Simplus, asked if I would leave Stage Marketing and join the marketing team at Simplus, a Platinum Salesforce partner specializing in quote-to-cash implementations. It took me about one second to say yes.” Leaving Stage Marketing in the hands of trusted leadership, Amy joined Simplus as Vice President of Marketing.
At Simplus Amy handles the Salesforce quote-to-cash advisory and implementation for their many clients across the globe. She says “this experience opened my eyes to many things I hadn’t known before–how to market in a fast-growing start-up environment; how to work alongside other departments for mutual success; how to work with enterprise customers; and how to measure success with pipeline and bookings, not just leads.”
Quickly rising through the ranks, at Simplus, Amy led the marketing efforts from Series A through acquisition, helping the company achieve a 3-year growth rate of 1,578% and acquire seven companies before being acquired by Infosys for $250M. Within two years of joining, she got promoted to Chief Marketing Officer for the organization. “What a fantastic opportunity this has been to grow and learn with an amazing company–that I might have missed out on had I not been open to new adventures. I am now part of the Infosys team and am again drinking from a firehose as I continue to learn to market in new environments and industries.”
It would be safe to say that over the course of a few, dedicated and resilient years, Amy Cook has gathered enough career as well as life experiences for a lifetime. Having begun her career out of sheer necessity and creating her own path to success, Amy has emerged as a revered icon of modern-day marketing and digital transformation.
Her perspective of always putting her customers and her employees’ needs before hers, have remained a constant factor in her life and contributed massively to her growth. “Growth is entirely based on customer satisfaction. Every single customer, no matter how small, is important. And every employee, no matter how young or inexperienced, is given the opportunity to grow. I believe in a fully merit-based system, where you will find incredible people and business professionals in places that you least expect,” says Amy.
Looking ahead, Amy remains committed to reach greater heights, driving enterprise-wide digital transformation for the modern enterprise. “At Simplus/Infosys, our goal is to reach $1B in Salesforce consulting services revenue in three years. I’m excited about driving to that goal,” states she.
The future of experiential marketing is also very strong. In a post-pandemic world, with so many people being tired of being online, people are itching to get out and socialise. As organizations resume operations, essential events and get-togethers are now picking up where they left from. A combination of digital transformation and experiential marketing provides the best of both worlds for individual and organisational development.
“It’s no accident that, at Simplus, we are Salesforce Summit Partners, and Stage is a HubSpot Platinum Partner. When technology and marketing work together, the results can be outstanding.”
A Message to the Women Workforce
To women entrepreneurs creating their own paths to success Amy says “there are no roadblocks that you cannot overcome. And people really want to help you. If you have a desire to grow, a willingness to work hard, an openness to learning, and a growth mindset, you can achieve anything.”