Clanin Marketing started as a college student’s idea and has since turned into a fully-fledged marketing and creative agency located in the historic Orpheum Theatre in downtown Champaign. From working with clients across the Midwest to producing statewide workforce development campaigns and rebranding cities, this young company taken the path to success. We got a chance to sit down with Clanin Marketing’s founder and owner, Scott Clanin, who shared some of his top marketing tips with us and stressed the importance of networking.
Tell us about yourself and how you got started with Clanin Marketing?
Hi there! My name is Scott Clanin and I live in Champaign with my husband, Zach. I moved to the community in 2012 for my job out of college, where I worked as the marketing manager for a property development company for a handful of years. While I was in college, I had started writing a business plan for my company that focused on helping businesses navigate the world of social media. During my time in college, social media for businesses was like the wild west. Very little was known about this new marketing medium and I wanted to develop a company that helped companies navigate these exciting new platforms.
In 2015, I started bringing that business plan to life, by working nights outside of my full-time job. From there we just continued to grow for a number of years until 2017 when I went full time with it. During this time, we got involved with the City of Champaign’s small business incentive program where we became a vendor and helped local entrepreneurs build brands and websites. We started out of the guest bedroom of my home and then moved to Lodgic for a little over a year before outgrowing the space and moving to the second floor of the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Champaign in February of 2022.
While we started in the world of digital marketing, our agency now offers services in branding, graphic design, website development, and video production.
How has your location in downtown Champaign benefited your business?
I knew from the beginning that we always wanted to be downtown. We serve clients across east central Illinois but we do have a number of clients across the Midwest in Indiana, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Iowa so we wanted a location that was centrally located and easy to find. Plus, we wanted to be part of the downtown’s exciting atmosphere. When this space came available, we knew that we wanted to move on it quickly and now that we’re here, we’re loving it. It’s nice having a physical space when people want to get off Zoom and meet in person. We love conducting meetings up here then walking clients to lunch or coffee with so many great options just walking distance from us. It’s a great place to be!
Can you tell us about any exciting campaigns you’re working on right now?
Yes! Right now, we’re helping the Habitat for Humanity ReStore with their move campaign helping them spread awareness of their new location (1914 Glenn Park Drive in Champaign!) We’re helping manage a variety of campaign mediums and conducted a couple of photoshoots at both their old and new location which was really fun.
Lately we have also been doing a lot of work with the Illinois aggregate industry. We helped design and build a statewide workforce campaign which helps combat common misconceptions of their industry while promoting all of the exciting available careers. Other states took notice and our campaign has now been implemented in the Iowa, Minnesota, and Missouri aggregate industries which is very exciting.
Finally, we just wrapped up a rebranding project for the City of Monticello, where we rebranded the City, the Chamber of Commerce, Main Street Monticello, and their tourism arm, Make It Monticello. This yearlong process included a lot of research, focus groups, writing, and design work to develop strong messaging and identities for each organization. We love how this turned out!
What is a marketing tip that you would share with local businesses that could help increase their business and visibility in our community?
Nothing beats free and we always recommend starting with no-cost resources. Our friends at the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Champaign County EDC offer incredible advisory support to help start and grow your business. This is where I started when I wanted to get up and going. Plus, they offer a variety of free webinars throughout the year from getting your business started, marketing tips, and more!
For digital marketing assistance, we refer a lot of clients to Meta Blueprint and Grow with Google. These free online resources offers a variety of self-pace and step-by-step tutorials that can help you build your digital marketing knowledge.
We also offer a free newsletter on our website, www.claninmarketing.com, where we share tips and tricks of what we’re seeing in the industry, discuss new things that are rolling out in the world of marketing.
What advice would you give to students looking to go into the marketing field.
I would certainly recommend looking into a variety of internship programs, marketing certifications online, and simply connecting with local businesses. It also doesn’t hurt to come out to a networking event and just mingle with other business owners. That’s one of the ways I got started was simply being part of our local community and connecting with many different local business owners. This helped me understand what businesses struggled with in the world of marketing and adjust our services to serve our local market.
How has being a member of Champaign Center Partnership affected your relationship to the community around you?
Champaign Central Partnership has been a tremendous help to us! I’ve been active in the organization since 2012 and I really enjoy the community newsletters, local events, and business networking opportunities. We actually helped create the “Heart of It All” campaign last summer which helped us meet many local businesses in our own backyard. If you haven’t joined the CCP, I would definitely recommend it!
Is there anything you would like the community to know?
We understand the world of marketing and branding can be challenging. We’re a small team that’s focused on client relationships and pride ourselves on offering tailored solutions for each of our clients. If you’ve struggled with branding, marketing, or storytelling, we’d love to connect!