A message from Susan Coward, founder of Big Ears Strategic Marketing, San Luis Obispo, CA.

I founded Big Ears Strategic Marketing in 2008, but my passion for marketing started in about 1970. When I was just a tyke, I knew I would go into advertising. I pictured myself on Madison Avenue. I watched ads. I memorized jingles. I made up ad campaigns. Darrin Stephens on Bewitched had my dream job.

In elementary school, my favorite projects were the ones that asked us to sell things. I remember designing a menu for a spooky Halloween-themed diner. The dessert special was Barfarian Cream Pie served with Screaming Hot Cough-ee. I collected Wacky Packages stickers and cards, examining every single detail on every single one of them, sometimes until my mom came in and turned off the light. I started writing. I wrote and I wrote.

I studied journalism and public relations in college, but I realized something was missing. A few things, really. The first thing was the challenge. I wanted more. The second thing was the zeros on the paychecks, which were suspiciously absent in the journalism field.

So I went back to school to study business management.  I learned about management and supervisory development, finance, theory and strategy. I was hooked. I really liked it. I understood it. It offered challenge, required analysis and made a lot of sense.

I enjoyed working in business for years. But I never abandoned my first love, marketing. In fact, as I became a better manager, I studied marketing more and more. Finally, in 1995, I took the plunge. I started my first marketing firm from my home in San Luis Obispo.  Within a year, one of my clients asked me if I’d consider combining my marketing and business skills to run a company based on some exciting new technology: the internet. I was fascinated. I was soon running one of the first non-profit community access networks in the country, managing the organization’s ISP, and creating a community technology center. I became active in the community networking and community media movements. I learned a ton.

When I left that job five years later (to enjoy more time with the sweetest child in the universe), I returned to marketing. When my son went to school, it was time to get serious about the dream.

I called on industry professionals I’d grown to admire over the years. I built a network of talented, forward-thinking designers, researchers and management consultants. I do most of the research, planning, concept development, copywriting and public relations for my clients, but I also rely on the best of the best on California’s Central Coast to contribute and assist in the work I do. I choose carefully, matching the needs of each project to the people with the best skills and experience.

Big Ears Strategic Marketing was born of lifelong learning and passion. Every client and every challenge excites me and reminds me that I am doing what I was meant to do.  I combine proven marketing methods, sound business practices and creative inspiration to help businesses reach their potential. In doing so, I have realized my own.

Cheers, Big Ears!