Andrea Walker

Finds Her Stride As A Young Entrepreneur

by Kara Kennedy

During her college years, Andrea Walker began working in television, but soon discovered that she was destined to become an entrepreneur. For almost 2 years,  she is working hard to accomplish her entrepreneurial goals with her company W. Social Marketing.   Walker’s company works directly with clients on PR and marketing campaigns that integrate social media, a new arm of the industry.
“It’s been a whirlwind watching the communications industry, including media change so fast and so much with the introduction of social media, “ said Andrea Walker.   Andrea believes that companies have recognized the trend that they need to place more emphasis on reaching customers by directly targeting their Public Relations and advertising efforts.   She went on to say that she believes that PR professionals are going to have to upgrade their technology skills in order to compete in the industry.   As many PR professionals believe, Andrea feels that companies should look at how to integrate social media into their over-all marketing campaigns, meaning they should be a component that enhances traditional ways of marketing.
“It’s important, when looking at an overall marketing plan, that companies actually take the time and explore the many different social media tools available, because we’re not just talking about social networking,” she added.   Andrea helps companies figure these things out by outlining strategy and social media marketing plans that they can implement along with their overall product marketing.  Andrea’s true calling is to work with companies to help them build relationships with their customers.  Social Media for the most part is helping to endure customers to brands, and Andrea goes on to say that even in the digital world, you have to have a good idea of what resonates with your customers, and provide them with interesting and resourceful content.
I asked her what she thought were the challenges being a woman business owner?  “I don’t believe it’s so much being a woman–owned business, but my youth can be both good and challenging aspects.” As a 26 year-old she states that it is sometimes hard to get a foot-in- the-door or it’s hard because “20-somethings are really still trying to grow up and figure out who they are,” she added.  “I have to know my strengths and be open to learning new things.”
However and despite what she views as a challenge, Andrea does admit that her life has become richer in many ways because she has had the opportunity to meet new and interesting people.  As technology continues to advance Andrea believes that we will see more “social selling” and social media being used by customers when they purchase. Smartphones also play a huge role in what we will see in marketing trends for companies, but the caveat is that the companies have to be strategic in the way they use these tools.  Mobile marketing, Andrea adds, is one of the areas that will continue to grow at rapid pace as it relates to consumer marketing.  “I hope to grow my company in the area of mobile marketing,” said Andrea.
Andrea also heads up the Women’s Series, which is an arm of the Birmingham Entrepreneur’s organization.  The Women’s Series was formed in order to help women entrepreneurs with other small business owners. Andrea added, “I intend for women in the group to network in order to learn about themselves and their business.”   Andrea hopes to grow this segment of the Birmingham Entrepreneurs so that women have a resource when they go into business.
As I often do, I asked her what advice she would give to someone who would like to follow in her footsteps, and the thing she stressed most was that you have to have “market validation,” which she says means, “you have to make sure that there is a need for whatever product or service you are trying to offer as a business.”   In addition, she stated that you will have failures when you own your own business, and with those failures,  she states, “will come success.”
She concluded by saying that one of the biggest lessons she has learned is that you can’t be afraid to ask for help because no small business owner has all of the answers.  “Birmingham has a wonderful entrepreneurial community, with resources and people who are willing to give you help. Don’t be afraid to ask.”

Kara Kennedy

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