Originally from Lexington, Kentucky, Stacy Cook, founder of Vero Beach Marketing, Vero Vine and Vero Beach Foodie, moved from Miami to Vero Beach in 2011. At the time, Cook was still working for a large, privately held dating company. He managed various dating and community websites, including $4.5 Million per year in ad spend on Google and Facebook. Cook's previous experience includes Managing Director for Edit-X, Vice President of Development for iHigh.com and Internet Development for Host Communications. Cook's background and his reason for moving to Vero Beach are what ultimately led him to launch his three ventures.
"I used to vacation in Vero Beach," he said. "I love the area and decided it was time to slow down the pace of life and find a good place to raise children. Before I founded Vero Beach Marketing and Vero Vine in March of 2014, I took a couple years off to reflect on things and really be purposeful about my next move. I wanted to give something back to the community. I saw an opportunity to do that through promoting local businesses, creating an online directory and showcasing local events through the online calendar."
Vero Beach Marketing provides digital marketing and media services including mobile web design, social media consulting, app marketing, video production and web hosting, but Cook also provides a la carte ad services and classes on Google Analytics, Google and Facebook marketing, event speaker and creating the right images for maximum customer engagement. Vero Beach Marketing is for any business owner looking for an edge with modern mobile and digital media marketing.
Vero Vine promotes local business for free and only shares positive media. When Cook first launched the online directory, he made a big splash with the local community. Today, he continues to make an impact with photo contests and monthly prizes, sponsored by local businesses, along with tens of thousands of monthly visitors utilizing the up-to-date calendar of events. "I didn't set out to make money with Vero Vine and that made it real," he said. "That's very important to me."
Cook's newest venture, Vero Beach Foodie, launched two years ago. Their 'food guy', Thomas Miller, a Google Maps Local Guide with a foodie tribe of over 3,000 locals, provides unbiased food reviews of restaurants up and down the Treasure Coast. They also do VIP ticketed events and host meetups at different restaurants.
Cook enjoys the dynamic nature of his work and the fact that he gets to work with many different clients. His projects are never boring or monotonous and they give him, a self-proclaimed analytics junky, an opportunity to look at the numbers, test and analyze results, make changes and analyze again. He loves the challenges that come with that type of work. Cook is making an impact in his local community while effectively driving traffic and interest to Vero Beach Marketing, but it wasn't that straightforward in the beginning.
"It's a really technical field," he said. "Getting people to understand what you do and at what level has always been the biggest challenge. A lot of customers expect quick results. What they need to understand is that when you're building a brand, the phone doesn't ring right away. Some clients won't last because they don't understand that. Another challenge is to change the allocation of print dollars to digital dollars. It's a tough sell in smaller local markets like Vero Beach, but it's coming around. I know that marketing is simply consistency over time, so I don't give up. The classes we provide are helping our customers to understand that."
Cook offers up some great advice for aspiring entrepreneurs. "If you're thinking about starting your own business, you should do it," he said. "Take the plunge now so you don't have regrets later. You can always go get another job if things don't work out. You never want to regret not taking action."