CLIFTON PARK — After more than two decades of extensive work in the local marketing field, including 10 plus at Saratoga Casino Hotel, Rita Cox is finally taking things at her own pace.
Cox studied English at Dickinson College and had plans to become a lawyer, but her plans changed when she joined the college radio station and found herself taking an interest in marketing. And that became her career.
Cox was employed by the hotel from December 2003 to September 2016, ending as senior vice president of marketing.
But now she has steered her life in a direction that is at the same time new and familiar with the opening of her own marketing firm, Cox Marketing Solutions LLC in Clifton Park.
When she left her job in Saratoga, took a breather to figure what her next steps would be. She spent a lot of time thinking about things that might bring her fulfillment, and also analyzing what projects she would be interested in pursuing.
The Clifton Park resident said that many of her friends told her that starting her own business would be the logical next step. After meeting with colleagues who had started their own businesses, she decided that her skills would be best suited to having her own firm as well.
“I just really felt like now is the time to do this, and I want to work for me. I want to work on a variety of things so that I can keep learning and evolving,” Cox said.
She officially started Cox Marketing last summer, and since then has held onto her goal of helping her clients form close relationships with their customers.
“Nowadays, when there’s so much clutter and fragmentation in media and in the way people consume information, it’s more important than ever to find ways to cut through that clutter,” she said.
Cox said that while she provides her services to companies in various fields, the common denominator that they mostly have large, loyal audiences and are hoping to reach new customers as well.
Instead of hiring employees, Cox brings in experts from different companies around the Capital Region to assist on projects.
Many of those contributors are people she knows from her previous job, who specialize in fields such as social media and branding.
“I have a large group of experts in those fields that I can tap into based on any one client,” she said. “It’s about putting together the right team.”
Making the switch from working for a large corporation to running a small and independently owned business was not a transition that Cox struggled with. Working at the pace that’s right for her clients is something she enjoys, as is having a range of things to work on at any given time.
Helping her make the switch was the fact that she already had years of experience in the field, and with the people now working with her.
“You have to be ready for it. I was at a point in my career where it felt right, and it was time, so it was an easy decision to make when I made it,” Cox said. “There’s things about it that were difficult, but I find that I’m working harder and enjoying it more.”
For Cox, all of her past experiences have helped shape her business, but her work at the hotel is something she carries with her because her goals are in line with how that company treated its customers.
The hotel, she said, does a tremendous job of engaging their customers, which results in strong loyalty. Focusing on good customer relationships is something all businesses must prioritize if they wish to thrive.
But even though Cox entered the realm of owning her own business with an arsenal of her own skills, she noted that the field of marketing has shifted greatly over the past few decades and will likely keep shifting.
When she started her marketing journey, Cox said, it was much simpler, with fewer television and radio stations, and no internet.
Now, the volumes of messages coming out to people has increased, which has led to more ways to do marketing, and more and more firms specializing in those endeavors.
The increase in marketing firms doesn’t necessarily mean a saturation exists.
“It seems like there are a lot, and there are, but there are so many more things to be done,” she said.
Ultimately, Cox knows her business and goals well. She doesn’t plan on becoming a large, faceless business that loses its personal connection to its clients.
“I did not start this with the idea of becoming a large agency with a lot of employees,” she said. “That’s not my goal.”
More important for Cox is the ability to stay where her services are needed most and to embark on long-term relationships with clients.
“The clients that I’m working with understand that there are things they can do better, and that’s why they want to work with me,” Cox said.