HERRIN — While it may sound cliché, Nic Skovgaard says he is living the dream. Well, more accurately, his childhood dream. While other kids in his Carbondale neighborhood may have been fantasizing of heroics on the athletic field or of a career as a singer, Skovgaard had other aspirations.
“When I was a little kid, I just always wanted to be the guy who came up with the ideas for the advertisements I saw on TV,” he said.
After graduating from Southern Illinois University Carbondale with a degree in public relations, and after working in tourism and advertising, he launched Alter Ego Marketing in 2014 and became the idea guy behind not only television advertisements, but a wide-range of marketing, branding and promotion for dozens of companies.
“I realized somewhere along the way that the particular job (of being the TV idea person) didn’t really exist,” he said, adding that instead, he brings clients a big-picture look at marketing, involving everything from product lines and packaging to promotional avenues ranging from traditional advertising to other forms of publicity including billboards, social media and sponsorship.
“The conversation we have with clients all of the time is to determine the highest and best use of every dollar in their marketing budget,” he said. “We have to remember that what they are doing might work, but it also might be much more effective to be doing something else.”
Skovgaard says the answers and techniques are as different as the clients for the Herrin-based company.
“I try to be the person who gives them unbiased advice across the board on everything that has to do with their business and marketing,” he said. “I don’t want to be limited in options and I want to be able to offer the entire spectrum of marketing solutions and strategies that a business may need.”
He describes himself and his firm as “advocates” clients.
“I like figuring out what makes businesses tick and where they need to go from there,” he said. “If what a company really needs is sales training, I want to be able to provide it; if it’s a website they need, I want to be able to do that; if it’s an ad campaign, we’ll handle that, too.”
He says he works with other professionals including copywriters, web designers and graphic artists to provide content for customers.
Skovgaard says the name Alter Ego Marketing harkens to Clark Kent’s alter ego as Superman.
“It’s the idea that there is an amazing version of you or your brand that is just waiting to be released. It’s fitting all of the pieces together to build that brand and tell the story the right way to really enable a business to become something much larger,” he said.
He begins by trying to really understand a business or brand and then sharing what he calls their truths.
“I think that the best marketing that's out there is something that's really truthful, something that's absolutely genuine,” he said. “It looks and feels real because it is. And I think that people connect with those brands and those companies that share their belief systems.”
Skovgaard says Alter Ego works to keep clients ahead of the ever-changing media and marketing landscape.
“People consume media differently now than they ever have before,” he said. “There are more resources for news and entertainment content than ever before. Contrary to popular belief, traditional media is absolutely not dead, but it’s silly to believe that you can reach all of the people that you need to reach with just one media tool.”
He also says he wants clients to take a long-term look at their marketing.
“We want to see clients stop looking at the short term or one campaign and instead, fous on what they really want to tell customers and developing it all into a cohesive marketing strategy focused on the same goal and going the same direction.”