What if you had access to a talented and driven workforce that all of your competitors had foolishly overlooked?
It’s a question that Lisa Kent answered when she founded her strategic consulting and marketing company, The Luminations Group, back in 2003. Then, she had the ingenious idea of drawing from the best and brightest women who had left the full-time workplace to devote themselves to their families. Where other companies had no place for these workers, Kent saw an opportunity.
“When you draw from a group of bright women seeking flexible work arrangements, it opens an incredible pool of talent that others couldn’t access: seasoned, senior, energetic, big thinkers, who don’t want to work 7am to 9pm due to family obligations or personal reasons,” Kent tells Ivy Exec. “It makes it possible for these women to do great work with blue chip clients that might not be able to hire them otherwise.”
She created this freelance talent pool she calls FleXforce® in response to requests from clients that she be able to embed a marketer within their organization for a period of time. Now, these experienced freelancers, all with more than a decade of experience, are on call for Kent’s clients when they need an expert on hand but don’t have the time or resources to bring on a full-time new hire of their own.
“Our clients would tell you, they never feel that the Luminations team is part-time,” she says. “They feel that they have 100% of their marketer whenever they need her or him.”
FleXforce® has provided innovative solutions for a range of clients. From creating marketing materials for expectant mothers’ site BabyCenter to cultivating strategies for new consumer products from Nestlé to placing a marketer in the world’s top umbilical cord stem cell bank to act as interim VP of Marketing, the offerings Kent is able to provide through FleXforce® are unique and tailored to a wide range of client needs.
While her FleXforce® freelancers often work remotely, some do take up residence at clients’ offices in person. It depends on what a client wants and needs. Either way, Kent has the utmost confidence in her team.
“Our virtual work rivals the great caliber of work performed in person,” she says assuredly. “We always want to ensure that we’re delivering 1000% to our clients and we dig deep to contribute in this way. We want them to say they received dazzling results. Clients should expect us to understand their brands, consumers, and customers just as they’d expect from a permanent team member.”
Kent’s FleXforce® innovation has made the Luminations Group especially competitive in recent years.
“Since 2008, companies have shrunk their internal resources and people are stretched,” she explains how there are now fewer employees at many corporations to take on big-picture projects. More worrying, perhaps, is the fact that with limited resources, there is less time to dedicate to long-term strategic planning and innovation. That’s where the Luminations Group comes in.
“We offer innovation and insight generation services too, as collaborative solutions with our clients. They can fit our range of services into their long-term strategies and shorter-term tactical plans,” says Kent.
For her part, Kent is also making sure to keep her own company’s long-term development top of mind.
“We’re constantly evolving so that our services are relevant and ahead of the curve,” she says. “We’re always on the lookout for what’s going to be the next major need in the market.” Lately, this has involved extensive online listening via their Searchlight SocialScan® process and many demands for training in marketing and business modeling.
Outside of the FleXforce® group, Kent has been able to engage this type of ingenuity in offering her firm’s services to an incredibly diverse array of companies from Arm & Hammer and Amazon to CeraVe® or Weight Watchers. To remain competitive for these top-tier companies, Kent says that she approaches her industry with an academic mindset so that she can make the most educated guesses at what marketing will need to be by the year 2020 and ensure her team is ahead of the game.
“As the world of digital marketing evolves, we evolve with it. We want to be an outstanding resource to clients,” she says.
Today, after nearly 15 years in business, Kent says her team has tackled many of the major strategic marketing challenges out there. “We take each challenge seriously but aren’t afraid because our process works.”
“We are just as comfortable handling blue sky innovation as we are making sure a new product gets to Walmart on time,” she says. “We have a unique tactical and strategic approach that helps us to stand in our clients’ shoes.”
Going forward, Kent says she plans to keep on mentoring other women in her industry. Nothing makes her happier than helping talented women succeed. She’s particularly inspired by start-up founders and entrepreneurs and looks forward to bringing her passion and creativity to new and established brands in the future.