Marketing Minds: Vanessa Baker – Owner @ Fast Forward Marketing

One of the best ways to evolve as a marketing professional is to generate, collaborate, and nurture ideas among like-minded peers. This post is part of a blog series called “Marketing Minds,” where I solicit thoughts and ideas from cutting-edge marketing leaders and post them on PuzzleMarketer.com. Below is an interview with a true marketing thought leader.


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Vanessa Baker

Owner @ Fast Forward Marketing

Vanessa Baker is the owner of Fast Forward Marketing in Crystal Lake, IL. We are a friendly and focused local resource for digital marketing and advertising. On a typical day, you will find us speaking with small businesses about how to drive sales using digital marketing including: * Search Engine Optimization Best Practices * Social Media * Online Video * Online Display Ad Management including Behavioral Targeting * Website Development and Maintenance * Email Marketing * Blogging * Press Releases * Reputation Management * Search Engine Marketing (Google Adwords) Winner of Shaw Media “Best Under 40”, received Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce “Presidential Award of Excellence” and New Business of the Year award from the Algonquin/Lake in the Hills Chamber of Commerce.

What brought you into the field of marketing (tell your story) and what makes you feel so passionately about it?:

For us- it is all about relationships. There is something so special about walking into a local business, and being greeted with a warm handshake or hug from a client. It feels good to know that you are helping someone in a real and concrete way with their small business.

As marketers, we’re constantly seeking for the right tactics or channels to propel our organizations forward. Which tactics or channels have recently surprised you as a viable source of qualified leads?:

We have been very lucky recently to develop strategic partnerships with other strategic marketing consulting firms and technology firms.

We’ve all seen the influx of marketing technology that has been created over the last decade. Which technology has been most impactful to you as you plan, launch, or measure your marketing campaigns?:

We have to keep track of 24 different clients’s campaigns, which can get overwhelming! Love Evernote to capture ideas, meeting notes, business cards- it is easy to find again when we need to work on a project. Also, we are in the process of becoming certified in Google Analytics, as it is the cornerstone to any campaign.

Looking forward… What forces (social,economic, political, or cultural) do you see having the biggest effect on your marketing in 2017 and what are your plans to address them?:

My small business clients depend on a local healthy economy. My plans to help us have a local health economy include helping my small businesses sell more products and services while saving money on marketing, and volunteering at local community events and with my local Chamber of Commerce to increase the quality of life for our community.

If you could give one piece of advice to a college graduate who just took their first job in marketing, what would you say to them?:

I would say “Work hard. Stay humble.”


If you are a business owner looking for a local trusted resource to help you with digital marketing in the McHenry County in IL, check out Fast Forward Marketing! We also publish a local political conversation site at MchenryCountyVoter.com.