GRAND HAVEN — Waking up in the morning and wanting to go to work, getting there and loving it and having fun all day — three things everyone wants in a day’s work, but things which few people get.
That is unless you are Randy Borns, founder and president of Borns LLC, a marketing communications firm dealing in business-to-business marketing.
Borns started in the advertising and marketing arena when most other kids his age were bagging groceries at the local grocery store. With a love for art and a drive to work hard, he succeeded at numerous small newspapers throughout the Muskegon area.
Then he landed a job with the furniture company Shaw Walker, which is now Knoll.
“At Shaw Walker I had a great experience, and my first experience with B2B marketing. I was continually learning on the job and they added to that by helping to pay for me to go to Kendall,” said Borns.
After four years with Shaw Walker, Borns was pondering packing up and heading to Colorado. At about the same time he was asked to prepare an annual report for a large company in the area.
“This was the chance of a lifetime and I couldn’t turn it down, so Colorado was put on the back burner.”
The rest, as they say, is history.
Clients such as Art Optical, Jost, Fogg and Cole’s Quality Foods came on board when Borns decided to stay in West Michigan and begin his own firm, Borns Design. He also moved the office to Grand Haven at the same time.
“I had seven years under my belt and had some name recognition and felt I was ready to go out on my own and do it in Grand Haven. I have now been here (in the Piano Factory Building) for 12 years.”
It is in this business, now Borns LLC, that Borns furthered his knowledge of the business side of things and also acclimated himself and his business to the B2B marketplace. “You learn to appreciate certain types of businesses and even specific businesses that you like to work with. You learn to target those areas of business.”
Borns said the difference between what his firm does and what a larger advertising and marketing agency does is the opportunity to do more specialty work. “In B2B marketing there is a smaller target audience because you are working for one particular audience that is not a mass of consumers, so there is a greater arena to be creative and use more 3-D techniques,” Borns said.
Also in a situation such as this every action and message counts. In a tight business with only a few audience members, each attempt at gaining or retaining business must be a strong action followed by a memorable message and trustworthy product. “We are all about communicating. In actuality we are a marketing communication firm helping our customers put their best foot forward,” he added.
In many instances Borns LLC is dealing with the “underdog” in a specific marketplace. But working with an underdog doesn’t mean that is where it will stay.
“Even though we aren’t working with the leaders in the industry, that doesn’t mean we can’t make them look like the leaders. It is a little bit like David and Goliath. We can find our customer’s competition and target it, find their vulnerable spot and use that in our marketing,” Borns said.
“Another thing used in our marketing are the three C’s,” said Borns, referring to a tool he developed on the spur of the moment during a presentation to a Chicago company. “We believe that marketing materials must be clear, concise and consistent.”
That philosophy filters down from Borns to the company’s five employees. But he also isn’t afraid to take up the mantle of leadership.
“There are companies that experience large growth very rapidly and don’t know how to handle it or don’t handle it in the right way,” Borns said. “I think that a strong principal person in the company is necessary to manage that growth and make sure that you can still provide superior service to all of your clients while growing at an acceptable rate.”
Enjoying his work all day as much as he does, it is easy to see why Borns has carried it into his personal life. The artist and designer has remodeled his family home and is now working on creating the “ultimate bungalow” on his summer property.
“I started designing for fun and then became interested with the bungalow design. Now I am collaborating with an architect and incorporating the California and Midwestern styles to design and create the ‘ultimate bungalow’ for our summer cottage,” Borns said.
“As a family we like to enjoy the outdoors. We do a lot of fitness activities; skiing, bicycling and sailing. I also like to read and illustrate. I am now also giving my son, who is quite talented, lessons,” he added. “We just enjoy spending time together. There is always time to have fun. Some people say work hard and play hard. Well, I do play, but for fun. And I have always worked hard, but I have been fortunate that it has been fun also.”