September 13 2023


TopSpot Celebrates 20 Years in Online Marketing 

How It Started 

Founded with a Team of five, TopSpot Internet Marketing opened its doors on September 15, 2003. It started when Bison Profab, a manufacturer of industrial enclosures, came to the Team with a simple question—how do I get on Google? 

At the time, Google was only five years old and was already impacting the way the world did business with over 66% of business searches being conducted on the search engine. Pay-per-click via Google Ads (then called Google AdWords) was only a year old and the prime offering of this new agency. 

A couple of the original five came from an industrial sourcing and marketing platform resembling the Yellow Pages and knew the manufacturing and industrial space well. The others were marketing professionals coming in at the start of internet marketing and learning how to harness its potential. Anita Valdez in particular was one of the first 100 users to become a Google Adwords Professional. 

“It was a lot of fun to do something there wasn’t a blueprint for.”  

Warren Martin, Senior Sales Representative, and original Team member 

The Team got to work implementing a Google AdWords program focused on user intent, narrowing in on what customers looking for these enclosures would type into the search bar. Once in place, the Bison Team said it was like turning on a light switch—the leads started to roll in. 

“We owe a ton of gratitude to our Clients early on who said you all should do this, and there’s nobody out there helping us with this. That early encouragement gave us confidence which has built up over the years.” 

David Underwood, President 
TopSpot Founders: Warren Martin, Anita Valdez, David Underwood, Whitney Kane, and Jeff Montgomery 

Growing the Agency 

The growing Team decided early on to value transparency and integrity, internally and externally. With a group skilled in gathering marketing data, they could confidently take ownership of their work, advise their Partners, and remedy mistakes. 

“Something that made me feel confident about what we were doing was that we had the data to back it up. Clients could feel it, but we could see it, and that helped us have better conversations with people, show our value, and really feel we are doing something positive for people.” 

Whitney Kane, Director of Client Services 

As technology changed, they were willing to take the time to ask the right questions and hire the right people. They didn’t know it at the time, but this early group was the original Customer Relationship Team

In 2008, the official Customer Relationship Team, or CRT, was born. This model came about when realizing most business owners are focused on their company’s day-to-day operations and cannot commit to the demands of the online marketing strategies needed to drive the right traffic and leads. Though outsourced, the CRT model is an extension of a partner’s Team and includes a Team Lead, two SEO Specialists, a PPC Account Manager, and a Conversion Optimization Specialist.  

Also in 2008, the Team decided to expand into web development given its centrality to successful PPC and SEO strategies. Becoming an integrated agency was critical to our success as a strategic business partner to Clients. By aligning marketing goals and tactics using data from all programs to help shape keyword strategy, the Team can better bring qualified users to a website and increase conversions.  

A CRT meeting with a Partner at TopSpot Headquarters

The timing aligned with the 2008-2009 recession, an incredibly tough time for any business, but the TopSpot Team knew the services they offered could help industrial and B2B companies get the quality leads needed to help stay afloat. 

“The heart of the organization is the desire to help—solving problems, helping people.”  

Jeff Montgomery, Senior Vice President of Sales 

There were more tough times ahead for TopSpot and its Partners, but that desire to help continued. TopSpotters jumped in to answer questions and sent articles to help Partners find ways to avoid shutting down during slow economic periods, and later the COVID-19 pandemic. It was second nature given part of the TopSpot strategy is to understand a business inside and out, and to be more than marketers. 

“There’s a great quote I’ve always been drawn too—adversity doesn’t build character, it reveals it. There’s been those moments for us. When you go through a difficult time, how we all reacted in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and how people just came together and made sure families were okay. Same with COVID. That was the mentality we’ve always had—what are we going to do to make sure everyone’s going okay.” 

David Underwood, President

Strategy and Technology Innovation 

That effort to truly understand a business and its customers, both current and prospective, is a big part of our success. Being able to learn not just the online marketing industry, but the B2B and industrial industries, empowers us with the right questions to ask so that we can differentiate that business online and tell their story. 

Driving our integrated approach and content strategy is our B-SMART® Method, derived from behavioral data collected over the past 20 years and the way we back our convictions on user intent. It is our framework for creating a full-funnel assistive strategy that identifies all digital areas of opportunity, from where to find potential customers to new business possibilities. By focusing on user intent in search, this method details ways potential customers search for products or services to drive more conversions than broader terms. 

While the ingredients of B-SMART evolved quickly, it wasn’t until 2015 that the acronym was created. While the Team was preparing for a conference on conversion strategies, the idea to simplify the method and make it memorable helped align the intent categories to spell out B-SMART. It was trademarked in 2016 to differentiate ourselves as an agency and for our Partner’s businesses to use as an effective messaging tool that illustrates expertise and approach.   

In 2017, we created LOOP Analytics to fully inform this strategy and bring lead visibility to our Partners, bridging the gaps Google and other tools presented, including user behavior and form submission data. Along with CallRail for call tracking, we were able to gain insight into the leads received by B-SMART’s efforts. TopSpot’s strategy ensures once those users convert, they are more likely to become customers because they are highly targeted. The method also helps companies keep steady results during algorithm updates and aids in populating results from AI-generated search experiences. 

A Team facility visit to our first Partner, Bison Profab

TopSpot Today 

What was a new space in marketing then has evolved into a competitive space with a variety of strategies, but the goal is still simple. TopSpot provides integrated online marketing services that focus on driving quality leads and new business opportunities to organizations large or small, and we do this by keeping things simple—we focus on the right searches that lead to the right traffic, and the right traffic drives quality leads and conversions. Not every data point from our various tools matters to Clients, and what every partnership does have in common is the desire to see success in the search landscape and to see the quality leads that result. 

Today TopSpot has 130+ Team Members and partners with over 800 businesses across the US and abroad, including Bison Profab, that first Client from 20 years ago. We now have 15 CRT Teams, and our Team of dedicated project managers, developers and designers have launched over 1000 websites.  

We work with a variety of industries and business sizes, with a significant percentage of B2B and industrial manufacturers as well as Fortune 500 companies, doctors, lawyers, and retailers. We are a Google Premier Partner, a Microsoft Select Channel Partner, and a member of the Google Analytics Certified Partner Program. 

Over the past two decades we’ve redefined revenue by going beyond numbers and defining our success in terms of our Clients’ success—their ability to hire more, increase benefits, or expand facilities as well as grow their families, send children to college, and retire. TopSpot is unique in that we ask to tour facilities to understand our Client’s businesses and how they operate. Our Team members learn to “talk shop” with manufacturers, roofers, etc., and learn the jargon necessary to connect with Clients to create great online marketing.  

“It’s great to go to someone’s facility then return and see a new facility, and for them to say you played a part in this. There’s meaning in what we do, and we are going to keep doing it for this reason.”  

Anita Valdez, VP of Operations 

The original five TopSpotters were honest about not knowing where the organization will be in the next twenty years, but they all agreed that while they don’t mind evolving, it must be done in a way that preserves the core of transparency and integrity. A common slogan within the group is, “we’re going to figure it out”. While predicting the future is difficult, they agreed there’s always a need for organizations like TopSpot that care about the companies they serve. 

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