Jeff Jordan, 28, started Rescue Social Change Group (Rescue SCG) at age 17 after volunteering for an anti-tobacco program in Las Vegas.
He was able to learn how marketing contractors tried to help the program reach youth, but quickly learned how "horribly they failed at it," Mr. Jordan told HispanicBusiness. "They just didn?t understand the difference between what commercial marketing does -- brand preference change -- and what we needed to do, (which was) behavior change."
That ignited Mr. Jordan's fire to start Rescue SCG, a marketing company with a mission to cause positive social change among young people using cost-effective, evidence-based strategies.
Born in Peru, he came to the U.S. when he was 3 years old. Mr. Jordan's work ethic started early. He mowed lawns, washed cars and did other random jobs to help his parents with money. This set the fruitful foundation for Rescue SCG, which employees 37 and had revenue of $4.5 million in 2011.
He learned that "the most difficult clients are usually the least profitable ones." He recommended firing them and making up the revenue with the time gained from increased efficiencies.
"Identify what you love to do and try to delegate the rest," he added.
He said his Hispanic upbringing allowed him to see the world from two lenses -- as a Hispanic immigrant and as an American.
"Being an immigrant forces me to understand two separate worlds and prepared me to understand even more people's perspectives and lifestyles as I grew older," Mr. Jordan said. "Marketing is all about understanding people's interests, perspectives, desires and aspirations. If you can associate what you are 'selling' with what people want, then you can convince them to do almost anything."
Based in San Diego, the marketing company also has offices in Las Vegas, Albuquerque, N.M., and outside of Washington, D.C. Rescue SCG has 12 to 15 long-term clients, including Southern Nevada Health District, the New Mexico Department of Health and the Utah Department of Health.
Its largest and newest client is the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which in July awarded Rescue SCG and two other companies a contract totaling $210 million collectively.
The funding will come from a grant established by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which was signed into law in 2009.
Growth Comes Easy
As with many companies in 2009, the recession caused a halt in growth for Rescue SCG. It was the first year the company had zero new clients in the pipeline, and the first year it did not experience an uptick.
"But we also didn?t shrink," Mr. Jordan said. "We just plateaued."
However, things quickly changed once President Obama?s stimulus package went into effect and began funding agencies that gave Rescue SCG work.
"The (Obama) administration?s understanding that investing in prevention will save us billions of dollars in health-care expenses in the future is fantastic. It is good for the country, and since our mission is prevention, it is good for our business too," Mr. Jordan said.
Rescue SCG also looks forward to contracts that have been won that will lead to 200 percent to 500 percent growth in the next year.
"While we will continue to address the opportunities that knock on our door, I think we are going to take a break from actively pursuing clients," he said. "Our mission is to cause change, not to grow as big as we can."
Social Media Is a Must
As social-media networking grows in popularity and importance across all industries, Rescue SCG concentrates its efforts on its clients. It does have company social network profiles, but Mr. Jordan said they are not significant in its internal marketing.
Rescue SCG has two full-time social-media experts on its team, and includes the qualification in five other employees' job descriptions.
"To reach teens and young adults as part of our clients' campaigns, we are on social media 24-7," he said.
Rescue SCG mainly uses social media to place paid media, engagement and contests.
"Most importantly, we are able to convince young people to share our message to their audiences," Mr. Jordan said. "That is the true power of social media -- getting authentic members of your audience to promote your brand."