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Weekend edition March 15, 2024 | Katelyn Keenehan

Alder & Co. levels up small business digital marketing strategies

The five-year-old Knoxville-based business works on social, digital, and marketing campaigns for various companies across multiple industries.

Establishing a digital brand as a business can feel like a full-time job. Keeping up with the growing demands of social media, newsletter production, and marketing efforts adds another layer to an already busy schedule as a business owner.

Mal Alder
Mal Alder

Mal Alder finds her sweet spot in solving that problem. Her business, Alder & Co., has become the secret ingredient for dozens of companies across the Knoxville area. She takes on the marketing challenges, so owners can focus on their products, services, and customer relations.

“I love puzzles and finding new ways that things can fit together,” she said. “I’ve brought that mindset into this company and have found a lot of success with it.”

The digital marketing space is constantly changing and evolving. It seems every month there’s a new social platform, feature, or trend to capitalize on. Despite all the changes, Alder & Co. remains true to its values, emphasizing kindness, strategy, and small business support.

The digital marketing agency has been around for about five years, but before that, Alder developed expertise in various industries.

It all started when she was a student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK). Alder landed a competitive internship at the Knoxville News Sentinel, where she worked under Knoxville journalism legends Eric Vreeland and John North. She fell in love with the fast-paced environment of the news industry but didn’t feel drawn to reporting.

Upon graduation, a Craigslist ad for a local digital marketing job piqued her interest.

“It was in that role where I was first exposed to the many facets of a successful digital marketing campaign, including special media, how to run Google Ads, track analytics, and SEO,” she said. “However, due to the structure of the company, I knew I needed to explore other opportunities to truly hone these skills.”

After three years, she took a break from the agency setting and took on a role as an in-house marketer for a corporate company. There, she built logos and websites and exercised creative control over the company’s digital brand.

While this career transition allowed Alder to grow in her skillset, she missed the fast-paced nature of working for an agency.

“I decided I wanted to do this forever, but specifically for small local businesses,” she said. “I wanted to go out and fight for the little guy.”

It’s been more than five years since she took that bold, successful leap of faith. Today, Alder has two full-time employees and generates 90 percent of her business from referrals alone.

However, establishing her brand wasn’t easy. She wanted Alder & Co. to appeal to small business owners in a way that was genuine, authentic, and real.

“It’s too easy for marketing agencies nowadays to be the snake oil salesman of the 21st century. The company is paying all this money, but they don’t really understand what they’re paying for. We don’t work like that,” she said. “And I wanted potential clients to know we are transparent with our process.”

Her strategy has proven effective, she has clients across various industries: healthcare, insurance, transportation, hospitality education, tourism, and more.

Alder believes Knoxville has been the perfect place to start her business.

“This community is so dedicated to lifting each other. Small businesses support one another, and people in the area genuinely care about the well-being of our small business owners,” she said.

If you want to learn more about Alder & Co., visit the website.

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