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KAREN HOPE – CALGARY MARKETING EXPERT/ENTREPRENEUR

The number one rule to stay in business is to make money. To make money, you need great marketing ideas.

I am a 60’s baby boomer born to a generation where marketing ideas primarily if not exclusively came from men. If you’ve watched Mad Men, you’ll know how few women were hired as idea-generators within an advertising/marketing firm.

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However, when choosing a career path in the early 80’s, opportunities for women were limitless in most fields.  I embraced the Bachelor of Public Relations Degree course due to the fact it was filled with creative courses like journalism, graphic design and marketing.

I started my career as a marketing director in shopping centres.  My first full-time job was as the Marketing Director for the Parks and Attractions for West Edmonton Mall.  I flourished in this entertainment environment that required big ideas to attract big crowds.  I fondly remember netting beach balls with prize stickers to the ceiling of World Waterpark and letting them spill down  to hundreds of excited pool patrons.

When I became an entrepreneur in the mid-90’s, I felt like a trail blazer.  I left the security of a full-time position as Marketing Director at Eau Claire Market to start The Marketing Edge. The Calgary Herald actually wrote an article called, “Even the boss may help you strike out on your own.” Unlike today’s downturn, it was uncommon to see someone abandon their job for the unpredictable world of entrepreneurship.

I prospered as a small business owner but later formed an equal partnership with the man who invented the recipe for Cattle Boyz BBQ Sauce.   I took time away from marketing other people’s businesses to manage and market Cattle Boyz Foods Ltd for 11 years.  By the 2000’s, I was not just as a marketer but a recognized business entrepreneur.  My ability to generate a “ROI” could now be measured by store listings, sales and brand awareness.

In 2009, I returned to consulting to be a solopreneur marketing expert again.  Marketing had changed greatly since starting The Marketing Edge in 1995; however, to remain competitive I keep current with the digital age.

I have had my share of good ideas that made me and/or my clients money; however I have also been humbled by those that did not. I can honestly say, “There is no bad idea.  One idea always leads to another. If an idea does not work out, it is usually a stepping stone to your next successful idea!”


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