Tracy Oswald, VP of Content and Experiential Marketing, sat down with us to reflect on the first year of the Growth Lab, LOCALiQ’s client and business owner education program that’s brought free, live events to cities across the U.S.
Through the Growth Lab events, we’ve been able to connect with more than 550 business owners in nearly 20 cities to learn about their common obstacles and give them resources to help them take their businesses to the next level. Today, October 18, marks the one-year anniversary of Tracy’s journey with the Growth Lab, and we wanted to check in on how she felt building a program from scratch and how things are moving along.
Hi, Tracy! I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since you launched this exciting program in service of local business owners. That’s amazing in its own, but tell me about some of the biggest wins that have come from the Growth Lab?
Our biggest win has consistently been how much we learn from the attendees about their needs and how they see their local businesses growing. It’s also rewarding to see the exact moment in the event when someone realizes that we truly care about them as business owners, people, and community leaders!
In the Growth Lab, we not only teach the concepts of Immediacy, Transparency, and Authenticity, we live it inside the program. When you do that well, it breeds powerful brand affinity.
Wow! That’s a really unique way to look at it, and also so true. Speaking of unique, I have to ask which event has been the most memorable for you?
You’re putting me in a tough spot! I loved them all for so many different reasons, but if I had to pick a favorite it would be Westchester, NY. The audience was super engaged and helping each other throughout the entire event. When business owners and leaders who don’t know one another can show up for each other that way, it means they have an incredibly strong local community and are ripe for incredible growth!
Because you have had the opportunity to speak and work with so many diverse people all over the U.S., what kind of impact do you feel the Growth Lab has made for its attendees?
I believe that the Growth Lab has done three things for the business owners who have attended:
- Given them a safe space to work through challenges their business is facing and solutions to help them grow.
- Reinforced a strong sense of community and how coming together and sharing wins, struggles, and new ideas makes all of us stronger.
- Raised awareness of the LOCALiQ brand and how much we are invested in their success.
I love that you brought up how transparent business owners are about their struggles at the events. It is so important for everyone to be open about this aspect because that is how we all learn. What have been some of the challenges you faced when first starting the program?
So many! When the program first started, it was just like a start-up and I was doing a lot of the planning, legwork, promotion, speaking, and follow up (with a lot of help from the marketing team!). I would be up on stage speaking, watching the clock to make sure lunch was served on time, and trying to take mental notes of audience reaction to the content in order to be able to make changes for the next lab. It was challenging!
Also, garnering support inside the organization around the project was a fulltime job. This year, we’ve had 19 successful shows, and many of our executive leadership team has attended and given us incredible support and valuable feedback. We’re all excited to evolve into year two of Growth Lab, supporting businesses in our local communities with leading-edge digital solutions to help them grow.
Sounds exciting. The Growth Lab program has transformed immensely even in the last six months since I joined the team. Where do you see it going in the future?
2019 was all about bringing the LOCALiQ brand to life in communities across the country. In doing that, we’ve gotten clear feedback from our attendees on topics they want to see in 2020. Things like how to leverage social media to grow, bringing their businesses’ story to life in their communities, and learning how to incorporate emerging technology in their marketing to stay ahead of the competition.
Our goal is to bring them an incredible program next year, packed with real-world solutions to help them do all of that and more!
Well, I know I speak for everyone when I say we cannot wait for 2020 and the celebration of what is to come from the Growth Lab program.