March 4, 2020

Dominating the rural American marketing niche, with Cliff Callis

Episode 925:

As founder and President of Callis, a full-service ad agency located in Missouri in the heart of the Midwest, Cliff offers his agency’s clients more than 30 years of experience and expertise in marketing, advertising, and public relations.

Cliff has shared his marketing expertise speaking at events, as a contributing author to books and through his agency’s OUTthink thought leadership series. Cliff grew up in the retail business, working alongside his father and brother, where he first learned about the customer experience.

Cliff has been integral in leading the agency through the digital revolution. Callis specializes in the development of strategic and creative solutions with a focus on digital marketing and leveraging digital strategies with proven traditional approaches to get results. Today, he focuses his efforts on client, employee and public relations and working with clients to help grow their business.

He is also President of the Board of Directors of the Center for Human Services, a nationally acclaimed not-for-profit organization that serves those with disabilities. Cliff and his family reside outside Sedalia, Missouri, where he enjoys outdoor sports, travel, and the inspiration of life’s experiences.

What you will learn from this episode:

  • How Cliff founded his advertising agency, Callis, and why he chose to set up his business in the rural Midwest
  • How Cliff and his team at Callis decided to niche down and focus on advertising for rural American business clients
  • Why shifting their focus to rural businesses was a “scary” transition, and how positioning Callis as experts in rural business marketing has benefited the company
  • Why specializing in businesses wanting to market to rural America has brought new, unexpected business to Callis
  • What key daily habits, routines, and rituals help Cliff get into the right mindset and prepare himself for his day
  • Why Cliff believes that listening and people skills are vital components of his success, and why being able to communicate with a diverse audience is key
  • Cliff shares the story of an important lesson he learned from a mentor in his career and why he feels passionate about his role as a mentor to his team
  • Why Cliff meets with his direct reports once a week to work with them and provide mentorship and feedback, and why doing so is more than worth the time spent
  • Why bringing in a mentor who understood the advertising agency environment was a key change that made a tremendous impact on Cliff and his business

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Additional Resources:


Stephen Woessner

Stephen is the CEO of Predictive ROI and host of the Onward Nation podcast. He is the author of two bestselling books, speaker, trainer, and his digital marketing insights have been featured in SUCCESS, Entrepreneur, The Washington Post, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, and other media.