Business never gets old for Glenview marketing consultant
Marla Levie is the founder of Focus On Aging And More, her 24-year-old Glenview-based marketing consulting firm that helps businesses in the elder care sector increase their visibility and sales. | Jackie Pilossoph~for Sun-Times Media
Focus on Aging And More
Updated: March 22, 2013 6:24AM
GLENVIEW — Marla Levie loves the elderly and it shows. Levie is the founder of Focus On Aging And More, her 24-year-old Glenview-based marketing consulting firm that helps businesses in the elder care sector increase their visibility and sales.
“You cannot be successful in the elder care business unless you have a genuine fondness for the elderly,” said Levie, who holds a bachelor of social work and a masters degree in sociology and gerontology, “You have to have that compassion and that intuitive sense of what the elder person needs and why they need it.”
The idea to start Focus On Aging And More was sparked more than two decades ago by Levie when she was working as the Director of Senior Services at a social service agency in Chicago. In order for the organization to keep their government grants, she began marketing the program to therapists, physicians and hospitals, and quickly realized she had good marketing skills and instincts.
Focus On Aging And More offers personalized marketing and consulting programs that are results driven. Levie has 4-11 freelance marketing consultants that work for her at any given time, providing services such as researching and strategizing businesses, improving lead generation and customer loyalty, creating and improving social media and other marketing communications, and assisting with recruitment and sales training.
“Business owners call me because they are either just starting out or they see that their numbers are slipping and they need help,” Levie said, “I ask, ‘Who are you trying to reach?’ ‘Who is your audience?’ I ask them a million questions so I can learn their business and what the holes are.”
Levie said lots of times she finds it’s just simple tweaking of internal systems, but mostly she uncovers that the business isn’t doing enough to keep their relationships solid.
“Successful businesses have follow up and constant communication, and it has to be the right amount for the right person,” she said.
When it comes to measuring results of her work, Levie said some are easily quantifiable, such as revenue growth or the number of attendees at events they plan.
“Most of our projects are goal-oriented, so once we achieve our goals, we know we have accomplished what we set out to do,” Levie said, “Many clients come back to us over and over again for new projects, or retain us for maintenance.”
Jonathan Kaspar is the Health Care Administrator for Brandel Health and Rehabilitation at Covenant Village of Northbrook, and a client of Levie’s.
“Marla has an extensive understanding of the senior marketplace,” he said, “She’s strategic, but she backs that up by being practical.”
In the past few years, Levie has branched out into servicing other industries, because she said it’s easy to transfer the skills she possesses to any type of business.
This includes her client, Dr. Andrei Ostric of Glenview, a plastic surgeon who specializes in reconstructive surgery of the hand, and who hired Levy to help him with marketing and branding to build his practice.
“She is extraordinarily talented and has an amazing follow through,” he said, “She has a lot of ideas but what separates her is that she develops a plan and actually gets stuff done.”
Focus On Aging And More charges either a monthly retainer or a project rate, which is determined by both Levie and her client.
“Everyone asks me, ‘Is she your relative?’” Ostric said, “That’s how well she represents you.”