Part 1: The Genesis of a Visionary Agency
In this three-part interview series, we delve into the remarkable journey of Laura Burgess Marketing (LBM), a renowned PR agency in the firearms and tactical industry. From its humble beginnings to its present-day prominence, we sit down with the woman behind it all, Laura Burgess herself, to gain insight into the agency’s evolution, values, and pivotal moments that have shaped its success.
Ashley Burgess Gall (ABG): Welcome to the first part of this special interview series, Laura. Let us start at the beginning. Can you tell us about the origins of Laura Burgess Marketing and how it got started?
Laura Burgess (LB): Certainly, Ashley. It’s a pleasure to be here. The story of LBM’s inception is quite serendipitous. I had been working at SIGARMS for years, climbing the ladder from a warehouse temp to Director of Public Relations and Corporate Communications. However, the ever-changing executive landscape eventually led me to step out on my own. Just as I was contemplating my next steps, industry luminaries like Ted Rowe and Bob Morrison offered their support and advice. Inspired by their guidance, my husband Eric and I decided to create a boutique PR agency that catered to smaller clients in need of marketing support. And so, two weeks after leaving SIGARMS, LBM was born. Our initial clients, including LaserMax, Revision Eyewear, BLACKHAWK!, and MasterPiece Arms, helped us establish our presence in the industry.
ABG: It’s truly fascinating how impactful connections and insights can shape the course of a business. Moving forward, how has Laura Burgess Marketing evolved over the last 20 years, and what were some of the key turning points?
LB: Over the years, LBM has witnessed significant transformations, Ashley. Initially, our focus was on the shooting sports and hunting industry. However, the events of 9/11 brought about a pivotal shift. As the warfighter and first responder market emerged with numerous startups, we found ourselves catering to these companies that needed marketing assistance but could not afford larger agencies. This marked a turning point that allowed us to thrive in the tactical sector. One particular milestone was our collaboration with BLACKHAWK!, which not only became a household name but also the preferred brand for elite troops. Furthermore, bringing Ashley on board to support our growing social media presence and influencer engagement was another crucial step in our evolution.
ABG: It’s clear that LBM’s adaptability and willingness to serve emerging markets played a vital role in its growth. On that note, what do you believe has been the key to your success in shaping LBM into the company it is today?
LB: The key, without a doubt, has been relationships. I’m not talking about a vast contact list but rather meaningful, productive relationships. As a PR professional, I’ve always prioritized responsiveness and timely assistance. Editors and writers appreciate when you are there for them when they need it most. In turn, this fosters a mutually beneficial partnership where media partners are willing to feature our clients and their products. While relationships remain paramount, the pace of business has accelerated, and the emphasis on immediacy has sometimes overshadowed the importance of truly getting to know one another.
ABG: Building genuine relationships is indeed a cornerstone of success, and your commitment to that principle shines through. Looking back, how has the company culture evolved over the last two decades, and which values have remained unwavering?
LB: Our company culture has experienced shifts in personnel and workspaces, from kitchen counters to dedicated offices, yet certain values have remained constant. We’ve always upheld the principle of integrity—never making promises we can’t keep just to secure business. Our pricing consistency over the years reflects our understanding of budget constraints and the desire to make a meaningful impact within those limitations. Additionally, our dedication to timely communication, especially with media partners, has been an enduring value. We recognize the importance of assisting journalists and supporting deadlines, which ultimately benefits everyone involved.
In the next part of our interview series, we delve into standout projects and challenges that have shaped LBM’s journey. We’ll explore the agency’s remarkable projects and its ability to navigate challenges, shedding light on the agency’s ingenuity and unwavering dedication to excellence. Don’t miss the continuation of our conversation with Laura Burgess.