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An Interview With Paige Arnof-Fenn, The Founder & CEO Of Mavens & Moguls

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Below is our recent interview with Paige Arnof-Fenn, the Founder & CEO of Mavens & Moguls:

Q: For those who haven’t heard of it, what is the best way to describe Mavens & Moguls?

A: Mavens & Moguls is a global branding and marketing services firm I started 18 years ago. We are a global network of seasoned marketing experts who can do anything a marketing department, market research shop, public relations firm or ad agency does on an as needed or outsourced basis. We have resources in major metro areas across the country and around the world.

Q: Can you give us insights into your services?

A: Sometimes our clients bring us in to support an in house skeletal crew where they need specific expertise to get through a crunch period (or just more hands on deck) or to backfill for someone on maternity leave or out for back/knee/hip surgery for example. Other times they use us as an agency, brand coach or thinking partner who can bring in best practices and expertise from the outside. We can scale up or down very quickly as an extension of their team. We work on either a project or retainer basis depending on the scope and can hit the ground running as needed so it gives our clients flexibility to get the perfect resources at the right time. Clients love it when marketing can show a real ROI.

Q: Who are your clients and what are some of the key challenges you’re helping them solve?

A: Our clients range from early stage startups to Fortune 500 companies to non profits. I think every project is exciting! That is the beauty of running your own business, if you are not genuinely excited by the work then you can pass on it. I only take on work that I find interesting and worthwhile. We are doing market research for a university, design work for a non profit, public relations for a first-time author who made the best seller list and branding & positioning for an early stage startup just to name a few. Finding the right words and pictures to tell great stories that attract more customers to our clients’ products and services is incredibly fulfilling. We have done work over the years for companies like Microsoft, Colgate, Virgin but most of our clients are emerging or mid market size organizations.

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Q: What makes you stand out from your competition?

A: As a branding and marketing company, it is important to have a great name and I think our name helps us stand out. When I started the firm I jokingly referred to the women as the Marketing Mavens & the guys as the Marketing Moguls & for short I called them Mavens & Moguls as a working name but never expected it would stick. I did research over e-mail with prospective clients, referrers, media, etc & tested ~100 names. Mavens & Moguls was one choice on the list & to my great delight & surprise it came out as a clear winner. It has helped us be memorable and stand out from the pack. Because I have a hyphenated last name half the battle is for clients to be able to find you when they need your help. I have had clients tell me they could not remember anything other than my first name & one word of my company so they googled Paige & Mavens and we popped right up. I was at an event one day and a venture capitalist started waving in my direction and shouted “hi Maven!” across the crowd, everyone looked my way and we ended up getting introduced to a portfolio company that hired us! Names contribute to your brand and in our case I think it has been a major plus. Maven is Yiddish for expert and a Mogul is someone of rank, power or distinction in a specified area. I like the alliteration and I think it sets us apart from other consulting firms. It shows a little personality & attitude and implies we do not take ourselves too seriously. Would you rather hire “Strategic Marketing Solutions” or Mavens & Moguls? We are the “not your father’s Oldsmobile” of marketing firms. If nothing else our name is a great conversation starter and getting into a conversation is all it takes to open a door. Also we all come from the client side of the business so our heads and hearts are much more aligned with our clients than a traditional agency would be, we spend their money the way we did when we sat on their side of the table.

Q: What are the company’s plans and goals for the future?

A: I think 2020 will be exciting professionally but the jury is out on how it will be politically and what that means for the world. I think every project on the radar is really interesting! That is the beauty of running your own business, if you are not genuinely excited by the work then you can pass on it. I only take on work that I find interesting and worthwhile. The business has always been a platform for me to do work I enjoy like marketing, writing, public speaking, serving on Boards, mentoring, etc. I plan to continue finding ways to share my expertise online and offline for years to come.

Q: Why I started my business?

A: I did not plan on starting a company. I always wanted to go work for a large multi-national business and be a Fortune 500 CEO. When I was a student I looked at leaders like Meg Whitman & Ursula Burns as my role models. I started my career on Wall Street in the 80s and had a successful career in Corporate America at companies like Procter & Gamble and Coca-Cola and worked at 3 different startups as the head of marketing. I became an entrepreneur and took the leap right after 9/11 when the company I worked for cut their marketing. I had nothing to lose. All the in house marketing jobs dried up as it became harder to raise money companies wanted to conserve cash but they still needed marketing help so I hung out a shingle to assist. I never wrote a business plan. I joke that I am the accidental entrepreneur.

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