Member Spotlight: Bruce Segall

by Sander Coxe on June 30, 2015

Our Member Spotlight focuses on Bruce Segall, the Founder & President of Marketing Sense.

Marketing Sense is Bruce’s brainchild: a marketing firm that partners with small professional services and B2B companies – including many law firms – to build brand recognition and raise visibility.

Bruce, an active LMA member, brings his focus on small firm B2B marketing and branding techniques to bear as the chair of the NYLMA’s small firm SIG group.

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Welcome to the NYLMA Spotlight, Bruce and thanks for taking the time let us get to know you a little better.  I don’t know how you do it, but you look younger every time I see you. 

Thanks.  I am passionate about exercise and that keeps me feeling young too.

What do you do to stay in shape?

I am an avid bike rider – I missed only a handful of weekends this very cold winter.  I try to get long rides in on as many weekends as possible.   I start looking at the upcoming weekend weather on Mondays.  I have also run three marathons – I picked up running in college and it was a great fit for me.

Terrific – I definitely do not have the marathon gene – what was your best time if you don’t mind my asking?

My best time was a 3:28.

Wow – very impressive, sir.  I would think all that energy is required for an entrepreneur such as yourself.

It definitely helps.

I really like the motto of your firm – “Marketing Sense – building business without breaking the bank.” Especially with a limited budget, it is essential to work smart and make the right choices.  Let’s chat a bit about your firm.

Surely – I like to think of myself and others like me as “solopreneurs” – I don’t have staff.  I have a professional services marketing background and after having worked in both large and not-so-large companies, I decided to break out on my own and focus on the small B2B arena.

That takes courage.  Where did you work before you became a “solopreneur?”

I was fortunate.  I had two steady clients who have remained with me from the beginning. (yes so that helped my transition when I went solo in 2010. Prior to starting my own company, I was the full-time marketing director for a professional services firm in the consulting space, and prior to that I worked in the marketing departments of MasterCard and Citibank.

How is the solo business different?

In some ways, it is not.  I am effectively an outsourced marketing director for my clients.  I do a lot of the same things for my clients that I did in-house, except now I work mostly from home.  The biggest difference is that, working for smaller firms, you have to find the right balance – know where and when to push because budget restraints are very real.   Small firms can only do so much and struggle with where to start, sometimes wasting money on projects that are truly valuable.  Like an “owners’ rep” in real estate, you have to take a sincere interest in your client’s true needs to help guide them to the best result.   Especially with law firms, substantively it is different from working with larger firms because the types of recognitions and events in which you can involve your clients are sometimes only available to larger firms.  I develop specific business plans for each client and each circumstance.

Let’s talk a bit about social media and your focus on LinkedIn.

Yes I train, coach and encourage my clients to use LinkedIn and leverage all of its value.  It is a terrific tool, and I have a separate business line devoted solely to that.  I of course incorporate it into what I do with all my clients when appropriate.

Ok, let’s get to know a little more about you personally.  A father of three working at home!

Yes, I have been married for 27 years to Robin and have three great daughters of whom I am incredibly proud.  My wife works outside home four days a week as the administrative director of Sunrise Day Camp, a non-profit which works with children who have cancer.

That is lovely. 

My oldest daughter Rena, is 23 and is continuing the community service as a family tradition and works for a non-profit.  Felice, my 20 year-old, is at Washington University in St. Louis in their business program, and my youngest Ruthie is 16 and still in high school.  She is a competitive runner as well.

Yes, it’s pretty fun.  I get to spend time with her that I somewhat didn’t get with my older daughters.

Where do you live?

Dobbs Ferry in Westchester County.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Westchester.  I went to school in Connecticut, then worked in DC after college and did my graduate work in the Bay Area.

Well done – so you have both coasts covered.  What do you do – besides marathons and lengthy bike rides – to relax?

I am a passionate fan of Downton Abbey – they have great writing on that show.  And I am big fan of Jewish music – Israeli music.  I truly enjoy some of the modern updating of classic melodies.  And we enjoy traveling from places ranging from Charleston SC to Paris and Nice.

How about food?  Was it the formal sit-down family dinners in the Segall household?

My wife and I both love to cook and the kids have always raved about the home cooking.  My daughter Felice, the one in business school, seems cut out for corporate life – she is highly focused.  When she was pretty young she started to help making the salads to speed the process – things weren’t happening fast enough.

I read your blog post on Five Years as an Entrepreneur – where you say each year you think you’ll “have time for grand plans” and that never happens.  Time is money.  Has your time with NYLMA been helpful?

Absolutely.  I have been a member of other associations and I am always struck by how well run the NYLMA is.  I was formerly on the Programming committee and it was very professional.  The resources are amazing and have been helpful to build visibility for Marketing Sense.

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