Digital marketing solutions firm captures $309k while reducing vendor clutter
AQ Marketing was founded in 2003 and is based in Woburn, Massachusetts
Digital marketing solutions provider focused on small businesses
Delivers 360° solutions including website design, SEO, social media marketing, and reputation management
AQ Marketing has been in business for 20 years. For the first 12 of them, the agency was a one-man operation. When Founder and President Robert P. Dickey first started out in 2003, he focused exclusively on website design for small businesses.
“I was using this ‘cutting-edge’ website builder software that was so bad. But because it was 2003, it’s all there was,” Dickey reminisces with a laugh.
But times have changed, and the days of having only a single software tool to work with seems like a quaint relic of the past.
As Dickey grew his team and evolved AQ Marketing into a successful digital marketing solutions provider, agency complexity grew in tandem with vendor clutter.
“Coming up on three years ago, my mission has always been to consolidate and try to use one vendor for everything or as much as possible,” says Dickey.
Enter Vendasta’s all-in-one platform ecosystem.
Forget vendor clutter—with Vendasta, you’ll have everything you need under one login.
Build a repeatable sales motion. Sell smarter by packaging and enhancing your digital offerings.
Create incredible online experiences for your clients with integrated tech that takes you from prospecting to scaling.
Bundle and resell solutions under your own brand to boost recurring revenue and reduce churn.
True to its roots, AQ Marketing still considers website design and development as part of its core offering. However, having evolved into a digital marketing solutions provider, the agency now offers everything a small business needs to succeed—and Dickey soon found himself accumulating third-party vendors as he scaled.
“I was using a listing service. I was using a review management system with two separate companies. I was outsourcing all my social posting to a third-party vendor,” says Dickey. He knew he couldn’t continue sustainably. When Dickey soon found himself spending over $2,000 per month per client, he knew the time had come to make a change.
After some research, Dickey found Vendasta through partner vendor Boostability and embarked on his mission to consolidate vendors and streamline while maintaining a robust, well-rounded offering of products and services.
As a digital marketing solutions provider, when AQ Marketing partnered with Vendasta, they were looking to:
- Consolidate tech stacks and reduce vendor clutter
- Find the right tool for growing social media while keeping it in house
- Leverage outsourced fulfillment for deliverables that required additional expertise
The Marketplace trifecta
“Part of my problem is that I offer a lot of services and digital marketing solutions. Realistically, it can be hard to excel at everything,” Dickey says. So while he sought to bring certain marketing activities in house, Dickey knew other areas such as content writing benefited from additional expertise. With Vendasta, Dickey had the freedom to accomplish both.
1. White-label foundational products
Vendasta’s Marketplace has over 250+ products and value-add services to sell from pre-vetted vendors. Even with a robust offering, the Marketplace allowed Dickey to streamline and manage his services through Vendasta’s platform. In the past, Dickey found himself using two separate review management systems with two different companies. With Vendasta, he was able to streamline review monitoring, review management, and more by using Vendasta’s proprietary white-label reputation management software.
2. White-label trusted vendors
Other white-label vendors in the Vendasta Marketplace, such as Cloud Campaign, made it easy and viable to manage and grow social media for clients in house instead of outsourcing posting to a third party.
3. White-label fulfillment by experts
While Dickey knows his strengths, he also knows when something is better handled for his clients via outsourcing. Thankfully, those activities still fall under Vendasta’s umbrella, streamlined along with Dickey’s tech stack. Content writing was the first candidate to be outsourced to Vendasta’s expert Marketing Services team, fulfilled under AQ Marketing’s brand.
Like what you see?
Have a chat with our product experts to learn how you can scale your business…
Eliminating vendor clutter
Before being introduced to Vendasta through Boostability, Dickey had several different vendors, all using different platforms and management systems. It was complicated, costly, and unscalable—especially for an agency offering a diverse array of digital marketing solutions.
Now, Dickey can manage everything under a single login.
As a self-identified “picky guy,” the Marketplace is a great place for Dickey to discover and compare products: “I’m using ShopToIt, Google AI ads, and [I’m trying] a few different things.”
One of those new things is the social media management system Cloud Campaign. And Dickey is smitten.
“I enjoy using software and I think I use it well. I’m more than happy to articulate what I like and what I don’t like… and Cloud Campaign is cutting edge,” says Dickey confidently. “I’ve only been using it for about two weeks and it’s phenomenal. I love it.”
Initially, he was skeptical about Cloud Campaign because the price was more than he was paying with other tools like Soci. But after attending a webinar, and now trying it for himself, he is fully on board: “It interacts very much like an app. The ability to schedule and create automatic campaigns is amazing… it’s also user friendly. I know more in one week using Cloud Campaign than I did in 10 months with [other tools].
And he discovered it through his Partner Development Manager at Vendasta, streamlined through the Vendasta Marketplace.
Content writing fulfillment
As a solopreneur, Dickey did everything when AQ Marketing was first conceived—even content writing. But as the business grew and scaled, Dickey needed support.
“I was outsourcing my content writing to [the writing mill] Get A Copywriter,” Dickey says. But the service was lacking depth and a personal touch.
“With Get A Copywriter, it was all online. I’d go into the portal, write a little brief about what I wanted, and they’d choose a copywriter. There was no interaction, really,” Dickey says. “I’d get the draft and could request edits, but I’d never speak to someone on the phone.”
As a digital marketing solutions provider serving a variety of industries, some are more challenging than others. For creating precise, professional content for clients with complex needs in industries such as health care, this level of service wouldn’t cut it.
So Dickey switched to Vendasta’s Marketing Services.
“[Vendasta’s Marketing Services team] is writing blog posts for a medical client. I just sent them two for approval today, and I read them and they were excellent… Writing about medical is challenging, and the two articles were spot on.”
One big differentiator that is a game-changer for Dickey is that, when adding a new client to fulfill blog posts for, he can schedule a phone consultation that covers the full spectrum: Research into the client, tone, purpose, and more.
“It’s really a tribute to the fact that you guys take the time to listen and understand, and so far it’s working great,” Dickey says.
“I had all these different vendors. Vendasta allowed me to bring listings, reviews, and social into one. And then I got to learn about other services which I adopted into the fold… it’s working great.”
Robert P. Dickey
Founder and President, AQ Marketing
When Dickey first started AQ Marketing over 20 years ago, his focus was on website design for small businesses. There’s just one caveat.
Dickey had no website experience.
“I sold my first website without knowing how to build it, but my customer believed in me,” Dickey says proudly. “I said, ‘if you believe me, I’ll learn how.’”
That customer believed, Dickey delivered, and the rest is history. It is that kind of perseverance, grit, dedication, and trust that established AQ Marketing, delivers excellence to clients, and ensures the business continues to grow into a legacy worthy of leaving behind.
After all, Dickey says AQ Marketing is fated to be handed down to another Robert in the future—Robert A. Dickey, his son.
“He’s my Vice President of Operations and Sales, and the business is going to be his someday,” Dickey says. “He’s shadowing me in all my sales calls because I want him to be the face of the company down the road… I’m excited that AQ Marketing has a life after me.”
And with everything we know, that road is going to be long, profitable, and exciting for the next generation, too.