Human Resources and Marketing, PR & Advertising

Search firm launches digital marketing arm

Harrison Gray’s service helps small companies better leverage social media.

June 23, 2017
| By Pat Evans |
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An internal need helped a corporate executive search company find a new growth avenue.

Grand Rapids-based Harrison Gray Search & Consulting launched a digital marketing arm aimed to help small businesses better leverage social media.

As an employee recruiting company specializing in C-level employees and financial services, Harrison Gray has grown quickly since founder Adam Kail started the firm in 2014. The recruiting firm’s revenue grew 102 percent in 2016, and this year, it already passed 2016’s revenue number, Kail said.

Harrison Gray has five full-time recruiters, including a new hire specializing exclusively in the banking and mortgage industry, and Kail said the company still is searching for more consultants. The firm offers a contingent search, where Harrison Gray only is paid when a candidate is hired, and a retained search where 30 percent of a fee is due up front and a guaranteed three candidates will be delivered.

“We don’t just give clients 15 résumés,” Kail said. “We search and find people who are no-brainers for an interview. We find people who aren’t looking for a job and assess them internally.

“If you pay a search fee, you shouldn’t worry about the quality for the candidate.”

On top of finding executives for companies, Harrison Gray offers other consultancy services, including what’s happening in their respective industries and outplacement services for when a company has to downsize.

“People will call and say we have to lay off a CMO, what can you help us give them?” Kail said. “It’s been a really surprising market for us.”

The services portfolio offered by Harrison Gray is growing, thanks to a need from the company Kail started before Harrison Gray, while he still was under a noncompete clause from his prior employer.

Harrison Gray Digital was launched as Kail was seeking a way to grow the business at the e-commerce leather goods company, Brothers Leather Supply Co. The company does have a physical store at 15 S. Division Ave., but it is primarily a web-based retailer.

Kail had been spending in excess of $2,000 a month for baseline social media marketing services, but he wasn’t seeing a return. So, he decided to take matters into his own hands and hired an employee with a focus on digital marketing.

In the first two months, Harrison Gray went from 10,000 followers to 12,000 followers on Facebook after gaining 300 in 2016. Kail said the social media advertisement return on investment is up 393 percent and social media conversion is up 500 percent, all while spending 44 percent less.

Since bringing social media marketing in house, Brothers Leather has seen $30,000 in revenue from social media.

“We only gained those 300 spending double the money,” Kail said. “We just weren’t doing it right. Because of those stats, a light bulb went off in my head. If it helped me that much, it can help others, too.”

Kail said the service primarily is suited for e-commerce companies but also can work for brick-and-mortar stores. Harrison Gray Digital also is targeting small businesses, with revenues between $200,000 and $1 million with month-to-month packages starting at $750.

“I want it to be an affordable way to grow at an affordable rate,” Kail said. “A lot of the firms I tried were charging a lot, and I would have to sign a long contract. If we can’t provide the service for you, you shouldn’t pay us for an extended period of time.”

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