Paul Golding Finds Greater Business in Greener Pastures

Bigger is not always better, according to Paul Goulding’s way of thinking.

After 30 years in Panama City Beach, Goulding relocated his advertising and marketing firm to the sleepy countryside of Chipley. But don’t let size fool you. Since moving about four years ago, business has increased for the Goulding Agency.

"In Panama City Beach, our agency had an effective semi-circle of a one-hour drive prospect area," Goulding says. "Now that we have relocated an hour north, we have effectively doubled that coverage area, including Panama City, Tallahassee and Dothan, Ala."

Before the move, Goulding and his wife, Debbie, went to look at her grandmother’s original homestead in Chipley.

"My first question was, ‘Does it have high-speed Internet access?’ I thought that would be the deal breaker, but come to find out it does and we never missed a lick.

"All the reasons we had moved to Panama City Beach had gone away. Now, rush hour is when three cars go by," Goulding jokes.

The small agency has two full time and two part-time employees.

At 57 years of age, Goulding concedes, "I’m probably the least creative guy on the planet. But, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel." His career has varied from work in construction to marketing with a cable giant and on-air talent.

In the early days, Goulding recognized the need for a full-service agency that could provide a one-stop shop for a client’s print, radio, television and Internet marketing needs. Now, the in-house studios and post-production facilities allow for onsite production from start to finish. The agency’s television productions have been featured on the major networks, HGTV and CNN, among others. Unique local clients include the Wausau Possum Festival and the Panhandle Watermelon Festival.

Yet, despite all the exposure, Goulding has relied on referrals for the majority of his new business in the past 15 years and refuses to take on every client.

One of his main philosophies is that he must have chemistry, communication and a certain amount of trust with clients. When interviewing new clients he listens for realistic expectations. He wants clients that are willing to stick to a long-term marketing campaign.

"We would rather turn down a lucrative client for the short while to get a long-term relationship with another client. You can sell anyone one time," Goulding says. "It makes total sense to us to have a dozen clients and create all their media for a unified message. That way, they don’t have to get tied up in the black magic of marketing."

And the Goulding Agency will represent only a single client from the same industry.

"You can only say someone has the coldest beer or best hamburger so many times. After a while, it just doesn’t make sense to represent the same type of business," he says.

Although with tourism and destination marketing one of its strong suits, the agency has picked up many new clients from the surrounding counties that have banded together to promote "THE beach."

"When we have interesting economic times, all the rules go out the door. It is all about what works," he says. "We don’t have the luxury of looking at county lines. You have to zig when everyone else zags."
His advice to the younger generation is simple.

"I would encourage anybody to get into this field. It is extremely rewarding and we are blessed to now do it all," Goulding says. "Each day there is always something new. It is a science and an art. You can work anywhere. That being said, you have to be part of a community to promote that community."