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50 Smartest Companies of the Year 2021

‘We’re a Full-Service Agency, but the Engine Behind Our Company is Digital Advertising’: CrowdSouth Leadership


“We instituted responsiveness as our core value. And unlike many small agencies, we deliver regular reporting which produces data-driven decisions.”

CrowdSouth is a digital marketing agency that primarily focuses on social media, search engine marketing, and web design. With decades of experience in the digital marketing sector, the company takes its clients’ business to the next level by implementing the latest social media and web techniques. CrowdSouth works hard to build and maintain a constant flow of information with its clients.

The company was founded in 2013 and is based in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Interview Excerpt: Jason Heflin & Chad Webb
Q. What was your motivation behind starting the company, Mr. Heflin?

CrowdSouth was born from our desire to re-imagine the agency/client dynamic. We saw an opportunity to embed ourselves and craft true partnerships vs. creating cold and disposable vendor agreements.
Q. What are your leading marketing innovations, Mr. Webb? Tell us about them.

When we designed the agency, we did it from the perspective of the client. We were in corporate management roles for over a decade and had encountered plenty of lackluster agency experiences. The most frequent complaint we heard from the client-side was that agencies are slow to respond and weren't accountable. To address those issues, we instituted responsiveness as our core value. And unlike many small agencies, we deliver regular reporting, which produces data-driven decisions.
Q. Tell us about the full range of services on offer with CrowdSouth, Mr. Heflin.

We are a full-service agency, but the engine behind our company is digital advertising. We focus heavily on social media advertising, search (PPC) advertising, and web design and optimization.
Q. How important are partnerships and collaborations to CrowdSouth, Mr. Webb?

Partnerships have been a key in our growth. We leverage both domestically and internationally to expand and contract our workforce as needed. It's been a key ingredient in our scalability with some of our large corporate clients. We also consider every client relationship a partnership. We don't like the idea of being a vendor, merely providing a service — anyone can do that. We want to be seen as an integral part of the client's organization and privy to growth strategies. It's how we can embed ourselves and provide maximum value.
Q. How hard was it working throughout the pandemic? How did it impact you and your clients, Mr. Heflin?

The pandemic, like most organizations, threw us off-kilter. We saw a steep drop in client engagements and contracts in the first few months. But as soon as that decline started, we sprang into action and took a pivot with our business development focus. We focused on sectors like healthcare and government, which we felt would endure and need more assistance during the pandemic.
Q. Could you tell us about the work culture at CrowdSouth, Mr. Webb?

Our culture has evolved as our workforce has expanded. Once, we were a smaller boutique agency focused on local and regional clients. Now that we have a national footprint, things look different. In 2019, we had a bustling office environment with people coming and going. Post-pandemic, we are all remote, with only a few of us stationed in our office. The culture is one of support and mutual respect. We utilize tools like regular social outings and an annual corporate retreat (somewhere tropical) to continue building team morale and ensuring we're all playing together as a team to drive the company forward and deliver the best product to our clientele.
Q. What makes CrowdSouth a unique marketing agency, Mr. Heflin?

We have positioned ourselves over our eight-year history as a small-town agency with extensive experience. And, we live by that. Our offices are in Louisville and Bowling Green, Kentucky, but we have team members that work remotely in larger markets like Houston and Tampa. We pull talent from wherever we find it and don't limit ourselves to a geographic region.
Q. How important is social media marketing in today's day and age, Mr. Webb? Tell us about some positive results that have come about for your clients due to your social media marketing expertise.

Social media marketing is critical to build brand equity. During the pandemic, for instance, our healthcare, mental, and behavioral health clients needed more communication than ever. It was critical to keep information flowing about COVID-19 and the mental and physical effects of the lockdown on the forefront. I truly believe that lives were saved due to regular and accurate content delivery to those who were in the most vulnerable categories.
Q. What does the future hold for your company, Mr. Heflin?

We have been fortunate enough to have seen solid growth in every year we have been in business. We not only want to continue that trajectory but put the proverbial "fuel on the fire." We have aggressive expansion plans, including strategic partners with others in our space, developing new territories, and expanding our current services. We are also planning new physical locations as they make sense within our region of the country.

Leadership | CrowdSouth

Many ad agencies have a single owner/operator or a group of partners that drive the growth and cast the vision. But in CrowdSouth's case, there are two owners:
Jason Heflin, founding partner, manages the relationships, business development, and new market growth.
Chad Webb, founding partner, is the operator, the financial guru, and the technical brain of the company.
This pairing has been unique. Both bring distinctive skill set to the table. Humble self-reflection on each owner's weaknesses and strengths has allowed the two to push ego out of the way and propel growth. In their own words, "we don't waste a lot of time arguing over who is doing what, when something surfaces, we know who takes it, and we drive it forward without hesitation."

"We want to be seen as an integral part of the client's organization and privy to growth strategies. It's how we can embed ourselves and provide maximum value."