Interview with Andres Gonzalez, Co-Founder & Marketing Director at Holistic Life Foundation, Inc.
Andres Gonzalez has been the Co-Founder and Marketing Director for the Holistic Life Foundation, Inc. in Baltimore, MD since 2001. For sixteen years, Andres has taught yoga to diverse populations throughout the world, including Baltimore City Public School students, drug treatment centers, mental crisis facilities, homeless shelters, wellness centers, colleges, private schools and other various venues throughout the nation and throughout the world. He has partnered with John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health and the Penn State’s Prevention Research Center on a Stress and Relaxation Study and is a published author in the Journal of Children’s Services. His work with the Holistic Life Foundation has been featured on Making a Difference on the NBC Nightly News, CNN, and CBS, as well as O the Oprah Magazine, The Washington Post, Upworthy, Mindful Magazine, Yoga Journal, Shambala Sun, and many other publications. He is a certified Health Coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, maintains a B.S. in Marketing from the University of Maryland, College Park and an MBA from the University of Maryland, University College.
Your Journey as a Marketing Professional.
My Journey as a Marketing Professional began as I got my degree at the University of Maryland at College Park, but I would say that I really didn’t dive into the trade until I started implementing what I learned from school into our non-profit organization. I have been the Director of Marketing and Communications for the past ten years. Initially, I mainly focused on creating business cards, flyers, and using word-of-mouth to get our name out there. Eventually, I had to learn to become proficient in WordPress in order to make updates and changes to our website, MailChimp to build and deliver our newsletters, and Hootsuite to assist with our social media campaign. But beyond learning software and posting media and information, I think one of my main roles was communicating to our clients and business partners. Representing our values, vision, and mission. And being clear and concise with our branding and messaging. I also needed to ensure that our entire staff was able to communicate these same things in a professional manner.
What are the primary marketing channels you have worked on? What will be your advice to young marketers on each of these channels?
The main channels that I have worked on our websites, social media, promotional materials, branding, and word of mouth. My main advice would be fewer words and more images. In this day and age, nobody wants to read stuff. If there is too much text I have found that people get overwhelmed and just skip past it. An image can speak so much and I’ve found that it draws peoples attention so much better than a paragraph. Another tip I would have is that you make your marketing material simple. Too much again makes people want to move on to something else.
What are some of the important marketing software that you have used and found to be really useful for your company?
Hootsuite, MailChimp, and WordPress are all essential marketing software that every organization should use.
Which companies, according to you, are your competitors. How do you differentiate against these?
Mindful Schools, MindUP, Inward Bound, and Mindfulness in Schools would be are the main competitors. I think the main thing that differentiates us is our image and branding. We have a more laid back approach with how we deliver our services that pulls our customers in because of the practicality and reliability.
Your 2 line advice to people entering in the marketing domain.
Create marketing material that you yourself would be drawn into. Simple is better.