JigSaw Marketing Solutions is a successful marketing and public relations firm located in Bel Air that focuses on marketing strategy, content development, and public relations for architecture, engineering, and construction firms in the Baltimore-Washington area, as well as a variety of other large and small businesses around the country. The biggest niche for JigSaw is content marketing, which typically involves creating a monthly editorial calendar of timely topics, and writing and distributing content through email blasts, case studies, social media and public relations. The company’s primary goal is to keep clients in the minds of their target customers, and what sets JigSaw apart is an a la carte style of marketing. Clients only pay for the services they need when they need them, thereby enjoying the benefits of deep industry knowledge and connections at a more cost-effective price.
Kathy Walsh, the founder and principal of JigSaw, is involved is all areas of the business and dedicates a great deal of time to giving back to non-profits in her community. The Baltimore native never imagined she would end up working in marketing or public relations; she originally planned to take over her father’s law practice. Walsh quickly realized that a career in law might not be the right fit for her, and she changed her major to Mass Communications with a concentration in journalism. When she started looking for a job after graduation, she applied for a marketing assistant position on a whim. “From day one I enjoyed the variety in the work,” she says. Walsh ultimately went back to school at Johns Hopkins University to earn a master’s degree in marketing, but she is grateful for the writing skills she acquired from her undergraduate education.
Walsh decided to form JigSaw in 2001 shortly after the birth of her first child. “Like most new moms, I wanted something that would give me greater flexibility and work-life balance,” she explains. Immediately after graduating from Johns Hopkins, Walsh’s main focus for JigSaw was on developing full-blown, strategic marketing plans for clients. Many of the small businesses that came to her couldn’t afford to pay for such a plan, and her business suffered as a result. Walsh decided to take a hiatus and worked for another local agency for a couple of years, but here she found herself turning away the same small businesses she most wanted to help – and who typically needed marketing help the most – because they couldn’t afford the high hourly rates. “When I came back to JigSaw, I was more focused and realized that while elaborate planning does have a place for some businesses, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution, and there are things you can adjust and do to work with any budget,” she says. “Once I figured that out, it all clicked, I started turning a profit, and JigSaw has seen consistent growth ever since.” Her deep knowledge of the Baltimore-Washington area has also served JigSaw and her clients well. “My network is fairly extensive because I have spent not just my entire career, but also my entire life here. It helps me connect people to others who may be able to assist them – and that’s something I really enjoy doing.”
There is no typical day in the marketing business, which is one of the things Walsh loves about her job. “Every day is something new,” she explains. “One day I might be completely immersed writing highly technical website content for a client who specializes in high performance computing, while the next I could be onsite at a global environmental initiative waiting to greet a TV crew we have lined up to cover the event.” The most fulfilling part of her job is seeing clients achieve results as a direct impact of her work and knowledge of the field. Walsh states, “I love interacting with my clients, helping them better focus on their goals and figuring out the steps to take to reach them. It’s a lot like coaching.”
Walsh’s strong commitment to her family has influenced the scope of JigSaw tremendously. “There’s no doubt in my mind that we could grow JigSaw, have it become a bigger agency with a bigger staff and bigger offices, but that’s not who we are,” she says. “It would not only affect my home life but also the personal relationship I have with each of my clients.” Walsh’s dedication to her community has also impacted her work. She consistently offers a standard discount for non-profits, and she frequently provides pro bono services to organizations including Habitat for Humanity Susquehanna, SARC, Harford Family House and Harford Land Trust. Giving back reminds Walsh of why she loves having her own business. As she puts it, “I can make a living, hopefully provide a good work environment for my employees, give back to the community I live and work in, and still have time for my family. I’d say all in all, I have it pretty darn good!” I95
JigSaw Marketing Solutions