Company Overview

The Marketing Department (TMD) was established as an agency in Southern California in 1990 and initially provided event promotion for clients based in the Southwest as well as promotional literature for industrial accounts. In 1993, the agency was moved to Durango when it’s founder, Nick Spence, relocated to the area. The company was incorporated in August 1994 in Colorado with the corporate name, The Spence Companies, Inc. It maintains its agency operations using the dba, The Marketing Department.

One of The Marketing Department’s first clients in the Four Corners was the Durango Weekly newspaper. After researching the market, TMD recommended a marketing program which included changing the name of the publication to Four Corners Weekly as well as including news from around the entire region. The implementation of these recommendations tripled advertising revenue for the newspaper in a few short months. Ultimately, in 1994, TMD chose to sever its relationship with the paper due to conflicts with the management style of the owner.

Another of TMD’s early clients included the Durango Gallery Association. During this engagement, The Marketing Department investigated the marketing and positioning of other cities with respect to their galleries, most notably Santa Fe. Operating within severe budget constraints, TMD was able to develop quality promotional materials that replaced the poor “quick-print” materials used heretofore. Through this effort, the Association was able to position itself in a far more upscale manner. These early efforts persist today, and Durango can be pleased to have some of the finest galleries in the Southwest.

Since its humble beginnings as a one-person operation in Nick’s house, The Marketing Department has grown to a staff of five and presently occupies the entire building at its current 7th Avenue/College Drive location. Its clients encompass the entire Four Corners from Telluride to Pagosa Springs to Farmington to Silverton. Annual billings exceed six figures (not counting media buys and similar expenses which would artificially inflate those billings).


Creative and Marketing Services

The Marketing Department is experienced at providing market research to determine the nature and perception of the brand offering, as well as evaluation of the competition including competitive strengths and weaknesses so that product positioning and appropriate advertising and marketing programs can be developed.

Upon conclusion of the market research, TMD first works with the client to develop a promotional budget. Then we use our expertise to pursue a branded identity which positions the client favorably with local, regional and tourism based prospects and in beneficial contrast to its competitors.

Once a clear identity and position has been established, TMD moves forward in the development of visual and broadcast communication imagery utilizing its in-house staff of artists, designers, copywriters and broadcast production staff.

The Marketing Department recommends various advertising media to reach and promote the client’s brand to the local, regional and national market as appropriate. With extensive experience in both print and broadcast (and even billboards), development of this advertising is conducted in-house. Actual production is handled either in concert with the media or using independent facilities with professional talent depending on the budget.


Principal's Biography

Nick Spence is the Creative Director and General Manger of The Marketing Department as well as the principal of The Spence Companies, Inc. which is the corporate entity. You could say that Nick is the central force ensuring that the various projects the company is working on follow the original marketing concept, positioning and consistency as determined to be appropriate by the client. Nick is also the chief marketing researcher for TMD on its client’s behalf, whether doing the nitty-gritty himself or developing the parameters that are to be studied. You will find many of Nick’s designs gracing the print media, signage and web sites of area firms as well as hearing his broadcast creative which is always dynamic, and usually has a twist of fun. His development of the animal adventures radio advertising series for pet stores are still a classic.

Nick formed The Marketing Department some 15 years ago as an agency to provide services to a broad array of client types and needs. He was able to do so because of a diverse marketing career over some twenty years including Genesco, Inc (marketer of branded footwear including Dockers shoes, Johnston & Murphy and Jarman), AIIM (the association for the information and imaging industry who’s annual conventions are attended by upwards of 30,000), Bell & Howell’s computer imaging systems division, and, just prior to creating TMD, Houston Fearless (a Southern California manufacturer of industrial photographic equipment) where he was international marketing manager and globetrotter. Upon starting The Marketing Department, he said that he ought to know how to run one, having hired enough advertising agencies in his career.

Nick is a Durango Diplomat, Past Diplomat of the Year, TMD’s representative to Ignacio, Bayfield and Durango’s Chambers of Commerce, Vice-chairman of the Ignacio Chamber of Commerce, and past Ignacio representative to LEAD (La Plata County Economic Development Action Partnership). He is also involved in numerous community activities, having served on the Durango High School’s Closed Campus Committee and the 9-R School District committee developing a remedial program for children with learning disabilities.

Nick’s marketing motto has always been, “Everything from you that touches your customers and prospects affects your ability to keep and increase their business with you. It’s all marketing.”

Sample Client References

The Marketing Department is experienced in providing advertising and marketing services to businesses in a variety of industries. For example:

Ignacio Chamber of Commerce (business association). Create billboard promoting downtown shopping, draft codes on behalf of, and approved by, the Chamber membership to improve the aesthetics of Ignacio’s business district, develop other materials such as the current project for a direct mail promotion for Ignacio merchants.  Additionally provide printing and mailing services. Contact Emily Meisner, President, (970) 563-9494.

Advanced EyeCare (medical/retail). Create direct marketing campaigns, print advertising campaigns, and point of sale materials. Development of some materials is interesting in that direction, particularly for the eyewear division, is minimal. For example, a recent project was POS materials to promote Cryzal coated glasses using a defined discount. We are expected to research and determine the pros of the product as well as the creative theme. Additionally, provide printing and mailing services. Contact Dr. Susannah Standal, (970) 247-8762.

Kiwanis Club of Durango (non-profit). Provide marketing consulting and advertising/public relations services including press info and brochure and poster creative & printing. Contact Dr. Doug Wolfe, 970-247-5519.

Ken Beck & Associates (events). Offer marketing consulting for horse auctions, create simple, yet effective direct mail promotions as well as posters, as well as design and print the auction books. Sales at the auctions have increased some 250 % in the last two years after being flat for sometime. Contact Ken Beck, (970) 759-6868.

Additional references are available. Just ask.


Firm/Contact Information

Nick Spence
General Manager & Creative Director
The Marketing Department
595 E. 7th Avenue
Durango CO 81301
p. (970) 259-4027
f. (970) 259-7504