Meet Reb Risty of REBL Marketing in Downtown San Diego


Today we’d like to introduce you to Reb Risty.

Reb, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?

I think most of my past employers would say Reb is the ideal employee. I always arrive early, stay late when needed, and do what I say I will do, self-motivated, positive and a good team member. When I pursued my MBA in 2005, is when I realized I had an entrepreneurial spirit. Although the professors and curriculum were very good, it was my fellow classmates that I learned the most from. I majored in Marketing and Entrepreneurship at SDSU. I took a class with Giles Bateman, former CFO for Price Club, which became Costco. He was the professor that challenged me to think like an entrepreneur instead of an employee. It was my fellow classmates, Jennifer, Mark and Erik whom I competed with in a Business Plan Competition and showed me I could start a Company of my own.

In 2008, when the economy crashed, I was laid off from the marketing agency where I had been working for the previous 2 years. At that point I did what any sensible unemployed person does, I started a consulting business, and RebL Marketing was born. Fortunately enough, I found a full time position within a few months, and RebL took a backseat. It was in 2016, when the RebL voice in my head began getting louder.

I was working as a marketing director for an aviation company that I really liked, but the work was not satisfying. When I started in aviation, I was constantly being asked for my advice, recommendations, reviews, and even job offers. I realized there is a real need for someone with my background and outsider knowledge. I did have a consulting client, Pro Back Office that I had worked with for year and saw how successful they had been providing outsourced Accounting and Finance services.

I thought, why I can’t do the same with Marketing and Communications services? With the encouragement of my client and good friend, Jennifer Barnes, I started to focus RebL Marketing on Outsourced Marketing Teams and Services. As I quickly found out, there is a demand for growing companies that are in need of experienced marketing professionals, just not necessarily on a full-time basis. So, I quit my full-time job and jumped in.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?

One of the biggest struggles I had to get over first was the decision to actually go out on my own and start RebL Marketing full-time. I had been consulting on the side for years and that was my comfort zone. I wish I could say there is a right time and you know it, but it wasn’t that oblivious. From the time I decided I wanted to run RebL full time to when I actually quit my job was just under a year. There were a number of reason, my employer at the time convinced me to stay longer and give them a chance to provide me with a better work situation. It was like trying to break up with a boyfriend, they kept saying things would get better, but it didn’t. Anyway, the time finally came that made me take the leap of faith and start RebL full time.

The other challenge I’ve had is growth and managing my team. I’ve grown quickly over the last few months and managing projects as well as growing and training my team has been a huge time struggle. Unfortunately I had to let a team member go this week. They just weren’t performing and causing more work for the rest of the team. The person is a nice person, but just couldn’t see what they were doing wrong or couldn’t admit it. This has been tough, but I know it won’t be the last time.

RebL Marketing – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?

With RebL Marketing the client gets a whole team or marketing department vs. one full-time employee. We can provide full marketing management at a fraction of the cost, on-site, remote, and when needed.

Unlike more traditional marketing firms that are good on a project basis RebL stays with the client to execute for a long team. This is where the RebL team really shines. We know how to develop, execute, evaluate and adjust. Our goal is to be the client’s marketing team that is proactive verses just doing the marketing.

I’ve been on the agency side and client side. I understand the frustration of being a client, paying a significant amount to the agency to end up doing half of the work or just can’t get what is needed out of the agency. I also understand that clients don’t always understand what marketing can really do. The best approach is to work together as a team, learning and willingness to be flexible on both sides.

I’m most proud of my long-term clients that I’ve been able to grow with and be a part of their success. One client, Pro Back Office, has grown significantly over the last 5 years. Winning SDBJ Fastest Growing award two years in a row and listed on the Inc. 5000. I’ve been with them since they started out of Jennifer Barnes back room office. We’ve also become good friends.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?

Happiness. When you can wake up ready to start your day and your work, that’s success to me.

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