Interview with Dwight Orr, President at Creative Marketing Programs


The founder series explores the minds of business owners and their journey to make a difference in their industry. We interview these business founders to understand the life lessons that mold them into who they are today. We also learn more about their company, their products or services, how they are different from their competitors, and the problems that they are trying to solve for their customers. The information that these business owners provide to us helps inform other entrepreneurs who are looking to make an impact in the business world. We all can take these lessons and apply them to our entrepreneurial journey. We want to thank every business owner who volunteered their time to participate in these interviews and share their knowledge with the community.

Great to meet you. Thank you for doing the interview. We want to know more about your journey, early struggles, success, and some wisdom that we can pass on to others who are interested in walking your footsteps toward becoming an entrepreneur. We know that being an entrepreneur is not all glory and fame, but there are hard times too. We believe that others who are interested in being a business owner can gain insight from other business founders like yourself. Again, we want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule. Let’s get this interview started!

Let us start off with some basic questions to learn more about who you are as a person.

Can you tell everyone your name, please?

Dwight Orr

Where did you go to school?

North Kansas City, Maple Woods Community College

Can you give an example of an early lesson in life that helped shaped who you are today?

My dad had a printing company, and at age 15 he went to “piece work” meaning I got paid for what I accomplished not “by the hour.” This highly motivated my work ethic.

We all have entrepreneurs whom we look up to in our industry. These business leaders help influence, shape, and drive our ambition to succeed. These entrepreneurs could be someone that we have worked with on a project or could be someone that we look up too from a distance. For example, Bill Gates is a big inspiration to me not only because of his work in Microsoft but his outstanding contributions to society.

Who would you consider to be a significant influence on you professionally and can you explain why?

The sales manager at my first job selling business forms in 1977. She taught me a systematic approach to managing prospects and clients. She also encouraged me to read everything I could find on the art of selling. Eighteen months later we open a business forms distributorship together, scary first several months, but by year two we were on a roll, then things got better.

Thank you for providing a background on who you are as a person. I always find it fascinating to learn who a person is and their early life lessons. Let us move forward with the interview and discuss what you are doing now and how you are making a difference in your industry.

What is the name of your company?

Creative Marketing Programs

Where is your company located?

Kansas City, MO.

What services or products does your organization provide?

We are a direct marketing company, specializing in consumer engagement for hospitals and large health systems around the country. We use both online marketing tactics as well as offline strategies such as direct mail. Recently advances in digital marketing allow us to place digital ads in the same household that will receive direct mail. This tactic allows for laser targeting of digital advertising. For example, we can drop a client’s direct mail on Monday and begin serving digital ads on Wednesday to precisely those same households. This process increases the window of opportunity for response by up to 30 days. By combining digital and direct mail, we are helping clients achieve record response rates.

What problem is your business trying to solve?

We are experts at engagement. Our clients turn to CMPkc when they need to capture a targeted audience’s attention. We increase market share by engaging people and providing a reason for consumers to spend their time & attention to learn more about our clients.

How is your business unique against your competitors?

Since 1985, CMPkc has been relentless with testing. We take an Evidence-Based Marketing approach on all the campaigns we implement. The market will always teach us the most cost-effective approach to modifying their behavior. For example, we perform A/B split tests on everything from messaging, package, design, mail components, and digital animation. We are consistent learning how to engage target audiences better. From the beginning of new relationships, our clients benefit from the years of testing we’ve performed. While we never start from zero on any campaign (given our experience), we are committed to learning on every project. Our competitive advantage is consistently testing and thus producing the highest possible engagement rates.

How did the idea for your business come to fruition?

One of my larger business forms clients asked if I could develop a new mover campaign. I approached this opportunity just like I approach every other project. I researched, place myself in the consumer’s shoes and created a campaign that I thought would best create a situation where the consumer would do what the client was asking them to do. Then we tested, refined and changed everything from direct mail packaging, messaging, and design. We monitored response rates and learned. What we did worked well, and we grew from there.

Where can people go on the web to learn more about your business? and

Final question. We want to thank you for the interview. We have one last question to ask you about imparting some wisdom to future entrepreneurs.

What three tips would you give to other entrepreneurs who are starting out on their journey?

  1. Educated yourself on how to become a great communicator.
  2. Become an expert in your field by reading everything you can about the subject
  3. Stay connected to people you’ve met-LinkedIn & Facebook

Author: Ricky Singh, MBA

Editor of The Startup Growth.

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