Text by Nancy S. Moseley | Photos by Silver Pebble Photography
It almost sounds like the beginning of a bad joke: What do a police officer and CEO of a marketing company have in common? For Caitlyn Scaggs, 31, who has spent her professional tenure finding, finessing and celebrating the connection between those two career choices, the punch line is simple. Both require a genuine awareness of the needs of other people and strong enough communication skills to solve for those needs in a way that assures success.
Growing up, Scaggs always wanted to be a police officer. She is a graduate of Blacksburg High School and Radford University [class of 2007] with a major in criminal justice and a minor in psychology. A self-touted list of personality traits that includes “driven,” “focused,” and “responsible” (and even sometimes “nerd”) means her list of accolades isn’t short. In high school, she was a resource officer and answered the crisis hotline, often responding to the hospital as an advocate for sexual assault victims. In college, she was a 4.0 student, volunteer at the Women’s Resource Center, intern for the FBI and president of the Criminal Justice Fraternity. After graduation, she was a police officer in Roanoke County for four-and-a-half years.
“My mother always said I was a very determined and impatient learner. I wanted to master everything yesterday,” Scaggs concurs. Once she decided to start a family, she found herself at a career crossroads. Continuing in law enforcement, she felt, would result in a long-lasting, chronic scheduling conflict that would demand more of her than she was willing to give as a mother.
When a position in marketing opened up at her father’s company, Polymer Solutions in Christiansburg, Scaggs analyzed what transferable skills she might have. “I immediately started to self-educate. I read books on branding and marketing and paired myself with a marketing mentor. I watched online tutorials. I threw myself into it. My ‘master this yesterday’ gene kicked in.”
She accepted the director of marketing position in July of 2012 and fell into step immediately. Armed with an elemental devotion to valuing people above all else, Scaggs assured the company’s success externally by fostering an environment of excitement and passion internally. She was a natural at corporate culture, business development, public relations and all things marketing.
“My friends started to ask for marketing advice,” she laughs. “They’d buy me lunch to pick my brain.” It wasn’t long before local businesses started to seek her out for long-term help. She worked on lunch breaks and after her children went to bed for her own clients, soon realizing that the work-life balance she had so faithfully pursued was off.
At the suggestion of a friend, Scaggs launched her own marketing company, Blue Mobius, in May of 2017. “Blue” to honor the thin blue line and “Mobius” because the shape is an integral part of the Polymer Solutions logo. A lover of storytelling, she intentionally crafted a company name that embodied the story of her personal career path.
Blue Mobius works with for-profit and nonprofit clients from a variety of industries including healthcare, software development, construction, science and technology and consumer products. The firm helps companies achieve their objectives by shaping a marketing story that promotes not only the business, but also the people in it.
A lot of the company’s success stems from an intrinsic understanding of how best to use social media as an impactful marketing tool. As a card-carrying millennial, Scaggs grew up comfortable with computers, technology and software programs and has mastered an understanding of how digital marketing and social media strategy can not only complement, but also propel, a campaign.
But how can online tools like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn be used to broker tangible relationships offline? It all cycles back to Scaggs’ impeccable communication skills coupled with her “people first” philosophy. “We facilitate conversations that wouldn’t happen otherwise. We use social media to encourage face-to-face interaction. Companies can be numb to how awesome they are. We are a fresh set of eyes with a contagious excitement, and people value that. Sometimes we forget that businesses are made up of people with stories to share.”
Scaggs and her two full-time employees moved into bigger office space at the Corporate Research Center this past January and hired a new account manager. She is constantly challenged by how best to maintain the balance of smart growth, while respecting the intimate, family-like corporate culture she has worked passionately to preserve.
“We think a lot about our ‘why’ and encourage clients to do the same. Why do you go to work every day? When you love what you do, you will be successful.” Scaggs has grown a successful business by listening to and understanding her clients from a human-to-human point of view. A true believer in the power of storytelling, she confidently and simply lives and works by one rule: when you put people first, the rest will take care of itself.
Nancy Moseley is a Blacksburg-based freelance writer who met Caitlyn Scaggs at a birthday party while their kids played in the bounce house.