Marketing Agency Has Travel, Tourism Agenda

As Seen in This Week's Los Angeles Business Journal:  PSM expansion into the travel and tourism sectors is all part of the 2024 expansion plan

HERMOSA BEACH, Calif. (April 16, 2024) Hermosa Beach marketing firm Paolucci Salling & Martin Communication Arts plans to bolster its travel and tourism offerings as it celebrates its 35th year of business. The company recently hired Amanda Larson as its new director of business development for placemaking, travel and tourism. And company President Daniel Martin projects that PSM’s headcount will grow significantly this year as it doubles down on destination-related clients as well as its bread-and-butter residential focus.

“We have a projected growth plan this year. It’s much more aggressive than it’s ever been,” Martin said. “That is probably 25% growth by the end of the year. For a small-ish business, that represents a significant expenditure. I would guess we’ll have anywhere between eight to 10 new people this year.”

Formed in 1989, PSM offers branding, media, advertising, social media management, web development, video production and public relations services. Initially based out of Palos Verdes Estates, one of the company’s first placemaking clients was the former Ocean Trails Golf Club, which infamously went bankrupt when part of the course slid into the ocean during a landslide.

Martin became a partner in the company 15 years ago, on the tail-end of the 2008 financial crisis that left PSM with millions in unpaid billables. The company weathered that and has been rebuilding successfully since.

“We haven’t had to do any reductions in staff,” Martin said. “We went from 2008, with about 12 people, to now, with about 30 people.”

PSM’s client list is extensive, including the likes of the Ritz-Carlton Residences at L.A. Live, Metropolis Los Angeles, Chevron El Segundo Refinery, Torrance Memorial Medical Center and Redondo Beach Tourism. It is currently launching 425 Palm, a luxury residence community in Beverly Hills developed by Beverly Hills-based Etco Homes.

One major client, The New Home Co. in Irvine, is driving PSM’s planned hiring spree, Martin said, underlining the company’s roots as a homebuilder-centric agency.

And for good reason: Martin said residential work has skyrocketed since 2022, when flush savings accounts and low interest rates spurred a homebuying spree nationwide. It was around that time that PSM bought and renovated its new headquarters in Hermosa Beach, at the former workshop of surfboard shaper Hap Jacobs.

However, the desire to reinvigorate destination marketing led Martin to Larson, a friend he first got to know when she worked for Irvine homebuilder City Ventures LLC.

She had since moved onto tourism marketing at a self-founded firm, and Martin began talking with her last year about her next steps.

“It was a good time for her to enter a more entrepreneurial stage in her life. It was great for us because we know her and have complete trust in her capabilities,” Martin said. “This wasn’t a job posting. It was a very organic conversation that evolved. I’d love to grow the client roster outside of core residential. We need to be in the sphere and discussion of the resort and travel sector.”

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