NY Mills grad brings marketing savvy to area

By Barbie Porter


Erica Martin’s new Perham-based marketing business began with a dream job and a picture frame.

The 1998 New York Mills High School graduate was working in marketing for Target Corp., which is well known for having iconic branding and a knack for understanding the pulse of consumers.

“It was my dream job,” she said. “I knew there was more out there for me and I wanted to grow; to run a business. So, I started a side business making picture frames.”

Martin and her husband Ben purchased a professional machine that cut picture frames. Each was hand-painted and then sold wholesale to photographers. Within five months the business outgrew its capacity and work was outsourced to keep up with orders.

“It grew to the point it replaced my income, substantially,” she said. “At that time I was having our second child, and wanted to be closer to home.”

She decided to leave her job with Target Corp., and focus on her business. While she always utilized her marketing skills, there were many other duties that went with building picture frames. 

When a larger company offered to buy the business the Martins decided it was time.

“I was ready to start a business where I just focused on marketing,” she said.

Martin can accommodate clients with virtual or in-person meetings at new her office, which is located at 155 2nd Street SW in Perham. While new to Perham, she already has a strong clientele base that stretches from New York to NY Mills. 

“I recently had a client call to tell me they needed to pull back on marketing because they can’t handle the work it has given her,” Martin said. “Growing pains like that are a good problem to have.”

The Perham resident said her clients can customize her assistance to their needs, and aims to keep her expertise affordable.

Whether it is creating a brand for a product, optimizing search engines to direct customers to their store, enhancing advertising campaigns to increase sales or customizing a website, Martin can make achieving business goals attainable.

“Some clients tell me the marketing budget they have, and tell me to run with it,” she said. “Others want a strategy session where we sit for an hour or two and create a plan that they can run with on their own.”

She said a questionnaire is typically filled out by her client prior to their first meeting. 

“I want to have time to analyze the business before I meet with them,” she said. “I also like time to learn about their audience and competition.”

To grow business through a new avenue of marketing opportunities, contact Martin by calling (218) 298-2566 or emailing erica@ericamartinco.com. To find out more information about what she offers, visit www.ericamartinco.com.  

Martin returns to small town life for her children

“Since I was a kid I had a passion for marketing,” Martin recalled. “I would take the massive JcPenny catalogs and rip out ads that I liked. I put them in a scrapbook to critique them.”

The unique childhood hobby only caused her passion for eye-appealing advertising to grow. When the time came to leave the nest, she spread her wings to experience big city life, and she soared. Martin earned a bachelor degree in marketing with additional expertise on graphic design.

“I had about three or four jobs building up to getting my dream job with Target Corp.,” she said. “I worked in their marketing department. It was a dream job because Target is an icon in the marketing world. They’ve been doing it right since the 1970s.”

For years she helped draw customers to aisles in stores as well as highlight products  to increase foot traffic and sales. She met plenty of interesting people, some of which were famous, and soaked up knowledge from all who shared it.

The daughter of Dave and Laurine Braukmann lived in the Twin Cities area for about 15 years with her husband and their two sons, Grant, 12, and Will, 8. Martin noted her husband is a software developer and works remotely. After they sold their picture frame business, the two discussed if they wanted to continue living in a large city, or provide their children with a taste of small town life.

“We decided we wanted to be in a more rural space and on a lake,” she said. “We also wanted our kids to go to a smaller school. We were living in Ostego, (Minn.) and the school there is smaller, but after eighth grade they head to Rogers and that is a huge school district.”

She noted her children attend the Perham School District.