Marlita Bevenue is a Milwaukee native and owner and operator of Marlita Media Solutions. Two years ago, while working for the Communications Department for the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD), she opened her digital marketing and branding business to help Black and brown business owners in Madison.
Bevenue reassures her clients that she has the solutions to marketing problems that arise for new entrepreneurs who are just starting out and struggling to successfully market their business online. Some of her clients include Black Girl Magic Educational Services Inc., MMSD’s long-standing Read Your Heart Out Initiative, and The Progress Center for Black Women.
She is currently a digital content strategist for the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s largest college, the College of Letters & Science. When she isn’t at work, she’s with her husband, two daughters and goldendoodle, Miles Davis.
Where did the idea for Marlita Media Solutions come from? What made you interested in helping other entrepreneurs with branding and developing their websites?
Marlita Media Solutions really came from working with Black professionals in the community, specifically in the Madison community. When I was on the communications team, as a senior communication specialist at MMSD, I met a lot of Black educators and teachers — men and women who are just very passionate about education and passionate about students and young scholars, and making sure our kids are educated, but they had other interests and other things they were passionate about as well.
For example, Rosa Thompson started out teaching; she's been with the district for a very long time. She also has Black Girl Magic Educational Services. I met many people at MMSD who were professional educators by day, but then they were also entrepreneurs at the same time. This is where Marlita Media started. It came from connecting with those Black educators here at MMSD here in Madison, and kind of collaborating with them on projects outside of the school district.
Once folks found out I was the one behind social media and writing the staff newsletters, they started asking, “Can you do that for me?” I was like, “Of course I can.” I should absolutely be doing this for Black and brown entrepreneurs in the community.
Why is it important for you to help Black and brown business owners in Madison with branding, digital marketing campaigns and other efforts?
I want to see them win. It's really that simple. I want to see Black Girl Magic Educational services win, and I can really get behind the mission of helping young girls reach their full potential. So that's why I'm interested in that. That's what intrigues me about working with the clients that I have. I'm going to do whatever I can to make sure they win. That's just what it comes from.
When a client or an entrepreneur comes to me and they need help with web development or pictures, or even just a cool video — right now, I'm working with the Progress Center for Black Women. If you go to their website and look at the videos of their employees, I shot all those videos because I want to see Black women win. I can say that most of my clients that I work with are Black women, actually, maybe 100% of them are.
How do you find balance with your career at UW as a digital content strategist for the College of Letters & Science and the media work for your business?
The way that I balance things is, first of all, I have a job that I love. So at UW-Madison, as the digital content strategist, I really don't even consider that work. Being on that communications team is the line of work that I really love to do. I get to interview faculty and students, and really tell their stories visually.
When people ask me what I do, I always say that I'm a visual storyteller. I do a lot with videography and photography, and really kind of sharing their stories, through imagery and video.
I'm able to balance things because I don't really consider it work. It's just what I'm passionate about. I feel like my business is really an extension of what I do for UW. I get to do that same thing when I'm out in the Madison community, with the clients that I talk to, so it's all related.
What is your favorite part about owning and operating your own digital marketing/media company?
The best part of running a business is definitely the interactions that you have with people. Knowing that I'm helping people out — I want women to win, and I want businesses to win at social media, branding and marketing. That's the best part of this, knowing that I'm helping them out.
Another aspect is just meeting a variety of people in the process. Those are the highlights of owning and operating Marlita Media. Seeing some of the things that I create that others are using. It's really cool seeing what I've created for clients, so I love that aspect.
I love to just make life a little bit easier for entrepreneurs. because it's not easy. I feel really good at the end of the day, knowing that I'm taking some of that stress off of the entrepreneur. They can just pretty much leave it to me and give me a little direction on what they're looking for. I can run with it, and take it from there. Making their lives just a little bit easier, that brings me a lot of satisfaction as well.
What are your goals for Marlita Media? Where would you like to see your digital marketing business take you?
When I got into this, I never knew that Marlita Media would be where it is right now. I had no idea that people would be coming to me. I just want to keep doing what I'm doing. I do work closely with Black women, underrepresented business owners, and I think that's important.
If you take a look at my clients, you'll see that I definitely have a pattern. So that's what I want to continue doing. Those are my goals — to really continue to do what I'm doing for multicultural and Black women entrepreneurs, and just do more of it.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Marlitamedia.com is my website, and you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm very responsive. I'm very happy and humble, as far as all the entrepreneurs who do support me. Black-owned businesses in general are very unique. Marlita Media, when it comes to Black ownership and entrepreneurship, we're no different. I'm no different when it comes to celebrating and uplifting Black culture and Black experiences. All of this is very important to me. I'm going to continue to uplift Black culture, and serve Black communities. Representation is really important to me. That's really why I do what I do.