A TIMA Q&A With Alex Panait

Alex Panait on TwitterAlex Panait, CEO of the Raleigh film production house Roguemark, grew up in Romania shooting family trips on his dad’s camcorder. As a kid, he was even “hired” once to shoot a wedding.

Panait, who moved to the United States to attend college, got into portrait photography as a side project while working as a software engineer. He discovered he enjoyed portrait photography so much that he wanted to do it full time. He later added film production.

Founded in 2013, Roguemark is made up of Panait, two other professionals and an unpaid intern. The film production house works primarily with larger companies, doing film or photography for promotional materials as a way of creating visual identities for brands. Roguemark focuses on production in which Panait and his staff members control the environment instead of such events as weddings.

Panait gained the attention of large companies as clients through the goodwill of friends and by knocking on doors as part of the downtown Raleigh community.

As an entrepreneur, “I was extremely optimistic,” he said. Building a business is “more challenging than I personally thought.”

But Roguemark’s quality work has been well received, Panait said.

The company has released the first video “chapter” of We R Raleigh, an endeavor in which Roguemark will profile 10 to 15 entrepreneurs as a way to highlight Raleigh as a destination and a place of innovation. In the film of just over two minutes shot in a Raleigh wood workshop, Andy Little of A Little Framing tells how he came to launch a new career in custom framing with reclaimed lumber.

“We take our time. We want to make sure our message is very succinct, very clear,” Panait said. Roguemark created the first film pro bono, but Panait hopes to attract sponsors for future chapters.

In other efforts, Panait hopes to soon release a short film he produced on a visit to Romania. He’s also considering a Web series. “This is what we enjoy doing,” Panait said. “We enjoy being part of the community. We do this because we’re compelled to do it. This is who we are.”

What attracted you to marketing?

“Marketing, for me, is crafting a message and designing the method by which the message will reach the intended audience. It’s a thoroughly creative process.”

How would you characterize the Triangle as a place to work as a marketer?

“The Triangle continues to attract people. New businesses are created here and larger companies are opening branches in the area. It’s a great opportunity for marketers.”

How is the increasing focus on digital and, more specifically, mobile, changing your approach?

“We have to craft the visual message while considering how it will be delivered — on the Web or on mobile, as opposed to print or TV, for example.”

What favorite new tools are helping you do your job better?

“Adobe Creative Cloud and Google Apps”

How should a company’s communication plan incorporate social media marketing?

“The company’s message must be crafted in a format suited for social media and delivered consistently across all platforms.”

What’s the most important advice you would give to a Triangle-area student?

“Take advantage of local events to network.”

What is the biggest mistake you see marketers make?

“Neglecting the visual aspect of the message. A close second is neglecting the verbal aspect.”

What are the biggest challenges facing marketers today?

“SEO and social media have added perceived complexity to the marketing process.”

How will marketing evolve over the next five to 10 years?

“Marketing will become increasingly social and the messages that are transmitted will become increasingly personal.”

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