How Perceived Value Helped Melon Local Dominate the Insurance Marketing Niche

Agency Profile - Melon Local

When Whitney Green-Olson was 15, she painted fire hydrants under Kentucky's blistering sun and sweltering 110-degree summer heat.

The only woman working for the Hopkinsville Water Environment Authority had a single vision: Get out of Hopkinsville and move to the big city. Green-Olson is now the CEO of one of Nevada’s fastest-growing marketing agencies, Melon Local.

Today, we’re sharing how Melon Local grew from serving just a handful of insurance agents to becoming a team of 67 employees who help generate quality leads via organic and paid search services, social media marketing, and brand building and reputation management for clients across the U.S. 



Agency Stats



Whitney Green-Olson


Melon Local

Agency Stats

67 employees 1,600+ clients

Est. 2019


Las Vegas, USA

Small Town, Big Dreams

The journey that brought Green-Olson to the glitz of Las Vegas was never meant to revolve around digital marketing.

She wanted to make it big in Tinseltown.

The dream never really had marketing in there. Honestly, it was definitely the bright lights and the Hollywood glam. You're growing up in a small town, and that's what you see and think that's what life is all about. Was I supposed to be a model or an actress? …that whole thing.

Whitney Green-Olson, CEO, Melon Local

Whitney Green-Olson, CEO, Melon Local

Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Green-Olson moved to Kentucky to live with her mother and grandmother. 

Raised by two strong women who nurtured her aspirations, Green-Olson did everything she could to make her dream come true. On top of working for the city, she also did odd jobs that included working in remote services for a local school and working full-time at a bridal and prom store called Special Occasions, saving as much money as she could to earn her Associate’s Degree from the Hopkinsville Community College.

After graduating, Green-Olson made it to L.A., where the culture shock made her realize she wasn’t in Kansas—er,  Kentucky—anymore. 

It was time to click those heels and return home.

Finding a Niche in the Heart of the Desert

On the way back to Hopkinsville, Green-Olson serendipitously found where she belonged: Las Vegas.

Vegas is obviously all about customer service and the hospitality industry—that fit my personality and the hard work I was willing to put in.

Whitney Green-Olson, CEO, Melon Local

Vegas was the perfect match for someone with her skills, but the odds were stacked even more in her favor when she met her future husband, Perry, five years ago.

Perry Olson is an award-winning insurance agent who provides coverage for individuals, families, and businesses across Nevada, California, Utah, and Arizona. At the time they met, Perry was handling his own marketing and knew he needed someone who could helm advertising and customer service for himself and other insurance agents in the area.

Perry saw in Whitney a unique skill set combining drive, optimism, and customer service experience. She holds certifications as a corporate flight attendant and guest service professional, along with digital marketing certifications from UNLV and Google. She also completed and is currently enrolled in leadership and management courses from Harvard Business School Online. 

Other companies at the time weren’t aligning with agents’ needs when it came to the relationship and explaining what they were doing for the agent.

Whitney Green-Olson, CEO, Melon Local

This skillset proved to be the missing link that would lead to the launch of Melon Local, an agency offering marketing services for insurance agents in the Las Vegas area.

Because of Perry’s already prominent role and visibility in the insurance community at the time of Melon Local’s launch, many agents focused their attention on Perry when the couple would attend insurance or social events together, assuming that he was the de facto leader of the business.

Whitney Green-Olson takes charge on stage

Whitney Green-Olson takes charge on stage. (Credit: Melon Local)

Green-Olson may have felt her expertise, business acumen, and people skills were being dismissed at first. It’s not an uncommon problem faced by female entrepreneurs—especially those who work with established partners who have already made a prominent name for themselves in the local business community.

But Green-Olson isn’t someone who gives up easily. After continuously showing up in the field, proving her diligence, and appearing as a guest speaker at industry events, people grew to recognize her as the true force driving the growing agency. Over time, it became a bit of a friendly competition between the two partners.

When we’re out and about now, people go, ‘Oh, you’re Whitney? You’re the one that owns Melon Local?’ And I’m like, ‘Perry, who?’ So it’s always fun to have that banter with my husband. He gets a little butthurt sometimes, but he’s a champ about it.

 Whitney Green-Olson, CEO, Melon Local

Setting the Stage for Success

Burgeoning agencies looking to capitalize on a unique business opportunity often miss the right equity partners in the early development stages.

While Whitney and Perry had a solid idea of what Melon Local could accomplish for insurance agents, they knew they couldn’t do it alone.

At the time, friends Justin and Susan Baloun were running Wheat Creative, a full-service franchise marketing agency they founded, named one of the nation's Top Franchise Suppliers by Entrepreneur in 2018. Wheat Creative had grown its portfolio to include industry giants like Dunkin' Donuts, Wendy's, and Gold's Gym, as well as up-and-coming franchise brands like ZIPS Dry Cleaners.

Wheat Creative team 2018

Susan and Justin Baloun (front, left and right) celebrating their Entrepreneur award with the Wheat Creative team in 2018. (Credit: Wheat Creative) 

As Melon Local and Wheat Creative grew in parallel, the four founders began to converse about what it might be like to join forces. The Balouns saw in Melon Local a much bigger play than simply providing insurance agents with basic marketing services—the agency clearly had the potential to corner the insurance marketing niche in the Vegas area and beyond. 

After Wheat Creative was acquired by Scorpion, its largest franchise marketing competitor, Susan and Justin Baloun officially joined Melon Local as CPO and CFO.

We had run Wheat for nearly 10 years, and it was a goal and dream to be acquired at some point. When the opportunity came along with Scorpion, we jumped to merge and provide our team and clients more opportunities than we could with Wheat. As the acquisition finished, Susan and I knew Melon was growing faster than expected and could use more of our time.

Justin Baloun, CFO, Melon Local

Though the business initially benefited from the addition of two equity partners, the early phase wasn’t always smooth. For Green-Olson, stepping into the CEO role and working closely with her future husband and another couple who had been running their own successful ad agency was a challenge. 

It made for an interesting dynamic. We all had our own ways of doing things and different involvements in the company's growth. What really made the difference was our willingness to focus on the bigger picture.

Whitney Green-Olson, CEO, Melon Local

As the foursome grew more accustomed to each individual’s working style, the team was able to establish defined roles that allowed the leaders to focus on what they each do best. 

Growing Pains: Too Big, Too Fast?

Today, Melon Local is recognized as one of the Top Workplaces in Nevada and is a top 3% Google Premier Partner. But a meteoric rise like the one Melon Local has experienced over the past four years did not come without hurdles.

Facing a Changing Agency Landscape

Like many businesses opening their doors in late 2019, Melon Local hit a critical juncture during the COVID-19 pandemic. Moving operations to a digital-first setting proved to be an unexpected asset for Melon Local, yet, at the same time, the whole industry was upended.

Their resilience was truly tested when they were suddenly faced with an influx of competition and major shifts in the market. They were hit particularly hard when a key insurance company they worked with changed its online quote process across all states.

Losing a major account is often a make-or-break point for growing agencies. It upsets the business and leads to a ripple effect across the client base. When this happens, agency leaders must devote their attention to retaining existing customers by enhancing the agency’s product and deepening its value.

Our dedication to maintaining high service standards even in tough times helped us keep our core clients engaged and satisfied. Now, as the industry landscape is starting to stabilize, we are beginning to see the positive impact of our steadfast approach. Some agents have returned, drawn back by the consistent quality and reliability that Melon Local offers.

Whitney Green-Olson, CEO, Melon Local

Confronting the Hiring Crunch

In less than five years, the company has had to move offices twice to accommodate the growing number of team members, who, in the early days, worked the phones rather than Zoom in shared conference rooms. 

(Melon Local can thank the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for better customer service and relationship-building with insurance agents for the precipitous shift to video.)

Melon Local team early stages

Small but mighty: Melon Local in the early stages of growth. (Credit: Melon Local) 

Within our first year, we were already up to 20 employees. It was exponential growth, which is insane. We can’t hire fast enough to keep up with the demand. The challenge is bringing in the right people and putting them in the right place.

Justin Baloun, CFO, Melon Local

During a rapid hiring phase, agency leaders must realize the importance of growing in numbers while maintaining the essence of what makes their company great. It takes a multifaceted approach to scale effectively and ensure services remain top-notch. HR is vital in refining the recruitment process, ensuring agencies bring in talented individuals and a cultural fit. 

Melon Local established a framework that involved onboarding, quality assurance, and continuous development to ensure new hires were seamlessly integrated into the agency’s operations and understood company values from Day One.

Melon Local 4 year anniversary

It’s hard to believe Melon Local is only four years old. (Credit: Melon Local)

We recognized the need to maintain the quality of our work despite the rapid expansion. So, we introduced a training and quality assurance department. This team was pivotal in setting high standards and maintaining consistency across our services, ensuring that our growth in size did not dilute the quality our clients have come to expect from us.

Whitney Green-Olson, CEO, Melon Local

Melon Local adapted its team structure to better manage growth. They promoted deserving team members and built out “pods”—small, cross-functional teams that could operate semi-autonomously.

It was about building a robust framework—through HR, training, quality assurance, and innovative team structures—that could support and sustain our rapid growth, keeping our core values and service quality intact.

Whitney Green-Olson, CEO, Melon Local

A Business Foundation Built on Relationships

Since the company's early days, Green-Olson has forged a company culture that celebrates employee wins, big and small. The company hosts lunches, special events, and even raffle tickets for team members to see the Vegas Golden Knights.

There’s a lot of perks. As we grow, it’s time-consuming on my end—‘What can we do next? How are we going to scale this?’

Whitney Green-Olson, CEO, Melon Local

Melon Local team

Whitney Green-Olson and the Melon Local team are ready to cheer on the Vegas Golden Knights. (Credit: Melon Local)

For Green-Olson, exponential growth also means more manual labor—and not the kind that requires sweating in the Kentucky heat painting fire hydrants.

As CEO, she sends handwritten cards to employees and clients for birthdays and “Melonversaries.” It’s the kind of human touch that has made Melon Local a company culture champion in its niche and set it apart from the competition.

As their numbers keep growing, so does the workload to keep the personal connection with clients alive.

I don't plan on changing that any time soon. I think it's really important. People seek me out and talk about how impressed they are with how we handle everything. I'm very fortunate to have so many friends who are business owners and who are clientele. They really enjoy being able to see how excited our team is when they get on the calls.

Whitney Green-Olson, CEO, Melon Local

Whitney Green-Olson from Melon Local

Whitney Green-Olson has built a company culture that combines results and personal touches. (Credit: Melon Local)

Winning Niche Clients With Perceived Value

A unique combination of high-impact results and human connection has made Melon Local, as their core values state, “One in a Melon” with employees and clients.

For Baloun, perceived value—a client's belief that an agency’s product or service can meet their needs or expectations—provides Melon Local as much trust as the ROI they help their clients achieve.

Perceived value significantly impacts client satisfaction, loyalty, and an agency’s overall success. With Melon Local, clients know they’ll get a great customer experience, a solid ROI, excellent support, and an innovative approach to campaign strategy that is specifically tailored to their niche.

So far, it’s been the golden ticket for the agency’s growth strategy: While many agencies primarily focus on the bottom line and competitive pricing, Melon Local puts faith in human connection. 

Insurance agents might leave to find a better price elsewhere. Still, Green-Olson and Baloun are confident they’ll eventually return to the Melon Local experience because of the trust they’ve built with them in the first place.

There’s a lot of vendors and competition in our field, and they’re growing by the minute. Just stay classy. At the end of the day, our reputation at Melon Local means the world to me.

 Whitney Green-Olson, CEO, Melon Local

Melon Local Stats

Local Paid Search

Organic Content

Local Paid Search

$1.5M+ monthly ad spend

2.5M+ impressions per month

30% average conversion rate

Organic Content

2M annual search impressions

23M annual search views

17M annual map views

Focusing on Clients First With AgencyAnalytics

From Day One, having a reporting tool like AgencyAnalytics has been a boon for Melon Local. 

Giving its 1,600+ clients 24/7 access to live dashboards to track campaign performance is one of the core features the agency advertises as part of its various service packages.

We implemented AgencyAnalytics right as we started. One of our core values has been transparency all along—with our agents, with our clients, and with our team, too. Our clients love the fact that they can access their data and that we don't hide anything from them. It's all right there. It helped us get a leg up on some of our competitors right out the door.

Justin Baloun, CFO, Melon Local

Melon Local Packages

Melon Local’s packages offer a real-time stats dashboard using AgencyAnalytics.

Ripe for Even More Growth

Under Green-Olson's leadership, Melon Local has become more than a marketing agency; it's a testament to the power of big dreams, adaptability, and, most importantly, human connection. 

Despite their whirlwind growth and challenges, the heart of Melon Local remains committed to genuine, personalized service—a touch as personal as Green-Olson's handwritten notes.

And while there’s always a chance Melon Local could someday explore venturing outside their niche, insurance is where the heart of the agency is and remains.

The biggest advice (for other agency leaders) is just finding your niche and sticking to it. It tends to be the only way to grow a marketing agency. Your results are going to be better when you’re focused.

Justin Baloun, CFO, Melon Local

Headshot for Francois Marchand

Written by

Francois Marchand

Francois Marchand brings more than 20 years of experience in marketing, journalism, and content production. His goal is to equip agency leaders with innovative strategies and actionable advice to succeed in digital marketing, SaaS, and ecommerce.

Read more posts by Francois Marchand ›

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