Scaling an Online Marketing Company – 10 Minute Digital – Episode 1

 
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Greetings everyone! We’re excited to debut Bell Media’s new audio series called 10 Minute Digital. This new series revolves around all-things digital marketing. Marketing experts from the Bell Media team, as well as a few special guests, will chat about today’s most innovative marketing tactics that marketers and business owners can use to promote their brand, drive leads and build followers.

For our first episode, we sat down with Scott Bell, CEO of Bell Media, to discuss the growth of Bell Media’s online marketing department. Scott provides valuable insight into how Bell Media was able to rapidly scale its department by hiring key personnel, overcoming growing pains, improving customer retention and more. Enjoy!

 


 

Matt Pavlick: How has the composition of your team evolved since the online department’s inception all the way to today?

Scott Bell: We’ve been in business for 8 or 9 years now. We started as a billboard company and in early 2015, we really started investing in and making a push to bridge the gap between traditional media and digital media. The way we got started was hiring folks that had a really good knowledgebase in multiple areas of digital marketing. Many of us on the team were wearing multiple hats. For instance, someone would do some SEO, then they would jump over and do some search (search engine marketing), and then maybe they’d set up a display campaign and then in the afternoon they’d knock out a banner ad. What we’ve evolved into as our specialty has gained more focus, is really building a team that’s based on specialties. What we’ve done is hired folks that specialize in SEO, brought in team members that have a focus in SEM. So now we’re not necessarily siloing departments, but bringing in industry experts that excel in one specific area or field. I think that’s brought up the level of expertise across our business.

 

Matt: What about some of the main challenges or growing pains that Bell Media has faced as you’ve been scaling?

Scott: I guess there’s a couple different ways to answer that. In a digital marketing company, you have a sales side, then you have the production side. And the challenges for each component in the business are completely different.

From a sales perspective: training team members, ongoing education, hiring the right team members that have an aptitude to not only understand all of the digital marketing tools that we have at our disposal, but understanding how they bring all of those tools together to develop a comprehensive plan for our customers… that’s a challenge. So, we’ve really had to invest in education, getting our team from point A to point B. That’s going to be an ongoing challenge for us as these media products continue to change.

From a production standpoint: I think really the challenge is first and foremost communication from the sales team to the production team. Having proper translation and information for what the customer is trying to accomplish and then getting things done on time. So, hitting timelines when it’s a 3, 4, 5-product customer can be a challenge. Bringing all of those pieces together to go live with a campaign that’s effective has presented challenges for us that we’ve had to overcome, but it’s all about the processes and the tools that we use to bring the team members together to execute.

So, I think those from a sales perspective and from a production/operations perspective, a lot of it boils down to education and processes, and following through in those key areas.

 

Matt: As a company scales, of course you have to acquire new customers, but you also have to retain your existing ones and increase the quality there. Can you talk to me about your client services department? What do they do to keep customers happy and to continue investing in your services?

Scott: Yeah, so we want to aggressively continue to grow our business and a lot of new business is coming in organically, but we still have an outside sales team. We’ll continue to have an outside sales team because we need to source and generate opportunities for Bell Media in ways for us to grow.

But, really between the sales team and the production team, we have our account management team, Client Services. What they really focus on is trying to develop and build an exceptional customer experience for everyone that we work with. So, what they really help and assist Bell Media in doing is after the sale…helping to onboard clients, setting expectation for clients on what to expect during the onboarding process and after. So, they’re that mediary position between internal team members, but they’re also the direct contact for a lot of our customers because they’re knowledgeable on all of the products. They know the details that go into taking the campaign live and then after the sale, they’re there to support the customer and the account all along the way. So, brining ideas to the table, pulling reports, analyzing reports, what’s working, what’s not… that’s really what our client services team is here for and that’s the value that they provide. It’s an important part of what we do.

 

Matt: What key events do you feel in the digital marketing industry have occurred that have changed the way that Bell Media operates. Is it new technology, or do you think it’s moreso business owners becoming savvier to digital marketing?

Scott: I don’t necessarily know if there are single events that have changed the way that we operate, but I think the change in consumer habits is something that we’re constantly thinking about. What is that journey for our customer and how can we craft a strategy that will create a successful campaign for them? So, I think the consumer habits have certainly changed significantly over the last 5 years. I think that’s maybe an event that has changed the way we have to operate as marketers.

Fortunately, in the digital media business, you’re able to better than any other way track the customer’s breadcrumbs. We can understand their habits, their interests, so we can build that audience. So, I think consumer habits is huge.

Certainly a lot of product changes too. We can spend days talking about how mobile is taking over, how video is certainly taking route and is going to continue to grow… marketing automation, there’s so many tools available for us to use that tools in and of themselves are just resources to make things happen. What we’ve tried to stay focused on is rather than focusing on the single tools, we ask the questions, “How do we use these in conjunction with one another to develop a strategy for our customers’ campaigns that will generate the best return on ad spend?”

So I think small and mid-size businesses owners are certainly going to be a lot more educated and sophisticated when it comes to return on ad spend. So when that sales rep walks through the door, the customer isn’t asking “where’s my ad going to be and how much do I have to pay?” That question is going to be, “how much can you generate a conversion for? What’s my return on ad spend? If I spend $1500 or $2000 per month, what is that cost per conversion?” Those are the questions and events that are going to happen in our space. I think digital marketing agencies that are prepared to answer those questions are going to thrive.

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