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General Manager at dgm Australia - Shares Insights
Image Credit  dgm

General Manager at dgm Australia - Shares Insights

Our ‘Profile: A Day in the Life of’ feature takes a look at some of the global professionals working within performance marketing. It aims to shed light on the varying roles and companies across the flourishing industry: 

Name: John Matthews

Job title and company: General Manager, dgm Australia

In one sentence, how would you describe what the company does? 

Dgm is an online acquisition specialist - we drive the highest number of new customers for our clients at the lowest possible cost, by running ethical and transparent campaigns across multiple channels including affiliate marketing, PPC, SEO and display, all underpinned by data and analytics.

What are the company’s unique selling points?

We are the leading full service online acquisition agency in Australia for blue chip, local and international brands. Whilst we have competitors across our different product sets, no one agency can compete with the experience, expertise and depth of relationships that we have with our clients in this market.

Within the last six months/year, what stands out as the company’s major milestones? 

We opened our first Melbourne office in early 2013 and the results so far have exceeded expectations, and client demand continues to grow.

We built on our commitment to education in the Australian market, with key Benchmark reports on affiliate marketing, digital marketing optimisation and mobile.

We created our own in-house content distribution team for our SEO clients. With more agencies pushing more work offshore, this commitment to product development within the local market has resonated very well with our clients.

We are experiencing two-pronged growth in the affiliate channel with new clients understanding what the channel offers their businesses, and growth of same store sales across the affiliate network:

  • 91% Fashion
  • 138% Travel
  • 92% Food and Drink
  • 183% Retail 

Duration in current role: 

Three years

Where are you based? 

The most beautiful city in the world, Sydney, Australia

Previous performance marketing-related Co's you have worked at: 

I have risen through the ranks at dgm, working within the wider group for over 14 years. I started out at search agency, Webgravity in London in 1999 and then moved to Australia in 2004 to set up dgm’s search offering in the Australian marketplace. After working as head of search for four years, I moved into the client services director role, overseeing the client facing output of the whole agency and in 2011, was promoted to the role of general manager.

What are your main job responsibilities?

I oversee the whole dgm operation, managing a team of over 40 across Sydney and Melbourne. My role involves: channel strategy; analysing geographic expansion opportunities; delivering operational efficiencies; and offering support and guidance to the individual channel heads. I report into the board and am ultimately responsible for the P&L of the business. My focus as a leader is to create and maintain a culture where people excel at their work and have a bloody good time whilst doing it … hopefully I go some way to delivering on this!

Take us through what you get up to on a typical working Monday:

I’m in the office at 7am to start planning the week. This is the most important part of my week, to see what my diary looks like. I get into the office early every day as I find this is the time I can get my work done without interruption. If I haven’t got the big pieces of work completed by 9am, I find I struggle to ever get them done.

Every Monday I have a meeting with my senior exec team, the head of search, client services director (who runs the affiliate team) and head of product/strategic development. We run through what’s on for the week and block time in our diaries to catch up should anything arise that needs our group attention.

Once these two items are covered, it’s on to the work. I split my time between the inward-focus of running the business and ensuring the team have what they need to get their work done, whilst also ensuring I know what I need to deliver for the group exec team. I also like to ensure I am catching up with key clients and partners on a regular basis. Whilst my role has changed over the years, spending time with clients is what I enjoy most.

No two Mondays ever look alike. I can be working on a pitch, dealing with client issues, working on Product/Process development or catching up with the team.

Two other key people I catch up with regularly are my head of HR to keep on top of any team requirements, and the Group COO to ensure we are delivering on the key initiatives for the business.

What top three websites can you be found browsing during your lunch hour?

 I am what the Aussies would call a ‘sports tragic’ and whilst I have spent 10 years in Oz and do love the lifestyle, I always go back to my roots, which has been a challenge over the last few months putting up with the insufferable baiting of my Antipodean colleagues about the Ashes! My favourite website that I can be found checking any time of the day is the BBC Sport site. I also keep abreast of news (and more sport) from back home on The Guardian, whilst for industry/business related information I look at a lot of sites including Fast Company, AdAge, Mumbrella (an Australian marketing and media news site) and of course, PerformanceIN.

What are your top three tips for someone looking to get their hands on a job like yours?

Build great relationships with your peers, clients, partners and team. When things go wrong and they always will, it is better to have people on your side than against you.

Never stop learning, I am constantly reading books on business, leadership and the industry.

Get a mentor. I am lucky enough to have several people around me who I have an amazing amount of respect for, who do not work ‘inside’ the industry. I find being able to bounce ideas around, let off steam and have a beer with people who are not in the business, invaluable.

Career-wise, where do you see yourself in three years time?

 Dgm is part of a wider group of companies under the Asia Pacific Digital umbrella and I envisage myself having a broader role within the group, whilst running an expanded customer acquisition business within the region.

One thing for sure, based on my experiences over my career, is that nothing stands still for long and it is hard to envisage what the team and business will look like in three years. But as always, you will find me having fun, probably with a beer in hand, willing to chat to anyone who is willing to listen to my often very opinionated viewpoints on what is happening in the world. 

Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?

 I am pretty open with the team, some would say too open, but I am pretty sure they don’t know that I ‘starred’ as an extra in a Bollywood movie whilst travelling around India in 1996!

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Pippa Chambers

Pippa Chambers

Freelance News Journalist at PerformanceIN - working to source the latest and breaking news in performance marketing. 

From newspapers to national B2B magazines and technology reporting, I have covered a variety of genres. NCTJ/NCE qualified.

Please email me at pippa.chambers@performancein.com and follow me @PippaC1

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