We founded Creative Clicks as the world was coming out of the financial crisis of 2008.
To many, it didn’t seem like the best time to start a business.
But the timing actually forced us to focus on building a company that empowers our customers to achieve real and measurable business KPIs within days of signing up as clients. This focus has enabled Creative Clicks to weather the storms brought on by the industry and now COVID-19.
Provide performance value and a competitive advantage
Though this is a no brainer to the PerformanceIN community today, a focus on performance wasn’t obvious 10 years ago. Yet my partners and I realized that as long as we performed for our clients, we’d have a business. Yes, marketing is a creative industry, and we should all strive to provide creative solutions using the best marketing creative, but we must always perform for our clients, delivering results. And we have to continuously test and iterate to ensure that we continue to perform.
But performance isn’t enough. There are a lot of companies providing performance marketing, particularly today. Are you providing real value to your clients? And is this value a competitive advantage? If not, others will copy you and kill your business. That’s why you need to keep your eye on the future to ensure that you can maintain a competitive advantage.
For example, social, e-commerce, streaming entertainment, gaming, food delivery, and grocery apps performed very well during COVID-19, however, these categories have been growing for several years, so as a marketing agency, we had clients in some of these categories already in 2016. We saw the opportunity in 2016 and kept growing. Are you looking for opportunities for 2025?
A second guiding principle has been a focus on diversification of offerings and revenue streams. Marketing is a dynamic industry – what performs today might not perform tomorrow, and new platforms and channels will rise, some performing better than others, depending on your product/solution offerings and target audiences.
Therefore, businesses need to diversify to survive a change in the industry, the economy, or a platform/channel. This means diversifying in terms of product/service verticals and geographic locations and targets as well as with the channels and platforms used. The digital marketing industry is full of companies that ultimately closed because they put all of their marketing efforts into one channel or platform, and crashed after a change in the algorithm or policy.
We look at the growth verticals and make sure that we’re working with apps in those categories to ensure that we’ll grow as an agency. In addition to food/grocery deliveries, we also have clients in streaming entertainment, social, e-commerce, and gaming verticals.
For example, I believe that mobility apps will keep growing because young people today are less interested in owning a car. Of course, apps like Uber suffered during COVID-19, but I still believe in the future of mobility apps which I think will continue to grow in the coming 10 years.
Beyond diversification, marketers are always on the hunt for the newest shiny object, so it’s important to test all of the new offerings to find new performance marketing opportunities. Being an early partner with a new solution will enable giving clients relatively strong KPIs because the platform will be appreciative of the early support you’re providing.
Live the life
One rule which is critical for marketers is to live the life of the products and services you’re marketing. Whether we’re marketing a game, a shopping app, a streaming service or something else, I make sure that the team (and myself included) servicing the business have experienced the app. You need to be able to look the client in the eye (or into the camera today) when you’re making marketing recommendations, and that should also come from extensive personal experience.
Find the opportunity
I know that the saying is ‘when life gives you lemons, make lemonade,’ but why not make Lemon Meringue Pie OR Limoncello?
The point is that even in down markets, there are always opportunities, and it’s your job to find them. Even in the middle of COVID-19, there were a lot of opportunities because of the increase in time spent online and user engagement. Our job was to create marketing programs that enabled our marketing clients to advertise while providing a revenue stream for our publisher partners who suffered from campaign cancellations.
As soon as we saw the impact of COVID-19 and the shift in consumer behavior, we secured specific and exclusive traffic sources suitable for our Social, Video on Demand, and E-commerce clients whom we thought would see an increase in demand. This enabled us to scale up relatively quickly and compensate for the other verticals which were negatively impacted by COVID-19. Furthermore, we expanded our media buying capabilities to take advantage of the changing branding budgets.
Always have a plan
When news of COVID-19 grew in January, we created an action plan at Creative Clicks with various scenarios. It’s important for all businesses to always have a plan, even in good times, and to always be looking ahead for any potential market changes or corrections.
Because digital marketing is a dynamic industry, the only guaranteed constant is change. That’s why it’s important to run your business as if there is always a crisis around the corner — because there probably is.