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Using 2020 to Build the Digital Agency of the Future

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Dan Golden BeFoundOnline

We talked to Dan Golden of BeFoundOnline about digital market and this is what he had to say.

First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times? 

Dan Golden: I’ll go straight to an honest answer here. I’m doing 2020 OK is the answer I’ve been giving. Most importantly, my immediate family is healthy. We have a roof over our heads, are financially secure, and have an army of amazing essential workers and delivery people who bring groceries and boxes to our house, so we don’t have to risk exposure. There’s plenty we’re missing, including parents, grandparents, cousins, weddings, and funerals. Virtual learning for a 4 and 6-year-old? It’s a hot mess. We’re doing the best we can, but these kids are not getting what they need.

Tell us about you, your career, how you founded BeFoundOnline.

Dan Golden: I have a “typical agency origin story” where I started with a passion for digital marketing, a day-job at a big agency (acquired by Google) and then left to freelance, grew a portfolio, and eventually turned that into an award-winning agency. While my day-job running a company looks a little different now that we’ve scaled, I still have that same passion for digital marketing and have the freedom to focus on adding value to my clients without the burden of the day-to-day work.

How does BeFoundOnline innovate? 

Dan Golden: We innovate because we have to…and because our industry changes so quickly. Many of our clients keep us on board to help them keep a pulse on what’s next with digital marketing. In some cases, innovating is assisting a brand break from their comfort levels. In many cases, it involves getting platforms to perform ad integrating data in ways that are not-standard.

How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?

Dan Golden: Like most companies not named Zoom or Instacart, we had a very rough Q2 as many of our retail and hospitality clients stopped projects and paused media campaigns. It certainly impacted our bottom line and changed our growth plans for the year, but I’m happy to report that we’ve been able to keep our team in-tact and successfully navigate the many curveballs thrown our way this year. It hasn’t been easy, but our work has felt more meaningful as we’ve helped many of our clients stay afloat and build back over the second half of 2020. 

How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and BeFoundOnline in the future?

Dan Golden: Same way I’ve always dealt with the stress and anxiety that comes with running a marketing services firm, where any agency is a few pink slips away from financial trouble. At BFO, we have a history of radical transparency, showing our teams the good, the bad, and the scary as we look at projections built out into the future. As a business owner and leader, I share this anxiety with my team (for better or worse). The good news is, COVID isn’t the first crisis we’ve dealt with.

Note: This article / Video / Keynote has more on the above, perhaps worth linking here.

Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?

Dan Golden: Our competitors are the 1,000’s of other agencies out there, as well as the hundreds of new agencies we expect to be popping up from senior marketers downsized from holding company shops who are laying their own shingles this year. Our competitors are also in-house teams if we look macro level at what agencies are up against, but I don’t view it that way. We’ve been working with and adding value to in-house teams and see a lot of momentum and opportunity to help in-house marketers stay ahead of the game and augment their current resources. So with the barriers to “starting an agency” continuing to lower with virtualization,

Our differentiator? An amazing team of A-players and a proven track record of helping some of the most recognizable brands in the world.

So how do we plan to stay in the game? Change with the times. The old agency model of big multi-year retainers and perilous layers of expensive overhead will soon be a thing of the past. Agencies that are truly nimble (which requires more than using the ‘agile’ buzzword in your webpage copy) and flexible are what many brands are looking for, so when we follow the mantra – ‘Add Value & Be Easy to Work With’ we’ll be in the game for a long time.

Your final thoughts?

Dan Golden: COVID sucks. 2020 is hard. The world is changing. Here’s what I’ll say in terms of final thoughts…think forward. Don’t build back to what you had. Build forward to what’s needed next. Don’t let this disruptive time go to waste by rebuilding what you had. Go build what’s next.

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