Darryl Antonio, founder of Digitalhound tells us about digital marketing services.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Darryl Antonio: Thank you my family and I are well despite these Covid-19 times. I trust that you are well too?
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Digitalhound.
Darryl Antonio: I have been in Digital Marketing for over 20 years having worked both on the client-side and in client-facing roles across a variety of industry sectors. In November 2014 my business partner Gavin Tudball (who I was working alongside at the time) and I, decided to start out on our own because we felt that businesses were in need of a more analytical and calculated approach to search engine marketing and online business growth.
Our combined experience meant that we could apply deep data learnings to improve our client’s website performance, reduce leakage points, improve customer conversion rates, driving site visitor traffic, and develop new marketing initiatives, and hence, Digitalhound was founded.
How does Digitalhound innovate?
Darryl Antonio: By closely monitoring market trends, search engine ranking algorithmic changes, and constantly upskilling, we operate in an agile manner and can rapidly deploy tactical and procedural changes as and when required. Being sensitive to our clients’ needs means that we are also able to tailor our services, amending any pre-contractual terms to suit any fluctuations in their requirements.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business and how are you coping?
Darryl Antonio: When the first lockdown happened, there was an initial sense of doom and concern. Some of our clients pulled in their marketing budgets out of fear and necessity. This led us to forecast our business expectations, look more at a longer-term recovery scenario, and educated both our clients and ourselves of the need to refocus our collaborative efforts into planning for slower growth in the months ahead.
Interestingly enough, the necessity for invention brought about by the loss of many people’s livelihoods led to a surge in the formation of small and micro-businesses all trading online as people were confined to working from their homes. This, in turn, led to an uptick in the demand for digital marketing services and our agency was able to sign up a number of new clients as a result.
Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?
Darryl Antonio: From furloughing a few of our staff to deferring annual pay rises, there were a number of hard decisions that were unfortunately needed to be made. Fortunately, however, we didn’t have to go down the staff redundancy route, and instead, all senior management elected to take temporary pay cuts to ensure that none of the team would need to lose their jobs.
The one priceless lesson to come out of this is that we all share, to a lesser or greater degree collective responsibility for our livelihoods, that of our fellow team members and the wellbeing of the society that we live amongst, and that we must help each another rise to whatever challenges are thrown in front of us.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Darryl Antonio: The obvious software ones are the use of apps like Zoom, WhatsApp, and Google Live. The less obvious ones are Google Trends & Marketwatch.com. Listening, empathy, patience, understanding, and flexibility are essential management skills required during this crisis.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Darryl Antonio: Our competitors are fellow digital marketing agencies, most of whom are larger and more established than us. Our competitive edge lies in our ability to quickly grasp deep technical issues and deploy appropriate solutions to counteract them. Our ethos of constantly learning, upskilling, testing, and trialing means that we are always at the forefront of our industry and will always be able to offer our clients the most effective current advice and practices. Being smaller we are also able to innovate quickly and be more agile in adapting to market conditions.
Your final thoughts?
Darryl Antonio: As a business, we are more robust in the way that we operate and the steps that have been taken to mitigate the crisis means that we have placed ourselves in a better position to capitalize on the rebound of market conditions post-Covid-19.