First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Kent Lewis: We are doing well. Thank you for asking.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Anvil
Kent Lewis: After a brief career in high-tech public relations, I started my Internet marketing career in 1996. After honing my skills at two agencies, I left to co-found a new agency in 1999. When I parted ways with the founder, I created Anvil in late 2000. Since then, I’ve co-founded two other agencies and two trade associations.
How does Anvil innovate?
Kent Lewis: To stay ahead of the competition, we research industry trends, anticipate the evolution of technology, behavior, and build services to meet our clients’ future needs. Twenty years ago, it was email marketing, while a decade ago, we shifted to mobile and video marketing. Three or four years ago, it was Amazon marketing and voice search optimization. Today, we’re evolving content strategy to include podcasting and other evolving platforms and strategies such as influencer marketing.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Kent Lewis: Our travel and tourism clients were hit quickly and significantly by the pandemic. Fortunately, those hurt the most were a relatively small number of clients. We picked up new clients and grew existing clients, particularly those with a strong eCommerce presence. In short, Anvil is doing okay, making up for lost ground earlier this year.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Kent Lewis: I always have to make difficult choices as a business owner, especially as a digital agency. This year was the second time I’ve taken a pay cut (along with a few other team members) to ensure my team and business remain financially viable. My lesson has always been to lead from the front.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and Anvil in the future?
Kent Lewis: I deal with stress directly, by exercising, increasing my sleep, and eating better. I also stretch, read, and practice measured breathing. To protect the company, I manage financials aggressively and provide the team with additional resources and support, not to mention a bit of fun to break up the stress created by the pandemic.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Kent Lewis: Our competitors are small regional boutique agencies like Portent or 3Q Digital to national/global players like iProspect and 360i. As mentioned previously, we are a small and nimble firm and can evolve our products and services quickly, as well as train/retrain the team.
Your final thoughts
Kent Lewis: The pandemic provides numerous challenges to navigate, but I’ve found that leaning into the situation (this is my third crash/recession) helps not only mitigate damage but create new opportunities.
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