599: How to Stay Lean & Drive Growth w/ Kevin Gibbons

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode we talk to Kevin Gibbons, Co-Founder & CEO at BlueGass.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevingibbons/

There's a ton of noise out there. So how do you get decision makers to pay attention to your brand?Start a podcast and invite your ideal clients to be guests on your show.Learn more at sweet fish Mediacom. You're listening to the be tob growth show, a podcast dedicated to helping be tob executives achieve explosive growth. Whether you'relooking for techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've come to the rightplace. I'm James Carberry and I'm Jonathan Green. Let's get into the show. Welcome back to the BB growth show. We are here today with Kevin Gibbons. He is the CO founder and CEO at Blue Glass. Kevin,how you doing today? Yeah, pretty good. Thanks for invites me onthe show. Jones, who problem at all? Me and so so,Kevin, we're going to be talking about staying lean, to focus on greatwork and to drive growth, which is what the shows all about. Sobefore we get into some of the specifics there, Kevin, I'd love tohave you explain to our listeners what you and your team are up to ablue glass. So we're a independently owned seeo and content box, an agencyin London. So does sixteen of US right now. We have a greatsmall group of clients that we work with, brands like Expedia, for example,river island, UK retailer, and we essentially have a very strong backgroundin Seo. So I've been doing this since two thousand and three. Irun the business together with my wife, which is probably a whole different podcastin itself. Yeah, but I think in terms of what we're doing,we're trying to we're not a big funded agency by any means and we tryto punch above our weight by potentially, I'd like to say, being abit smaster with what we're doing and doing...

...great work with players. Yeah,what let's talk about today? Yeah, absolutely, so, Kevin. Youknow, as we're talking about this idea offline, this idea of, youknow, staying lean to focus on great work, you mentioned this idea ofretention being growth, and so the fact that you've had, you know,some of your best customers for four years, that being what has given you thefoundation to be able to grow. Can you just talk about this idea? What's it actually look like for a retention to be a priority in youragency? Yeah, of course, and I would say every answer I givetoday is probably been learned by making mistakes. That's right, quay, and thenlearn from them. And the answer to this one is we definitely wentfor a phase of we won quite a lot of new business, a agncy. Wise, it's very easy to get excited by new BIS winds and growth. Yeah, and then when you actually look at the real growth, youmight be winning along new business, but if you're not retaining that business,you're actually growing in the way that you think you are. And we definitelywent through that phase and we had to take a step back and understand where'sour profit come from? Where was our revenue come from? And essentially it'sas simple as if we have a client that pays us for twelve months tothree we have a few clients that are just about to go into the fourth, fifth year of working with us right now, which is great. Thoseare the ones that will pay you the most money because, yeah, monthfor years, and the ones where actually it's very short term, focused,project based. Sounds exciting, it's a nice win for the team, etc. When you look beyond that initial buzz, sometimes there's not a lot there,and I would say we certainly focused over the last year or two muchmore on how do we do a great job for our clients, are existingclients? If we can almost pitch less,...

...win less but retain what we haveand when we bring clients in thet a right fit for us, thatactually takes us much further forward to flow overall goal and visions then it woulddo if we're probably busier on day to day better is trying to chase everythingthat's going so we now were a much smaller base of clients and our aimis to work. We've learn over the long term. Yeah, so whenyou were making that shift, Kevin So, you said that a used to beyou used to have a different, you know, kind of mindset aroundit. In so you're very focused on new business. What happened that triggeredthat that change in your mind to say, Hey, we've got a close theback door, so to speak, and stop letting people come out theback door? What did it look like to shift the focus away from newbusiness in and the focus on retention where they're certain things you did to kindof implement that mindset throughout the organization? I would say if I had topinpoint one thing, and it's definitely easier to say this in hindsight, butright now I would say the big turning point for us was the fine enoughvalues. So we did this as a team exercise. I never wanted itto be I'm going to tell everyone what they should be like. I findthat strong way to do it, but actually, if we got the wholeteam and involved in what today value personally and then collectively, what are thecommon themes that we want to protect as we grow? And a big oneof those values there's be proud of your work, and I think definitely wentthrough a learning curve of we've done a lot of work in the past thatwe're proud of, but we've also done some stuff that actually we've just gotout the door because it's something that we agree to take on and and Ithink this would have been done easily two years ago, probably a little bitmore, maybe closer to three years ago now, and I think that's beena very important value to us, because now we're not churning stuff out,we're doing stuff that is you want to...

...show your family and friends that thisis this is something you've done. You put your name on it and it'sgreat work and I would say in terms of communicating that vision or the valueacross the the company. That's been really key and as certainly as we've grown, having that type of mindset across the team has been really important. Andin your role, is CEO, Kevin, that mean kind of going to fewerthings that you would have typically gone to generate new business, in spendingmore of your time collaborating with the team on the quality of the work thatwas being shipped. Exactly. Yep, and it's it starts with me.I'm the only person that does new business within the agency and if I sellthe wrong piece of work, we're set up to fail. And I've donethat before. I've even been called out for in the way that actually I'mwhat I sold. Someone in our team doesn't think that's in line with ourvalues and I've gone back another group with them and I think, actually,that's right, that's not what we should do, and we ended up asending that piece of work because it wasn't right for us. But a hundredpercent it starts with we have to kind of lead from the front and sellthe right projects and bring into our clients. In order for that to be bea case, which means we have to pick clients where we're confident wecan win. If we don't, we can do a good job. Wevery honestly say, actually, we don't think Seo is right for you,for example. It's just not. There's not the demand. There right somethingelse from your market and budget, and we might them some suggestions on whatto do. But if if we're not picking a bet, we're not confidentthat we're going to win, then it's very unlikely we're going to be ableto do work out of off the back of it. Yeah, that makessense, Kevin. Another thing we talked about offline said the importance of awards. So for the agency owners, agency leaders listening to this, you recentlyactually have you were was at the SEO...

...and content marketing agency at the yearjust a few weeks ago even. Can you talk to us about the strategythat you guys have deployed around, you know, the type of awards thatyou guys are, you know, putting your name in the hat for,so to speak, and how that is benefit of the agency? Yeah,so I think for us, I always, I used to be quite skeptical aboutwords and I think my my now I've judged a few words for thelast few years and I would say my view on this has changed completely nowI see how much effort goes into not just creating awards but also judging yourwards and how how they've done. I think sometimes there can be an unfairflak and perhaps some I was our guilty of this, of it just beingwhoever buys a table wins and award. Certainly from the industry events I've seen. That is very far from the truth. And yet there's a very detailed processbehind that and I would I would say, kind of leading into this, the big shift we had was that we decided we're going to have tofocus on rather than putting all other efforts in marketing ourselves as an agency,which we did in the past. That was probably in the phase of actually, we're winning quite a lot new business off the fact that we have avery strong reputation. We're generating lots of leads and then there may have beenpart of lost perhaps because we're just not delivering the quality that we promised tothem. And the big shift for us has been again, be proud ofyour work. Links in very nicely too. That's the shift being that we focusedon how do we deliver quality work, and essentially that means that we're keepingour clients happy because we're delivering a minimum value for them, hopefully exceedingthat, and that leads into we were generating strong case studies and then thatgives us great award entries. So if...

...we're doing you can't really win awalls unless you're doing great work. Yeah, my yeah, you happy doing thegreat work first and then once you've got that story to tell, forus to shift has been less about marketing ourselves and getting ourselves known and moreabout doing fantastic work for our clients, pertaining them and then almost getting themto tell our story for us. So if we can get we have somevideo testimonials from our clients we've we take them to the ward events, which, again, sounds common sense, but I think we should be celebrating successtogether with any clients that we're nominated for avods with, and they're a keypart of how we're going to grow and attract new business on top of that, because then people will see what we've done for them. So there's there'sthe strategy. Become Kevin, because I know, I know, I sawrecently on Linkedin that you guys had won the the awards that that you recentlywon. So does the strategy for awareness to those awards just you know,is it to make sure that you're documenting and of the night of the awards, the the recap of the awards to kind of your email list, socialor there other things you guys are doing to get awareness for kind of evilwords or strategic piece for you guys? I guess what are you doing toample by the awareness of that the best that you can? We've done thesocial side for sure. Okay, so I think that's what very well.Just in general, sharing images or videos on social channels generally works quite wellto John Attention. That's something we've done. I would say we almost try andflip it the other way. I know we haven't done this yet,but may still do so. But last year when we won an award,we thought about send it out a newsletter and then we realize it just readlike look at us, we are amazing and yeah, what did to flipit the other way around, because I know if I would receive that fromsomeone else, I probably wouldn't open that.

I just delete and I think theyshould do the same. If we sent that to them and what wedid the other way around. There's we said this is how we increase thewebsites organic traffic by a hundred, hundred and fifty percent. We went towhat challenge was, we went into the approach. We had to fix thatand we then spoke about the results and and what had happened in a educational, useful way for people to read, and then we ended it with aPS. By the way, we wanted to war for this last night asa photo of us all looking happy on stage, and then it's I thinkthat's a much nice approach. But yes, people appreciate the trying to help themand you probably got notice much more for winning an award that, yeah, adn't. And I think the powerful part of what you of what youjust said at Kevin, that so many people seem to miss is just notthinking thoughtfully about how the collateral that you're about to put out into the worldand in front of People's eyeballs is going to be received by them. Wethink about ourselves and how we will we want this to be something that peopleknow and I've been finding it a lot in in my linkedin content. Sowhen I get I just got featured in an ebook that somebody put together andit was just trying to think, you know, thoughtfully about how do Italk about this online in a way that will actually make people want to downloadit, because it's harder and harder to get people to hand over their emailaddress, and so if I don't put together a compelling narrative that really makesthem want what's inside of that Ebook, if I just say hey, Igot featured in an e book the other day, check out the link,you know, in the first comment, to download it, well, that'syou know, that's the easier thing to do, but it's not going toconvert into anything. And so I love that you guys were very thoughtful abouthow do we package what we're trying to...

...say, but in a way thatbrings the most amount of value and, as a result, people actually engagewith it. So I love that you share that. It's not about us, it's all. It's about that exactly there. Wardens is the same.It's not about us and what we've done, it's about the judge and what they'relooking for in terms of assessing quality work. So yeah, yeah,so the more we can make it about I mean we do contact marketing.We should be good at this, but the more that we understand the audiencethat we're targeting and conframe things in a way that they would like to consume, the these everyone's life is. I love it. I love it.So the last thing we're going to talk about Kevin. You you said thatyou guys have made a shift in your budget and how you guys allocate yourdollars from from marketing to focusing on talent. Can you talk to us about yourmindset around that? Yeah, so last year we were talking about growthtargets and how do weve been the agency, etc. Typical year. In theend, there's always challenges and actually, in order to grow in the waythat we wanted to, that we felt was the right way. It'snot necessarily about size of team, revenues etc. It was more about howdo we do outstanding work, and we if we were doing that, theconfident that the numbers will take care of themselves in the long term. Andthen that led us to thinking about, rather than trying to get in frontof everyone that could be a potential client, what if we just did better andbetter work for our clients? So, again, just in my view andinnovations is typically continuous improvement and to do that we have to invest inthe team. So we've spent a lot of time and effort in our recruitmentprocess to bring in the right people for our team, and my wife's payheavily involved in making sure that we have a very quite a slick operation interms of making sure we have the best...

...candidates. And then we're we're choosingthe best people for those given roles and then it's about investing in their careers, so trying to train people. So we ended up shifting our budget frommarketing into how do we train everyone, not in how do we make thembetter on it. There's some flexibility over what they choose in terms of training, but ultimately it's if it helps and progress from a kind of professional perspectiveand improves their skill sets, then we'll do it. And I'd say twelvemonths on, we're very happy with results. I think everyone in our team hasgrown since they've joined us and over the last twilve months. And Yeah, that's the the big positive. I love it. So, Kevin,this has been fantastic content. I really appreciate you sharing this with us today. I want our listeners to know our guests on a different level. SoI ask you this question to close us out. What would you say isis the legacy that you want to leave. So when you ask this question inadvance, as trying to think about the right answer, and then Ijust thought of another answer that I've given to another question previously, which wasaround what makes me proudest in my job, and that isn't the stuff that youwould think. So yes, it's great to win new big clients.Yes, as an excitement over winning awards, but when you think about what trulymatters, I've always looked back with immense pride around the people that we'vebrought into our team and whether they some have stayed with us, some ofleft and gone out swhere. But looking back over say five and ten years, the people that have been part of this journey, and I'd like tothink I've contributed in one way or another towards helping them on their way.Have there some people that have really gone on to great things, and forme that's the proudest thing if I can...

...give them an opportunity. Many ofthem haven't done Seo or digital marketing at all and till this point and they'vegone on to have very good careers in that in their field, and Ithink when it comes to legacy, actually that's a that's kind of the areaI'd rather be remembered for. It. Can We build the future digital marketers? We're bringing in lots of great young talent and if we can help themdevelop and again, whether that's with us or further down the line with anothercompany, into being a digital marks in leaders of tomorrow, that's that's thething that would make me think, wow, we're really doing something. I valueit. Yeah, I love that. To Kevin, if somebody listening tothis once and stay connected with you, they want to learn more about blueglass, what's the best way for them to go about doing that?I'll say I'm pretty active on Linkedin these days. So yeah, linkedin's agood channel for that. Twitter also say kept giving on to turn just KevinGibbons to look me up on Linkedin or otherwise just contact me through the BlueGlosstel Kady K website and it goes straight to me anyway. So who areif anyone has any questions, I'm always happy to get that to people wholove it. So that's a blue glasscode at UK correct. Yeah, wonderful, awesome, Kevin. Will thank you so much for your time today.This has been incredible, so I really appreciate it. Thanks a lot.Like quise, to ensure that you never miss an episode of the betob growthshow, subscribe to the show in Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thisguarantees that every episode will get delivered directly to your device. If you'd liketo connect with B tob executives from all over the world, make sure tojoin our private facebook community. There are some incredible conversations happening inside this group. To Join, visit be toob growth showcom FB. Thank you so muchfor listening. Until next time,.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (1636)