Episode 6 - Craig Wilson
(Managing Director of Sticky)

On this episode of Digital Mountaineers, host George Mackenzie speaks with Craig Wilson Managing Director of Sticky Digital.

ABOUT THE GUEST

Craig Wilson is the Managing Director of Sticky Digital, a dedicated digital marketing agency that specialises in marketing for the financial services and healthcare industries.

ABOUT THE HOST

George Mackenzie is a Digital Marketing Strategist who has worked with brands like Little Caesars, Airtasker, Inspirations Paints & Taylors Wines. He is the producer of Digital Mountaineers and an avid lover of podcasting, audio & film tech and heavy metal music.

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Time Stamps

  • 00:00:00
    Check in
  • 00:02:30
    Discussions about remote working
  • 00:05:05
    Flexibility in agency world
  • 00:06:40
    Starting digital marketing agency Sticky
  • 00:13:40
    Transition from traditional to digital marketing
  • 00:18:40
    Evolution of digital agency
  • 00:23:00
    Discussing Sticky's workshop process
  • 00:25:45
    Changing the dynamic of agency relationship
  • 00:28:45
    Naming the accelerator
  • 00:33:30
    Approach for consultancy, different courses
  • 00:36:45
    Not being emotional
  • 00:38:00
    Understanding your audience
  • 00:40:30
    Future of digital agencies

Transcript

George: Hi, Craig, welcome to the podcast is great to have you here.

Craig: Thanks for having us, George.

George: Craig, I've been kicking off all these podcasts just a little check in how is the team at sticky doing?

Craig: Well, it's certainly it's been an interesting year. So we were going quite well, actually. But I think we had looked late last year, we looked at what 2020 was looking like, and we were actually expecting it to be a tough year. Anyway, in that, economically, I think Australia was maybe edging towards recession. And so we're aware of that. And so we've spent a fair bit of time trying to reduce overheads to get get the hc ln for 2020. Anyway, part of that was a move of office and in a few changes to our structure. So in that that way, we were sort of prepared but obviously now I was ready for what happened. mid March when suddenly we just the whole the whole world was I'm sorry. But and yeah, I think like a lot of businesses and a lot of agencies we we got hit pretty hard early in that a lot of our clients were rightfully concerned about where things were going there revenue have been switched off and or dialled right down. And so in they they turned to us, we're thinking we need to pause, pause a lot of our work. We had some quiet said, Look, let's just end can we end our contracts? At this point, things like that. So yeah, it was it was tough. there but we we saw things change probably from the first week of job Cooper being paid. And, and immediately there was a confidence came back into the market. And, you know, so a lot of the clients that imposed everything suddenly said, Let's go again. Let's get started. We actually won bought a lot of business in the following month. So now all in all, it's even itself out I think and Yeah, a little a little bit a little bit scary at the start for everyone. But we were coming at the other side reasonably well.

George: Yeah, I think we're lucky in Australia and it uploads we saw the same thing we had, you know, a lot of clients drop off and then came buoyant quite quickly again, so that sort of offset it. Talk to me about you know, you said you just changed offices and now with the remote working setup, is that all running smooth and stickies fully equipped to deal with remote working and whatnot?

Craig: Yeah, it's funny. Well, a lot of our a lot of our work anyway, leading up to shutdown was, was done on zoom. Yeah, we've got clients all over Australia. We've got clients internationally. And so most of the meetings I have are on zoom anyway, so we had moved from having to travel a lot, a few years ago, to add having a larger team to serve as clients to having a smaller team and doing a lot of things online. So the move to when we had to suddenly work from home. We didn't actually miss a beat operationally. It was probably one day of just moving some equipment around and making sure your your Wi Fi was strong and hoping it didn't. Right. Yeah. And after that, it was it was quite easy in to an extent I think. Yeah, we've discussed this internally for Eric and the best part of 10 years. About You know, could we possibly work from home, I think, the book called remote by the guys from base camp, Jason grant, Jason Fried, and we'd read that was 10 years ago and it's all that is as a while Working. And so we've always been very relaxed about whether you need to be in an office or not to, to work. And as long as the work gets done, I don't really care. So when this will happen, we actually transition really quickly and easily. And I think we're actually, productivity may have actually increased. So I think the good thing was, clients suddenly accepted it because they had to do it as well. And suddenly, this wasn't an awkward thing. I started to get used to this way of operating and becoming a lot more casual about it is sitting in meetings and clots and T shirts, your own t shirts and shorts, and no a kid but it was all about the work.

George: And not about the clustering and interesting point, isn't it like previously maybe working from home for pre COVID you know, certain industries, maybe not as used to the sort of run and gone digital Mark? Adding, you know, on a laptop can do everything in a cafe, you know, and now everyone's kind of like, Okay, I'm used to that idea. I hadn't really thought about that.

Craig: Well, I think I think for agency world where where we have that flexibility or ability to do it. It was easy. So it was great to see clients adjust to it, because I don't think they're looking at us as being this unprofessional. Yeah. industry where we get hung around and T shirts and or cafes or home or whatever. So their, their perception changed. I had a really interesting situation where we landed a new client and we Yeah, two weeks before, shut down. Shut down. And and we had to take them through a two day workshop to do a planning workshop to get their marketing plan for the next 12 months. Yep, drawn up. And originally always got it. Go down to Sydney to do the two days. And then we agreed. And this was like, on the Monday, we weren't sure where whether where things were going to be. We agreed to do it remotely. That was new for them. They have a big office in the CBD, bet 20 people. And by the end of the second day of working with us on their plan, though, like, you know, we just realised we don't have to actually have an office anymore, and we don't need to work anymore. And my bad moments, if I saw their business model changing in real time, it was really fascinating to watch.

George: Yeah, and I mean, you must have seen, you know, talking about these changes, and I've only been in industry for, you know, less than half a decade, but I've already seen a number of changes and one of the reasons why I wanted to bring you on the podcast was, you know, you've been in the digital marketing world for a good amount of time and started sticky. You know, over 10 years ago, and, you know, just wanted to talk to you about sort of, you know, starting the agency moving in and some of the changes you've seen, so let's kick off like, how did you start sticky and and tell us a little bit about that journey.

Craig: So we've actually stickies existed for coming up to 15 years. Wow. Okay. Apologies. Yeah. Was it September and Wow. So my background was actually traditional media. And I was in radio, and I knew all the agency owners in Newcastle as part of my role, and is to have to work with them and, and for those listening internationally. Newcastle is just a sort of a big city just next next to Sydney. Yeah. So back then, you know, I, I looked around and I wanted to get on the agency side, I was more interested in the the creative side and client service in that regard and so on. I sort of hunted around and spoke to the got the oldest guys in town that owned an agency basically and said when do you want to retire and I spoke to two of them one of them who I'm still quite good friends with said I'm not ready the other one said interesting interesting proposition let's have a chat and within months we've done a deal for me to take over his slowly take over his very very traditional agency and and this thing his place was so old fashioned and and yeah, they had a couple of computers but they were still typewriters clacking away oh my goodness Wow. And I think you're smarter smoke stains on the ceiling all paper files there is very much I described it as like a madman without the six sigma and it was just all fashion. So anyway, we I ended up buying the business and and the back the the mess of the revenue was traditional media. All the revenue is really traditional media, mainly TV production, media by radio press. That was 2005 when I bought the agency and obviously about that time, yeah, YouTube's just arrived. Facebook we were hearing about, yeah, it hadn't arrived. It was still a couple of years after arriving in Australia. Twitter didn't arrive until 2007.

George: I was on MySpace.

Craig: We're about we're all starting to use Google and, and Blogging Platforms were starting too late. So you know, a couple years into it. We've got a good little traditional agency, and I've got a team of creatives and, and account managers. And we're starting to say, what's this blogging thing and started mucking around with that. I love sort of question copywriter so i like i like writing. So started messing around blogging, I was introduced to Twitter by some acquaintances in Sydney that were at the forefront of the whole Twitter scene and still get together every Friday and sorry hilsa coffee and discuss digital digital media. And that opened up my eyes to what was happening and what was coming like. In the end I realised in retrospect now I bought a traditional agency of the worst possible time in history. It was, you know, as traditional was going down. And so we we started transitioning to becoming a digital agency. We our goal was, let's be the number one digital agency in Newcastle. That's what the vision was.

George: And at that stage, were there any other digital agencies?

Craig: Now, there weren't many digital agencies in Australia, but certainly not Newcastle, and no We're a little bit probably too far ahead in that regard. But we started blogging like crazy. We were using Twitter, we, we, as a result of all the blogging, we actually became quite aware of SEO and about how to rank in search engines. And it was almost by default, and it's just because we're putting so much content that we started to see results. That happened and, and then we learned about SEO and started studying that. And, you know, I brought in dedicated web designers where we started. Yeah, we backed WordPress early as the platform to work with when people went on. I think, at the time we were the first agency in Australia to use WordPress as a website. Wow, that's when WordPress was still pretty basic. Yeah. So yeah, we were, we were sort of working on the fly and introducing things to clients. But most of the local market wasn't ready for us and so almost by accident, we started winning clients out of Sydney. And which was interesting, and it was great. And we ended up getting some big names who were wanting to explore this new digital world and they wanted to look at blogging and I wanted to look at using social media. And so we started working with them and that's sort of starting to build that reputation. And, and why it was more one thing led to another. I can't say it was by any great design, it was just like, we want to be a good digital agency. And whether it's leads coming through to you those leads in Sydney coming through your blogging activities or logging Twitter. Yeah, we I had a pretty strong Twitter following used it at that time, mainly for talking about the industry. Okay, and, and so I had a blog called media hunter that was quite popular at the time and So when it spoke about the industry, and so that just got put on people's radar. So people were searching for things. And that's how they started contacting us. And, and because a lot of our content ranked in search, it was almost like that my blog, then brought people to the agency. And then we started saying, Oh, well, we need to actually make the agency like this as well. Yeah. Then producing content for the agency in that in that way. So but yeah, it's and then yeah, it was more word of mouth in, in Sydney. So yeah, one client would start saying, Hey, I know somebody else who needs this. And I mean, the doors.

George: The web forms. Yeah. So I guess what's so interesting is, you you buying this, this traditional media agency and having to pivot or realise sort of, hey, this, this whole ecosystem or this whole industry is changing. Can you talk about the mindsets that you had were you sort of dawned upon you that like this is coming through and we have to pivot fast.

Craig: Yeah, I don't think the pivot was fast. But okay. It's, we we went through a fairly deliberate transition over probably a five year period of going from traditional pure traditional media to a mix of traditional digital to pure digital. Yeah. And that was at a necessity. It was quite a strong client base. You know, 90% of our revenue was traditional media early on. And he didn't want to cannibalise that. Yeah. And we were doing some good work. And we had two big clients. So, yeah, we had to look after that. But we also saw where things were going, though. I think the main thing that really tipped it over for me was that I saw that the digitalization of traditional media so media production, the ease of buying and things like that, media buying was, it was a race to the Bottom in, in production and in costing, we saw the quality of media production going down. It just became price driven early on. So that's where we knew that I didn't want to be part of this race to the bottom, we wanted to stake new ground. And we thought with digital digital media was the new frontier. Social was going to be where it was at long term. And search engine optimization was a very big part of our development. And it was there were places where we could get good margin and have a distinct point of difference when everyone else was saying, Yeah, we can make TV ads or we can make cheap radio ads or things like that. So that was the that was the turning point for us. We were like, We just can't, we don't want to go in this direction. And, you know, in retrospect, it was right. Yeah, most, most agencies that were focused on traditional media back in the day that most of them aren't around anymore. Yeah. Not not in this market. So, where it all went digital with a bit of traditional. So yeah, we just saw that whole swing, a complete change a complete reinvention. So if someone you know, if someone listening to this is maybe in digital marketing and looking to start an agency of their own, you know, whether purposefully or not you guys did it, but you know, utilising Google and the change in the way people you know, the yellow pages is out the door. I'm gonna go now to Google and leveraging that change in behaviour in the market. You know, is that something you would recommend to somebody starting an agency or is it just one of those things like just get in there and I guess there's a million ways to do it, but did you consciously sort of latch on to that horse and, and say, Okay, this is going to be our ticket to sort of really gaining momentum. Oh, you were very deliberate about it. In that we, we saw we saw the rise of content online content we saw, like I said search at the time was that was the main driver for us. The social media networks was still coming. And, and they hadn't they weren't productized yet. So for us, it was was really about search was really that Google. And in the early days, that was our advantage. So I couldn't I wouldn't say, you know what their experience. This is like 2008 to 2011 sort of phase. That's not relevant to people today, in 2020. Now, every man and his dog can open a laptop and start an agency. So started video agency. So in a way it has been another race to the bottom since then. Because this has become so easy to say I'm a web designer, I'm a digital marketer, I can do your AdWords for you. I can do whatever. I can handle your social media content or so There's so many, this is probably 10 times as many agencies around now than there was when I started.

George: And so now the way to enter is probably very different again, would you so if we compare the fragmentation of the market now, you could go to a freelancer, you can go on someone on Fiverr you can go to a full blown agency, you know, there's so many options for people out there. What, how does sticky sort of how does Sticky think of themselves within this ecosystem? Like how do you position yourself here to you know, that increased competition that makes things you know, effectively tougher than ever, right? How do you guys approach those types of things?

Craig: Um, we've always believed you need to be focused on other an audience or a target market, or what you're delivering So yeah, we went from generalist, traditional agency to generalist, digital, I see, but the switch was digital that way. That was the difference. Yeah. Then, as everyone started to becoming moving more towards digital, our biggest focus was on organic search. And so yeah, we positioned ourselves as the SEO experts. And the other thing is, yeah, at the same time, we're moving from being small regional to national. So our audience totally changed. So I believe that the narrow you, you get with your focus, the broader your audience, geographically can be. So we, we got really narrow on what we could deliver. And that opened up the rest of Australia to us and then eventually, international markets. So but over the years, that's, that's also evolved. And now everyone catches up again, and other agencies start to get really good at organic search. Organic search gets harder. Google made it harder. Yeah. The paid tactics get more efficient and cost effective and start working for people. So, you know, we had to keep pivoting. So in the last three years, it's really all been about strategy for us. So we we positioned ourselves mainly as a strategy agency, I believe just about anyone can deliver on the tactics these days. Yeah. So but if they don't have a good plan behind them, then every good strategy, then they are often delivering something that's not going to get great results, or it's it's not cohesive with the overall marketing plan and things like that. So we were a strategy first agency now.

George: Okay, great. That's, that's That's really interesting. So do you. So then do you have an in house team that's running the execution or are you outsourcing that it's blended? blended?

Craig: So yeah, and yeah, this has been a big part of evolution as well as you know, I'm sitting at about 150 metres away from the second building where wherever in second office I've only moved about a kilometre in four offices. Yeah, it is already moved back like an area. We're on the waterfront. So it's nice. Yeah. But you know, in 2008, we moved into a very large office and we're ready to throw bodies at the the business because that was the traditional agency model, get Be quiet, throw more bodies at it. And then we after a while, we worked at a pretty bad business these days. And, and now, I mean, the smallest office we've ever had, and which we were barely using post coven. Anyway, And I've got the smallest 19th I've ever had about a quarter of the size that we were at our max, and by revenues pilot ever. Yeah. And so yeah, we wrapped we run with a core team that are very strong on the strategy they can implement all the way through if necessary, but that's not really their role is that they need to understand what needs to be done. They need to be guiding clients and driving strategy. And then and then we have a blended team there after that can are distributed team that can help us on the delivery and teams like apalis and and others. So we've got people scattered all over Australia and in some offshore that work with us on the delivery, and it just depends on what part of the delivery we need.

George: So yeah, okay, that's that's really Interesting and a trend that I've definitely seen over the last few years, you know, that separation of the consultation strategy side of things in the implementation side of things. You mentioned earlier, that, you know, a two day workshop you had for a client is that a pretty standard approach for you guys? And and what sort of conversations are what happens in those workshops.

Craig: So we are a hero product these days. And that's what we sort of call that's what we encourage clients to create as well is a is an initial planning session. And it could be done face to face in a day, but usually a nice little bit longer. Or, if we're doing it online like this, then we'd usually do it over two days to consent. Now, everyone's struggles to sit still on zoom for two days for die, so we break it up a little bit, but it's a great marketing accelerator is what we call it. And, and so most of the clients that start with us by start with Brian Blocking accelerator and we, we position it as having there's no obligation thereafter. Yeah, they pay us to spend that period of time going through the whole business, and putting together a really detailed and effective marketing plan that strips out the unnecessary stuff and concentrates on the things that get results fast, quickly for them. And so then we can turn around say, Oh, yeah, within a week and say, Okay, here's the plan. It's actually done with them in real time, but we tied it up a bit, do a bit of research afterwards. Yeah, to fill in the gaps. But then we go, here's the plan, and it and it takes into account what their internal resources are. Because some companies have the ability to execute on some of these things themselves, others, they need support on every on every level. So then we go okay, based on that, we can help you with x y Zed. Would you like to proceed with that and And 99% of the time they say yeah, can you do it all but what's happened in the in the two days is they've got at fairly low risk, and out and and expense, they've got to know us, walk us and trust us, they've got to understand our methodology. And they've had a quick deliverable on a on a plan that's usually pretty effective. They can see the potential so they turn around and go Yeah, now I'll do everything for me. So that's that's sort of out here. That's it here I product that gets us in the door. And generally these days, I don't market whole agency as an offering. We market that growth marketing accelerator is their offering.

George: Okay, so that's kind of like your that's bringing them into the pipeline, as well. I mean, obviously, we're talking about a bigger pipeline of ecosystem and what's going on and then you building the expertise, you building the trust, you know, and then sometimes this is what happens with us, you know, we Say give us three months or give us X amount of time. You know it, especially when it's a fresh account. You know, these guys have never done Google ads or something, you know, give us time, let, let us show you what we can do. And I guess that that sort of mechanism that you've brought in, sort of Trumps that whole battle at the beginning, when you're trying to build that trust.

Craig: What is one thing I realised that three or four years ago, it was explained to me by a business coach I've been working with is that the proposition for a client to take on an agency is it's not a great one, it's, it's the risk is all on their side. And so no wonder that a lot of clients take a long time to make a decision or they're reluctant to commit or, or even start the process of engaging with an agency because, you know, with most agencies are saying to potential clients, well, it's gonna cost you this much up front or over the next six months or 12 months. It's gonna take us a long time to get things built and to start seeing results for you.

George: And in fairness, that's, that's a kind of, like an expectation handling, you know, because, you know, sometimes it's tough at the beginning, but not always.

Craig: Yeah. So and then and, and so they're expected to take this leap of faith, yeah, without knowing the agency very well, and hope that they get a return on their investment. By the end of the year. It's a it's a pretty rubbish contract URL, isn't it? And, and, you know, we've been doing it for a decade and, and didn't really think of it that way. And then we then we realised, well hold on, how can we make this easier for clients to start working with you take the risk out of it from there, put a bit of risk on your side and, and show them what you can do for them in a sort of a concentrated way. Yep. And so that they go oh, this is actually a good Right experience we, we get what you're about. Get them to know like and trust you as as quickly as possible. So that's how we did we we packaged it up and said, we'll strip out a lot of the rubbish. We'll just get down to brass tacks. These are the things that we know from experience, get results. Let's focus on that and do it in a workshop style where you got the key players involved. So they're all around the table, you're not going through levels of management and things like that. And, and they turn around and go, Wow, okay, I get it now. You guys are great to work with. What else can we do? It takes the risk out of it. If you can deliver, you can deliver a result faster.

George: Makes complete sense. So then tell me the the rationale behind not calling this you know, sticky accelerator or what was that little change there?

Craig: It's it's pot of sticky but it's Yeah, we just That's it's a, it's creating a product with the business. So the biggest the, you know, it comes back comes back to that point of difference and the commoditization of the industry. Yeah, everyone says sales themselves as we're just a marketing agencies. We're a marketing agency. We can do AdWords for you. We can build websites for you. We can do Facebook advertising, SEO, whatever it is tactics. It's and most people can do them reasonably well these days. So where we said, we're not going to sell that anymore. We're going to deliver that eventually. But we need to give them something that they can get their heads around and most businesses, they want growth. They want to do it quickly. So we call it a growth marketing accelerator. So essence, give it give them what they need and package it up a certain way. So yeah, it was about productizing service, owning the IP, and having a point of difference, but it sounds like, you know, the both sides of the table are getting value out of it, you know, I think you guys are probably getting a reduced sales cycle and less effort probably put in into there and onboarding clients faster but not in a cynical hacky way. You know, you're providing value from their ends, looking at their business, auditing it and then giving them a whole list of recommendations and next steps. So they have an idea of where to head

George: Well, the thing is, you know, what the process we're taking them through is what any good agency is going to take a client through, eventually, anyway, but it's often you know, it used to be done over a very long period of time, are we going to spend a couple of months studying your business and we're going to do this, we're going to do that. And we'll come back with this plan and learn that it's going to cost you a bomb. And so we were like, Well, yeah, I remember Yeah, the day we decided to do this, I sat down with my team. I said, if we just stripped it back to these key elements, how quickly do you think we could actually put the plan together and deliver on it? And and we actually got it down to 10 days, we said, we can actually do this in 10 days, do the plan in one day with the client and turn around and deliver on most of the, the strategy tactics in 10 days, right. Of course, there's going to be a lot more that comes out of that, but these Yeah, it's and we're, we're, I said, that's my take, yeah. Do you think we could do it that way? Please, we can do it, but it's gonna be scary. And so let's, let's put it out there and try and, and we, we offered it to a handful of businesses early just as a test run. And it worked really well. And it was really exciting and it was exhilarating for our point of view. The court's ruling on it and They generally walk away from the experience guy. Well, that was, that was one of the best experiences I've had working around marketing my business ever and a lot of people have done a lot of workshops and things like that over the years and worked with consultants. But they found this really quite exciting. And so yeah, we realised we're, we're onto something. So we didn't we just kept improving the re offering. And it is genuinely good for both sides. Yes, it the client gets a great result faster, which is really important. And it's cost effective for them to get started without a lot of risk at the front. And from our point of view, it allows us to bring on clients a lot faster, our conversion rates a lot higher. We don't you know, we don't sit for months waiting for people to decide on on joining with us and And we can bring a lump sum in at the start, that is pretty much all around consulting doesn't have a lot of overhead against it. And then, and then most of the time, the client then stays with us for everything else. So was what was what we wanted anyway, so it works with both.

George: So how would you compare these workshops to other kinds of consultants? Or what what are those sort of major pieces of difference that you see in the market in this sort of sphere of strategy and consulting?

Craig: I can't really speak to other consult. Okay, very much, but whatever your your approach may be, just, I think it's just the difference I see is, you know, I've seen some consulting efforts and hear anecdotally from from clients where they say, yeah, we had a consult and we got a big report and then it went in the in the filing cabinet. Not much came out of it. Yeah, there's a lot of logic in there, but nothing happened. I was very much action oriented. Okay. So it's like, totally the things we really need to focus on I get the message rocket is targeting right? Build a build a funnel plan to get activated really, really quickly that we could turn around in, you know, a week or two, you have to start getting leads coming into their business and converting them so they see they see fast results. So I think that's the main difference. It's it's genuine speed to market and the action like the next steps and and making that tangible and real. Yeah, other than just sort of a fluffy john. It's an impressive report, but not not something actionable and ready to go.

George: So how do you do so you think of the you don't think about these as multiple ventures you think this is one ecosystem as one, or do you like have different teams in here or is this sort of a blended that's all it's all

Craig: So we we put other entities out there from time to time to test ideas. But the growth marketing accelerator was was a sticky initiative. And, and it's now our core offering it's it's, um, most of our clients come to us. Yeah, of course we get referred clients and they already know what we're working for and want to take on part of our offering and that's fine. But if a new client comes to us for everything, they they're going to go through this process anyway. So we always start with that. But yeah, we we've started other brands that sidelines and we, we currently have one that is a stripped down automated version of, of the accelerator. So we were I've basically put workbooks together and recorded a dozen modules. Okay, take you through the whole programme. So it's very It's for small businesses, they just want to try to work it out themselves. I fantastically, probably can't afford to hire an agency to do everything for them. So I can online costs.

George: Yeah, it is.

Craig: And you know, and they, One option is they can, they can subscribe to the course, and do it online, but they can for for a slightly higher fee, jump on calls with me or my team, but 30 minutes a week to just make sure that it's on track. Right? to re explain things. Yeah, within. So that's a very efficient, scalable way to use your audience at all. I think what is the biggest takeaway from this podcast is your approach to you, I don't think you're like have a nostalgia or or emotion with some of these things. Like if something needs to change, it needs to change and you've evolved from, you know, a media agency in traditional formats all the way through to this consultation and it's in this strategy consultation. model you have now and you know, it's not like, Oh, you know, that's been a gradual year on year, month on month evolution over a period of time. And I think, you know, your approach to knowing it's a necessity to change is is part of the reason why sticky still around.

George: Well, yeah, it's, yeah, yeah, I'm happy. I'm happy to kill the babies if I have to.

Craig: It's like, yeah, we, there's things that we've, we've built over the years, they've been really effective for a handful of years, but then then they turn positive, but that's just the nature of business in general and this industry specifically, it's a very fast moving industry. It's, you can't keep doing what you're doing. And, you know, one thing we've learned is, you know, the world can be your oyster in digital marketing or in the marketing sphere. Quite literally, you can work from regional New South Wales and Do we have clients in Los Angeles and Auckland and Brazil and Germany, which we are we've done all that. And, and it's it's easy enough to do if you're well known in your particular expertise or in what you're offering, and you're delivering genuine results. Do you think that, you know, within all these changes we've discussed, what what where do you see, did you see this further compounding and the fragmentation just continuing to, to, you know, go on and end within these different products? I guess, ratcheting on to that side of the question.

George: You know, I think what you've done really well is you know, you've got the agency, you've got the growth accelerate, and you've also got the online course version, you know, understanding your audience and knowing, you know, what do people actually need, you know, rather than being stubborn and saying, This is the only thing we're only going to do this workshop, you know, what about the small little econ guy that wants to get things off the ground? You know, are you seeing this sort of these multiple tiers or different services or different ways to perform digital marketing and different options? You know, we're just gonna see that more and more compound over time, or where do you sort of see the quote unquote agency model freelance model heading?

Craig: Yeah, that's it's it's a tough question. And I think I said before we started that. Most of the time over the last 15 years, I think we've, we've been right at the front of the curve on change, and we've seen what's coming. I think we're going through a little bit of a consolidation phase at the moment, in that every noise slugs in every every man, they don't come back with a laptop and stuff. Now, most people I bet you've got to generate a new generation that's come through they're very proficient at digital communication, and marketing. There's a lot of a lot of businesses can do this in a lot of their strategy tactics in house these days. Just because they can hire people that could do Facebook marketing and AdWords and things like that. So that's let's go this consolidation there, but and I knew the bright new shiny media hasn't come along for a while the big, I haven't seen a big plier or a big change in the market for a wall now for probably for five years. And so that's probably allowed everyone to sort of settle and settle that job.

George: You mean sort of made major digital marketing channels or something?

Craig: I'm not seeing anything. Yeah, that's that's seems like it's gonna be a massive do you think?

George: Are you saying Tick Tock at all as a?

Craig: I, to be honest, I haven't paid attention to the show. Yeah, Snapchat. tik tok. No. All right, yeah. And you'll read articles. Now. This is the great the biggest opponent. Yeah, maybe I'm getting too old for it, but it's chat.

George: Definitely that and that's kind of died.

Craig: Yeah. And, you know, I think it's it's Instagram was really the last yeah last big one to come along in my opinion and that's quite a while ago now by every every industry in history goes through this where the big players come in and you end up having duopolies already go, Copley's running a market and that's where we're at now. It seems to have settled, sure there may be a great great innovations that will come. I'm not smart enough to know where where they are. I think where the agency will need to head now is is heading is is a more consulting style of business and you're also seeing the big accounting players getting into that as well. at the high end of the market, they're looking more at strategy and consulting at the agency level, you know, we need to look at that more. I think we need to package our service services better product was more I think if you're a freelancer And you're small, you need to be very focused on what you deliver. So either be the, one of the best at a particular offering, or one of the best at a particular target market. So I actually actually help consult to another agency in South Australia, and their specialty is the automotive market and, and they're really, really good at what they do. And that's all I do. And so we've been helping them sort of build strategies for that. But I think that's sort of the future is saying, Okay, well, I'm going to work in that particular vertical, and earn that. And then I think then the other thing is, is, you know, like I said, productizing your offering or packaging it up so that you can have a more automated delivery.

George: That scalable?

Craig: Well, I'm fascinated with scaling. I'm always trying to find ways to scale the IP that an agency has. So I can't say I've cracked that nut yet or as well as I'd like to, but I think that's the that's the future is delivery at scale.

George: Yeah, makes complete sense. Well, Craig, listen, it's been it's been really fantastic talking to you. And I think the big takeaway from this is staying on your toes, saying abreast of what's going on in your industry and, you know, knowing where things are heading, because it's been really, really fascinating to hear about the evolution of sticky and these other sort of surrounding mechanisms you have around it. Is there any final things you wanted to mention on this podcast or anything you wanted the audience to know?

Craig: So this is a great initiative. I think. I think the only thing I'd say is like if you're getting into the into the digital marketing world now start a new business, get really focused. Don't try to do it all yourself because you can't. You need to, you need to have good teams around you. And then you've got a chance to to grow and succeed.

George: Makes sense. Thanks so much for your time, Craig and all the best for 2020 and I'm sure we'll speak soon.

Craig: Great George. Thank you. Cheers. Bye.