What GrowthLogic’s Founder, Chad Blenkin is doing to outpace other digital agencies in the race for growth.
Asked how GrowthLogic came to one of Canada’s fastest-growing digital marketing agencies, founder Chad Blenkin said his team practices what they preach, put skin in the game, don’t hide behind vanity metrics and focus on bringing cash in the door — “We’ve had no choice, being bootstrapped, but there’s no smarter way to grow”.
I started the agency a short while ago from my basement without any funding, venture capital or safety net. All I had was a computer, a cell phone, and a few hundred dollars. Not only was I entering a highly-competitive industry but there were already thousands of digital marketing agencies in the market. To grow GrowthLogic, my team and I have used the same direct-response marketing principles that we offer clients — and our record growth is proof that these principles work.
So I would say being recognized as one of Canada’s fastest growing agencies is a testament to our ability to grow a business. Equally, our success is attributable to our company culture. Being a service-based business, our people and our expertise ARE our product. To deliver our clients the best results possible, we’ve invested a lot into not only cultivating the right culture within our team but nurturing team members and helping them grow. It’s funny, there are numerous business coaches and agencies coaching people on how to grow their companies but they aren’t practicing what they preach in their own.
I’ve known for a long time that there’s no other full-service digital marketing agency growing at the pace that GrowthLogic is, so it’s wonderful to have that. Despite all the milestones we’re beginning to hit and the successes we’re starting to see, I believe we’re still at the very beginning of our journey.
What are some of the agency’s key success indicators?
We’re at a stage where we’re experiencing 15% growth month-on-month, and we’re growing very, very quickly. Our agency has a few dozen employees operating out of smart offices across Canada and we’re working with major clients nationally and internationally.
We obviously use internal KPIs to continually assess if we are getting closer to our goal of being the number one digital agency in Canada. This includes: how many clients we have, how our top line revenue is growing, what are the results that we’re achieving for our clients and for our own business and are we hitting our goals. And that’s something that I personally look at daily and then weekly, quarterly, bi-yearly and yearly, and really being laser-focused executing the vision that we have for the business.
What sort of mindsets play a central role at GrowthLogic?
Our mindset is growth. My title at GrowthLogic is Head of Growth and as the founder, I know what my strengths are and what my weaknesses are, so I focus on my strengths. I know how to grow a business and I know how to apply those digital marketing strategies to grow other people’s businesses.
Also, I have focussed from the very, very beginning on basically bringing cash in the door. We had no choice, being bootstrapped; however, I don’t think there is any other smart way to grow a business, other than to make it profitable from day one. Getting money coming in and growing that top line revenue meant that we would have enough money to then start advertising, to get an office, to hire a team and to build the business.
In today’s day and age, where venture capital flows freely and entrepreneurs raise millions in seed funding with little more than an idea, something like 80% of venture-backed companies fail. Having an idea is easy — everybody has one. The real value is in the execution. Ideas are easy, executing is everything.
Has being bootstrapped worked to your advantage?
Yes, definitely. In the absence of either startup capital or a safety net, we’ve had to stay focused on bringing revenue in by servicing clients well and getting them phenomenal results. As a result, we have a very high stick rate and, obviously, then we have really high lifetime value. And we operate in a very, very lean and efficient manner, and all of our business decisions are guided by growth and asking if that spend or move is going to contribute to client satisfaction and growth.
Can you give a sense of your career pre-GrowthLogic?
I started my first business over 20 years ago after helping a friend build a website for a local golf course. I was self-taught, grinding the midnight oil learning HTML and CSS.
Things really took off when I learned how to do SEO, that was back in the day when links were king and we had automation dialed right in. I recall ranking a cell phone franchisee higher for cell phones than the main company, it blew that business up.
Long story short: After that, I researched everything about SEO, became very proficient in that, and it worked. That lead to starting my first agency and building it to a team and then selling the business.
After that, I founded other businesses, sold them, and repeated. That included e-commerce businesses, app companies, and traditional companies. Whatever the business, I’ve always used direct-response marketing principles to really grow sales.
What circumstances led to the creation of GrowthLogic?
I saw an opportunity to establish an agency with people who actually had business acumen, understood unit economics, understood sales and marketing could really apply those levers to help businesses grow. Thus, GrowthLogic was born. We’re filling a gap in the market for real results by killing vanity metrics, using true ROI and only charging for success, and as a result, we are disrupting the digital marketing space.
Any advice on what future trends business owners should embrace?
Our methodology is very different from a lot of other agencies. We’re not really about the next shiny object. It can be particularly tempting for entrepreneurs to jump at the next big shiny object but you need to focus on the fundamentals.
We practice direct-response marketing, which involves the psychology of selling and buying. Human psychology hasn’t changed — the principles that worked 200 years ago work the same, if not better, today. So, we look at what underpins the pains, fears, hopes and dreams of a client’s market, and then we look at positioning sales measures that address those. We look at all the digital channels as simply a delivery mechanism for those things. Whether it’s SEO or Google AdWords or Instagram ads or Facebook, all of that is mere practicality for us in terms of traffic.
At the moment, the two grown-ups in the room are definitely Facebook and Google. They account for the majority of traffic. Facebook is very exciting purely because it’s a push medium — it’s being pushed it in front of eyeballs just like the modern-day television and there’s really no limit to the scale on that.
In terms of what we’re focussing on, we’re also looking at YouTube. In fact, we’re looking at whatever big channels have the potential to emerge as a third player in the duopoly of Facebook and Google.
Chasing the latest hack or the latest loophole is like a fool’s errand where, basically, the amount of traffic that you can get these days is unlimited. But instead of looking at what others might be doing, you need to look at what your prospects want and what medium will actually create a response that can lead to sales.
Chad Blenkin is a digital marketer, growth hacker, & entrepreneur. Founder @ GrowthLogic in Canada.