How to manage a digital marketing agency in Brooklyn

Episode 3

How to manage a digital marketing agency in Brooklyn

On today's episode of Social Selling, we're chatting with Eliot Walden, partner at Electric Orange Creative, a performance marketing agency based in Brooklyn, New York.

Our discussion with Eliot is focused on one topic;
- Workplace culture in New York City marketing agencies.

We learn that work schedules are atypical, competition is fiercer and opportunities are much bigger.

The episode includes nearly forty minutes of discussion where we delve into the day-to-day of a digital marketing agency in Brooklyn.

We hope you enjoy this episode!


Episode transcript

(Antoine) Eliot Walden, you are the Head of Growth at Electric Orange Creative, a digital marketing agency located in Brooklyn, New York. You've worked in the past in other agencies like Havas and Resolution Media, but you've also worked for different brands like P.volve and Saks Fifth Avenue.You know a lot about the work environment in New York, and that's exactly what we're going to discuss today. Eliot Walden, welcome to Social Selling!

(Eliot) Thank you for having me!

(Antoine) I'm very curious to know more about the agency environment in New York. And I think the discussion that we'll have together today will do just that. But before we go there, can you explain to us what you've done in the past 5, 10 years so we can understand what brought you to Electric Orange?

(Eliot) Sure. I’m happy to speak to that.

So, I've been working in digital marketing for just about 10 years now, maybe even a little bit more. This is something I started doing right after college. I started at a small, small agency – a good example of a 10 person team who thought they could do everything...web development, SEO, paid media. And, you know, what we quickly realized is that we can't do everything. I certainly tried as best I can to learn a little bit of everything, but I quickly realized that paid media, especially performance marketing, was where I really gravitated towards.

And so not long after that, I ended up actually going into my first real big agency experience, which was with Resolution Media, that's part of Omnicom. That was actually...I think they're no longer an agency anymore, but they've now changed everything under the Omnicom name.  But Resolution Media was the primary paid media division within Omnicom based in New York City, here where I’m located.And, my day to day was as a supervisor for a few big brands, notably Mercedes-Benz, USA, Longchamp, Elizabeth Arden, to name a few.

And really, we were...I was overseeing a team to drive performance acquisition, lead generation of course, and online sales when applicable, for these brands across paid social and paid search. 

(Antoine) Interesting!

(Eliot)Yeah, and that kind of was my first step into the big agency world. And after not too long there, I immediately decided that I really, you know, found an even deeper focus, which in this case was paid social. That was where I found myself really kind of digging my heels deeper into.

And I was actually brought an opportunity to oversee as an Associate Director the LVMH account for North America and then ultimately became Global at Havas Media, specifically within their social division, which was called Socialyse. And yeah, it was a great experience, albeit a little bit hectic. There’s 30+ brands underneath that portfolio so we, you know, had a small team. I think any agency knows there’s often more work than employees so we were very short staffed. But I think that comes with the territory and that grew, and it ultimately became a really fast growth career in that performance space. 

So from LVMH and all the brands within it came TD Bank and OppenheimerFunds to name a few. And that ultimately brought me into the startup scene where I was poached to join a venture capital backed fitness company called P.volve, founded here in New York City, founded by a pretty ambitious group of venture capitalists that are really spearheading and investing in the business to grow quickly.

It was a great opportunity. I quickly found as I went onto the brand side that I have to be passionate about the work that I'm actually doing, especially when I'm invested as an in-house member of the team so then I didn't stay there that long. I'm certainly not a fitness buff myself, but that then took me to actually going to work for Hudson's Bay Company, which is the parent company of Saks Fifth Avenue and Saks on Fifth, where I worked to help spearhead the growth of their e-commerce business, which in a very difficult space like retail was an incredible challenge and I think one that we tackled really well.

And again, that really kind of gave me some expertise on the brand side, much more – and note that this had been several years – but much more so than I was able to get to just sitting on the agency. And then from that, that ultimately brought me to where I am now. So all of these different brands that I worked with, both in-house and as an agency, I realized that I wanted to actually drive the agency. I love, you know, working with clients and I love spearheading these startup companies.

So when I was presented the opportunity to start consulting with Electric Orange Creative, I quickly realized that  they work with amazing clients, the team is really smart, they do fantastic work on the SEO side and have some room to grow on the paid media side, which is where I came in. And then ultimately that consulting gig came into, or transitioned rather, into a partnership where I'm now one of three partners in the business.

(Antoine) Wow! Very cool. And can you tell me how this transition from Saks Avenue happened from where you are now? So [did] they approach you, you approached them?

How [did it] happen?

(Eliot) So it's interesting how that works here in New York. They approached me. I'm lucky to say that with just about every one of the jobs that I got in my later years, it was being  – it was from being approached by recruiters or in the case of Saks Fifth Avenue, it was actually directly their in-house team. 

And one of the things about New York City is there's a lot of talent and there is a huge industry around recruitment here, which I'm sure we’ll get to talk about. But there are a lot of recruiters. We’re getting contacted. I must get about three to four even plus a week even today, where they're aggressively trying to find people of all different levels of expertise to join respective companies and agencies.

So I was poached into Saks Fifth Avenue specifically for e-com, and it just seemed like really interesting and it’s a legacy brand. It's the oldest corporation in all of North America. Of course, it's based off of you in Canada, Hudson's Bay Company. And it’s, you know, it was an opportunity to grow the online business of what was otherwise this historic brick and mortar retail business. And hundreds of millions of dollars to play with, and it was incredible. It was a really great experience. 

(Antoine) Yeah, I guess, right? And what happened with the people at Electric Orange? They were looking to get someone who had a lot of experience with paid media, and they were trying to grow this department or they were not doing that yet? How did it work?

(Eliot) So Electric Orange Creative, the company I now am part of...they got their footing in SEO many years ago. They’re one of the foremost agencies here in New York City working with some very large businesses. And over time, of course, as you work with a lot of these startups and these small companies in SEO, they start asking to see what options and opportunities there are for paid media. And so that over time, of course, it grew into a paid media division within the company. At the time, they were taking on, I would say, some more medium sized businesses and a few larger accounts. And the work was very good. But I think there was a lack of leadership, somebody with a lot of experience, working with some large brands, and I think that's really where they wanted to see how and if I can help them. 

And so, as I mentioned, this really started as a consulting gig. In the very beginning, I was doing my regular job, I want to say nine to five, but of course, more like seven to seven. And then, you know, and then from eight to midnight or even sometimes one in the morning, I was working on some work with Electric Orange and over the weekends. And I, you know, I really had a good time working with that team. And they said, ‘Listen, we really need to grow paid media. We need somebody who's familiar with how the big agencies run and who can take some of that experience and leadership and bring that to us to really help us grow.’ And when we get these massive SEO contracts, we also have a paid media offering of a similar quality. And that's what I was brought in to do and so far it’s working. 

(Antoine) So, I want to know... Now, you’re Head of Growth at Electric Orange. So I guess you're supervising the paid media team, but are you also doing a bit of business development to acquire these big clients? What do you do on a day-to-day basis?

(Eliot) That's a huge part of both my job as well as my two partners, and of course, we have some other help as well, but business development is a massive part. So of course, I'm overseeing the day-to-day on paid social, paid search, display, programmatic, you name it. That's all falling within my team. But the business development side is also a huge component of what we're working on. Of course, especially in environments like with COVID-19, we can do the best work for our existing clients, but we never know what's going to happen with the current economic climate, especially as the markets have been shifting so rapidly. So we know that it's important to bring on new accounts more than ever. And so, we're doing a lot of business development now as best we can all at home. But even before this, business development was part of my day-to-day.

(Antoine) Interesting! And, can you tell me if it helps you in the past couple of months in terms of business development to attract clients because you are located in New York? Is there something [where] clients are like, ‘Oh, I want to work with an agency that's located in New York because of X, Y, Z.’ Do you have any examples that you can give us here? 

(Eliot) Well, it's hard to say any particular examples of that, but I can tell you, it's certainly come up in my career before. A lot of businesses that we've worked with, that we work with, both in my current job at Electric Orange Creative but even before that...we've seen a lot of businesses that want a New York agency. They want to have a business that's in the middle of all of the action, that's working with some of the bigger industries. And certainly, I think maybe the perception is that there's a finger on the pulse of everything that's happening in both the business world and the marketing world. And for that reason, I think a lot of companies enjoy working with New York agencies. So, I know there are some who would rather find agencies that are closer to their homes. But I know that from what I've heard and my experience, is [that] a lot of businesses do like the allure and the prestige of a New York City agency. 

(Antoine) Interesting. You mentioned, you know, that for all the agencies that I know right now, the business development playbook is changing a little bit right now because of COVID-19.Can you walk us through a little bit what you are doing with the agency on a day-to-day right now to just get more awareness and bring more people in, making sure that maybe you get these pitches with these big clients? What are you doing right now to make sure that you keep the flow on the business development side?

(Eliot) So, as we've said, it is a very different world.

(Antoine) Of course.

(Eliot) One of the best things about New York City is the fact that there's millions of people here and with millions of people, especially in this marketing industry, people going to bars after work, lots of after work drinks... And to be frank, you know, a big part of business development is just the social.

(Antoine) Oh, really?

(Eliot) The social aspect is something that’s brought us a lot of business just in my personal neighborhood of Greenpoint in Brooklyn, New York. I speak to people on a daily basis that are in the industry, and from that comes referrals, and from that even their businesses too. I have many people who are in the startup field and running their own startups and have come to us for help. And whether it's them or whether it's their friends who are also entrepreneurs, there's a lot of social ‘bar scene’, kind of ‘restaurant scene’ networking that happens. 

But of course, with all of that not being able to happen right now, we've been really reliant on our existing relationships. And a big part of that for us as an agency has been through a lot of venture capital groups here in New York. So, yeah, I mean, I think a lot of people, when they think of the venture capital world, are always thinking about Silicon Valley and thinking about California and the Bay Area. But in the past few years, there’s been a huge explosion of startups in New York. I think it was nine thousand startups that are now here in New York City. And with that, of course, comes a huge amount of venture capital groups that are looking to invest in those businesses, and we've been able to over the past few years and even more recently, build these relationships with these venture capital groups. So they're still investing in businesses. 

In fact, as recently as a week ago, we were brought into a meeting with another business, another startup that was funded by a venture capital group we had previously done work for. And they're now asking us to pitch for that company, that startup. So that's...I think the venture capital groups and these investment groups have really been a backbone for our growth and business strategy. And you know, we've proven to them that we do the work and that we know how to work with a fast growing startup, businesses across multiple industries. And as they get a new startup, it's kind of almost like a plug and play model where they know that they can bring their new investments our way and we can help them get their footing in when it comes to their digital strategy.

(Antoine) That’s a great process. So actually, these VCs, they have, I don't know, maybe 5, 10, 20, startups in their portfolio and they just bring you in all the time?

(Eliot) Yeah, I mean I wish I could say all the time, but it's certainly –

(Antoine) (laughs) Most of the time.

(Eliot) It's enough to keep the business coming in. Yeah. I mean and even just from those relationships, as you can imagine, it kind of trickles out. Of course, when an entrepreneur that we work with – and it happens almost on a weekly or even monthly basis – what happens is we have one entrepreneur that we're working with who is a VC, and then their friend is…entrepreneurs typically like to hang out with other entrepreneurs. And so they refer their friends and they chat with our friends over at Electric Orange. And we, of course, try to make financial arrangements that are beneficial for all. We certainly are amicable to startup companies and knowing what it takes for them to grow, which is like, for instance, why we typically don't do Profit-Sharing models for a lot of our startup companies because we don't want to erode their margins. But we understand what it takes to work with a lot of these small startup companies. And for that reason, they come to us more and more and more.

(Antoine) Interesting. And would you say it's like one of the only business development channels that you're using right now to attract clients? Or are you also getting inbound inquiries because of the content that you're doing, [since] you're doing a lot of outreach? Can you give us the whole picture of your business development structure right now?

(Eliot) So right now, actually we've been pretty late on outreach. I think we're all ‘heads down’, keeping focused through these trying times. We have a lot of work to be done, and I think I think I can only speak for myself, but I think maybe a lot of people would agree that efficiency has kind of fallen a little bit off with dealing with everything going on at home while also trying to manage your day to day work environment.

So I know that we've been working very hard day in and day out to keep the business growing and growing and growing. But, we haven't been able to do as much outreach as we would have. What we have done, though, is really facilitated and started – I shouldn’t say facilitated – but tapped deeper into our relationship with some strategic partners of ours. 

I think the biggest one for us is our relationship with Shopify Plus. So Shopify Plus, of course, is an e-commerce platform. They are one of our kind of key strategic partners and they actually bring a lot of business our way.

(Antoine) Oh, really?

(Eliot) We have had a proven relationship over several years now of being able to take their new and exciting businesses and again help them really grow.  And as a result of that, when a new business that's hitting 1 million or 5 million or even 10 and up million in annual or a monthly revenue, and they say, ‘Hey, Shopify, can you help us with our e-commerce?’ Or also, ‘Do you happen to know anybody who's particularly good at digital marketing?,’ we’re one of the first people they call. 

And especially when companies want to work again – if they're in the northeast of the United States or if they're in New York – that's really where they say, ‘I want a New York agency,’ and Electric Orange is one of the few Shopify Plus agencies that's based in New York City.

(Antoine) Oh, my God. Very, very interesting. And have you been the one to develop this partnership, or [it’s] just because of the work that the agency did with other clients? [Did] this kind of relationship happen by itself?

(Eliot) They had actually reached out to us. They were, I think, impressed with some of the work that we had been doing with some of the Shopify Plus partners and word had gotten back to their partners and their partnership team. In fact,  we're very close to the partnership team and word had gotten back to them that we had done some decent work on some of their accounts. Specifically, I think in the very beginning, a lot of that was very, very good SEO, and that made its way back to their team and they reached out to us and....that relationship grew and grew and grew. And now we're writing content for Shopify and conversely, they're bringing us into some of their exclusive partnership arrangements with new clients. So it's a very mutually beneficial relationship.

(Antoine) Very interesting. Okay, I think strategic partnerships is just one of the best things to do, [and] business development as an agency, right? Finding the right partnership that you can bring value [to] and then on the opposite [end], they can bring you value at the same time. I think it's the fastest way to just grow an agency at some point. 

(Eliot) Mhm. Absolutely.

(Antoine) So, tell me more now about how it works with the employees – how it works with building a team in New York? Have you seen, like, challenges or maybe sometimes it's even easier to bring employees working for a Brooklyn shop? Can you tell us a little bit how it works on this side?

(Eliot) Sure.Well, I think one of the best things about working in an agency in New York, and I think this is not just in the marketing industry, but there's no shortage of people, highly talented, highly ambitious people who are wanting to come to New York City. It's almost the definition of what people perceive New York as – just aggressive, hard working. And frankly, it brings a lot of top talent. 

One of the nicest things about living here, from my own career, but then also as we look to hire other individuals, is that there's so many marketing agencies. All of the big global agencies are based here or have headquarters here. And then there's countless other medium and smaller agencies as well. And there's so much talent everywhere and all around us. So when we're looking to hire new people, there's no shortage of it, whether it be on the creative side or even if we're talking about development. But then as we think of it, for SEO, for instance, there's plenty of creative copywriters all around us.

And then, of course, looking for performance marketing, there's thousands and thousands and thousands of people. It's become this incredible community where I know just through my relationships at the big agencies, and then as people move around to other agencies, it's just this network where we all kind of are only one or two steps removed from another person. If you say, ‘Oh, I need to have a contact over at Teads for TV or for a video campaign,’ I'm sure I can make one or two phone calls and get a contact therepretty quickly.

(Antoine) Of course!

(Eliot) And certainly, I would love to pretend that I'm unique or special here, but I think a lot of people who have been doing marketing in New York City for a few years could say the same.

(Antoine) And, can you tell us if you have a specific process for hiring? Are you looking at maybe more for senior people, junior people? And then maybe if you're looking for junior, do you have a training process inside the company where you're able to bring someone from point A to point B? Yeah, can you tell us a bit about what kind of people you're looking for when you're when you're hiring?

(Eliot) So we like to focus on, and I know we're not alone here, but we like to focus on young, new recruits, one or two years out of college. People who have already expressed an interest in different marketing or if it's on the SEO side. Of course, people who are very good writers and very strong copywriters. We love people who have an existing interest in marketing, but maybe have not gotten their feet wet entirely with a big agency. There is nothing better than being able to bring in somebody who is hungry and ready to learn and who has not maybe gotten [or] who's not been taught bad practices, good practices, but is open, open to learning the way that we like to operate.

And I've always found that to be easier. Of course, I think with that comes challenges of having to train people and that, of course, is a huge time commitment. But at the same time, it's absolutely important because the employees that we have are really only as good as how we train them. And that's another huge component of it; the costs of bringing in new, young, fresh talent is that we have to invest a lot more time and resources into bringing them up to speed where they can become top performers markers. And we also have some kind of more seasoned talent as well.

(Antoine) But, yeah, exactly at the end of the day, I think you get more value from that at the end, right? Because you're able to bring them to another level, one step at the time, and they will become a loyal ambassador for your company at the same time.

(Eliot) Yeah, absolutely. And I think the other key piece of it that I’ve found, as I've now joined as a partner in this business, is I really started to think about what these employees not just excel at, but what they also want to do. Because I think at the end of the day, especially kind of having grown up in some of these big agencies where I was just one of many thousands of people on the open floor, I didn't have the choice or the ability to start thinking about what actually was important to me and what I was actually interested in. I was just doing whatever was thrown my way. And over time, there were many incidences where I almost became resentful of the work that I was doing and that I didn't love it anymore and I wasn't passionate about it. 

I think what's great is when we find these young, ambitious people who are really passionate about the analytic side of things or are really passionate about writing and and seeing the rankings improve of organic content, or even our project managers, some of whom just love being the face of the data, communications and managing people. We want people to grow in the direction that they are passionate about because ultimately that's what's going to produce the best work.

(Antoine) Of course, interesting. I have a question for you. I see even on our side right now at J7 Media, and a lot of my friends who run agencies, are telling me the same thing right now. A lot of people are building their own education system with a platform where you know exactly how to create this specific campaign, you are able to see, OK, what kind of reports you need to do for this specific industry and all these different things. Have you seen something or are you trying to create something like that on your own right now to create an educational platform for Electric Orange Creative?

(Eliot) It's been a huge priority of ours. We're a relatively small agency and we work with some very big brands. But one of the things that I think we and even some of the biggest agencies I’ve worked at [is that they] haven't gotten the best processes down and that level of education that is so important. It's a huge priority of ours. It's certainly something that is on our roadmap in the very near future – to build out these learning and development portals, where people can go and learn and figure out exactly how to do the right steps, whether it be reporting or even just kind of optimizations, and learn on their own.

(Antoine) Interesting. Okay, I have a couple of questions for you Eliot. I want to know, from your perspective, from what you see right now inside the agency [or] with your other friends that maybe are in other agencies also right now, how do you think the agency of the future will look like? Because if there's one thing for sure, it’s changed a lot. It changed a lot in the past couple of years. A lot of things are becoming a commodity at some point.So, I would like to know, what do you think the agency of the future would look like?

(Eliot) It's a tough one, because every year that I think I have the answer, I think it changes just a little bit. I thought I knew five years ago what it would look like today, and I don't think it looks just that way. I think one of the biggest changes that we'll see in the coming years, though, will be automation. I think a lot more things that we're used to – and I think this, of course, is not unique to marketing – but, I think as we see tech platforms become increasingly good at running a lot of the optimizations and the bidding tactics on their own, I think that's certainly something that we're all going to see become more prevalent, and also less expensive.

But I think where the agencies are really going to step in is working with the clients more closely on understanding their attribution and in understanding exactly what the appropriate marketing mix should be. Because what I've always seen is no matter what size of the clients it is, whether it's a multibillion dollar business or whether it's one that's making fifty thousand dollars a month, is that nobody seems or not enough businesses seem to have a good grasp of which channels are the right ones to be investing in. And everybody looks to just last click data –

(Antoine) Exactly! 

(Eliot) And it doesn't give the full story. And I think there's obviously new stars in the world. There's these huge MTA platforms that will really help with that. But I think most businesses are still not there yet and most businesses are still just not exactly sure if they're getting the most bang for their buck with each respective channel, and I think that's something that a tech platform will never be able to give you. With more automation will come, just our priorities will be less of the day-to-day trading. I think our priorities will be more helping the clients understand where are the right places to be investing.

(Antoine) Yeah, the consulting, right? They need education to understand what the software is doing for them right now.

(Eliot) Yeah. I mean, even when I was at Saks Fifth Avenue, we used mixed media modeling, very complex tools. But even then, we would have to take the results that they were giving us. And there was a huge amount of human modification to these results because, as good as this technology is, there's a lot that it just cannot account for. And that's an area where agencies like mine and like yours will be invaluable in the future.

(Antoine) Exactly. OK, interesting. So what would you say to a company who would like to establish itself in New York? Is there something that these companies need to know first before they come in? Is there, you know, something that you need to expect in the first six months? So basically, what would you say to a company that just wants to be in New York in the next year or two?

(Eliot) I think what's important is that you have to work hard and you have to be ready to change your perceptions or your ideas of what a normal work hour looks like. I know everybody likes to think they work hard, but I've never been to a country or a city where if you walk down Fifth Avenue or you walk down in the financial district at 1:00 in the morning, three quarters of the lights are still on. I think...not everybody works that late by no means...but I think this is a city, and especially in the marketing advertising field, a place where if you're not willing to put in those hours and you're not willing to work the hour or the extra day or put in just a little bit of extra effort, you're just not going to survive. It takes – I think it takes a little bit of extra effort than it does elsewhere, because there's a lot more competition.

And it's also a very expensive city to operate in, and we have very high real estate costs. And of course, our salaries are exponentially higher than most other places in the country and in the world. And as a result of that, we need to charge more. So, and I think all of that, if you're going to justify those kinds of costs, we have to work really hard. And I think that's a huge thing that I've seen a lot of businesses not necessarily get right.

(Antoine) Would you say it's the same thing with other big cities in the United States, or you saw differences when you were talking with, I don't know, clients, friends, companies that, I don't know, are operating in Chicago or operating in Detroit, [or] Florida? Would you say it's the same thing?

(Eliot) No. Having worked many years at Havas,  worked for many years with Omnicom, we had offices all around the country. The Chicago offices are always offline at 6:00 or 7:00 (both laugh). In the New York offices, we're always there until 9:00 or 10:00 at night or later. I never – same with San Francisco. I've never known any other city to work the same kind of late hours as they do here in New York. I'm yet to find the place in the world other than maybe Tokyo that has a more similar ethic.

(Antoine) So, it’s a thing?

(Eliot) Oh, it’s a thing. It’s a very real thing. 

(Antoine) Have you seen, like, people like after two or three days understanding that's exactly what's going to happen to stay there, and they were like, ‘Oh, I won’t trade you for that. Not ready,’? 

(Eliot) People get burnt out really fast here. There's a lot...there's definitely something that's also very real here. I think a lot of people, especially in the big agencies at a junior level, there's a lot of churn. There's a lot of people who come fresh out of college and are working really hard and staying till 1:00 in the morning, five days in a row, and then after a year or two, deciding that this is maybe not the right fit for them.

And then there's those who put their head down and keep doing it and some of whom go on to become vice president and senior vice president or even starting their own agency. So I think I think that you don’t have to work that hard, but I think that it's good to be ready to work that hard.

(Antoine) Of course, yeah. And I guess for a lot of people….yeah, the question I wanted to ask you [is] have you seen people working in different cities and outreaching your company to work for you, especially because you were in New York and they wanted this kind of lifestyle? Is it something that happens frequently for your company?

(Eliot) I think people do.I think people like knowing that they have a team that's going to be working around the clock for them. That [if] they email us at eight o'clock at night, they will get an answer back, or 10:00 o'clock at night, they’ll get a response back.

That's something that I think there's an expectation in many parts of the country and in the world where, don't bother me after 7, this is my family time. And certainly, I wish I could say that everybody was as good at valuing  family here, but I think most people are.

But I do think to a degree that there's a difference in the level of expectation with the way that people work here. I think, again, if I’m a company in South Carolina, I want to work with the team that's going to... If I’m a business owner and I'm working till 10:00, I want to know my marketing team is as well. And I don't think they will be if they were working with the South Carolina marketing team. And I think they would be if they often do – if they have a team in New York who’s kind of used to that. 

(Antoine) Okay, very interesting. So, it's something that most people in the marketing space in New York would agree on is if you're if you're finishing at five p.m., you'll be out of business in a couple of months. (laughs)

(Eliot) I would imagine many people who are and especially those who worked at the big agencies, I don't think there's anybody who would disagree.

(Antoine) Very interesting. And what about Electric Orange, the agency that you're a partner in right now? What are the next steps? How do you see the future for yourself and also for the company?

(Eliot) I think for us it's, well, it's very difficult because right now we are in this economic climate. Fortunately, our business is doing very well. 

(Antoine) Oh!

(Eiot) Yeah. I mean, we're a small team, but we're growing, as I mentioned earlier. So it's great.

(Antoine) How many are you? 

(Eliot) The team overall...I wanna say is around 15. So, it's not a huge team, but fortunately, we are growing and we're actually taking on more business than in a long time, so that’s great to see. But it's hard for me to think about what the future is exactly.

What I can tell you is for us, we are aggressively looking to hire more people in the coming months. We're really, as I mentioned earlier, we're not really doing as much outreach as we otherwise would like to be doing given the circumstances. So for us, we are excited to start gearing up into outreach in the next few weeks and start really pushing our foot down on the pedal to go into full buis dev [business development] mode.

And as a result of that, we're going to need to be staffing up. So we're expecting to probably grow our team by at least five to ten people in the next year or two. And with that, continue to do what we do best. But I think at the same time, we want to make sure we keep our ethos of a hard working and scrappy Brooklyn agency. And I think part of that is I don't think we're looking to become Havas. I don't think we're looking to become the Omnicom. I think we're really happy having this more personal touch and connection with our clients. But we also have a lot of room to grow, especially when it comes to our paid media division.

(Antoine) Interesting. I think a lot of companies right now, they see a lot of value working with smaller shops because most of the time they have a specific specialty that they can bring in instead of just an overall thinking of the marketing strategy. I think that's one of the things that a lot of companies like to see from these smaller companies. At least that's what I saw with J7 media, so…

But also right now, you just mentioned something that I find very interesting. So you said you're looking to hire more people. Did you hire people in the past month or two? And if yes, have you found that it's harder to, you know, to just train people when you're unable to see them face to face on a day to day?

(Eliot) So we have hired two people actually in the past month. We're really lucky because we have interns and our interns, two of whom were seniors who just finished up their senior year of college, they've been very strong. They’ve been with us for almost a year now. And we find, like we mentioned earlier, we love people who are hungry and who we know are already smart. And so we've actually been able to to bring on some of our previous interns as full time employees. 

But even then, I mean we're, right now, we have a few open positions that we're aggressively looking to fill. And I think the training piece is certainly a little bit tough in this environment. But I can say that the hiring pool is in our favor. There are – and I know it's certainly not a funny situation because so many people are out of work – but that also means for businesses like us who are in a position of hiring, there's a huge amount of highly talented people out there who would love to join a company like ours and who, frankly, may need a job. So for us, it's really working in our favour.

(Antoine) Yeah, I think that's the thing that we need to see right now, a lot of people lost their job for very good reasons, right? Very good reasons...just because businesses are closed. I think there's a very interesting opportunity right now for people who are growing fast because there's a lot of talent out there. There's a lot of talent out there right now.

(Eliot) Yeah, and it will be interesting to see how many of them and let's say, for instance, in a big agency world where I've noticed a lot of the layoffs happening or furloughs and layoffs, it'll be interesting to see how many people go right back into other big agencies or maybe decide that they wanted a smaller business where they may have a faster track to growth or potentially more lucrative opportunities in a few years.

(Antoine) Interesting. So [for the] people were listening to the podcast today, [if] they want to know more about you, more about your agency, maybe work for you also...Where do you think it's easier for them to just reach you? 

(Eliot) Imean, you can always go to our website, which is  That's where you can certainly find us. And of course, as with most of us, I'm available on LinkedIn. So, I mean, that's typically where most people do reach out to me and I get many. Many people reach out to me every day. That's where I could easily be found. 

(Antoine) Okay, I love it! 

Elliot, thanks so much for being with us today on the podcast. I think you just shared a lot of valuable information. I'm very fascinated by the work environment, the work ethic that people from New York look like they have, right? I think it's really interesting to know more about that. And I'll do more research, because being in New York, that's what we're looking for right now. We need that. We need preparation. And I think you just gave us an interesting playbook today, so thanks!  

Thanks a lot. And for everybody who's listening, see you soon for a new episode of Social Selling!