How we use tech, data to help companies meet growth targets – Edem
Alexander Edem, CEO of Amplify Digital in this interview with FRANK ELEANYA, speaks on the company’s six years anniversary; the lessons, the milestones, and transitioning from a digital marketing company to a growth marketing agency.
What has life been for Amplify Digital after six years?
I think that as we mark our sixth anniversary, this milestone has signified a coming of age of some sort for us as an agency. We started with a single-minded purpose to deliver effective digital marketing services to leading companies and brands and today that goal has transformed into a more holistic digital consultancy shop, that not only executes but advises, shapes, and transforms.
As with every business, we have had our share of ups and downs, but I think that we have also been able to adapt to the demands of the market. Today, marketing departments are looking for strategic partners who can share a seat at the table and be able to bring their wealth of experience into the different facets of growth for a company, from ideation to product development, technology, customer experience, and of course marketing. I think the last six years have taught us that the demands of clients are complex and ever-changing and a strategic partner should be able to adapt, shape, challenge, and grow with the client.
What lessons have you learnt as a tech company?
I think the main lesson for us over the years has been that technology will always remain an enabler. The critical ingredient has to be what value your product or service is delivering and how you are delighting customers via a strong well thought out customer experience approach. Technology is just the glue that binds all of these together.
When we speak to clients, we try to bring everything into perspective, understanding that as a growth marketing agency, our work starts with you at the ideation stage, we work with companies using a holistic approach rather than just being the agency to build a go-to-market strategy for your product or service.
So we encourage clients to reach out to us when they have found their Aha! moment or to reach out so together, we can find the Aha! moment. In this way, we manage a process end to end that includes digital product ideation and development, product marketing, growth marketing, sales enablement, technology integration, and growth hacking and this ultimately guarantees success from a revenue standpoint for many of our clients.
What are the milestones you have recorded so far?
Everything changed at the onset of COVID for us, our thinking, our mindset, our approach. For us, future-proofing our business was now our most important task. Clients have had and continue to have problems working with marketing agencies. We had to take several steps back and put ourselves in the shoes of our potential clients, we asked ourselves the tough questions and made adjustments accordingly. What came out of that process was our transition from being a generalist digital agency to a specialized growth marketing agency focused on revenue objectives for our clients and delivering this via a cocktail of specialized service offerings.
This would have to be our biggest milestone in the past six years, as the entire trajectory of the company shifted, our focus, our people, our approach to work, everything fundamentally changed to focus on growth both from within and without.
Along the way, we have also been able to make strategic partnerships. This year we have strategically partnered with one of the world’s global leaders in omnichannel communications, extending our service capabilities and allowing us to deliver personalized messaging across voice, SMS, email, WhatsApp that nurtures and grows customer relationships for our clients.
We have also partnered with a creative intelligence platform to deliver quantitative research that backs creative executions for marketing campaigns in Nigeria. This partnership allows us to work with brands who want to validate their hypothesis about their market, consumer behaviour, the type of celebrity influencers that will resonate with their target audience, or what consumers think about their marketing campaigns.
This quantitative research ability allows our clients to assume nothing and question everything as it relates to their product, brand, and their marketing.
You are transitioning into a growth marketing agency. What does that mean?
So essentially a growth marketing agency helps businesses achieve their revenue objectives by utilizing a holistic approach that involves marketing, sales enablement, technology, growth hacking. A growth marketing agency is a specialist at full-funnel marketing, focusing not only on customer acquisition but also on activation, retention, referral, and revenue generation.
Some of the services we currently offer include performance marketing, product and growth marketing, digital product development, data-driven marketing, creative intelligence solutions, omnichannel marketing, digital consultancy, and advisory services.
What is the difference between growth marketing and digital marketing?
So unlike a digital marketing agency, a growth marketing agency influences more than just marketing KPIs, they can and should influence the development of a product or a service. They utilize data from multiple sources including existing customer data or third-party data sources in making important decisions regarding customer behaviour, creative executions, marketing strategies, etc.
So while a digital marketing agency KPI’s look like this: impressions, clicks, leads, followers, engagement. A growth marketing agency KPIs follow the pirate metric framework Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral, Revenue (AARRR). As such the growth agency focuses on only the metrics that have a direct impact on growth and revenue objectives for the client.
Who needs a growth marketing agency?
I think in very simple terms every business that wants to grow would need a growth marketing agency. There are no limitations to where we can extend our footprints as our work revolves mainly around identifying your next growth opportunity and helping you reach there as a business.
Our client segments have included leading corporates, both national and multinationals from the B2C and B2B segments who have products or services that they want to see succeed. We also work collaboratively with others to identify growth opportunities and build growth strategies to help them take advantage of these opportunities.
We work with high-growth tech startups including those who have raised funding and are now looking to scale or find the next wave of growth as well as those looking to raise funding and need to show traction with regards to their customers/user base
I think for us any business that is looking to win, hearts, minds, and wallets of today’s digital customers is who we serve.
What role does technology play in your growth marketing strategies?
Technology is the foundation for a lot of what we do, but like I also alluded to earlier, technology acts as a glue to bring everything together, it is the ultimate enabler for us.
Whether we are using AI-backed omnichannel optimization whose algorithms analyze millions of data points from our creatives and evaluate the performance of each element separately to tailor the perfect content for the right audience or we are building automation into WhatsApp via chatbots that take a company’s knowledge base and automate the communication so that frequently asked questions from customers can be fully automated resulting in improved cost savings and better customer experience and engagements, technology drives all that we do.
Big Data analysis is part of what you do. What is your view of data governance among corporates in Nigeria?
I think now more than any other time, corporate Nigeria is collecting, storing, and hopefully analyzing huge amounts of customer data. While this in itself is good, based on the assumption that all that data is used in a responsible way to improve the customer experience, improve personalization and deepen engagement.
The downside is that without the right data governance framework within organizations, customer data can easily be compromised through security breaches and cyber attacks. Having said this, I know that a lot has improved from what it previously used to be and most companies now have clearly defined structure, process, and guidelines for data management across the entire organization thereby reducing the cost of managing data and protecting against costly data breaches.
Finally, since the arrival of GDPR and the issuance of our NDPR, a lot has changed in how corporations view data governance and I believe this is a win-win situation for all parties involved, the customers, the corporate entities, and the regulatory agencies like NITDA.
How important is data analysis to decision-making?
It’s critical. The data tells a story and it is in that story that it tells that the necessary adjustments, alignments, and optimizations can happen that will result in success. As a growth marketing agency, we leverage a lot of data to inform decisions around customer behaviour and preferences to improve personalizations and engagement but also, we use data to identify dissatisfactions, drop off, churn, etc so that we correct our strategy and assumptions.
In fact where no data exist we initiate growth experiments with the sole purpose of generating enough data for us to be able to validate our hypothesis or rethink our assumptions. Data also plays an important role in how we approach creative executions for our clients, we understand that to connect with today’s customers, we must be willing to speak directly to those emotions and feelings that trigger the kind of actions that we want them to take and only quantitative research and the data that comes out of it can help us do this.
Who in an organisation should pay more attention to what the data says?
One of the biggest problems that we have found with working with clients is the ability to make sense of the data and present this information to key decision-makers within the organisation so they can make informed decisions.
Data is often siloed within an organization e.g with IT alone and is not shared across teams in sales, marketing, customer service, and management or it is not properly collected, sorted, segmented, and analyzed. In that case, you don’t get anything from the mountain of data that you sit on.
Decisions within an organization are made at both macro and micro levels and access to the right insights from data delivered to those making these macro and micro-decisions is critical for success within an organization.
What should the market expect from Amplify Digital in this new mission?
We are a strategic growth partner for organizations and brands seeking more from their digital executions. We go beyond vanity metrics to uncover opportunities and leverage a holistic strategy to take advantage of these opportunities, thereby meeting and exceeding revenue objectives for many of the clients we serve.
The market should expect to see Amplify Digital as a strong growth partner with the right technology and marketing capabilities to help scale and grow their businesses. We value the word partnership and our mindset is that of a win-win relationship. Today many brands do not see their agencies as partners either as a result of the agencies own positioning where the focus is more around what I can get from you rather than what I can give to you or from the brand/businesses who have grown cynical about the value that agencies bring to the table.
For us, we are well-positioned as both strategic growth consultants where we can tell you what you need to hear as a business and help you shape the direction for where you should be going for growth as well as being able to execute all of our strategies with that single-minded focus on your core North star metrics or revenue objectives.