Ah! Refreshing, isnt it? Who would have ever known that the digital world would ever be a powerhouse, that it has now become? Well, it has. Not only has it become a strong medium among businesses and corporations, but it has also taken on a role of bringing those personal journeys and stories to life. Now, those real stories are realistic business sense. Imagery, words, hip slogans, music, and sound devices come to color and animate the most successful of corporations. Creative content has come to invigorate the digital market.
One of the fascinating attributes of digital marketing is that it creates an atmosphere of problem solving, new strategies, and innovation. You observe something which does not work, get together with your team, and figure out something that actually. . .WORKS! Pretty simple, right? Well, it doesn’t often WORK that way. However, persistence pays. It pays big time. And, in the world of digital marketing and strategy development, persistence may end up guiding you to create your own company. It may lead you to create new strategies, which brings harmony to competing corporations or businesses. Building and growing more opportunities, simply by seeing things a different way. Experimenting with possibilities of collaboration, among puzzle pieces which initially do not fit together.
You have a number of options when it comes to the digital marketing and tech worlds. Just observing how different ecosystems sprout open with endless wonder and tenacity. Evergrowing, ever flowing! Ensuring that the flow never drys up. A new world and way of thinking. A new way of working together unsual partnerships, and finding a way for them to. . .match. One of the puzzle masters leading in the digital marketing riddle is CEO of Hawke Media. . .
Lauren K. Clark: Take us on a journey down memory lane, to when you were first inspired to create your company, Hawke Media. What was the journey and process of getting there?
After consulting for a lot of large and small brands I found that all companies deal with the same problem. When it comes time to execute on marketing you have two options, hire in house or hire an agency. The problem is hiring in-house, generally isn’t cost effective to bring on the whole team. That’s if you can find and attract talent, which can be difficult to impossible. Even if you figure all of that out, then you are operating in a vacuum. Generally, after a few months you lose perspective on what is happening in the market, and it hurts the brands.
That is why agencies exist. The problem is 99% of agencies have no idea what they are doing and were built by people that know how to sell snake oil and buzz words. The few that are any good tend to quickly get expensive, want long contracts, high minimums, or something else that makes them difficult to work with. After dealing with this and getting frustrated, I decided to build my own swat team. I started with 7 people each with their own expertise, like email marketing, Facebook, web design, and etc.; and went back to the brands I was working with and said everything is a la carte, month to month, cheaper than hiring in house. The idea is you can spin up a team, based on this menu of services, and it is completely flexible based on your needs. Fast forward, in 5.5 years we have grown from 7 to over 160 people, with offices in LA and NY, along with a Venture Capital fund to invest in software that compliments what we do.
Lauren K. Clark: How has creative content and the personalizing of digital companies made modern business, eco-systems more communal, sharing atmosphere?
It has become cost effective to actually become your own publisher as a brand; allowing brands to build communities around their brand and not just push product. Extreme examples of this are companies, like Red Bull-where they invest more in building media than they do pushing their product-but it has worked to their benefit. Sharing creative content that fits your brand attracts your customers to engage with you above and beyond a purchase decision, which inherently will get them to convert to customers at hire rates and spend more money (increased lifetime value). This allows your company to beat the competition instead of just going head to head in advertising.
Lauren K. Clark: What are the new trends of collaboration in businesses? How do you feel that this is contributing to making healthier alliances within the business world?
Advertising costs have been getting more and more expensive. So, finding creative ways to introduce your company to more customers is becoming more and more critical. One great way to do this is to find other businesses that reach your customer, are aligned with your brand, and actually share your audience with each other. Cross promotions are a great way to build your customer base with negligible hard costs.
Lauren K. Clark: If you were to envision a gentler and more comprehensive touch to the IT and technological field, what would it be? What do you envision?
I think it is getting there. The less technical skills you need to implement IT in business, the better. There was a shift to have to hire IT specialists regardless of your business and how technical it was, just as a support system. With modern technology, that need is diminishing.
Lauren K. Clark: In examining the realm of businesses getting involved with the social sector (i.e. supporting organizations, that give back to communities), how does such activity increase the product value of a brand or company?
I think looking at getting involved in the social sector as a way to increase product value is the absolute wrong way to look at it. You will absolutely attract a certain type of customer that cares about the social responsibility of the companies they purchase from, but you also will align your employees, partners and community around the fact that you are doing good. Like most things that are good though, doing it for an ulterior motive is the wrong mindset. Give back because it is the right thing to do, and you won’t worry about the financial benefits-even though we have seen time and time again that they come.
Lauren K. Clark: Take us on a mental journey of some of the frustrations, and emotional challenges, you have had in running Hawke Media.
Hawke Media is a people business. Clients, employees, partners, everything we do is around people, and people are inconsistent and emotional. Most of our problems come from the irrational actions of clients or employees, which will always be a challenge, but it is a reality. Only 10% of the time that we lose a client, do they comment on the actual work product or quality. 20% of the time it has to do with a challenge on their end. 70% of the time, it has to do with a “feeling” or communication gap, which is a blessing and a curse, because it is avoidable, but also irrational which makes it challenging. This, combined with managing so many employees at Hawke Media that are going through their general life changes and turmoil, creates a large management challenge.
That being said, this is standard to any service business, it is just a constant work in progress.
Lauren K. Clark: Kindly speak on particular cases, where Hawke Media has transformed competition into alliances among companies. How did healthy communication and partnership play a role in this?
We have had several occasions where we have realized a client is not a culture fit for us, but may be for a competitor, (and vice versa on the competitors side), and have chosen to recommend a solid competitor rather than nothing.
Lauren K. Clark: Looking through some of the case studies of Hawke Media, what companies have been your most productive and comforting partnership? What made their vibe holistic and soothing enough to walk with?
Companies that have really treated us as a partner and adviser rather than a “vendor” have been the companies that have succeeded the most with us. We truly want to see our client become hyper successful, and we have a lot of marketing knowledge to help with that, and when they buy into that, and we collaborate towards their success, it almost always turns out great.
Lauren K. Clark: How do you take time for yourself during some of your most intense moments at the office? What is your safe space/place in bringing comfort to your work environment? How do you create your work environment to be just as comforting and healthy for your employees, as it is for you?
I honestly am able to breath and just move through intense moments. I don’t really get rattled much at all. With employees, we try to be there to support their needs and encourage them to feel enabled to solve problems and ask for help. I think feeling helpless may be one of the worst human dynamics, and we try to eliminate that.
Lauren K. Clark: As you observe the structure of Hawke Media, how do you see it as a Paradise for the international business realm? What makes it a Paradise?
The United States still holds the greatest consumer economy in the world, so most other countries would benefit from expanding to reach that customer. Our company has become one of the best and most efficient companies to help in this regard, and has actually given access to even small and medium businesses to reach the US consumer.
Lauren K. Clark: What improvements do you feel can be made to the digital world in making it healthier for human interactions with technology. Less addictions. Removing humanity as a robot, when interacting with technology.
I think a lot of the trend towards “gamification” pulled certain naturally addicted traits of video games into most interactions, digitally. Notifications, like buttons, comment counts, engagement metrics, all are really just immediate dopamine hits. The more companies take responsibility to engage as needed and not overdue it; and the more people get tired of click bait and things that are built to boost vanity metrics for the company, the better off we will be.
Lauren K. Clark: As the CEO of Hawke Media, has being in the digital world, encouraged you to take care of your physical health-exercising, meditation, and so forth?
I don’t think it has anything to do with being in the “digital world,” but I absolutely believe in consistent exercise, healthy living and doing things to take care of yourself. I am very motivated to build something great professionally, and enjoy it all the way through. One of the best ways to ensure this, I have found, is to stay healthy and energetic.
Lauren K. Clark: If you could create a mental wellness place for key business leaders in the tech and digital world, what would it be? How would it be a haven for those wanting to escape high-stress levels in the digital media and tech world?
I think honestly you just can’t get into it without completely accepting that running a business is a shit show, for every business owner, it is never easy, and that is, Ok! Accept that you CHOSE to do this and if you don’t like it, there is nothing wrong with just getting a job. I worry about how many people deal with so many emotional and mental problems associated with building a business. Those issues are self inflicted, and to be a business owner or leader, you really have to be able to take a breath in the stressful times and just move through it. If you let the stress pile up, you will break, because the stress will not stop.
Who would have ever known that the paradise of digital marketing could be exactly that. . .paradise? Working with fellow colleagues, forming a family bond, and finding ways to make unmatched pieces fit. A magical world of transforming impossibilities into practicalities. If something is not working, then make it work. With companies such as Hawke Media, missing pieces are not only being found for the digital world, but also adding links to distant puzzles.
It is the world of of digital marketing. And, in this world, anything can work, as long as it addresses what. . .doesn’t. Creativity, strategy analysis, and case studies are key. Showcasing how strategies are not only practical, but can resolve out-dated methods of competition, is the new fashionable trend of digital marketing. It is the new way of using the marketing world in a holistic manner. More towards creation, void of destruction. Making peace with old competitors and foes, while testing how different pieces (and the missing ones) highlight new avenues. New opportunities, that were never clear, before.
Every puzzle master has their challenges. And yet, for Hawke Media, the missing pieces become. . . seen!