As the world of business pushes towards the digital realm, the majority of work is shifted online and many functioning and working of enterprises such as marketing, strategies, CRM, etc. are also enhanced and made more effective with the use of services that not only increase their digital reach and footprint but also spread awareness and information about their products and services to the targeted population around the world.
Thus, the intervention of digital performance tools not only enable enterprises to plan and implement better strategies but also efficiently manage other related aspects such as digital marketing, conversion rate optimization, etc. leading to highly scalable and foolproof personalization of their services and functioning that not only helps the enterprises achieve their desired goals and project themselves to success and holistic development but also provide their customers a much more engaging service and support that benefits both the customers and enterprises at a much larger scale.
DMPG is one of the most experienced and highly capable companies working in providing a digital experience and related services to enterprises. They are certified in Google and Adobe MarTech platforms, which not only gives them the required expertise to solve any problems and needs of their clients, it is their team of highly skilled and experienced personnel who not only have combined experience of decades ranging over many sectors and industries, packed with thorough and extensive knowledge of latest industry trends and practices.
All these factors not only make them one of the most sought-after and looked upon company when searching for digital experience enablement services, but it is their dedication and sincerity towards helping their clients in any way possible and striving to provide excellent services and standards in what they do, making them one of the most dominant players in the Adobe solution providers in the market.
In conversation with the Co-Founder and Managing Director of DMPG, Steve Carrod. Let’s hear more about the company, its services, and the MD’s professional experience.
1. Tell us about the company and the initial hurdles faced by the company.
DMPG is an independently-owned digital experience enablement agency, certified in Google and Adobe MarTech platforms, with a team of industry experts committed to working with businesses of all sizes to continually monitor and improve their digital performance.
The range of services we offer includes strategy and delivery services covering customer data platforms, marketing automation, cross-channel personalization, conversion rate optimization, digital analytics, and tag management. We aim to strategize, design, inform, optimize and personalize in a way that helps businesses to achieve their digital goals; our success is driven by a commitment to take all clients along a successful digital data maturity path.
DMPG launched in London in 2013 and have been headquartered there since, with global operations across Europe, North America, and ANZ, including a recently-opened office in Brisbane. As we work with global brands located all around the world, it made sense to expand further to support our clients more efficiently.
One of the key challenges I faced while launching a business was remaining objective. Part of building a services business involves building partnerships with other businesses. In our case, the primary partnership route is through technology vendors. When partnering with these technology vendors you need to essentially act as an extended sales arm for them or they’re not interested in whatever partnership you have to offer, no matter how well you might be supporting their clients. For years I completely resisted this. I refused to sign up for these terms out of fear that we would lose our objectivity.
A couple of years ago we decided to break this position and partner with many tech vendors. This meant getting commissions if we ever recommended their technology to a client, however, it was incredibly important to me that I was going to remain objective by declaring this to the client and have a frank, transparent conversation with them about it.
If we had done some free work helping to select a vendor and they knew about the commission then this seemed an acceptable trade-off. If we were being paid by the client and getting a commission then we could use this commission to subsidize services for the client. This has remained our position on the matter and will continue to, but the more you scale and the more our profile raises with these partners, the more pressure they try and exert on us to push their agenda.
It is a constant battle to remain objective and one that continues to increase in difficulty every day. My resolve is extremely high and I know that I will never be broken, but it’s still quite a lot to endure regularly.
2. Tell us about the services offered by DMPG, new additions, and your plans to take these services ahead with the changing times and trends.
I always thought that I needed to have something unique and scalable; a typical product-based mentality. What I finally realized – after much frustration on the receiving end of terrible consulting support services – is that the specific product or service you offer doesn’t need to be unique. How you sell it and how you conduct your business can still be very unique.
I decided that I was going to provide services that hundreds of other companies were providing, but the main difference was that I was going to do it in a mutually beneficial way; a genuine partnership. This approach was not just a way of creating a productized service offering designed for maximum profitability regardless of what was delivered to the end client.
The services we now offer – all by way of a partnership with our clients as opposed to just completing a list of tasks they provide – is as follows:
- Strategy: Guidance, advice, and support to achieve an optimal digital experience strategy. This focuses predominantly on people, technology, data, and processes concerning making all of this work together for the end customer.
- Data Design: Implementation support for ensuring data quality and governance is managed correctly. This acts as the foundation for personalized insights and an optimized digital experience.
- Data Collection: Digital Analytics implementation design and delivery services.
- Insights Support: Digital Analytics reporting, dashboards, and insights support. This is critical to make the correct data-driven decisions to improve customer experience.
- Testing & Optimisation: Tactical quick wins and improvements to ensure all components of the customer journey are optimized for business and customer benefits.
- OmniChannel Personalisation: Systems integration and delivery support for delivering Omni-channel experiences across all digital touchpoints (websites, apps, email, etc).
The biggest growth area for us right now is Digital Experience Strategy and Journey Orchestration. This is essentially our ‘Strategy’ and ‘OmniChannel Personalisation’ services together, but operating at a large scale. Now that we’re more than 25 people, we can take on some much bigger and more strategic engagements that will see a dramatic change in operations to the clients working with us in this area.
This is exciting for the team in many ways. Firstly, because they’re able to see and be a part of major changes in operations at our clients with some very significant performance benefits. Additionally, it means that we are becoming experts in new technologies that help us orchestrate these changes. One of the key solutions that will become integral to DMPG’s success here is Adobe’s Experience Platform that encompasses their new Real-Time Customer Data Platform, Customer Journey Analytics and Customer Journey Management tools.
There are a few key drivers to take these services ahead with the changing times and trends:
Are we ‘sticking to our knitting?’: We always ask this question. Is it a service that is directly aligned to our primary purpose or not? When we decided to start offering support services for email program execution it was a relatively easy decision because this is a key digital experience touch-point for the end customer
Is this in-demand?: We have a close relationship with all our clients and as such can have very frank conversations about where they need support. If we see a demand for a service line we will always want to solve this for our clients, but if it’s unique to them then we’ll support by helping find the appropriate solution. If it’s a service that could be utilized across other clients and achieves the first goal then there’s a good chance we’ll start to offer it.
Can we be experts in it?: Going back to the reason DMPG was created, we need to ensure we’re always delivering something of value to our customers, not just passing through services from individuals. If the service adheres to the above two conditions and we believe we can provide it in a way that matches the value of our other services then we’re on to a winner.
3. Please tell us about your professional experience and any achievements you would like to share.
I’ve been working in the Digital Analytics industry since 2005, and in CRO/Personalisation since 2008. DMPG is my third company. I always wanted to fill a gap in the market. I knew I wasn’t creative enough to come up with a product that didn’t exist at all, but I knew that I was certainly motivated enough to fix major problems with existing solutions.
My initial company was far too premature and while I did manage to serve what was a very underserved market because it was in niche publishing in 2004 and it failed pretty quickly due to advertising budgets moving to digital properties. After deciding to work in the industry that had killed my first business, I knew fairly early on that I needed to be my boss.
I struggled to work underneath anyone as I wanted to move about 50 times faster than anyone above or around me. I had a huge amount of energy and eventually, I was in a position where I had enough confidence to break out on my own. The timing was right, but ultimately the proposition of the next business wasn’t quite right and after a failed ‘acqui-hire’ by a Dutch company two years after setting up my second company, I realized I needed a solid business partner. This was when I partnered with Tom, the other co-founder of DMPG.
A few of my achievements are:
- The failure of my first business: This launched my career in digital.
- The mistakes made with my second business: This helped me understand the true value of working as a partnership.
- The mistakes made during my third business (which nearly killed my entrepreneurial journey): This helped me understand how to focus.
- The realization that other people will ultimately do a better job than I will: I was good at many things which were great for getting started, but hiring, training, and motivating employees has allowed them to become more successful than I could have been at each of the jobs I was holding.
4. Tell us about the work culture at DMPG, and your take on employee relations.
Our company culture was created by speaking to people and finding out what types of people they are. If you make the effort to better understand your staff, the culture you should – and actually could – adopt will start to become clear. You need to be the culture. By this, I mean that there is no point in setting out what you want your culture to be if that is not how you live your life.
People will want to work with you if they share your vision of culture and this will then define the overall company culture. To that extent our culture is very much about self-improvement and integrity… always looking to be the best at what we do and always looking to do the right thing by your colleague and client.
To achieve this and keep employees motivated it is hugely important to hire people with the right mix of aptitude, attitude, and skills. For more senior roles there is an increased focus on skills, but the importance of aptitude and attitude cannot be ignored. In order of importance, I would rank attitude as the most important.
If you get the wrong attitude in your business this can start to affect your client trust and even other employees negatively, something that can have lasting effects.We trust and believe that individuals of the team will stay driven to succeed in the long-term because we recognized an attitude in them that we liked from the start of their journey with us, right from the hiring process.
5. Your take on the competition in the market, how do you see it and deal with it.
Generally speaking, I like having competition. I like the idea that someone can review the options available to them and then select us as the clear winner. What concerns me is when our competition plays dirty. I’ve seen made-up testimonial quotes and case studies, flagrant lies on pitch decks and I’m certain (although hard to prove) that I’ve seen some back-door deals go through. A competition that doesn’t play fair or ethically is frustrating, but I have also come to accept it and move on quickly.
I cope with all of this by staying focused on what we do best. If we continually deliver our services to the best of our abilities and to a standard that we would be delighted with – if we were the client – then I am happy with the knowledge that we’ve done everything we can. This is true when pitching as well. If we play fair, demonstrate our skills and ability, but do not get picked – what more can I do? There is no point in getting twisted up about it. We just need to try and find some learnings from that situation and move on.
It is a motivating factor in that it serves as a very obvious reminder that we can’t ever be complacent about the work we deliver. That being said, our whole ethos is around always delivering exemplary service to our customers by way of partnership. If we didn’t have any competition this wouldn’t change my direction for the business; we just might scale a little bit faster!