From the time I was young, I have always had a love and passion for small businesses. My first job was at a local dry cleaner, I ran marketing for a dog daycare through college, and got my agency start at a small startup in Chicago. To this day, I’m in contact with the owner of the dry cleaner, the owners of the dog daycare, and many contacts from my first agency- these are the people who have left a lasting impression on me and drive my work with small businesses.
During my agency time, I had the opportunity to work with the best and brightest in marketing. Seriously, these folks are impressive- they are setting trends, not keeping up with them. These are the people spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year to get in front of the right people, at the right time and place, with a specific message…and doing a damn good job. As a marketer myself, I try so hard to avoid the ads from the latest shoes I looked at but decided I didn’t “need” just to find that they are already in the mail after an ad with the tiniest of discount…whoops. These marketers know more about you than most of your friends, they know what websites you visit, what you buy, what you do after visiting a website and before you visit that site, giving valuable insights into your mindset at the time. They know what you’re interested in, and probably what you had for dinner last night. These digital marketers are driving the strategy for nearly every big brand you can think of and making it expensive for the small guys to compete.
After working on some of the biggest brands, creating and executing some amazing digital marketing, I had some realizations:
I want to make an impact
I could have easily spent the rest of my working life at a big agency, spending millions, setting trends and making the big companies even bigger. That doesn’t make me feel good and I certainly don’t feel like I’m making an impact. To really make an impact, I needed more than just me doing marketing for small businesses, I needed a global team of best-in-class marketers to scale this model.
I want to educate and help develop the next generation
I learned from the best, from people making headlines in digital marketing. Because they spent time teaching me, mentoring me, and challenging me, I’m able to give that back. The difference in the folks I learned from and the average “boss” was that they gave me creative space to bring my unique approach into the work I was doing. Upon leaving an agency role working for someone who had been labeled “challenging to work for” I was asked about my experience. My response was a lightbulb moment in my career, “Working for [This Person] was one of the best professional experiences I’ve had, he gave me the confidence to deliver results my way.” It’s not easy to always find “your way” of doing things, but with the right teacher I gained the confidence to find my way and deliver results with confidence. Education and development isn’t about teaching people exactly what you do, it is about teaching the foundations while allowing room for new ideas and approaches. Digital marketing is always evolving, we can either smother that evolution and contribute to marketing that drives consumers crazy, or we can encourage and welcome change to allow the next generation space to create.
I can change “business as usual”
Marketers have to get paid too, and typically, it’s the big guys that can afford the shiny agencies. Those agencies are then responsible for getting as much attention as possible to the companies that already are a household name. As marketers, I believe we have a duty to use our skills to help companies that deserve attention, not just the ones that can afford it. I have the ability to help good people and brands get more attention, and give consumers choices in who they spend money with. As a consumer, I want to “know” the brands I buy from and I want to know that those brands align with my personal beliefs. If I buy from companies and brands that support my personal beliefs, I make more of a difference than just myself. When I purchase from a company that aligns with my beliefs and actively supports those, I help both the belief and the company. As consumers, we should ask more from the companies and brands that we purchase from; we should ask for transparency in what they support, their mission, and vision.
My agency time was invaluable, for the people, the job experience, and what I learned about myself. I learned that I’m most creative when I “know” a company. I love personally connecting with business owners to understand their company and that I want to help these small businesses that are so passionate about what they do. Small business owners have a passion that inspires me, an enthusiasm that’s contagious and this is how the small “guys” can win big.
So why karma digital?
I believe in karma.
To me, karma is about contributing what I can, and adding a little bit more good into this world than when I came into it. Regardless of your beliefs in an afterlife, I want to do what I can to make this world a little bit better.
It is believed that the word entrepreneur has roots in the sanskrit phrase “antha prarena” meaning inner-motivation. Leaving an impact isn’t enough, a positive impact that changes many lives is my inner-motivation.
The karma digital team believes that SEO is like grammar, a basic job skill that can be taught. When we teach a company SEO, we ingrain it into the company culture. Gone are the days of SEO being a one-person job, we all create or touch content at some point in our jobs. Even someone taking chats or customer support calls can impact SEO. We want to empower companies to do it themselves, to get better results, and free themselves from the fear that agencies often create when you mention doing SEO in-house. We’ve proven time and time again that teaching SEO drives better results than us doing it for you. One SEO package, no more marketing jargon, no more fear of losing rankings, we are here every step of the way to ensure you get the best results.
We educate and train digital marketers globally, with a current focus in Kenya. Unfortunately, opportunities aren’t equally distributed globally, but many of the next generation of CMOs and digital marketing leaders will hail from Africa with the growth of internet, talent, and higher education – and we want to be there. We want to bring opportunities to the talent. We want to evolve digital marketing, allowing for creativity and global perspectives. And lastly, we are changing “business as usual” by helping passionate companies tell their story as loudly as possible.
Afterall, who can tell your story better? You or an agency?