StartWell’s CEO sits down with Brendan Philp and Troy Fawkes from Delta Growth, a full service digital marketing agency who take a transparent and flexible approach to driving growth for their clientele rather than simply pushing ads.
[expand title=”Podcast Transcript”]
Qasim Virjee 0:10
Once again for the start, well, podcast, this is the third edition coming from start well Studios, which is our podcasting suite at our King west campus. It’s me Qasim, the CEO and founder of start rolling. Today I’m joined in the studio with two guests that are our members here on the same floor, second floor at the king West Campus. And I’ll let them introduce themselves in a second, they both work for a company or they work at a company that they co own. I believe they’ll correct me if I’m wrong in a second. That sounds about right. Yeah. Yeah, that’s great. It’s good to own a company, isn’t it?
Brendan Philp 0:48
It’s all it’s a giant blurred line at some point about whether or not you feel like you’re an owner or an employee or whatever. It changes every day.
Qasim Virjee 0:55
Absolutely. That’s the hashtag the startup life right there.
Brendan Philp 0:58
Qasim Virjee 0:59
So delta growth is the name of your company. Let’s jump into like the name. I mean, explain the name before you explain the service. Does that work?
Brendan Philp 1:09
But explain the name there. Yeah,
Troy Fawkes 1:11
so that’s a toy thing. I was kind of hoping it would just get really catchy and nobody would really worry about it. But it’s, it’s an analytics term. So the idea that we’re not just looking at your growth, for, for example, for this month, maybe you’re you’ve grown 30% in revenue, compared to the previous month, but to actually show that you’re performing better and growing as a company, it can’t just be 30% 30% 30%. Every month, you have a delta growth every single month, you should be changing your growth. So 30% 35% 40% and 50%. And it kind of
Qasim Virjee 1:50
chirality. Exactly, yeah. And that’s what you guys guarantee. Oh,
Troy Fawkes 1:55
definitely guaranteed. Contract. Yeah, you know, your money back and half of our company, you know, no, definitely no guarantee.
Qasim Virjee 2:05
Companies way over subscribe right now.
Brendan Philp 2:09
No, I mean, I think the the genesis of it was, is just the fact that it was meant to understand the growth of a company and needed to be more than just something that was linear, because linear growth is fairly easy to achieve with consistent investment. Whereas a change in growth is something that that shows that there’s a dynamic shift, and then that ends of the company. And that’s basically what we’re trying to do. I think
Troy Fawkes 2:31
it also establishes when when someone comes to us and says, you know, we want to work together, one of the questions we ask is, can you handle significant growth. And even if you just look at the name, whenever you’re having a conversation, we do work with some people for efficiencies, you know, they want to keep their marketing, budget stable, they want to keep their clients stable, they just want to make their budgets more efficient, we do that, but it’s much more exciting to be able to say, hey, we double this company’s revenue year over year,
Qasim Virjee 2:59
definitely, cuz that’s where the gamification of this stuff really lies, or like, it’s kind of fun to dig into the numbers and see how they can be tweaked to better communicate to the people looking for product or service. So okay, so would you call yourself search engine marketers? Is it about the search engine? Is it beyond the search engine,
Brendan Philp 3:18
I think that’s, I think that’s part of the toolbox. Essentially, what we specialize in is, is I guess, would be more on customer acquisition. And we have a large toolbox as a sort of associated with that. So there, whether that be email marketing, whether that be SEO, whether that be paid search, whether that be display, social, all those kinds of work in concert together, so we’re not a special shop. And just one tactic, we have to employ a variety based off of the needs of a certain company or, or a client. So
Troy Fawkes 3:47
yeah, we basically identified several tracks, and we said, if you’re behind on one of these tracks, you’re going to be having problems that you shouldn’t be having, you know, your cost per acquisition is going to be too high, or you’re driving a lot of organic people to your website, but they’re not conversion are converting, or your entire budget is on paid. But you’re not actually nurturing your existing customers, for example. So it kind of the ability to bring people along for the ride and drag them kicking and screaming them, you know, a new business too young to mature and keep them growing that way.
Qasim Virjee 4:24
I’m sure that a lot of your client engagements involve the majority or if not all of them involve an education piece, you know, you’re educating your customers about what’s I would say the best or maybe not, it’s not necessarily about efficiencies about purpose, you know, their their best way to kind of communicate with their people, whoever they are. Yeah, and
Brendan Philp 4:44
the best way that Lisa, we found so far is to essentially create a complete journey right from the from inception of, of somebody finding out about your business all the way through to even when somebody leaves your business as a customer and so we bring the entire journey and what tactics you’re currently employing, and where you’re sort of have holes or missing pieces, and then associating metrics with each sort of progression to show where their opportunities are with that particular customer. So
Qasim Virjee 5:14
it’s very interesting. Let’s take a step back, we’ll talk about kind of how you do what you do. Maybe some anecdotes in a second. But I’d love to, and I’m sure our listeners would love to know a little bit about how your own company got founded. So how do you guys know each other? How did that happen?
Brendan Philp 5:29
Oh, Troy was consulting at a company I was, I was at called Jump factor. I was Director of Strategy there. And Troy was a consultant who was helping build our sort of tactical practice on SEO. And we hit it off. And we talked a lot about Dungeons and Dragons. So the sort of formed a friendship that sort of stayed alive through slack. And then sort of rekindled with Troy’s company when he wrote when he started, I think about a year ago, so I’ll let him take it from there. But that’s how we met.
Troy Fawkes 5:59
Yeah. And so the agency ended up just growing out of a consultancy. And I think a lot of a lot of people who’ve gone to consultants have that same kind of feelings that I’ve had. But were you concerned that, you know, what do I do 10 years from now or 15 years from now? Do I stay as a consultant? Do I go in house? Am I devaluing my career by staying as a consultant? And then on the flip side of that, on the kind of the growth side of that, Am I answering all my clients needs, you know, I believe strongly in solution selling. And if I’m having a conversation with someone, and they don’t have a problem that I’m the best solution for, I much prefer to just pass them to someone who can solve that problem. And I still do. But we’ve chosen a lot of channels that let us actually solve those problems. So when we built the agency, it was around, being able to address a lot of those those concerns. So we came out of the the consultancy phase, brought on a bunch of talent internally. And now we can actually, you know, answer these questions. And the growth track for an agency is a lot, it’s there’s a lot of things to think about
Qasim Virjee 7:06
tons, tons and alarming amount, an alarming amount, and they never really think about them all. The more people, more people, you’re, the larger your client roster, and also, the larger your employee or consultant base grows is an infinite amount of things. I
Brendan Philp 7:22
think a lot of entrepreneurs understand that that problem too. Because when you talk to, you know, sometimes with friends or things like that, and he said, Like all young companies growing really fast, and they don’t understand that that’s a concern for you not, not a right, not like everything’s going amazing, it’s like no, we’re a little a little worried when the curve when it’s growing too fast, because you don’t know how you’re going to staff you don’t know. And then we’re going to work, which is how we start well, like you know, all sorts of all sorts of challenges. So
Qasim Virjee 7:49
it’s funny, because in my in my consulting career, which goes back to, I mean, my whole life, but let’s say like, you know, I don’t know if you guys know this, but I used to have a firm called Design guru that was essentially we were experts. When I say we I should say I you know, the Royal the royal we royal I was very quickly became very expert at Community Development online, and developed a methodology out of urban public space planning called placemaking, which now is kind of like popular nomenclature in the urban planning world. But at the time, so this is like, early 2000s 2004, or five, and moved to New York, I learned the process, and I adapted it from this think tank in New York called the project for public spaces in a digital space. And this is right, like before Facebook, kind of Myspace, Friendster days, building and consulting with everyone from, you know, small nonprofits to Coca Cola to look at, like, how do you engage people online, and a lot of that was around just creating spaces for them, that feel like places that have these emotive kind of connection points and some stickiness. So it’s funny to look, you know, from, from my history at that time of, you know, growing and we went through some teething pains where I can say we because it was like me selling this methodology, and then building networks of not just individuals, but like, you know, organizations to create solutions for customers early on, and those flex up and down and go with the crest and trough, you know, kind of client project cycle, which is what took me to co working to my first you know, office was at the Center for Social Innovation Chinatown in 2007. And, and then we grew out of that, and I had a studio with about 12 people that was there, like every day. And then you know, I wasn’t making any money. So it’s funny because it’s like, you learn a lot as a consultant about scaling in terms of your operational side of things and how do you manage, you know, everything from deal flow to fulfillment of the projects? And then there’s this bottom line question.
Brendan Philp 9:55
Yeah, making money making profit are two very different things. Cash Flow
Qasim Virjee 9:59
versus rent. revenue. You know, like, that’s another thing,
Troy Fawkes 10:01
I think it really helped that the agencies that I had the opportunity of working with in the past and that Brennan’s had the opportunity of working in in the past, they use this as upper management anyway, you know, so we had a lot of opportunity to go in, I built the SEO and CRO practices for a local agency. And I also managed, the team and I managed, you know, business development for, for existing clients, and kind of building out a lot of deals and projects and who needs to be on what projects from anywhere from small business to enterprise. And it gives you a lot of visibility into this because you start thinking, someone gives you a rule, right? Someone says, you have to 3x markup, some us like set or sorry, salaries, right, an hourly rate, so that we can hit our margins, which is just, that’s just industry practice. That’s what you do for a consultant and they say, that’s what your rule is figure it out, then you go in, you kind of take all these set rules. So you know, say, there’s a markup, maybe there’s a minimum, maybe there’s a maximum, maybe there’s like a growth, kind of plan that you need to hit. And you go and you build projects with that. And then over time, you have this kind of structure that you’ve put together and you figure out, okay, well, you know, these things are flexible. These things are not these things achieve client goals. These are more for agency goals. And, you know, you kind of learn to hate those, you’re like, this doesn’t help the client at all, this is very self serving, right. And so we had a lot of opportunities to kind of build those practices out. And I think the coolest thing is, when you apply that at the enterprise level, it’s necessary when you apply it for midsize and small businesses, it doesn’t take a huge amount of time to do, but it’s enlightening for them. They’ve never seen anything like that. And very helpful.
Brendan Philp 11:54
One of the one of the strengths that that really sort of appealed to me when I came on with Troy, as well as the fact that we are we are far more transparent than they normally see is to the point where our clients get complete access to our project management. So there’s no hidden messages. There’s no, yeah. If we have a discussion or in our an argument, but I guess, debate about what tactic is best for a client, they see it. And we actually like that a lot more because no one ever questions where ours want. Everything is right, right plainly there as opposed to half the time you only see this veneer of from the agency that’s flawless and professional and miss out the other end, it’s, and it’s so easy to hide a lot of mistakes, and so easy to hide a lot of waste. Using that veneer instead of instead of just being transparent with your clients as being like, this is how we’re doing it. This is this is what the team is doing on day two on day to day basis. You want more you can spend a little bit more, but you see exactly what you get at each pay scale. So
Qasim Virjee 12:57
yeah, no, it’s a great cultural value, I think to take to this, you know, the game of being an agency of, of kind of doing work for people and saying, Look, this is we’re actually experts at the work. So we don’t need to like hide in the shadows, you know, and charging more than it’s worth, because the work speaks for itself.
Troy Fawkes 13:17
And I think we’re, we’re very flexible as well, which enables this. So one of the other issues, we come from a lot of agencies, right, like we have a lot of agencies built into the team, all the experience all the lessons that they’ve gotten from that we’ve gotten the opportunity to pull in. And then one of the common issues you find is people will sell packages for or for like channels, you know, they’ll say, we’ll sell you Facebook for $1,000. We’ll do Facebook ads for $1,000 a month. And we’ll do AdWords for $1,000 a month. And we’ll do this for $1,000 A month or whatever it happens to be. And we don’t do that. We have very simple structures for retainers, we have a difference between paid advertising and digital marketing, because they’re they’re different. They don’t scale quite the same way. Right. But within those, it lets us do almost anything. So we had a client who really aggressively wanted to try Facebook. And we didn’t really want them to aggressively try Facebook. But when this channel that we’re great at we just thought that they were going it was basically I think it was $1,000 or something like that they wanted to go from zero to $1,000 in one month. And we said this isn’t a great idea. But sure, let’s give it a go. If that’s what you really want to do. It’s in our best interest to spend that money because we get a percentage of spend. But when we saw when they were the campaign was two or $3,000. In we said we’re shutting this off, and we can have another conversation about strategy if you want, but you’re throwing your money away. And it was easy for us to take that budget. I don’t think we even redistributed it. No, we could have put it into AdWords or we could have put it somewhere else right which were where we knew is going to be more effective, let’s just kind of shift between platforms. It’s funny,
Qasim Virjee 15:05
it’s like something I think that we chatted about really briefly the other day, which is like the historical way that advertising has traditionally worked in the push media world, you know, where people are used to kind of taking a budget and playing craps with it. Whereas I guess now you can kind of do a little bit of the roulette action, there’s, there’s multiple channels to you know, spread your risk around and look for trends. I don’t know, this is I shouldn’t bring gambling into this.
Brendan Philp 15:34
Always gambling or marketing, it’s, uh, you can be as calculated as you want, but at the end of the day, you are, you’re, you’re probably even at your best 5% guessing 95%.
Qasim Virjee 15:44
But what’s been at least What’s interesting, though, is, is that’s the beginning, I guess, of establishing campaigns. But now, the data science angle of it, I mean, I’d love to hear your thoughts on how this kind of like how with the various channels that you have, and the reporting tools that you have, being able to track every not every but tons of actions leading up to and then you know, leading up to a click and then back from that. I guess where this there’s a couple ways I’m curious about this, like one is, okay, so someone creates a campaign, you have these various different places to push an ad through where people looking for that product or service will find the ad, be enticed to click go to a destination to learn more or perform an action, you can track all of that. And then hopefully, you know, they go through whatever internal process to check something out, make the purchase. And then you can, you know, strengthen a relationship afterwards and probably work with some customers to do that, where it’s like, you know, the customer relationship management side through data science, so you’re doing any of that stuff, or is it just all marketing? Yeah, so remarketing, I guess is one
Brendan Philp 16:51
way, I would say that the the biggest and most important thing to understand about the industry right now is that there’s a sort of a war being waged against last click attribution, which is the last piece of information that you or last marketing asset that you looked at is what’s being attributed to the sale. Now, Martin, our digital marketing for the past 10 years has been has read that as gospel because that’s the laziest way to look at it. Sure. But no other like you
Qasim Virjee 17:16
clicked on this. So they must have been interested in that exactly. Not, they clicked on the 50 things leading up to that, which was an error, all the
Brendan Philp 17:23
other website visits are all that kind of stuff. And what’s was troubling about that for the past 10 years, was that’s not how advertising worked. In any prior decade, every other decade, they understood the value of let’s say, a poster versus like a TV, commercial on TV, versus, you know, like while posting or versus like flyers, all that kind of stuff. So we understood that there were multiple steps in the in that sales process before you ever actually got to talk to a customer. And I understood that you couldn’t attribute it to just one step. You could wait it but you couldn’t attribute it to just one step. And digital took a long time to get there, which was a frustrating thing in our business that everyone was just went Oh, you clicked on an AdWords that you must like ours must be working. That’s like, no, they have to know about your brand name first, most likely. So they have to probably maybe you’ve seen an ad in another spot. They have to maybe saw you on Facebook, maybe there’s some brand recognition aspect, like all those metrics took a lot longer to get into into digital than it probably should have been. That’s where the industry is going. And we’re very happy. That’s where it’s going.
Troy Fawkes 18:24
Yeah, there is. There’s a lot of data though. And even though all of a lot of our tools kind of start with last click or last touch attribution, we actually do have the opportunity to put in things like first touch attribution. So Google Analytics, by default does last touch and Google Analytics is, you know, great tool, everyone has it. So it’s kind of nice to think about, it is always last touch has a lot of flaws. But we have kind of put in first touch attribution there. And you
Qasim Virjee 18:53
know, so what are other Oh into Google Analytics,
Troy Fawkes 18:57
Google Analytics, but it’s kind of a custom solution. It’s not something I can like, Yeah, this is how you do it. But we can do we can do different attribution channels, we can, we can start getting really fancy with our data, we can pull converted leads out of Salesforce or whatever CRM, you have the model where you, you store your customer data, you can pass back an event and say, Actually, this person just paid us. And then we can fire an event into Google Analytics or into Adobe analytics, and say, Actually, let’s associate this conversion to this user. And all of a sudden, we get revenue numbers, flat revenue numbers for b2b companies, or for you know, organizations like that. And even if we can’t do that, we do a semblance of it. So we do need to do attribution. And you want to try to, to keep in mind where what you can associate working, you can attribute to a channel. So a good example is there’s a basketball league I’m chatting with right now, and they have 10 weeks sessions. But kids in basketball, they tend to come back and play for two or three years. So, you know, when I was chatting with a client, he said, Hey, if you close me business would that’s like, you know, X amount of dollars per, you know, per per per person per registrant per session for all the years, and I said, Well, you can attribute that to the marketing channel, though, that has a lot to do with product, and maybe your email and what what other activities that you take. So I said, I think you can probably attribute the first session, to your marketing channel, and then everything else is going to be the quality of your product, of course. So we want to, we want to kind of take that and say, Well, what can we do here. And you can do that for consulting, you can do that for any kind of b2b. A lot of b2c stuff, if it’s not a direct conversion into dollars and cents, you can just say, Well, you know, you got 10 phone calls, and on average, convert five out of those 10 phone calls. So then if an average sale is worth $200, then half of that gets attributed to just normal phone call. So we try to do it as much as we can anyway,
Brendan Philp 21:07
when it’s bled into LEAD SCORING, too, especially through CMS programs and marketing automation software. So for example, let’s, if we take a random enterprise level website, that’s Sitecore, or AWS, or any, or any basic sort of AWS as a CMS, but you basically can attribute all your content to what kind of education the customer
Qasim Virjee 21:30
or the user has received, and push, push them around accordingly.
Brendan Philp 21:33
Yeah, and also dynamically insert content onto certain pages set based off of what they’ve seen. So
Qasim Virjee 21:38
this is what Google does, right? Even Facebook, I guess, they’re all like algorithmically offering you content based on who they think you are.
Brendan Philp 21:46
And the more the more you look at the more they think that you’re educated on the product on the product, when you actually do fill out a form they say, okay, Qasim is extremely well educated on the subject, this is probably a hot lead. Or and it can even go right down to Okay, your IP addresses in a neighborhood that has a high income. So you maybe you can afford this product, or maybe you can’t like they do all sorts of preview over the top lead scoring now, especially at the enterprise level, SMB doesn’t matter as much, you can do some lead scoring through marketing automation. But that’s sort of where this is going, as we know so much about you. When you’re finished with the website that the things you don’t necessarily know or
Troy Fawkes 22:25
qualify that we don’t know that much about you. We have
Qasim Virjee 22:29
given recent we use you know, we
Brendan Philp 22:32
share aggregate data, aggregate data,
Troy Fawkes 22:34
yeah, aggregate data, we don’t know anyone’s address, we don’t know anyone’s phone number, we don’t have any person’s specific IP address. We have aggregate data, we can say we want to advertise to anyone who’s read this article, or anyone who’s looked at a page in Toronto or, yeah, we don’t have your first name, last name, and now dating profile, you know,
Brendan Philp 22:54
right. But we know your behavior. We know a lot about
Qasim Virjee 22:56
your behavior. That’s what it is, is behavioral analysis, you know, essentially archetypically what’s very interesting about this, like putting the Phyllis off philosophy hat on and a bit of the tinfoil on top of it, is to look at how digital behavior is irrespective of general human behavior. And whether that’s true or false. I don’t know. I well, I do well, for me, I know that’s a subjective, you know, answer. But like, what do you guys think about this question? Yeah. Like, you can guesstimate the majority of people’s simple click paths based on very overarching themes, but like To what degree can you be granular about what kind of topics to market?
Brendan Philp 23:44
So I would argue that marketing at its core has not changed over the past 100 years, building the emotional connection, getting people to understand what you do quickly and efficiently. None of that’s changed. That’s why brand messaging people are still employed now as they were in the 30s. Right. So that I don’t think has changed what the tactics have changed how we consume media, this change. But the the actual core customer hasn’t changed that much. So digital, to me, is a behavioral shift, but not, not doesn’t change sort of the ethos of how we how we actually do marketing. So
Troy Fawkes 24:17
I think it’s a bit of an overlap question, too. Because, you know, I have a lot of friends who have abandoned Facebook who have abandoned you know, most things except for maybe Google and they have every privacy thing they can possibly get into. Or maybe they’re just on Duck Duck go. You know, they go they go all the way.
Qasim Virjee 24:34
Right. What is duck duck go I saw someone wearing that T shirt today. Oh, he’s a t shirt. I
Troy Fawkes 24:38
would wear that T shirt. Yeah.
Qasim Virjee 24:39
One of the chaps from Epic blockchain
Brendan Philp 24:41
blockchain. Yeah. He’s wearing Yeah, we walked by him on the way too, right.
Troy Fawkes 24:45
It’s so it’s just a very, it’s a privacy first search engine. So when you’re on Google, Google wants to know everything about you. So Google, like retains a cookie that kind of follows you around. They kind of know more and more about you And while
Qasim Virjee 25:01
you’re logged in to Google, well thing that you do through Chrome. And true.
Brendan Philp 25:07
The cookie, the cookies does not doesn’t matter about what? Browser browser, yeah, you can cookie on any browser. So, okay. Essentially, with anything that’s free in marketing, you’re the product. That’s it. Like if a product is free, that means you the customer of the product, when that means that your data has value.
Qasim Virjee 25:26
What a great soundbite, that one right there. I love it. You say it again?
Brendan Philp 25:33
Yeah, if you so if something is free, that means you’re the product, you are the product.
Qasim Virjee 25:37
Absolutely. It’s interesting. Okay, so I’m taking us down on a tangent, but you I think, Troy, you have something else to say it looked like you were Oh, right.
Troy Fawkes 25:45
Sorry. So I was gonna say, if you’re not online, you’re offline. You know, and that means finding
Qasim Virjee 25:52
the gems. So smart, dropping knowledge is
Troy Fawkes 25:54
so smart. But it means that traditional media still has a place, you know. So grassroots marketing, you know, flyers, God forbid. But we were having conversation with Toby who I think you had a chat with Sure.
Qasim Virjee 26:10
At Air sorta? Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Episode Number one, for those who are listening.
Troy Fawkes 26:15
And they do a lot of grassroots marketing, because they’ll, they’ll bring a flyer to your to your door, they’ll hand them out, they, they know it’s effective, they’ve done it before. And it hits a lot of people who may not be online and be very educated about what kind of opportunities are out there for that business. Made also said something to the effect of, if you’re at home, you get home from a long day of work, you don’t want to cook, you check your mailbox, and there’s a flyer that says 20% off pizza, right, you’re going to get the pizza, you know, you have a good chance of doing that. So it’s not necessarily that we don’t behave the same way online as we do offline. I think what Brendan saying is entirely true marketing still the same, right? But we can’t devalue traditional marketing, we can just, we can just establish a value for it. Right?
Brendan Philp 27:04
The kids call it omni channel, God. Even Jr, for when someone uses a, a, what we call like a part of my friends, like a bullshit marketing term. Sure. So we have a John Ross, you gotta put money in if you use it. So I’m gonna have to go and put
Qasim Virjee 27:20
that that’s awesome. Yeah, it is kind of a misnomer. Because every, like, channels aren’t channels, right? I mean, you could be to what degree? are you defining something a specific channel, it’s all marketing pipeline. Yeah, supposed
Brendan Philp 27:33
to be, it’s supposed to be a journey. Like the whole thing is a journey for the customer, they don’t just use one thing. And if it is, and you have, maybe there’s a couple of unicorns that have a very specific project or product that the only you only use it once. But though that those are the exception, not the rule. So
Qasim Virjee 27:47
I find what you guys do terribly exciting. And I think I want to take it back to one of the things you said in the beginning of this conversation, which is about growth, you know, and about the name of the company and about how what you offer your customers is the ability to to turn on growth. And this question that you asked customers have, you know, are you ready for that? So I’d love to hear a couple anecdotes, you know, on either side, or any from any angle, but for me, I’m like, I’m interested in, you know, especially because you’re not just dealing with startups, but early stage startups, something that I do a lot of is advising people to, you know, in the kind of, like, precede seed stage to say, Okay, well, why are you raising money, and that’s a different angle to this topic. But whatever it is, that can facilitate your growth as an organization, whether it’s capital, human, or cash or otherwise, marketing, you know, organizationally, product service provision, wise, you know, the stability of your offering, you know, how does that, how is that prepared for lasticity? If you were given this goal, and the funny thing is, especially with the fanfare of like, you know, VC funding, and Silicon Valley ethos spreading around the world, a lot of people don’t think deeply about this topic. They’re not thinking, you know, they don’t have a business plan. They have, you know, the the pitch deck, and it’s like, projections are really just some bullshit numbers along some exponential algorithm for a year, extrapolated to five years out at this growth level. But why to grow to what stage and how you’re going to continually support inbound oven. Right, is a good question. So any anecdotes to do with the customer experience or just people that you know that you’ve maybe talked to about this?
Troy Fawkes 29:42
Yeah, a lot. So I was reading a sales book recently. That was very interesting. And it was very enlightening because I was always a little bit self conscious when I was getting into sales because I always imagined and this is kind of what the book was saying. Most people imagine there’s a pie and You want to take as big of a portion of that pie as you can get, and nothing to do with the value you give back. But that’s kind of
Qasim Virjee 30:06
how because it’s the goddamn American way, right.
Troy Fawkes 30:09
And so the, the flip side of that, and the concept of it that that, or the concept of really got me was, you’re not taking a part of the pie or making the pie bigger. And that’s what we do, right? We do have some times we sell to CTOs. And they want us to just be more efficient, like I was saying, but most of our clients want the pie to be bigger. And that way, we’re not actually taking anything from the pie. We’re taking something from this new, awesome pie that we just built that profits everyone else way more than builds build a pie. The pie, that’s that was the other name for the company, but it had worse branding potential. So building the pie is great. And I think it’s it’s great that you’re talking about startups, because we’re working with a company called maple. They’re an online doctor. They’re fantastic. Yeah, absolutely. Check them out. If you’re listening. They’re great during Canada, so we can’t give you all the numbers and everything. But they’re
Qasim Virjee 31:06
invested in one of their competitors. Oh, that’s too bad. Yeah, so sorry for you, we’re
Troy Fawkes 31:10
gonna crush them
Qasim Virjee 31:12
got merged, he got merged into another company, which I’m very excited about. But we took a massive haircut on the valuation. I can’t talk about numbers, or their company name. But I’ll just say I’m very excited about the new space. Yeah, the space is very amazing.
Troy Fawkes 31:29
I love it. It’s a it’s such a great kind of great opportunity for healthcare in Canada, especially right, hopefully, the government clues in at some point and says, actually, this is a great idea and gives it up for free. But so with maple, when we started, what they asked for was they asked for an analytics kind of solution. So we help them build their understanding of their data. And, you know, as we were doing that, I said, this is a waste of your money. Like, it’s great that you kind of know what’s happening with your data. But what you need is a repeatable growth model. And we built that very quickly for them, we proved it very quickly, with the help of all the data that they had. And we just skyrocketed. And the team has a lot of power there. Because they have a lot of operational issues that you need to address to grow as quickly as they are. And they’re addressing them. And they haven’t come to us saying Slow down, slow down. They’re saying can we go faster. And it’s it’s extreme growth,
Brendan Philp 32:26
that’s a and that’s rare, let me have the time today, people don’t do the napkin math on on growth or so for example, we’ll get asked to, let’s say, fill fill a certain need for somebody they like, like, whether it be a basketball camp or at school or something like that. They want to, they want to fill up fill up their classes, but they don’t do the math that if they want your full your full row, there’s no growth past that point. That’s an operational limitation that they don’t take into account when trying to think about how to structure their marketing and things like that. So talking to clients about operational limitations is usually one of the first things that we talked about. Because if we grow them too fast, and the customer experience suffers, then we’re not helping them, we’re hurting them. Right. So you have to have to ask those kinds of questions early in the process.
Qasim Virjee 33:11
And this is why I’m super excited that we’re working together with start well as well, not just to have you guys here, but also, you know, to actually work with Delta growth to help our growth story, because it’s one of the things that I’ve built into the company, which is not just you know, desks and private offices, but this delta, hopefully, that should come through, you know, our common space plan, the drop in plan that we’re calling club. So I’m really excited to see how growth is facilitated in a way that we know we can sustain, at least administratively, operationally, until such point that, you know, we add 500 more locations across Canada. But uh, ya know, it’s really, it’s very interesting. So I guess part of your practice becomes a little bit about coaching the customer on what they’ll need to think about, you know, as, as an organization asides from returning on the pipe? Yeah, absolutely.
Troy Fawkes 34:03
To it’s a bit of a struggle there, honestly, you get a client who’s ready for that, and you’ll get someone who’s not. And you’ll get someone who said, they’re ready for operations, you know, to grow as much as we want them to grow. And like, you know, for a small business, that could be 100% growth in one year. And that’s a lot of people who’ve been, you know, in business for four or five years, with the same size of team kind of same client set, and then you double the size of their company. They’re not ready for that. So you ask hard questions and kind of biting questions. And then there are some people who want to deliver strategy to you. And they say, this is how we’re going to bring in those that I’m talking about. There are people who want to deliver a strategy to you and say, This is what we need to succeed and you look at it and you say, we can help you action this, but we’re not signing on to any kind of KPI metrics or any kind of growth metrics that you’re looking for. Unless we have a strategy conversation, because right now You’re asking for a tactical team.
Qasim Virjee 35:02
Well, I totally appreciate that perspective. It’s something I’ve lived through myself, you know, working in and out of my own companies, and then startups, being very agile, being able to like learn on the spot and trying to like, it’s kind of this, you know, Zen meditation to like, critique yourself and slap your back with a stick to say, oh, everything, you know, is wrong every single day. And then, you know, a few years ago, I was working with, with a super large one of the largest corporations in the world. And, and I just didn’t understand half of the things that I was talking to people about everyday because of the rigidity, that success with which success was measured, it was measured on a quarterly cycle performance means, you know, it’s all about shareholder value. When shares are being traded, totally, irrespective of what a company means to its customers, and how it performs in terms of the quality of service, and the future growth. It’s all about, you know, silly things that don’t really don’t really factor into reality. It’s it’s all assumptive and expressed on the show or shareholder report. Oh, yeah. And
Brendan Philp 36:12
until that point, I mean, success makes companies lazy, right. I mean, if once you grow to a certain point, you’re answerable to shareholders, things like that, you start to make certain make lazy decisions, rather than aggressive or smart decisions, like, right, and that over time, leads to what leads to sort of small growth as opposed to what you could be doing, which is large growth. I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s symptomatic of that anyway. Yeah, absolutely.
Qasim Virjee 36:35
And it’s, it’s, it’s very interesting for me to take a step back, there’s a perspective I had a few years ago, I think, you know, as we get enriched in the digital experience, it’s hard to kind of stay objective about this sense of opportunity that all I guess digital products and services being marketed online to global audiences should have. But if you look at it, we’ve never had an opportunity like this, as humans, as commercial beings, you know, in history, to be able to sell to hundreds of millions of customers. So, you know, within the tech ecosystem, as an example, in Canada, we look at our little darling unicorns, and you look at the Shopify ‘s and so on, you look at the growth on the ground as being very impressive, right, the buildings going up and more jobs being created, and people getting hired. And we feel great as a community across the country for the three, four or 520 companies that may have achieved the sort of a little bit of this status. But you know, and then everyone has this growth trajectory of trying to go public and being beholden, then, of course, to limiters to that growth scale. But I don’t know, there’s something in there where I kind of see this perspective getting lost that the marketplace, as you said, the pie itself is growing, you know, if you have that perspective of being able to see your customers as being people just simply that can connect with your product or your company, as opposed to the people you’re used to selling to.
Brendan Philp 38:08
Yeah, I mean, it’s very easy to meet the low tide watermark, because you can basically build like Bootstrap together a company and a website in under a week now, which is not something like that something I can even execute on economy, which is nice. Yeah, like you can you can really go to town on this stuff now in a way that we’ve never had the opportunity for before. And that leads to really fun stuff and also saturation. So it’s, it’s it’s issues on both sides, but it’s a it’s incredible to do to for at least an entrepreneur to be able to do whatever the hell you want right now,
Qasim Virjee 38:42
I have a question. It’s not directly relating to marketing, but marketing comes into it. So something that a lot of our companies here at stairwell are playing with in different fields is the idea of not just selling within Canada, right, selling globally. Part of being in Toronto is about our global diversity. You know, the fact that we’re the most dense, densely diverse city in the world means that everyone is connected in some way culturally or otherwise, to the rest of the world, some other part of the world. Is there something uniquely advantageous about being here? Toronto, Canada, whatever you want to whatever lens you want to put on it, for companies to access global markets.
Troy Fawkes 39:27
I mean, I wouldn’t say there’s, it’s it’s uniquely advantageous for us to reach global markets necessarily. I think we have a lot more opportunity than then many countries. But I bet you the accountants, and the lawyers of the world are just going to tell you like tax law, X, Y, Zed, and all this kind of stuff. I think, in Toronto, especially though we do have an absurd amount of opportunity, just because of the the energy here, you know, and I think the cultural piece kind of comes into play. Because we don’t we’re not scared of getting into those. We’re not nationalistic, you know, we don’t want to buy everything made in Canada, and we don’t see the world as something behind a wall. Right. But I think it’s really for me, it’s the feeling in Toronto, that the world is your oyster, you know, and I feel this when I go into New York and California, there’s lots of places where you can kind of pop in and get that, that vibe. But it’s a lot different than say, you know, London, England, if you if you walk over there, it’s not quite the same feeling
Qasim Virjee 40:36
interesting. Walk, don’t walk into England, you’ll drown.
Troy Fawkes 40:40
Google Maps tells me I can get there pretty quickly.
Qasim Virjee 40:42
It’s funny, you mentioned London, though, because for me, at least, when I was doing a lot of media stuff, like a decade back ago, and I’ve grown up, of course, between Canada and Africa, so I always pass through England, those are flight paths since I was young. We all spend time in London. And for me, historically, and all of us who might be listening to this who have grown up in the rest of the Commonwealth, or, you know, colonial ex colonial countries, the relevance of England to Europe and to Africa and to Asia. Not really so much to North America. And within North America, of course, is huge. It’s it’s a big kind of, you know, conduit place, or what you call it? It’s a place of transience and trade. Or at least it was before all of this, you know, you kerfuffle, Brexit stuff,
Troy Fawkes 41:33
are we still talking about that?
Qasim Virjee 41:35
Yeah. But it’s funny, though, because I think I think that what I had historically grown up feeling in London very much is the buzz here today, as well, like, Toronto is feeling increasingly like a bustling bazaar of opportunity. Oh, we’re knocking
Brendan Philp 41:52
on the door being a world class city. And you and symptoms of that aren’t always nice. So for example, rent is skyrocketing in Toronto, every fat far faster than than income rates, like with a lot of stuff like that as a housing issues. There’s a lot of things on those lines. But that is a that’s a symptom of the fact that we are getting to a point where you can consider it a world class, a world class city, and I’ve got friends from New York who, who’ve made that same argument with us. I mean, we’re not in New York now. 14 million people. But you know, we can hit with a lot of a lot of weight compared to what we could 10 years ago. And just between sort of the exodus of talent from California, up here to Montreal and Toronto, especially on the AI front, like, you know, there’s only 10 or 20,000 people who can do AI properly in the world, and Toronto, Toronto and Montreal, getting a lot of them. So
Troy Fawkes 42:42
we are we are also getting a lot of business in North America, just because the United States dollar is so strong. So we do get to kind of be that talent pool.
Qasim Virjee 42:52
Are you guys experiencing that as a company?
Troy Fawkes 42:54
We’re not currently.
Qasim Virjee 42:56
So do you mainly work with local companies as clients?
Brendan Philp 42:59
Yeah, at the moment? Yeah,
Troy Fawkes 43:00
yeah, we get we get a lot of referrals. So we’ve been working on our own marketing.
Qasim Virjee 43:05
Well, I was gonna ask you about that, because this whole cobblers? Yeah.
Brendan Philp 43:09
Yeah, exactly. Our website is not as good as the ones we say that our customer should.
Troy Fawkes 43:15
So we’re actually currently doing some work on it. It’s just we get a lot of referrals. We’ve actually I spent this entire week working on proposals and doing sales meetings. I think you did a couple of those as well. So it’s, I think, if we got more leads right now, I’d be more scared.
Qasim Virjee 43:31
Well, so this goes back
Brendan Philp 43:31
to the operational limitations. Yeah.
Troy Fawkes 43:35
And the cool thing about being an agency that’s growing with the growth track that we have, it’s, it’s cool and scary means we get to hire very quickly. But it means that we hire until we are close to the red every time we do because if you’re thinking that you’re going to bring on another 20,000 or $30,000 in revenue, that means that you need another header to to support that you can do to
Qasim Virjee 43:57
you can exponentially grow your margin as you increase your operational costs. Exactly. That’s, I mean, that’s the that’s the alchemists, you know, quest, but it’s difficult.
Troy Fawkes 44:07
But yeah, so we’ve got that growth track. We’re gonna work on our marketing. I’m scared of the outcome of that, because we have done a lot of authority building as well. So we, we do a lot of, we’re out in the world. You know, I contributed GoDaddy.
Qasim Virjee 44:23
I like that phrase, authority building. Yeah, that’s kind of like when you enact a military coup. You know, like the head of the previous dictator,
Troy Fawkes 44:34
that’s pretty much what we’re doing. Manager. But now, I mean, it’s, it’s great to be able to kind of do the founder stuff, you know, you hear about when I was a kid, that’s what I thought a company owner was supposed to do. The founder was supposed to go out and talk to media, be a face, you know, actually explain things and help people and bring them up to their level. And being able to kind of do that and then also seeing that, hey, that’s actually a valuable thing for business. That’s It’s a great feeling and now we just need to leverage it.
Qasim Virjee 45:02
Brendan Philp 45:04
They’re working on instead of for the business. Right.
Qasim Virjee 45:06
So what do you think the next couple quarters look like? You know, for you guys experientially as a team workwise clients, you want to work with anything? What’s what’s around the corner? Also, are you hiring? If you are, it’s worth mentioning it because some of the listeners
Brendan Philp 45:22
Yeah, we’ll probably bring it to more bodies in the next month or so. That’s that’s what it’s looking like
Qasim Virjee 45:27
the human bodies. Yeah. Yeah. I hope so. I was watching Westworld last night.
Troy Fawkes 45:34
We kind of have a madman style hiring right now. So we kind of just go through our network. And there’s a lot of great people in our network and we’re not gonna name any names. We’re not gonna introduce them anyone? All right, we’re just gonna Virgie and so
Qasim Virjee 45:46
on. You can hire me I have. I have a job. So
Troy Fawkes 45:49
he says. But yeah, so we’re gonna definitely have to hire, we’re hiring at least one person, likely in the following week, support some new work that just came on. And just to keep us kind of able to grow rapidly because we’ve thought a lot of big scary things that may sign and then become kind of crazy deals. Yeah, we
Brendan Philp 46:09
got a few proposals out there could rapidly change the face of the company and in a scary way.
Qasim Virjee 46:14
I mean, it’s funny, though, because hearing it you guys are saying scary and, you know, blushing in the studio. But I’m the eyes for the listeners, you know, but i From the little I know about you guys so far the last few months that we’ve been talking or month how long has it been? You’ve been you’re like five, six weeks now? Yeah, it feels like a lot longer. Yeah, I keep saying that. Because I guess you know, we have a deep experience at start. Well, every day is like a rich day.
Brendan Philp 46:38
And it was we felt instantly welcome here too, which was, which was a change for us. We felt really into the culture like our first day, here was one of the Thirsty Thursdays and and we were just instantly felt like this is just the right spot. And
Troy Fawkes 46:55
we’re not alcoholics, we like the people in the invite. We’re
Brendan Philp 46:58
in marketing, there’s booze and marketing. That’s fair. But the no II that was that’s what made it feel like we’ve been here a lot longer than for us because it was everyone was instantly welcoming. The staff was great. They all the wisdom AI, they they welcomed us really quickly. So did Oh, geez. Dunbar, who was our neighbor, everyone was really kind of ready to build a community here. And that was I was I was really refreshing. So
Qasim Virjee 47:25
nice. Yeah, it’s a good, it’s a good feeling to have support around you when you’re when you’re growing an organization and killing it every day. Right. So from this last few weeks, what I was saying, you know, of getting deep a little bit with you guys, and also, you know, working with you, as a client of Delta growth. I’m sure that there’s no doubt in my mind that you’ll be able to handle your own growth very well, you know, and I’m sure you already have the strategy in place. So it’s just about the experience. And I think that that often is the scariest thing is right. You prepare for something and then it’s like, oh, no, this is actually happening. And then suddenly, you’re doing it. And you’re like, Yeah, that was laughable. You know, like, I can’t believe I was afraid of that.
Brendan Philp 48:06
Troy and I are both. We discussed this earlier today, we’re both very pessimistic entrepreneurs who were very, we both think that the worst is always about to happen. And we’re not we’re not like the ones that go like, Oh, it’s gonna be amazing. I was gonna be everything, we’re gonna kill it, everything’s gonna be fantastic. I was like, oh, no, what if we land this client? And we have to, like, 80% of our revenues without one client? Like, what the hell will we do?
Qasim Virjee 48:28
It’s a facet of the work that yeah, you know, you have to be like, focus on the data and making it happen. A little bit mistrustful to be able to create the best product, right?
Troy Fawkes 48:39
Yeah. And I think one of the scary things about growth is that our model isn’t exactly the same as the models that we’re we’re in like, we compete against other agencies. A lot of agencies use value selling in the in paid media. And what that means is, if I’m making you a million dollars every year, I’m going to charge you some portion of that, because I’ve made you Yeah, like I’ve made you this value. And so they price, their services, not on the time spent on the account and the people working on it, but they price it based on value. So a lot of the big companies that I’m not going to name, even though they’re super guilty. They do this for paid media, we don’t do that. So if we charge $1,000, we work it down, based off of our rate card, so we burn it down, we get through it, we actually do work against it. The other thing too, is we have a six hour workday, which means that we only have three quarters of the workable hours, and we pay market salaries if not higher. So we’ve kind of built a team for retention, we built a company for retention. And we built the company for transparency and flexibility and achievement for all of our clients. But it’s an untested model. So that’s the scary part, I think with growth and we’ve done the math and you know, it works out at the end of the day and we’ve got decent margins and everything And I think it’s going to help the people working for us. And it’s going to be the people we work for. It’s gonna help the people we work for. But yeah, it’s intimidating.
Qasim Virjee 50:09
But yeah, it’s also inspiring and hopefully something that we can leverage within the community is to get you guys. Some sit downs with a few early stage companies and ideation stage companies that are trying to figure out, you know, what they’re doing. A lot of people get so caught up in product market fit, and all the questions to do with like getting to market that they forget about thinking to corporate culture, and the background for growth, which it sounds like you’ve done some deep thinking. So it’s good.
Troy Fawkes 50:35
Brendan Philp 50:37
Happy chat with anybody really
Qasim Virjee 50:38
fantastic. And listeners, if you’re one of those people that wants to connect with these guys, what’s the best way to reach out to you guys? So we’ll just walk to the studio. We’ll edit that out. Yeah. But yeah, so what is the best way for anyone who wants to work for or with Delta to reach out like this? Go to your website?
Brendan Philp 51:00
Yeah, I mean, probably the you can reach reach us at Troy at DG dot agency, if you want to reach out indirectly or DG dot agencies, our website or I would say my name but it’s too hard to spell. The
Qasim Virjee 51:14
shell friend swap
Brendan Philp 51:17
T’s and if you’re if you’re actually in start welding, last door on the right on the second floor, that’s basically
Qasim Virjee 51:25
Excellent. So in person or otherwise yet go to DG dot agency,
Troy Fawkes 51:30
and that’s a real website. It’s not dg.agency.com You should probably just Google it. There’s no way