Why we do what we do

Why we do what we do

Marketing. Well, online marketing, specifically. I do a hell of a lot of it. I also tend to write about it a lot, so it’s the one area I wanted to avoid for my office bloggers slot.

I thought about quite a few other things to write about – some of them work related, while others were completely related to my personal interests – travel, music, photography, off-road vehicles, wearable technology, well, technology in general, startups… the list goes on forever.

But this is the Switch blog. And, to a certain extent, I am as much a part of Switch as Switch is a part of me. So it made no sense to write about anything else.

I’ll be writing about Switch

I won’t be talking about what we do. You can head over to a page about it on this site. I won’t even write about how we do it. That’s easy enough: We do a bloody good job of it – just ask any of our clients.

I’ll write about why we do it, and more specifically why I do it, and why I get up in the morning with a spring in my step. About the reasons I do not dread Mondays. About why I love spending time in the place I give most of my waking hours to.

Deep down it’s really all quite simple. There was one main reason I started Switch Digital: and that’s because I really believed that there is scope for much better online marketing in Malta.

As time went on, I realised that there’s a much more important reason. A reason that transcends what we do completely. I run Switch because I want to want to go to work. And this is exactly how I run the company.

Doing this, in my opinion, is completely dependent on three things, all of which are important in equal parts. What makes it great is that they complement each other perfectly, which makes our decision making process pretty straightforward.

The hardest part of writing this post is trying to separate the three, because they’re so intricately linked, that it becomes a chicken and egg situation if you try to decide which comes first.

Produce amazing work, consistently

This might sound obvious, but so many companies around us seem to be OK with work that’s just OK. Don’t get me wrong. We know when good enough is good enough, but most of the time it is not.

If there’s an extra mile to be travelled, we’ll usually do our best to take that road if it means delivering a better result.

This, sometimes, can work against us, because we end up putting far more effort into a job than we’re being paid for – but it makes sense anyway, because we produce work that we’re proud of, and clients appreciate it.

Gauging whether we’re doing amazing work is simple, really. We ask ourselves two questions:

Would we be happy to share this on our portfolio?” and “Would we have produced this work for ourselves?”

At work

Choose amazing clients

Amazing work needs two ingredients. A great agency and an amazing client. We’re lucky to have quite a few of these, and we’re also pretty adamant on carefully selecting any new clients based on whether they fit us.

It’s important to understand that a great client is defined by a variety of criteria, but the basic areas we look at are:

  • How willing they are to learn (about digital marketing)
  • How willing they are to teach us (about their industry)
  • Whether they believe in digital marketing
  • Whether they understand that digital marketing is a long-term commitment
  • The freedom they give us to work
  • How hard they drive us to produce our best work
  • Whether they will treat us as business partners, not suppliers.

A client does not need to have all of the above, but we do look for clients who can offer us a combination of quite a few of them. It is crucial that we’re seen as partners because we always see our clients as our partners, so the feeling must be reciprocal.

For us to produce amazing work, we need to feel ownership, and we will only feel a sense of ownership if the client offers us that opportunity.

And even though I mention that we’re lucky here, it also boils down to our choices. We are pretty open in our first meetings, and we make it clear that we select our clients carefully. We would decline to quote or simply tell the client that we don’t believe there’s a match.

Have an amazing team

Producing amazing work puts you in the enviable position of being able to select your clients. But the only way that can happen is if you have a team of superheroes. And here I can really say I’m lucky enough to have one.

I’m surrounded by a group of people who are energetic, intelligent, talented, hard working and really fun to work with.

They’re the ones who dig in when the going gets tough, the ones who bring my spirits up when we’re struggling with our work-load and the ones to produce the amazing work when we find fantastic clients.

And seeing that the team is so happy and relaxed, our clients love working with us, and that is why we keep receiving positive recommendations. Business owners care that we do good work, but the people we work with are humans, and we aim to be the best humans we can possibly be for them.

We make sure we are more of a help than a hinderance, we’re humble, and willing to serve, but we’re also knowledgeable and ready to impart our knowledge. We make it a point to teach our clients as much as they want to learn about our field, and this runs through the whole team.

And in the end…

Do these three points mean that we run at the optimum efficiency from a financial point of view? Hell no. I’m pretty sure that if we had to run the business in regimental style I could squeeze more minutes out of everyone’s day.

But as things stand we are all happy. We work in a business where the priority is our happiness, our level of output and who we’re outputting our work for.

And, most importantly, from a selfish point of view, I get to want to go to work in the morning. I get to work in a team that produces amazing output for amazing clients. Yeah. Life’s good.

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Richard's Story.

Richard, our CEO, believes that great content is the best way to cultivate an audience of humans who appreciate your brand. In a previous life, Richard was a publisher and then a marketing manager in a US software company.

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