We caught up with co-founder Rachit Dayal to know more of the journey.
Motivation to startup
Rachit started out as a freelancer in the digital marketing industry in Singapore back in 2004, before Google had started up in the region and the industry had not yet realized that search engines, web measurement, conversion optimization were things important to digital campaigns.
5 years into the stint, Rachit realized that the firms had continued to be ‘better at selling, than at doing’. “The industry here didn't seem to get more mature! Every client I spoke to had been scammed by digital firms. It was impossibly hard to find a fellow marketer who understood the importance of getting results out of digital marketing”, he says.
Realizing the importance of training, they started offering public workshops, corporate trainings, writing in magazines, making videos and updating people about our industry's developments. These workshops and trainings have led them to becoming Google’s official training partners in Singapore to teach other agencies how to go digital.
The Team and their challenges
Their team comprises of about 20 people, half of whom are in Singapore and the rest in India. Besides Rachit, who is the Managing Partner of the firm and David Liem, who used to be a motivational trainer for teachers and school children, and now brings that passion and innovation to training designed for digital marketers, their third partner Prantik Mazumdar, an ex-Singapore government official, joined the company to use Happy Marketer's expertise and bring about big changes in large organizations. Rachit says a combination of brand building, exciting other marketers and showcasing great work has led to to attracting the right talent for their firm.
Speaking of the challenges, Rachit says, “the biggest one has been growing the team and attracting the right talent. While we’ve always been profitable, we are not funded/supported by any largest organizations, making it difficult to throw big pay cheques to attract the smartest people”.
The period from 2009 has been even more challenging due to lack of enough young Singaporeans trained, talented or interested enough in digital marketing and the immigration policy having become stricter.
To solve this problem, Happy Marketer has opened up satellite office in Bangalore. Rachit says while that office has helped to rapidly grow the team size and take on more work, managing cross-cultural differences and a team thousands of kilometers away is not an easy task.
The firm has also built relationships with universities and polytechnics in Singapore and are sponsoring events and encouraging these educational institutions to push digital marketing besides training the interns they get from these institutions, in an attempt to have more digital marketers in Singapore in the comping years.
The growth and way forward
Speaking of their growth, Rachit says, “When I started this, I only imagined it to be a one-man shop for the rest of my life. Then when we switched over to the Happy Marketer brand name in 2009 with David, I thought we'll be a boutique shop, we'll bootstrap and survive and do some good work. In 2011 once our third partner, Prantik came in, we decided to make a bigger impact. In the last 18 months, we've gone from a 4 man team to a 20 person team. We've also tripled our revenues last year, gotten some of the largest brands in the country as clients including Tiger Airways, Far East Hospitality, NTU, StarHub, DirectRooms, Singtel, JobStreet, Singapore Sports Council, SPRING Singapore & more”.
How does a marketing firm market itself?
“We practice what we preach!”, smiles Rachit. To maintain their edge, Happy Marketer does a lot of work around writing articles, blog posts, publishing a digital newsletter, making YouTube video shows, exhibiting case studies on SlideShare, maintaining our networks on LinkedIn, maintaining a strong follower base on Facebook and Twitter.
The firm sure knows how to utilize search engines to the maximum. They ensure that they rank in the first page for all the terms potential clients would search for, run search ads, and do extensive remarketing and ensure that every tool in the search and advertising arsenal is used. They are also constantly working to make sure that Happy Marketer is doing the best it can to manage its Social, Search and Analytics knowledge to make the most of its digital resources. “That's the vision. We want every Singapore business to understand digital marketing and start getting more business from the web”, he concludes.
Company Website: Happy Marketer
Interested in digital marketing firms? Read about Plumb5, a Bangalore based real-time online digital marketing platform.