After a strong start to the year, with a growing team, new clients, awards and being named as part of Google’s Elevator Programme, we were pleased to appear on Business Today. Watch the interview with our CEO and Founder Guy Levine, or read the transcript below.
Return On Digital have been invited by Google to be part of their prestigious Partner Elevator Programme. How did it come about?
We got a message from our Google rep inviting us to come along to a three-day session at the Google headquarters, talking about business strategy, and we jumped at the chance to go.
And why did they choose Return?
From the feedback that we got, we’ve been running lots of campaigns with them, and we’ve always had a focus on client results. We’ve been working with them on their new feature launches as they’ve been having them, so they thought that we’d be a good party to have in the room.
What did you take away from it?
The great thing about the whole programme was the insight into how to do business strategy. What I walked away with was a really clear three-year plan with what we want to focus on and the results we need to achieve, but more importantly a simple plan that we could share with the rest of the business so that they understood where we were going, where progression paths led and how we can get everyone singing from the same hymn sheet.
What is Return’s strategy for the next three years?
The plan for the next three years is, unashamedly to say, we want to be a real force to be reckoned with. We’re around 30 people now, we’re looking to get to 50 and then 100. We’d like to be the go-to people you come to when you want to take your brand and grow it – whether that be through lead generation or building a better online brand. We’re the company that you can rely on when you need to report board results, and to make you look great, as opposed to an agency that’s just interested in when you should do your next Facebook campaign.
How difficult has it been to get to this point?
[We started] in 2008 with just myself and a freelancer. It’s been relentless – there’s been highs and there’s been learnings – but really we’ve just taken a massive amount of momentum and kept on pushing. Now I feel, as every CEO should say, that we’ve definitely got the best team in the north-west, and it shows in the results that we get.
It shows in the awards you’ve won – Best Small Digital Agency, and Best PPC & SEO Agency at the Prolific North Awards recently.
After winning Best Small Digital Agency [in 2015], we came back and we won Best PPC & SEO Agency, which was great because we were against companies that were a lot bigger and a lot more established. But as my mum always says, great results always shine through!
Is it good being based in the north? Manchester is quite a place to be for digital agencies
Manchester is a fantastic place to be. We’ve got a small office in London as well, but we often see that London businesses are coming up north to take advantage of the skills pool, and also the competitive rates. I’m happy to be in Manchester, [there are] great feeder universities, but also happy to jump on the train and head down to the City when needs be.
Being optimistic – do you have international plans for growth?
Definitely international plans. What we’ve worked on is building a scalable model – a scalable way for people to get the results they’re looking for. Once we understand the strategy and the problem a client’s looking to solve, whether it be international or a new social media start-up, we can apply the same scalable processes to get the results that are needed, worldwide. Who knows where it will take us?