Like many in the marketing space, west coast agency HotHouse Marketing was facing the gruelling task of integrating traditional marketing with the ever-growing demands of digital: social ads, SEO, PPC, web, apps, etc.
Staffing demands were paramount due to the ever-changing requests from clients for digital services. “We couldn’t afford to hire a person for every need…it was a responsive reality” says Dan Dagg, HotHouse’s CEO. “Clients would ask for something and we’d bolster our efforts to do it – sometimes with who we had on staff, other times through freelancers, other times, shopping it out to other firms – just to keep the client happy”
Albeit, a normal reality for any service-driven company, the wait-and-respond approach was tactically minded and too risky for HotHouse’s long term goals for strategic growth and deep-level client partnership.
“It had to start with strategy. Marketers have to understand that there’s a seriously huge mind shift that’s required to be truly valuable in today’s digital, dialogue age of brand engagement. And in terms of being valuable: marketing is about business growth. If we can’t help a business grow, we don’t deserve to be in the game.”
In November of 2016, Dagg enrolled in the Certified Digital-First Marketer training program and through direct application into daily marketing activities, began to transition the agency. “Our digital capabilities had evolved piece meal and very tactically. We began to gain control of digital at a more strategic level and leverage that strategic knowledge into a better value proposition for our agency.”
Now, less than 2 years later, Dagg continues to invest in his people, chairing weekly meetings and working through DMAC’s Certified Digital-First Marketer curriculum, its accompanying tools and its application into today’s client needs. HotHouse has also since opened their own dedicated digital arm, H2 Digital which now contributes the largest percentage of overall agency profit.
Dagg’s philosophy: “Never stop thinking. Never stop learning. A marketer’s greatest asset is their brain. You have to feed it. This program ignites your thought and gives direct application for any agency, corporation or brand. It helped paved the way for our transition to greater success and forging a purpose-driven business.”
HotHouse Marketing is the first agency in Canada to have its entire team certified through DMAC’s Certified Digital-First Marketer curriculum seeing all staff awarded the Certified Digital-First Marketer designation.