The online advertising industry is a fast moving beast that will not wait for assumed perfection to be made before release.
ExactDrive simplifies online advertising with strategic expertise and innovative insight you can’t find anywhere else. ExactDrive’s self-serve advertising platform coupled with offered managed campaign planning, management and optimization services deliver measurable value, empowering clients to find precisely targeted audiences and generate desired results.
Q: Please tell us a little bit about your company – what is ExactDrive all about?
ExactDrive Inc. offers a self-serve online advertising platform coupled with managed services. Difference-making online advertising campaigns require innovative strategy, leading technology, careful planning and insightful analysis. ExactDrive’s self-serve advertising platform and managed services team provides all four, making it easier for you to generate the results you want most. Our ad platform delivers online advertising solutions that make it faster and easier to reach more people who are ready to embrace your brand.
Q: Please tell us a little bit about your background and how you started your company?
I worked at various startup and technology companies before realizing with my business partner (Eric Greener) that the online advertising industry was in need of a simple and high tech, yet easy to use, online advertising platform with offered managed services. From there we put together the right team and start developing and rolling out various online advertising solutions and services with very positive feedback.
Q: What are some of the projects you are working on right now?
We are always working on a number of exciting projects:
- Media planning tools to more granularly plan and track media buying opportunities
- Brand safety technology to continue to battle click fraud and bot traffic.
- Mobile advertising targeting methodologies and optimization
- Enhanced dynamic ad features
Q: What are your plans for the future, how do you plan to grow this company?
In regards to Search Engine Optimization and social media, we want to continue generating high quality content on our website for our customers, visitors and followers. In the past 12 months we have experienced more than 800% growth in our incoming organic search and social media related traffic. This has lead to increasing organic leads 400% in the past year. We plan to continue to invest time and effort into this growth opportunity.
We also want to support team expansion, by growing our account management and support team. This allows us to support our growing amount of users and resellers signing up for our online advertising platform. Continuing to grow our white label reseller reach also enables us to expand our reach in the industry and increase our foothold among leading clients and brands.
Q: How do you bring ideas to life?
We support the theory of Mellie Price, founder of Front Gate Tickets, where you create it, deploy it, listen to feedback, iterate based on what you heard and do the cycle quickly instead of sitting around and talking about your product or service. We couple this theory with a strategy of not trying to offer all things to all potential customers. We have our core competency and expertise and we discuss, brainstorm and strategize ideas, solutions and services around that realm, trying not to deviate too much from our core wheelhouse.
Q: What’s one trend that really excites you?
Mobile, mobile, mobile. Mobile advertising is here to stay. It is expansive, cost efficient, operationally effective, and users are continuing to adopt this method of communication and information consumption at a massive rate.
Q: What were the top 3 mistakes you made starting your business and what did you learn from it?
It’s hard to boil it down to only three main mistakes since they are so easy to make. However, I would say our top three mistakes come down to the following:
- You can launch a non-Cadillac version of your product. Moving too slowly can be a budget and a business killer. The online advertising industry is a fast moving beast that will not wait for assumed perfection to be made before release. Get the product live, rapidly launch new features, and then absorb your feedback, gather your analytics and repeat. If you move too slowly you could be obsolete and forgettable before you even launch.
- Listen to others and realize you don’t know it all. Yes, you can have a great idea and be passionately motivated but this shouldn’t decrease the importance of listening to feedback and constructive criticism. Ask questions and listen without your ego in the room. You don’t want to be the smartest person in the room.
- You need to have a strong accounting team and financial accountability from Day 1. Letting receivables slide out too far or not keeping a close enough eye on payables creates distractions that will slow you down. And most important, before making any significant decision, ask yourself if the ROI is there to justify it.
Q: How do you go about marketing your business, and what has been the most successful form of marketing for you?
We are very active in the industry with writing new content that focuses on advertising trends, media buying strategies, and industry related research and opinions. This allows us to simultaneously grow our organic search presence, and social media reach and voice within the industry. Actively pursuing this marketing form has enabled us to grow our inbound organic leads tremendously, while at the same time expand our brand recognition and increase word of mouth referral business.
Q: What would you say are the top 3 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur – and why?
- Resiliency – not everything goes right, learn from it, move on, and don’t look back
- Self-reflection – you have to be honest with yourself and your partners. If you’re good at something, do more of it. If you’re not, find someone who is and let them handle it.
- Communication – Make sure you, your clients, partners, vendors, and employees all understand each other. Be careful with email and texting, as intent doesn’t always come through
Q: What are the top 3 online tools and resources you’re currently using to grow your company?
Q: What are three books you recommend entrepreneurs to read?
- How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
- Rules for Revolutionaries by Guy Kawasaki
- Baked In: Creating Products and Businesses That Market Themselves by Alex Bogusky and John Winsor
Q: What is your favorite entrepreneurship quote?
“If you define yourself by how you differ from the competition, you’re probably in trouble.” — Omar Hamoui, AdMob co-founder
Q: How can our community get in touch with you?
Linkedin: Tim Nichols