For the second year in a row, Inc. Magazine named Look Left Marketing one of the fastest-growing companies in the Pacific region.
The last time we put this trophy on the shelf, alongside the National Inc. 5000 and Best Place to Work awards, tech companies were booming, buying and hiring. And I said the unspoken thing aloud:
“Let’s be clear: We’re in a boom technology market. Lots of capital. Lots of demand. And everything is super-size me, turn it up to 11, and fields of unicorns and dragons. There’s plenty of wind for our sails. But as my brother and cousins will tell you from our somewhat feral boyhood years, it’s easy to flip a sailboat.”
Consider the sailboat flipped.
Tech companies of all sizes are doing layoffs and re-alignments. Twitter imploded. And venture capital is back to normal-ish valuations.
Of course, we’re not immune to this. But throughout 2022 we continued to grow and invest. Look Left’s total revenue grew by more than 30 percent and our content and digital marketing program soared by more than 50 percent. This was mostly due to a super team, who impress me (and our clients) every day. And the innovative group of clients who bring us to the table to help them shift the spotlight and capture categories.
How We Grew in a Choppy Economy
As we grab the keel and flip the Sunfish back over, I thought it appropriate to look at what helped us grow — even when it felt like the economy muffled.
Interesting Assignments and Experiments
As tempting as it was, we did not grab the money. We picked a target, and continued a steady march toward hitting (and beating) that by choosing interesting assignments. The assignments almost all provided some avenue and appetite for experimentation and new services, which allowed us to hone new crafts to tackle new or existing problems.
Focused on B2B Tech Marketing
An interesting assignment isn’t necessarily a new vertical or technology area. It may also be new things to do in markets you know very well. We resisted all the urges to take business outside the foundational technologies that make the world smarter, faster and safer. We drilled down into data, dev, security, infrastructure and other foundational technologies, offering new services, new strategies and a variety of experiments (some successful, some not).
Found New Ways to Get to Goal
One of our core values at Look Left is to “start at goal.” So many agencies like to say no (“that won’t work”) instead of starting at goal. What’s the goal? What’s right about this idea? How else could we get to goal? This has led to us re-testing and re-balancing recipes for success with new strategies and tactics, and even further tuning to match them to emerging client needs.
Invested (Even More) in Employee Education Benefits
We spent more money on education in 2022 than the two previous years combined. Offsite to Maine? You bet. Really fun training? You bet. We’ve been a fully remote operation since day one, but we do need time together doing fun things. Our teams are going to conferences, enrolling in courses and, increasingly, presenting at them.
Willingness to Let Go of Old Habits
I have some miles on me. And with that comes a lot of nostalgia about the way things were, or should have been. And boy, does nostalgia hit you in a recession. One of the great things about our agency is how much I learn from employees and clients every day. We constantly challenge each other by asking why we’re doing things a certain way.
We certainly aren’t perfect. But the world seems to be spinning so much faster these days, and our hope is that anchoring down on things we know and investing in what we don’t will continue to fuel Look Left’s success. And of course, it better all still be fun.