Today we have selected Dave Roberts to take the interview. He is the CEO at ReVerb.
First of all, how are you and your team doing in these COVID-19 times?
I’m doing well. Thanks for asking. For us, COIVID-19 didn’t change a whole lot for how we were doing things. We’re a team of about 30 people now, and we were all doing it remotely before 2020. It has to be that way, as I’m based in Rochester, Minnesota, with my family while my clients hail from worldwide.
As long as team members got their tasks done on time and with high quality, I never cared if they did it from a coffee shop, leaching off of McDonald’s wifi, or from their home office with their kids running around in the background(my situation). We once even had a copywriter relocate to Bali for 6 months.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded or joined this company?
I have a pretty good talent stack which makes me finely suited to running content marketing in the tech industry with a core client base in Eastern Europe. That’s not something I set out looking to do when I started, but here we are.
I have a BA in Biochemistry from the University of Kansas(2001) and an International MBA from the Vienna University of Economics and Business in Austria, awarded simultaneously with my International MBA from the University of South Carolina(2006).
I served in the United States Peace Corps from 2002-2004 in Kazakhstan, teaching English, ecology, and chemistry in a village school about an hour southwest of Karaganda. It’s also where I learned to speak Russian.
After working as the Marketing Director for a tourism company in Costa Rica, I created a computer animation company and relocated to Tallinn, Estonia. The animation company ultimately didn’t work out, but I did make many connections in the tech scene in Estonia. So I parlayed those connections into a marketing consulting business in tech. As time went along, I discovered that clients needed specific marketing tasks more than strategic marketing consulting. This included editing texts, copywriting, SEO, explainer videos, and more. I started hiring people to keep up with demand while expanding the services offered, and things snowballed. ReVerb was officially founded in 2017.
Our clients are mostly tech companies based in Eastern and Central Europe, Israel, UAE, and Singapore, but we’re expanding nicely into Western Europe and Scandinavia these days. We’ve worked with around 800 different clients on their content marketing as of writing.
How does your company innovate?
Often, our clients will come to us asking for a new service. If we don’t provide it yet, we’ll see how we can bring people with that specific skill set onboard. Due to our popularity in the tech scene in Eastern Europe, other agencies that provide niche services frequently ask partners to gain access to that market. Sometimes this has led to interesting collaborations; other times, not much. For instance, our popularity in content marketing in Ukraine and Belarus has led influencer marketing agencies from the USA and UK to form strategic partnerships with that in mind. If a service provider isn’t working out, we try someone else.
Other times just going for a long bike ride or long walk is enough to get the creative juices going for me. I’m a big fan of the concept of forest bathing.
Also, because tech is our bread and butter, we usually hear about innovations and trends before they’re widely public, and we can invest and plan with that in mind.
How the Coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you Coping?
Some clients scaled back their content orders. Sometimes they would hold off on major purchases and hire our editors to proofread their English content. Others decided they needed to compete more aggressively in times of scarcity and ordered more. All in all, it kind of balanced out. Then as more clients came out of lockdowns, they also have been ordering more content to keep up. We’re doing well.
I think more clients are looking at inflationary issues, how they affect their business, and how it relates to their customers and vendors. So the ripple effect from monetary issues is certainly something we’re keeping a close eye on.
Did you have to make difficult choices and the lessons learned?
We do have to let people go from time to time. Creatives, by definition, can be quirky people, and managing a lot of them can sometimes be a challenge. With that in mind, ultimately, you have to decide that how an employee is behaving may adversely affect the greater business. You have to make the decision that you value your business and the people and other businesses who rely upon that business, more so than anyone individual’s hurt feelings.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
We like Basecamp, Trello, Slack, Skype, and Telegram. There are many great options for team communications and coordination, and we take advantage of all of them. Google Workspace is also a big part of content production and feedback.
Who are your competitors?
Not to be cliche(okay, let’s be cliche), but we don’t have competitors, just people or agencies we haven’t figured out how to partner with yet. Some agencies have recently contracted with us to white-label all their content for their customers. Other times, a freelancer may have a skill set to which we can subcontract a project and eventually hire full-time. We like to keep an open mind on these things.
And how do you plan to stay in the game?
We keep an eye on innovations that may affect our core services, how we can implement them in our offerings, or be aware of how they may influence our bottom line.
In tech, clients are very skeptical of advertising. With that in mind, the best marketing we have is a referral from a trusted friend who can vouch for the quality of our work. Happy clients keep referring us to their friends.
Your final thoughts
Not sure what to expect in the coming years with the world (hopefully) coming out of the pandemic. With that said, we have the skills, positivity, and flexibility to handle any challenges that come along.
• Spokesperson: Dave Roberts
• Company: ReVerb
• Website: http://www.reverbico.com