Today we have selected Frank Rojas to take his interview. He is the Managing Director of Qode Media.
First of all, how are you and your team doing in these COVID-19 times?
Our wonderful and diverse team at Qode Media like most teams in the Digital Marketing space has had to adapt to the new “normal” imposed by this challenging worldwide pandemic. However, the spirits of the team are high and the transition from office work to remote work has been fairly seamless.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded or joined this company? How does your company innovate?
I have been working in the digital marketing industry for almost a decade now. I was one of the first to join Qode Media back in 2012 and it has been a unique learning experience and opportunity. Coming from a country like Cuba, where the internet was unavailable to most of people, where the online advertising industry was virtually non-existent (with the exception of political propaganda).
It was a most definitely welcome challenge. Since then, I have been actively involved in getting Qode Media to become a Google Partner, a Microsoft Advertising Professional, a Facebook Marketing Agency, and a member of Forbes Agency Council.
Qode Media is always innovating. You have to if you want to survive in such a competitive landscape like digital marketing in North America. One of the ways we innovate is by embracing automation and being involved in the creation and implementation of applications that solve problems in the Auto Industry, Health Field, and Social Media, to name a few.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business and how are you Coping?
Toronto, where our headquarters are located, is one step short of a curfew and it has been affected by Covid since it was declared a pandemic in March 2020. We were affected, mainly in the first months because many of our clients who are brick and mortar businesses like Law offices, Dentist, Clinics, etc had to close their doors to face-to-face clients and this had a negative effect on their business and their digital marketing budget as a consequence.
On the other hand, the pandemic has opened new opportunities. Any business that had not invested in the digital space was hit harder and therefore had to make a decision to move quickly into the online space. This means businesses reassess their goals and make the decision of investing in digital assets like a website, SEO, or Paid Ads on Google or Facebook.
Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?
Fortunately, our team is young and tech-savvy, and our work does not require a physical location, so our move from Office work to remote (home) work was relatively easy and un-disruptively. We provided our employees with the assets they needed to perform their work.
Of course, there was a period of adaptation. I, for one, prefer working in the office, socializing with my team, and reaping the benefits of group brainstorming. But once you set up your workspace to your liking and modify your routine, the transition is completed.
What specific tools, software and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
We use CRM tools like Atlassian or Hubspot. We use different video conferencing tools. It is normal for us as a team to jump from a Skype or a Microsoft Team call to a client Zoom or a Google Meet video conference or a chat on Slack.
Also, the Management team is aware of the cons that come from working remotely and the stress and anxiety that a crisis like this pandemic can generate on our team, and so we have been working on initiatives to help the team with mental health.
Examples of these are Wellness Wednesdays, team member-led presentations where team members use their creativity and present to the team on topics related to motivation, inspiration, health, and wellness. We have also conducted Yoga sessions, breathing, and meditation exercises.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Our competitors are other digital agencies in North America and the world for that matter. Toronto is a very competitive market with hundreds of Digital Agencies. However, we have consistently managed to stay on the top for 9 years. Just search “SEO Toronto” or “Social Media agency Toronto” and our websites are always on the top results in Google.
Our mission has always been to unite brands with audiences, and this means providing our clients with the best possible service at a competitive price. We have clients that have been with us since the start and we appreciate their loyalty. Understanding the clients, listening to their concerns and goals, and finding the right digital marketing solution are at the center of our strategies.
Your final thoughts
The most valuable capital in our company is the human capital, as it is supposed to be. Making sure that we hire well, that we keep our team motivated and healthy are our priorities. Teamwork has been key to survive and thrive. It is a way to show appreciation and love for what we do and for our team. Paraphrasing Nobel-Prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez, it is love in times of COVID!