John H. Phillips - CEO, Advantix

Founded in 2001, Advantix Marketing entered the online market just as pay-per-click revenue generation was gaining widespread popularity. By 2008, the company had updated its expertise to incorporate search engine optimization, and since then, it has had to remain on top of changes in the way search results are ranked. In addition, the team has mastered online reputation management and social media marketing to continue to deliver the service and results that customers require.

“You always have to be a visionary in seeing where the next big thing is,” says CEO John Phillips. “Because Google changes its algorithms so frequently, being nimble is part of the game. There are more than 200 pieces to the pie that Google continues to alter.”

Keeping track of it all requires daily investments in research and industry monitoring, he notes. “I spend at least half an hour a day reading. There’s some terrific literature available. Read those people who really know what they’re talking about.”

It takes a team

Collaboration plays a significant role in the company’s success. Google has assigned a team to Advantix Marketing and provides weekly consultations. “We talk about different things to make sure we totally understand Google’s methodology,” Phillips says. “So we make sure we stay close to Google. And actually, we invite them to go over our accounts with us to make sure we’re bringing our customers the very best campaigns possible.”

His commitment to employee development is another key driver of the company’s agility. “I want everybody to learn and get accredited,” he says. “We have training sessions within our own company all the time where we’re telling people who are not in SEO what SEO is about.” That approach equips members of the staff to be promoted or move into new roles as requirements change and needs evolve.

Phillips also has a strategy for retaining talent: “I pay our people handsomely, and I like to give them bonuses during the year as they accomplish different things.” That practice has encouraged employees to seek training on their own, at times without his knowledge. Some members of the staff earned Microsoft Bing certification and told him about it only after they had completed the program. “They’re going out of their way, on their own, without any request from me, to do the right thing,” he says. “I rewarded them very nicely.”

Those rewards extend to autonomy in the workplace. When there’s an opening on the staff, the interviews and selection process are handled not by Phillips, but by the team that will work with the new hire. By delegating that authority, he fosters a greater sense of ownership in the company and its expertise. With every member of the team invested in staying on top of industry trends and emerging challenges, Advantix Marketing builds agility into its operating model and its prospects for continued growth.