The History Of Impakt Media (Marketing)
My name is Mike Hudgins and I am the longest standing employee at Impakt Media, an ad agency that has existed since 2013. I was not requested to make this blog, but I wanted to give you guys my own perspective on how Impakt Media went from a brand new business, to almost failing, to the thriving company it is today. This story will be told from my own perspective, but I will adding direct accounts from our owners, Luke Nesler and Jeff Welsh.
Starting From Scratch
I started my internship at Impakt in September of 2014, so a bit over 4 years ago. The company had existed for a little over a year (Impakt was founded March of 2013). Luke and Jeff had just built the company to the point where they needed some internship help. At the time, Impakt literally only had 1 full time employee (Jake Newman, Designer) and two part time employees (Ryan Hull, Video Dude and Megan Woods, Social Media). I cannot express how much respect I have for this initial squad. We were in a shared office with a print design company, which passed us their digital work while we passed them our print work. Back then, all the employees were crammed into one room! This lead to a lot of fun shenanigans. I am really introverted, so this helped me open up a lot. It also didn’t hurt that there was a restaurant across the street that we walked to for lunch beers (shhh don’t tell Jeff).
Our First Explosion
In winter of 2014 Luke really started bringing in a ton of clients. We were experiencing explosive growth. Personally, I attribute this to how well Impakt built it’s social media following locally. Luke and Jeff started setting their sites on a new office location. The owners saw that the team would need to be expanded, so we moved to our current, much more spacious, office.
In my opinion, this was one of the most exciting times in Impakt history. It did come with a lot of risks. For one, Impakt’s lease hadn’t expired yet at the old office, and we were bringing on a lot of new, unfamiliar team members, leading to much higher expenses than previous years. While many of these people were incredible, there were some black sheep among the mix. Enter our first real disaster.
A Hair From Failure
I’m not going to sugar coat this. In summer of 2016, Impakt almost died. Our explosive growth meant that, unfortunately, a few bad apples slipped into our doors. In the process, both owners had built up a substantial amount of debt in order to grow the business. As the only sales person at the company, this put Luke under incredible pressure. He strives in that sort of situation, but this mountain seemed too high for even him to climb. This part of the story is Luke’s to tell, and he talks about it frequently in his videos. I’ll give you guys the abridged version. Luke and Jeff formulated a plan of attack and together (heads down with solid focus) worked tirelessly to dig the company out. Friggin’ heroes dude.
A New Focus
Around this time, George Cicci, our Chief Marketing Officer, started. George brought a lot of new ideas to the company. For one, we started focusing fully on social media rather than being a full service agency. Prior to this, I would say about 50% or more of Impakt revenue came from web development, 40% social media, and 10% video and graphic design work. Since the beginning, Luke was teaching small local businesses how to reach their customers organically on social media. We were already an authority in that area, but we really started doubling down on it. Now I would say a good 85-90% of Impakt revenue comes from social media.
You would think that as the lead web developer, going from working in the department generating the most revenue to a supporting role would be upsetting. To be honest, the web volume we had to pump out before this change was a pain in my petute . Now I have fewer, higher paying/quality web clients, and I can serve them better. Not only that, but I get to take the time to optimize the websites that our social media campaigns are driving traffic to, so being 90% social media means that I get to do practical results-driven work, which I enjoy heavily.
Landing Incredible Clients
Fast forward to 2017. We had just came out of our most stressful year to date and it was time to get serious. Luke started getting into some important circles, and Impakt really started to become a name in the social media advertising space. In 2017, we landed a massive client, NBC Sports. Their project, and the journey to success, is a story of its own. I will say that it was like a TV show where the season finale was on the weekend of McGregor vs Mayweather. We literally all ran the finale of the campaign from Luke’s house during the fight! Comment below if you wanna hear the full story and maybe I will do a writeup similar to this one.
It Was Like A Magnet
Our NBC campaign attracted a ton of huge contracts. It’s like we had this sudden incredible surge of businesses that I never thought we would ever get to work with. I mean hell, we had something special on our hands and we wanted to keep it rolling. This lead us to build out our current incredible social media team. Shoutout to all of them. Lacie Geary, Cristina Dans, Georgia Warder, and George Cicci. While we have more team members in the background, these 4 are the ones that deserve special recognition in my opinion.
Did you notice that I didn’t mention Jeff as much as Luke in the story? That’s because he is the looming shadow in the background that keeps the company functioning. He has been a mentor to me and has helped to build me up to where I am today. We now have an internal system where I can sell Impakt web maintenance services and do the work at the same time. My sales this month accounted for 3% of Impakt revenue, which I know is pathetic but now Luke can’t say he is the only one making sales! Speaking of which we have built out a more organized sales process and are looking for more sales team members. I get a small bonus if someone I refer gets hired past the 3 month trial period, so get to applying, boyos or girlos. Tell em’ Mikey sent ya.
Where We Are Today
We are finishing 2018 as our strongest year yet, by far. Why? Well, for one, we have a sick team. For two, we operate on the philosophy of putting the clients’ needs first (I know this seems obvious but you would be surprised how many agencies seem to struggle with this). Everyone we work with says that our reports, service, and communication are stellar. We retain about 75% of our business, which for an agency is absolutely, positively, incredible. We are always studying the bleeding edge of social media, so that we can maintain our reputation. Enough bragging though. We are still learning new things every day, and we have been building up scaling processes. Mark my words, 2019 will be the year of processes, where we develop out a linear scaling method.
It’s hard to believe that it has only been half a decade since Impakt started. We have had such a rollercoaster of ups and downs since the start. We have had team members depart at the worst times and clients cancel their account for a big chunk of our business. I could keep going for another novel, but I am going to end this here. We are at a crossroads right now, bringing on as many brand new team members as we did during the 2016 disaster. Maybe one day, if all the stars align and I spin around 3 times, I will finally have an office kegerator.
I’ll leave you guys with one of my favorite Impakt clips of all time. We have always had fun as a team, but this outing was a great memory for me.