Jan 2013

Wow – what a year! Here at Happy Marketer, 2012 was an absolutely whirlwind year. And as we take a breather now in late January (the first few weeks into 2013 were a busy dash for us), let me quickly recap the year for you – our friends, clients, fans, team members and everyone else rooting for us along this awesome marathon.

4X’ed our Revenues & Client Base

Let’s start with our size. We quadrupled our business from 2011. To help us along that journey we added lots of awesome new clients to our agency business, including NTU, SUTD, Tiger Airways,, Blum, Park Hotel Group, Far East Hospitality, Spuul, Amity University, NAFA, Intuit, BDO, HarryQ, AyurSlim, MNC Saatchi, Clipper Tea, Outback Steakhouse, Mumbo Club, TrustSphere and many more names protected by confidentiality.

And these companies, joined our old agency clients StarHub, Phillip Capital, Naumi Hotel, The Pathlight Centre, JobStreet, Rang Mahal. To satisfy these clients, we’ve also supplemented our traditional SEO, SEM and Google Analytics services with newer Facebook Page Management, Facebook Fan Generation and Web Video Marketing services.

And we reached out to 6X more training clients – and some of the new additions include Google, Visa, Singapore Sports Council, Republic Poly, Burda, Dunbar Jones, Koelnmesse, MDIS, Wisma Mendaki, SP Jain, ISEC, Strata, MapleCommerce, Qais, iNeo, Avantworks, NCS, GetITcomms, ad Tech and many more participants who joined us for our corporate trainings and Google Classroom program.

We also started fruitful new relationships with many media partners – Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Network18 and many more. With our combination of media sales, tools training and thought leadership exercises, we’ve solidified these relationships in 2012 and have great initiatives planned for 2013.

Grew the team from 4 to 14

In 2012, we grew from a team of 4 to 14 – with new Consultants joining us with a focus on Social Media, SEO, Google Analytics, and Web Video. Each new member brought a huge amount of energy to the team. Probably the most interesting change with this many people is the sheer volume of meetings we suddenly have! With extra hands, we’ve gotten a lot better at keeping track of projects, having project reviews several times a day, and keeping in touch with our clients.

Of course, 14 folks (plus interns, freelancers, consultants and other people who roll in and out) needed a place to call their own. We made some big expansions in terms of office space. Apart from our new office which we had gotten at the end of 2011, we also got a much larger space in Tanjong Pagar (making-of video here) and our very first office in Bangalore (intro video here). Setting up each one of those places with our Happy Marketer colors, wall themes, photos, posters, 80s retro games and furniture were fun projects in themselves!

Saw a huge growth on Social Media

Our Facebook page is a constant source of amazement – 7,700 Likes on our page and over 300 posts that resulted in tens of thousands of likes and comments. There were many different kinds of posts here that were popular – viral content at the right time, intro to our new team members, our own videos and commentary probably the biggest culprits. The whole initiative was managed by Prantik Mazumdar and gets us in the eyes of tens of thousands of well wishers each month.

Our YouTube channel received 15 new videos – with 22,000+ views on our Happy Hour videos. Our videos ranged from whimsical, to informative, to discussive, to salesy. Through it all, the videos made such a huge impact on our sales and brand visibility, that we had to start a brand new video division to manage all the Web Video projects we’ve gotten! The entire video initative was managed by David Liem, and is probably the most memorable way people remember Happy Marketer now.

Our email newsletter kicked off in 2012 and grew to over 5,500 subscribers. With a format tailored towards a quick view of all the major news, views and highlights in digital marketing, we received a lot of comments praising this summary format. Among the many topics we covered every month – Social Media, Facebook, SEO, Google Analytics, Search Advertising, Web Videos, Mobile Marketing, Websites, Singapore News and occassion specific themes (Olympics etc). The email initiative was managed by Rachit Dayal, and helps thousands of marketers in Singapore keep abreast with digital marketing news.

Learnt Tough Lessons & Experienced Growing Pains

Such massive growth was also a time of great lessons. Here were some of the tough situations we faced in 2012:

  • Huge increase in project management and stress – fortunately, our growing team was passionate enough to put in 60-80 hour weeks in tough periods during the first half of 2012 to survive this. The second half of 2012 has been all about hiring, and improving efficiency so we can all have a more normal workload while delivering on our promises to clients.
  • Non payments by clients – it had to happen some time. We encountered our first client who was in financial trouble and couldn’t pay us anything despite months of work. It was a tough but essential lesson on learning about our legal options, and better practices to weed out potentially problematic projects early on.
  • Hiring & talent – finding talent in Singapore has gotten harder & harder. And the government’s tough visa rules forced us to start our India operations to find the right talent for the team. While we’ve managed to find real gems in both Singapore and India, and built a team we’re proud of, the whole process for every hire took about 3X as long as we initially anticipated.

Our Trajectory in 2013

We jump into 2013 feeling very buoyant about where we’re placed right now – fantastic work to boast of, happy clients who trust in us, and a team that’s made up of truly “Happy” Marketers. Here are the highlights of what we’re working on this year:

  • Our First Round of Funding – To date, we’ve been self funded and profitable from day 1. But as we continue scaling goals that drift further and further into “dream” territory, we’ll need the guidance and financial resources to make an impact and reach our potential. We’ve begun talking to investors and this move is designed to help us deliver better results to clients.
  • Rapid Scaling Up of the Team – Our growth has been faster than expected. And despite a looming depression, the growth of our clients’ investments into digital marketing will ensure we have a lot more work in 2013. To that end, we’re on a hiring and training spree to ensure we’re ready and trained to deliver the best work in our industry.
  • Much, much more Education & Visibility – Our video team is raring to create more content around Digital Marketing. And apart from the Happy Hour videos, we’re also creating some great new videos series in conjunction with other publishing partners. Plus, we’ve got juicy plans for our Facebook Page and Newsletter this coming year.

So, that’s a quick summary to our year. We’re very thankful to every team member, client, fan and well wisher who spends their precious time with us. Did we impact you in any way in 2012? If so, sound out in the comments below.

Rachit Dayal

Is the Managing Partner at Happy Marketer, and handles clients with needs in Web Analytics, Search Engine Optimization, Google AdWords, Website Design and Conversion Consulting.

As Singapore’s first Qualified AdWords Professional and one of the first Analytics Qualified Professionals in the region, Rachit has been on the forefront of search marketing in Singapore since 2004.

But as this industry comes into maturity, he believes now is when the fun is starting – when clients dare to dream of exciting campaigns, and we can finally show tangible positive ROI from all marketing campaigns.