What’s in a name? Well, if you’re Oodle, the growing Loveland digital marketing agency, it’s about measuring results.
“Oodle is actually a unit of measurement for us. Think about oodles of things,” says Mark Hughes, a founder and chief strategist for the firm, which has clients ranging from UC Health to Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs.
“We think everything in digital marketing should be measurable,” says Hughes who launched Oodle in 2009 with childhood friend Jon Rhoads and his nephew Ryan Hughes.
By any measure Oodle is on the fast track. It cracked the top 1,000 of Inc. Magazine’s fastest-growing private businesses last year, landing at 826th on the Inc. 5000, with a three-year sales growth of 480 percent. It was also on the Business Courier’s Fast 55 list and best places to work and received state tax incentives for plans to add 10 jobs to its current staff of 19 over the next three years.
Pretty good for a company that wasn’t sure what business it was in initially.
“None of us had agency backgrounds,” says Hughes. They started out building websites, something all three partners had done before they were teenagers and before they went on to separate corporate careers.
“We’re business people tackling business problems and we built a marketing agency around how we do that,” says Hughes. “Most marketing agencies start in marketing and bolt on the technical piece later. We’re exactly the opposite.”
Oodle’s different approach extends to its location.
While most marketing agencies opt for an urban site, Oodle’s founders wanted a location that was centrally located for its employees who come from as far as Dayton and Indiana.
“We didn’t want to be downtown but we wanted a downtown vibe…a space that felt like it belonged in OTR,” says Hughes.
They found it on the second floor of a two-story building in Loveland above a pizzeria and a yoga studio.
“We’ve built an office environment that is kind of modern industrial but in the middle of the ‘burbs,” he says.
When it comes to digital marketing, Hughes says, among the biggest mistakes most businesses make is treating it as an after-thought.
“They’re not using digital to drive whatever it is they’re trying to drive,” he says. “They’ll say: ‘Here’s our sales objective, now let’s figure out how to get there,’ and they’ll think of digital last.”
Secondly, he says, many businesses will have different vendors for social media, their website and paid media with no strategy connecting what they are doing.
“One part has to support the other,” Hughes says. “One analogy we use is the bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich. The BLT is a wonderful sandwich, but take away any one part and its not a BLT, it becomes a sad little garnish.”