Smart50 Awards 2018

17 Yoghurt Digital

Revenue

$2.01 million

Growth

162.71%

Founders

Michael Laps (30), Ian Fong (31), Matthew Fozan (31)

Head Office

Sydney

Employees

21

Industry

Marketing and communications

Website

yoghurtdigital.com.au

Yoghurt Digital is the brainchild of three friends with a shared background in digital marketing, who had become “dispirited by underhand tactics” used by some SEO agencies to get quick wins for clients, says co-founder Michael Laps.

The trio set out to apply data — rather than opinion — to marketing strategies, in order to assess what was and wasn’t working. The business made just over $2 million in revenue last year, marking growth of 163%.

“In working for other agencies, all three of us noticed that our clients were looking to understand what was happening behind the scenes. The devil is in the data. Data doesn’t lie,” Laps says.

But being a new player in a traditional sector is “a double-edged sword”, he says.

The business strives to bring a new approach to the industry, which gives it a competitive edge. But at the same time, it doesn’t have an existing stable of clients to draw on.

“It’s no secret that success breeds success, and in the early stages of Yoghurt, battling larger, more established agencies for clients was a big challenge for us.”

The fledgling business decided to play to its strengths. Rather than comparing itself to incumbents, it tried to set itself apart through “sharing how data builds transparency”.

The founders have been thinking about the best options for an exit strategy right from the beginning, Laps says.

Strategic acquisitions are becoming more common in the marketing industry, with large consultancies hoping to bolster their skills, and international agencies looking to acquire smaller, specialist agencies in particular markets.

“We’ve spent so much time working on our company culture and investing in our human resources that any potential acquisition would need to be the right culture fit,” Laps says.

“So much of our success is about our team, that if we were tied into any earnout strategies, we would need to be sure the entity that acquires us sees our vision and the value our team brings to that.”

While an acquisition isn’t on the cards just yet, Laps says the company has started working on structural frameworks that would make it possible.

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