‘It’s a huge market’: How King Kong overcame limiting beliefs ahead of launching in four international markets

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Sabri Suby, founder and head of growth at King Kong. Source: Supplied.

Australian digital advertising agency King Kong has launched internationally in four new markets, after surpassing its revenue target of $20 million this financial year.

It’s yet another milestone in the agency’s seven-year journey, which began in the founder’s bedroom on a hand-me-down laptop in 2014.

“We were getting to a position where the scales were tipping,” King Kong founder and head of growth Sabri Suby tells SmartCompany.

“There’s a lot of interest coming outside of Australia and we feel that it’s time to have a presence in those markets,” he says.

Overcoming limiting beliefs

The moment Suby realised that King Kong had the potential to grow overseas was when he started to service clients abroad.

“When I started this business in my bedroom seven years ago, I was always limited by the belief that we were a local digital marketing agency,” he says.

“Therefore, we had to service people in our market.”

At first, he says, a similar limiting belief influenced his ideas about what expanding globally should look like.

However, that changed after an increasing stream of international clients sought out his services, even though King Kong’s headquarters are in Melbourne.

“The same limiting belief around having to be in those countries and have entire operating teams there was broken down by people hearing about us, by hearing about the results that we’re getting,” he says.

The international launch, which kicked off on Thursday in New Zealand, the US, the UK and Canada, includes a plan to “put more bums on seats” and roll out an “aggressive” marketing campaign.

Guaranteeing results

Suby says King Kong sets itself apart from most digital marketing agencies by shunning what he calls ‘vanity metrics’ and instead guarantees results.

It’s a strategy that has won King Kong numerous accolades as a fast-growing company, including securing a spot in SmartCompany’s Smart 50.

“The digital marketing space is littered by vanity metrics, and that’s people hiding behind how many views your ads get and how many clicks you got to your campaign,” he says.

“But when it actually comes to talking hard numbers with clients, everyone is shying away.”

King Kong guarantees a return on advertising spend, and if clients aren’t satisfied with their return, the business offers clients their money back.

“So that’s been a huge point of difference for us and it has obviously resonated very well in the northern hemisphere,” Suby says.

Launching internationally

The Australian digital advertising agencies industry is growing at a faster rate than the economy, boosted by the increasing popularity of digital marketing solutions.

Industry revenue has increased by 8.1% each year over the last five years to total $2.3 billion, according to IBISWorld.

And analysts don’t expect it to slow down. IBISWorld estimates the industry’s revenue will increase by an average of 11.6% each year from 2021 to 2026.

Suby says launching in the UK, the US, Canada and New Zealand will involve growing the local team in King Kong’s headquarters in Melbourne and hiring more staff overseas.

Currently, King Kong has a 65-strong team, and Suby says the head office has the capacity to increase that number to 150.

“We’ll keep all the hard skills in house, all the technical staff, paid search, Facebook ads, funnels and copywriters,” he says.

Overseas, King Kong will recruit more locally based account managers and sales representatives, backed by a comprehensive marketing campaign to promote the launch.

“Whenever we do anything, we go all out, so the big thing for us is aggressively marketing,” he says.

The launch is expected to expose King Kong to 100 million small businesses around the world — that’s 98 million more than Australia’s 2 million small businesses.

“It’s a huge sized market and basically that is what has got us excited,” Suby says.

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