“Digital marketing differently”: Gary Nissim on building Indago Digital

Indago Digital

“We are back to pre-covid numbers which, considering we took a 70% hit, I think is pretty awesome.”

The IMAA, the national, not for profit industry association for independent media agencies launched last year.

Since then it has continued to grow its membership base and make a series of big announcements, including its trade credit deal and a number of new media partners.

Mediaweek has been profiling members of the IMAA – previous features can be found here. This week we spoke to the managing director of Indago Digital Gary Nissim.

Nissim pinpointed his return to the GroupM owned agency, Outrider, as one of the key stepping stones to launching his own shop.

“Outrider was the perfect stepping stone for running my own agency as it flew under the radar due to it being unprofitable. I was able to bring in my own team, product, tools, process and culture but all the while taking advantage of the support an agency group provides; finance, HR, training and clout. We beat targets and no one bothered us.”

After three years the business was profitable and Nissim said that he had two realisations. The first was all clients and employees were friends of the senior management team, and secondly, there was limited growth potential for him at GroupM.

“At that point, I knew what I needed to do: resign and build my own agency, but first I looked to raise seed capital. What amazed me was how many people were interested in investing in a service based business. However, I never took the money, best move I made.

“It’s brought me peace, happiness, and most importantly control, which was the main reason I set up Indago. I enjoyed my time at the various agency groups I’ve work for and have a lot of respect for them, but I set up Indago as I wanted to do digital marketing differently.”

Things moved fast from there with Nissim quitting his job and starting Indago Digital without any seed capital, buying a house, and also having his first baby in the space of three weeks. 

“I landed my first client within the opening month whom I owe everything to – Jeremy Reitman – who was back then head of digital for the rebranded Hello World. He’d been a previous client when he was at Expedia and had quickly become a great friend.

“A week after, I landed my second client, Contiki, through another industry legend Tim Connew whom I met through my newborn babies mother’s group. I didn’t even have a sales deck, totally winged it and ended up working with Contiki for four years before they brought their digital marketing inhouse. The next cab off the rank was starting to work with the newly employed and amazingly talented Rebecca Newton at Crown Resorts and Casinos, although Rebecca moved on we’re still working with Crown seven years later.”

How Covid-19 affected the buisness

With Indago Digital having a focus on travel and hospitality, the company suffered huge losses last year.

“We had clients go bankrupt on us and some simply refused or couldn’t pay their bills. Luckily I never wanted to be a bank, so we don’t pay for client’s media, which limited our exposure. We were nearly 70% down year-on-year but we threw our resources into targeting industries that were not only riding the Covid wave but were dominating it and our client base is totally different 12 months on. Much more focus on fintech, professional services and government.”

This includes the recent announcement of new clients in Nestle Professional, Eclipx Group and the City of Parramatta, but Nissim said that the company was able to stay afloat thanks to cutting the budget and government support

“To be honest it is more like 12 new clients in the past 12-15 months. We were massively down and took a huge beating. I think we were the first agency to move to four days a week and we culled expenditure really heavily before the whole thing really kicked off in Australia. And then we had to re-build.

“Job Keeper saved us, there is no here or there about it. The Job Keeper was perfect for us and allowed us to ride out the storm and gave us the opportunity to land new clients in different verticals and build ourselves back up.

“We are back to pre-covid numbers which, considering we took a 70% hit, I think is pretty awesome.”

Indago Digitals specialisations 

Nissim described Indago Digital as honest, passionate, loyal and as always trying to do right by their clients.

“We specialise in acquisition media and in Australia, search marketing is still the best acquisition media out there so that’s what we’re best at – paid search and SEO.”

Being a memeber of the IMAA

Nissim is a proud member of the IMAA and said that his agency has enjoyed the benefits.

“The barrier to entry was low, I love what they’re trying to achieve and the ‘whole is greater than the sum of its parts’. To date, it’s been great. I got a free choc top courtesy of Val Morgan but had to watch the worst film of the decade in Godzilla vs. Kong, I have attended numerous education sessions, and benefitted from their PR.”

Nissim said that the indie sector is doing well because they offer accountability in the quality of their work.

“When I’m picking a service provider the first question I ask is; ‘Do you own the business?’. Do I want a privately owned business or a corporation to install my kitchen, teach my kid guitar or detail my car? I want a privately owned business where the owner cares about his / her brand and understands that their reputation is only as good as their last job.

“Marketing is no different and as technology has levelled the playing field Indie’s have increasingly become a better option. The heads of all the business units at Indago are owners and therefore naturally incentivised to provide great account management and drive world leading results. I assume a lot of indie’s are similar in that regard.”

If you are interested in hiring Indago Digital you can visit their website here.

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