Digital Marketing is no longer for just the big boys

Ammo Somal

Ammo Somal

Ammo is an engaging writer, researcher, and communicator, with a penchant for humor. Back in the UK, he worked in communications and creative for everything from insurance companies to video game festivals. Ammo’s skills as a content/multimedia coordinator have been honed through creating and managing content and planning multiple editorial ventures.

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Why did we start Phlywheel? Well, Once upon a time, there was a businesswoman who ran her own boutique law firm. 

In the industry, we call these SMBs (small-to-midsize businesses). When you consider that 98% of all businesses in our neck of the woods (Canada) have fewer than 100 employees, you can see why they’re so important… yet so excluded from reasonable marketing costs. 

This law firm owner needed help guiding her business development strategy. Considering one of our slogans is, “you need a strategy,” you’d think this was a match made in professional heaven. Unfortunately not. She couldn’t afford our agency rates — understandably.

Of course, Phlywheel CEO Tara Hunt wanted to slash those rates, but it would mean she’d put her business (and all of us) in jeopardy. The costs associated with agencies is something that she’s since talked about in length. These escalating costs are what is leading to more and more brands to bring their marketing in house and leaving the marketing agency landscape closer to extinction. It’s a vicious cycle. The only agencies that could survive this shift are the already-established Big Boys. We’re not one of them, nor did we want to be. 

But this isn’t about us. It’s about how many SMBs so desperately need guidance, but due to costs, are unable to get what they need. Supporting local and independent SMBs is great on the consumer side — but what does it matter if, on the other side, agencies are unable to lower prices to help them reach the next step? 

Building a platform for the little brand

Determined to help, we set out to build a community platform, where we could scale our services to reach more businesses — like the boutique law firm. We spent the last year prototyping, mapping, testing, and building this platform, and now, it’s here (we launched July 13). We wanted to tell our story of how we changed our business model, and why this was so important to us. And it wasn’t easy (or cheap). 

Put simply, our goal is to scale the expertise and guidance you would get from an agency, but at incredibly accessible rates. This helps us, and it helps you. You’ve heard of S.a.a.s (software as a service)? Well, we’re agency as a service… A.a.a — actually, let’s just stick with the long-form.

Rolling with the tide

If brands are bringing their marketing efforts in house, we either latch on to the dwindling number of clients until that inevitable day — which many small agencies will, unfortunately, experience  — or we roll with the tide. We choose to roll. Instead of seeing this shift as a threat, we’re using it as an opportunity to help medium-sized brands make that in-house transition as smooth as possible. We’re not just for boutique owners. We’re also here to provide support and training to new in-house teams who are still figuring it all out.

Eleanor Hanwell

Marketing Manager

“I’m a Marketing Manager for a technology company in London. My background is quite varied and although I’ve always done some marketing tasks in previous roles, I only really came to a full marketing role quite late in life and without any real ‘training’. In previous roles, I’ve learned on the job and been part of a team where the collaborative nature meant you could learn from one another. In my current role, I am the only one in marketing and because I work from home it can be quite isolating. 

I found Phlywheel on Twitter and was drawn to both the sense of community and the learning aspects. Being able to learn outside of my day to day job was a plus, as I just don’t have time to do it at work. The webinars are really informative. I’m also halfway through a Fasterclass and hoping I can do the second half live. Although I think live aspects are great because I’m in a different time zone I really appreciate that the learning can be done anytime, too. 

The community aspect has been a godsend! For someone who is isolated and doesn’t currently work with other marketers, it’s just been great to know that there are other people to talk to and discuss things with. It’s also reminded me of just how much fun marketing can be if you are with the right people. It’s definitely given me a sense of rejuvenation and a kick up the bum (in a good way!) Phlywheel has helped me to feel less alone and in a lot of ways less like an imposter. 

Omar Hernandez

Director Of Business Development

“I’m a Co-Founder and Chief Business Development Officer at BioRetail. We needed to learn how to speak to an audience, find ways to identify who wants to hear what we have to say, and also those who don’t know what we do yet (but could be interested.) 

We’ve learned how to better communicate what we do and why it’s so important (positioning). How to understand our audience’s Jobs To Be Done and apply it. Now, we’re currently learning about community building. Outside of the course materials, Phlywheel’s Knowledge Center is also like Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory for strategists! The functioning of the community by itself is an example of how we should collaborate. And it is inspiring to belong to something greater than ourselves. Being a part of something bigger.

Our core need is now miles behind us. Phlywheel has helped me much more than I expected. We knew that we had to use “moments that matter”, but we now understand how to fill them. We knew we wanted to build an ecosystem. Phlywheel has taught us how to build those communities that will inhabit our ecosystem.”

Angela Crocker

Founder and CEO

“While, technically, I’m a small business owner, I think it’s more constructive to share from the perspective of my marketing students… many of whom are SMBs. The universal pain point I see is that they don’t know what they don’t know. There’s so much out-of-date or clickbaity information available that it’s nearly impossible for them to cut through the digital clutter to get to the good stuff. Happily, Phlywheel is all good stuff with current information AND community built-in.”

The best part about Phlywheel is everyone gets something out of it and can give something back in return. If that’s not what community is about, I don’t want any part of it! On a personal level, belonging to such a unique movement is what does it for me.

We may be for small-midsize businesses, but now, we’re a large-sized community, too.

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Phlywheel is a DIY marketing platform built for agile marketing teams. Through our core pillars of community, content, and coaching, we simplify the digital marketing landscape for entrepreneurs and makers, providing the skills and tools needed to execute successful marketing strategies.

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