Magazine Store

50 Innovative Companies to Watch 2020

An Interview with Charles Anderson, GAT Marketing CEO: ‘We Do Not Look for Small Improvements as Our Focus has Been Finding Hidden Gems that are Ready to See Large Growth Through a Concerted Effort’


“We have been lucky to build an expert level knowledge base for our team to maximize results for our clients.”

Internet usage, both on desktops and mobile, has been increasing at an exponential rate over the last decade. In recent months, users have defaulted to their electronic devices as a window to the world, providing a unique opportunity for businesses.

Unfortunately, a lot of companies don’t delve into the online advertising space. Those that do usually fall far short of the audience their online presence is capable of reaching.

In light of the foregoing, we’re pleased to present GAT Marketing — a full-service agency specializing in digital advertising, creative services, and marketing strategies.

The company was incorporated in 2013 and is headquartered in Bingham Farms, MI.

Charles Anderson, GAT Marketing CEO, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.

Q. Explain your services in brief.

GAT Marketing is an outdoor and firearms industry-focused full-service agency. We work typically as an agency of record delivering marketing strategies, ad creative, and public relations to firearms retailers and manufacturers. However, our core digital initiatives…advertising, email marketing, and website redesigns…focus around increased SEO listing and simple e-commerce-focused navigation that deliver increased conversions and direct return on investment. This complete approach allows us to have the control needed to ensure an increase in meeting our clients’ key performance indexes. With limitations imposed by Google and Facebook, we have learned to be creative in the manner and platforms we use to reach potential consumers for our clients. In short, we have developed ways to achieve above standard results in an incredibly non-standard market.

Q. How do you bridge the gap between offline and online marketing services?

This was a huge personal challenge for me, coming from the digital market to an industry that was very much focused on, and financially dedicated to traditional advertising. Initially, education was the first hurdle as many of the companies in this sector did not have any background or understanding of digital options and were highly skeptical of promised claims, such as verifiable proof of sales that could be directly connected to digital strategies and actions. As we move further into the digital age, more and more clients have warmed to the idea of investing in digital marketing but many are still primarily anchored in traditional options. As a result, we work hard to balance some of the old with some of the new to enhance and build brand awareness, while working to tie digital efforts to trackable increased sales.

Q. Is online presence an integral part of a marketing campaign? How can a business choose the right advertising avenue?

Businesses need to have an online presence in today’s digital market space. I would always recommend testing multiple channels to find out where your demographic is most responsive. Having a website that represents your brand is essential and, in many cases, as important as that first handshake used to be. This is where someone sizes you up to determine if they identify with your brand and if what your company has to offer supports their goals. Beyond that, social media and search engine tools are also important strategic tools to reach the broadest audiences and support your brand as well as sales efforts. In our niche, however, many of those channels (Facebook, Instagram, etc.) and common tools like Google, have implemented strict policies that block our clients from using them, since we are promoting firearms and industry-related products. As a result, we are forced to leverage educational articles with direct response tactics to reach and engage users outside the typical platforms. It is often not about what the right platform is and more about what is needed to be done using the platforms you have available to you.

Q. Effective SEO means you rank high. Sites that rank high are targeted by competitors who want a slice of the SEO pie, which means you’re always on your toes. How do you manage to keep yourself ahead of the curve?

SEO is something that we have invested in heavily both with continued education and finding the right team members willing to get their hands dirty. We have been lucky to build an expert level knowledge base for our team to maximize results for our clients. Since SEO is not as restricted as are many of the other options, it is a great way for us to connect our clients with their potential customers. The integration of traditional print media into a digital format has created a platform for republished content online. These articles have allowed us to generate content-driven traffic from high ranking sites, as well as build link credibility and relevance on major search engines. The combination of these factors continues to enhance our clients’ rank and can result in additional traffic that generates sales.

Q. You could update all your content and website features and still not find that your site has improved. Is it possible to promise results?

In 20 years of working with clients, I have never seen a company without some low hanging fruit that could be optimized. GAT does not look for small improvements though, as our focus has been finding hidden gems that are ready to see large growth through a concerted effort. We look at clients as partners, so we do not accept every or even most potential clients. We only accept clients who are genuinely willing to innovate and work in partnership to achieve dramatic results. During the initial stages, our team leaders review ad materials, budget, and the potential client’s website. Our discernment process allows us to stake our fee as the guarantee of our clients’ success. So far we have not given any client money back. While it’s risky for us and difficult to achieve, we truly can guarantee results.

Q. Business owners trying to compete in this highly competitive market usually find themselves facing a dilemma with their digital marketing campaign. How do you help them find the right tool that they can use and focus on?

There is no single ‘right tool’. GAT Marketing takes a holistic approach so that the entire strategy is enhanced by a variety of tools and components specifically tailored to the individual client’s needs, goals, and industry. While some clients find greater success on one platform more than on another, that single platform is not independently successful across the board. GAT Marketing’s success is built upon multiple touchpoints of marketing, and working in collaboration with and support of our clients. In our experience, a successful collaboration significantly outperforms any singular tool individually. The adage of the whole is greater than the sum of its parts is a fundamental basis for our strategy.

Q. What are your trajectories for the next five years?

Our hard work and dedication to our clients resulted in incredible growth for our agency and we are honored to be recognized as number 177 on the INC. 500 list this year. Still, we have no plans to slow down anytime soon. Growth above 300 percent is incredibly hard to maintain, but we are looking at a variety of innovative actions in response to the shifting markets including the addition of sectors outside the firearms industry to our business model. Expanding the portfolio of services to our existing clientele and attracting new clients will also be required to achieve the growth that we seek. We are modifying our business structure, moving away from a physical office location, and transitioning to the energies that can be achieved remotely by onboarding an incredible team of workers from anywhere in the US. A remote team offers new opportunities for a diversity of ideas in the service of our growing client base.

“GAT Marketing takes a holistic approach so that the entire strategy is enhanced by a variety of tools and components specifically tailored to the individual client’s needs, goals, and industry.”