Recent fast advancement in digital technologies and relevant changes in consumer behavior are reshaping the world of sales and marketing. As the online world is changing rapidly, the digital market industry is always evolving. The huge potential of on-line real-time connectivity with clients, especially through websites, e-shops, and social networks, has generated seemingly endless possibilities for digital marketing strategies. Logical Media Group (LMG) and The Ocean Agency (TOA) is an independently owned, Chicago based digital marketing agency that specializes in generating qualified website traffic through Search Engine Optimization, Paid Search and Web Design.
Logical originally founded in 2006 as a Chicago SEO company has evolved to a digital traffic generation agency focusing on driving users to its client’s websites in order to convert their traffic into sales. The Ocean Agency was founded in 2003 and is primarily a Web Design Company. The agency spends a great deal of time learning about their clients businesses in order to provide the most cost effective online marketing strategy. It accomplishes this by focusing on the marketing channel(s) that delivers the highest quality leads at the lowest possible cost, which varies depending on a client’s goals, budget and the industry they compete in.
Back and Forth with Chris O’Neill, CEO:
What made you venture into the marketing industry? Why did you select this vertical?
I am a capitalist at heart. Marketing has always been classified as a variable cost for me and when companies marginalize the bottom line or protect themselves in a down economy, marketing is inevitably the first cost to be cut. I noticed in early 2006 that our economy was in the beginning stages of a downturn. Markets were tightening; companies were cutting budgets and battening down the hatches for what was coming. When that happens, marketing costs are most commonly cut. However, I quickly realized that with the advent of the internet, companies were spending more on digital marketing than ever before. These “digital marketing dollars” revolutionized the definition of a marketing expense to me when being viewed on a profit and loss statement. Marketing costs were no longer viewed as a variable cost only, there was now a second definition and that was a fixed marketing cost. If you wanted to stay current and competitive in the digital landscape, you needed to allocate a fixed budget to digital marketing dollars. It was this revolutionary reclassification of marketing expense that gave me the epiphany to invest my time to consult in the direction of digital marketing.
Brief us about your first client and how it all came about.
I marketed myself as a Chicago SEO company when I first started. My first SEO client was a jewelry company called “Wig Jig”. I knew very little about digital marketing so I did my due diligence and got up to speed reading as much literature as I could about the space. I read two books: The first was “The Beginner’s Guide to SEO” from a company called MOZ and the second was a book called “The Unfair Advantage to Winning the Search Engine Wars”, published by a Hawaii based company called Planet Ocean. I essentially did a thesis based book report using these two sources, to apply a digital marketing audit for the Wig Jig website. This document would likely have been valued at around $15,000 to $20,000, but I only charged them $500! It was a rite of passage for me and fully immersed me into the digital marketing space.
What led to the expansion of the company?
The acquisition of The Ocean Agency in 2014 was instrumental to our growth. Prior to the acquisition, Logical Media Group’s go to market strategy had been to partner with web design firms and public relations firms as they needed our services, and in-turn our clients needed theirs. These cross-referral based relationships have always been a tremendous resource for our growth. After we acquired Ocean, we did not dissolve the brand, but consciously kept both brands alive as we want our customers to know that we have a level of expertise in both disciplines. A digital marketing company will tell you they can build a website but in point of fact, what they are good at is digital marketing. The same is true for Chicago website design companies, who will say they will build you an SEO friendly website; however what they are good at is web design, not SEO. Our value proposition to our customers and what separates us from the competition is that we have an expert level of understanding in both digital marketing and web design. Collectively both brands have over 20 years of experience, which with such a young industry is pretty much unheard of.
What are your organization’s greatest attributes?
My philosophy is that there are three P’s in business: The first P is Product; you have to offer something that people want to buy. The second P is Pipeline; you have to have a stream of opportunities (business or people) to sell the first P into. The third P and invariably the most important is People. The first two P’s are nothing without the third P – your people are a huge component to what makes a company great. It is not only management or employees but everyone.
Venerate the Visionary
Chris O’Neill, CEO: A 12 year IBM veteran, O’Neill has worked in Financial Management for IBM Software Group. In 2011 he decided to move on to start his own digital marketing agency. After 10 years of hard work, he is now the owner and CEO of two prominent digital brands in Chicago called The Ocean Agency & Logical Media Group. O’Neill made a conscious effort to combine these two companies but to keep both brand identities operational. A graduate of Boston University, with honors in Economics and Minor in Political Science, O’Neill lives by the words “Work Hard, Stay Humble.”