Mojo Media Labs recently announced the addition of a second office, acquiring Chicago-based email marketing agency Relish Tray Media at the beginning of 2018. The move is exciting for both companies and will have long-lasting benefits for Mojo Media Labs, its clients and the industry in general. Because of this, we wanted to present some questions to Mojo’s CEO Mike Rose and Relish Tray Media’s CEO Liz Ryan--now President of Mojo’s Chicago office--to get their thoughts about what this means for them, their clients and team members.
First, a question for Mike: When did Mojo start thinking about expanding?
Mike: We knew we needed to first grow internally before we considered an aggressive external growth strategy. The second part was to get our organic (sales process) growth process down before we moved on to an inorganic growth strategy, which was about 6-12 months ago.
Liz, what is your history with Mike, Nikole (President of Mojo Media Labs) and Mojo?
Liz: I met Mike and Nikole through friend and colleague, Steve Krull. Steve has been a trusted friend and business advisor for years and saw the potential of us meeting based on conversations he had had with Mike about growing his business. So, Mike, Nikole and I (along with a bottle of rosé and a couple beers) sat in a conference room on Nov. 15th (2017) and talked about business and life. After a couple hours, I think we all knew it was meant to be, but we played it cool… at least until the next day when we met again and talked about Relish Tray Media becoming Mojo Media Labs. We've been working toward that vision ever since.
Why did you want to partner with Mojo? What was appealing about the company?
Liz: So many things! Mike and Nikole's passion for the success of their team and their clients is probably the biggest. They truly care about creating value as a company for everyone they touch. That carries through to the entire team, who is passionate about learning and delivering on a shared vision. I would also include that our shared vision of what the company can become and how we can get it there made me excited to partner with them. The last I'll mention (I mean we don't have all day) is the smarts. Mike and Nikole are people I am excited to learn from and who I feel will push me to be the best version of me. Then you add the rest of the team members who are an amazing group of talented, intelligent people.
Why did Mojo ultimately decide to acquire Relish Tray?
Nikole: First and foremost, the Relish Tray team is a culture fit. They have the same values and share the same passion to become the employer of choice in Inbound Marketing and Account Based Marketing (ABM). Second, Relish Tray brings subject matter expertise in the area of Inbound Marketing that compliments Mojo’s offering very specifically in the channel of email marketing and marketing automation.
Liz, what strengths do you see in Mojo and what benefits does your team bring to the table?
Liz: Mojo helps us round out our capabilities, including website design and account-based marketing expertise. We're also excited to tap into the team's talent for our Inbound Marketing clients. We'll bring our years of experience in email marketing and marketing automation solutions to enhance Mojo's already strong marketing team.
OK, Liz, we have to know: What’s the story behind the Relish Tray name?
Liz: So the story goes… it was a family joke because my husband was obsessed with pickled products for a while. Making pickles, weird pickled vegetables, etc. and it became a family joke that at every get together there HAD to be a relish tray. So as I thought about the new company I was forming, I thought of how there were different components that went into an email marketing program to make it successful — like how there are different parts of a good relish tray. Also my daughter, who was one and a half at the time was named Olive so it's a nod to her as well.
Great story. What will be the name of the new office, Mike?
Mike: Mojo Media Labs, with offices in Dallas and Chicago.
What are your plans for the future when it comes to expanding or adding teams? Are you open to acquiring more agencies or looking to expand internally?
Mike: Yes. Mojo has an attractive M&A strategic plan to help like-minded agency owners live their dreams. We have an enticing offering to agency owners who are either struggling to grow their agencies, have found themselves as a “solo-prenuer” but wants more or desire to provide more value to their growing client base without the investment; all while keeping an ownership position.
Do you see this strategy as a model for HubSpot agencies? How?
Mike: Potentially. We are starting to see agency consolidation in the inbound marketing space, which is to be expected as the landscape is currently pretty flat. Mojo’s goal is not just to be the biggest inbound and account-based sales and marketing agency, but the best from a culture and client delivery perspective.
Liz, what are your feelings about where marketing is headed in the future?
Liz: I think Marketing is shifting from hyper-targeted demographic communications to situational targeting. What I mean by that is as marketers, especially direct marketers, we've become so focused on targeting the message to the individual that we have lost sight of the fact that customers are multidimensional and are faced with numerous challenges. By using technology, data, content and some common sense, we can build conversations around the situations our customers face and demonstrate how our products or solutions are valuable to them in specific situations. It's not an easy thing to do but by building out robust buyer personas and a communication strategy with the multi-dimensional customer in mind we find our clients are more successful.
I also think the shift of marketing to align more closely with sales for B2B companies is going to become more and more a necessity to success. We've seen the greatest successes in companies who can create a dialog and shared goals between marketing and sales.
Mike and Liz, one last question for you both! What are the most exciting opportunities you feel this partnership will create?
Liz: The most exciting opportunity this partnership will create is our combined "smarketing" superpower for our clients and team members. Combining our teams' Inbound and ABM expertise gives us the opportunity to grow as an advanced Inbound Marketing Agency.
Mike: First, opportunities for our team members, the Mojo Makers. We want to provide advancement opportunities for our talented team so they can better see a long term career path at Mojo. We also want to attract the brightest talent in the industry. As a bigger company, we can impact more lives with more Mojo Makers! Second, as the talent pool rises, so will the results we deliver our clients. We desire not just build a big company, but a great company. And we can’t have that if we don’t have great talent delivering their best work to our clients’ businesses. Mojo strives to deliver our clients reliable data for better decision making, improved business development processes and be great to work with. Liz and her team fulfills all of this and so much more!