by Lindsay Odom

MEET THE AUTHOR: Communications Coordinator and Columbia native Lindsay Odom received her degree from Clemson University before joining the Endeavor team in May 2017. In addition to social media responsibilities, Lindsay is interviewing Endeavor members to learn (and share) more about marketing, agency life, entrepreneurship, and what it means to create meaningful work for clients. 

It was a busy day at Endeavor, and I was quickly going through the day’s schedule with Shannon. “Oh,” I remembered, “I’m also interviewing Holly and Caroline for the blog today!”

“Well that’s perfect,” Shannon replied, “because I’m not entirely sure what they’ve been up to lately!” Intrigued by her response, I skimmed 10x digital’s website before preparing my list of questions for the interview. I had some more investigating to do before assuming that 10x digital was just another marketing agency.

I was surprised when President Holly Rollins told me that 10x digital has been around for for 15 years, one of the “oldest” companies in Endeavor. Originally “10x Group,” Holly bought the Tampa, Florida company two years ago. “I knew that the traditional way of doing PR and marketing was going to go the way of the dinosaur if I didn’t pay more attention to the digital world. The company would be left behind,” Holly shared. “It was a good time to marry the geeks with the creative PR people to form 10x digital.”

“We have 30 different clients that are international, regional, and local,” Caroline explained. Whoa, I thought. Fifteen years old, with over 30 clients around the world? Again, I was blown away by another small company doing big business right here in Greenville. “One of our biggest clients is a national security company. They do everything from business and home security to pepper spray and spy wear,” she smiled. “We also work with an international, mega online discount company,” Holly chimed in. “They hire us to get ‘backlinks,’ or national articles that link back to their website.”

Backlinks? This piqued my interest. It’s not something I learned in school, and I was surprised to hear that it’s one of 10x digital’s biggest niches. “We’re one of 15 companies in the U.S. that really knows how to do it well, and organically,” Holly shared. Backlinks are important because they can place your website at the top of most search engines, including Google, so that people are more likely to click on your website. “We also have a core business of managing campaigns through pay-per-click ads to make sure our clients get meaningful results while still using email marketing, website development, and other traditional PR practices.”

Holly has grown 10x digital through networking, word of mouth, and putting 10x digital’s skills to work for her own business. For example, one of their clients hired 10x digital through a blog post Hollly had written. “Sometimes blogs really pay off!” she laughed. Holly enjoys traveling nationally and internationally to visit clients, with her most recent trip to Berlin. She fully believes in the value of meeting face-to-face even in digital marketing.

But I was still curious about 10x digital, and I was wondering what hurdles they do face with international clients. Although their answer seems simple, it’s an issue that’s often overlooked. “Time zones are a big challenge,” Caroline said. “We have a team on the west coast that does a majority of our digital PR. For example, our client may ask a question today, but the west coast is three hours behind, so there’s a delay of at least 12 hours that you have to take into consideration. Thankfully, there’s Skype!” they laughed.

Besides backlinks and pay-per-click ads, there are three main lessons I learned from Holly and Caroline. “Read as much as possible,” Caroline advised. “When I graduated, I wasn’t up to speed about the news or our industry, and some of the things I learned in college were not applicable. Second, both Holly and Caroline agree that interning and getting as much experience as possible in the industry is critical. “I did volunteer work for an advertising club for young professionals. Not only was it for a good cause, but it allowed me to build a professional portfolio,” said Holly. Finally, they both agree that portfolios are a necessity. “Having something tangible that shows what you are capable of is paramount in the business world,” explains Holly.

So, what is the foundation of 10x digital’s portfolio? Analytics. “It’s not only the focus of our clients, but helps sell our own business as well,” explained Holly. “Digital marketing strategies should always be analytics-driven. It was much harder to quantify results 20 years ago, but now everything we do is in real-time –– which allows us to optimize and tweak our campaigns for maximum ROI while they’re running.”