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Audio transcript

Narrator: Hi! Welcome to “Test It Out,” Propelrr’s premier podcast production that helps you scale ideas testing for marketing your business and products.

Listen to us as we dive deep into experimentation programs, and how it drives success for leaders in the digital marketing industry.

In this episode, let's talk about how Propelrr started, where it is now, and what it aims to bring to the future of our booming digital marketing industry.

Veronica:   Hi, I’m Veronica, you can also call me Begs. I’m the Business Unit Head of Digital Marketing at Propelrr. I’ve been with Propelrr for 9 years.

Dexter: Hi everyone, my name is Dexter, Business Unit Head of Technology.

Mitch: I’m Mitch Viray. I'm currently the Vice President of Propelrr and the Co-founder.

Gary: I’m Gary Viray, the founder of Propelrr.

Narrator : Propelrr has been braving the online marketing space since 2008, and incorporated in 2010 – a time when businesses didn’t even realize the greater potential of digital marketing.

Sure, there were businesses already doing search engine optimization or SEO, at that time; but as hungry innovators, Gary and the team knew that they needed to, and can push the boundary much further.

After meticulous research and analysis of market trends, they uncovered data that pointed to the need for a drastic change for their brand as it existed, then.

Mitch Viray, Propelrr’s co-founder and vice president, tells us about the humble beginnings of the company as Search Opt Media, Inc, and the services they initially provided for their clients – how it sufficed in 2010 and how, as the market evolved, they needed to adapt.

Mitch: Search Opt Media, Inc.'s primary focus was on SEO and the majority of our clients before were foreign.  When we noticed that the local market started to give importance to SEO and other digital marketing services, we knew it was time to capture this market and be ahead of the ball game.

So in 2014, we officially launched Propelrr as a digital marketing agency.

It's still under the Search Opt Media Inc., but we just rebranded and added a tagline of Drive Digital Differently.

So we came up with the framework that combines structure and creativity in executing an effective digital marketing service. not just for foreign clients,  but also including the locals there in the Philippines. This framework was a product of data, research, learning, and experience.

Narrator: And differently, they did drive digital – benefitting not just partner clients, but Propelrr itself, as well.

Here in Propelrr, we make sure to not just do what our clients want to do. We make sure that we make a difference for both partners and colleagues in digital marketing.

Veronica: We know all too well that we can't be a 'me too' agency.

We know and we are confident that we can do better than others. So our database and customer experience approach makes (sic) us different back then.

We were also very clear that we are not the kind of agency who would say yes and who would always give our nod to our clients, and as a result of that, we lost a few engagements.

But we were able to land projects and on-board a number of local and global ones, which are a good fit for us. Clients where we know that we can make a difference. And then came Propelrr, an ambitious, and ballsy group of digital marketers who are driving digital differently since 2014.

Narrator: But not everyone is quick to see the value of radical ideas and how they can benefit businesses. The shift from being just a search-focused company to a more data-driven digital marketing was a bold move.

And although it may be bold, much of the market wasn’t ready to entertain the thought – let alone implement it in their business structures.

The big moves seemed so small and under-valued in a landscape that was relatively blind to the potential growth found in digital marketing.

Dexter: We positioned ourselves back then as, um, a “David” to the existing “Goliaths” in the digital world, ‘no? We wanted to always be the challenger, if that’s the right term. We always wanted to challenge what was already being done.

Dexter: Propelrr was created to challenge what was done in digital, so that’s why our tagline - we drive digital differently - was conceptualized; was created.

So, um, it has always been like that. We think of ourselves like one that seeds ideas, new ideas, new concepts to our clients and to the whole industry. And I'd say we did not veer off from that idea to always challenge what was existing, to continuously prove what was being done. Not only inside Propelrr but within the industry.

Narrator: “Drive digital differently” and “to continuously challenge what was existing.”

It sounds like an ambitious way of thinking for a startup pitching a concept of marketing that’s little-acknowledged in the old days.

But at Propelrr, we like our goals big and audacious.  And we and our client partners believe we can achieve this because of a specific set of skills that are necessary for any brand that wishes to thrive online.

These would be practicing due diligence in research, and data analysis.

But in the landscape today, anyone can do research, and data is available to anyone who knows how to dig them up.

With that, how then, does Propelrr continue to “do digital differently”?

Gary: We have always been research-focused. We’ve always been that company that looks into data and interprets data, and from there, we choose and come up with our strategies and our concepts. It has always been that ever since.

What makes Propelrr now different from the past is because now, it’s clearer. We have steps and processes. And we really embrace what we’re really good at. And we really now communicate that. That we are into testing, we’re into experimentation, we are into looking at data.

Narrator: Marketing experimentation – the process and data that is derived from it can sound intimidating for any business.

And, admittedly, it does sound like something only attainable to the Facebooks, Amazons, and Googles of the business scene.

But what we’re pushing for in Propelrr is that: Even though you’re a small or medium enterprise, experimentation is critical to your growth and that, with the right structured approach, you can also harness this to scale your business.

As Veronica says …

Veronica: Experimentations are a survival requirement these days. And, experimentation isn’t easy. We all know that. You might have the technology for it, tools, and processes, but it takes a complete change in attitude.

It requires an environment where people are perpetually curious, where people can clearly identify data-backed hypotheses versus opinions, and anyone can conduct experiments.

Practically, experiments are standardized but democratized. So… yeah, without the trinity of people, processes, and technology, conducting experimentations I think, will deliver you to failure, and expensive failure this time.

So it is a requirement to be comfortable with proving yourself wrong, or being proven by others wrong. So be open to, yeah, democratizing and having standardized processes for experimentations.

Narrator: Sounds too risky, doesn’t it?

It is. But with the right people, processes, and technologies, experimentation can guarantee results in consistent and big ways.

As early as now, companies should take guided steps towards experimentation, because the market is evolving – and doing so faster, than ever before, as Mitch and Dexter will have you know….

Mitch: So what we did was we kept on trying out different strategies. We were constantly in research, learning new things, learning new crafts, and then that also made us come up with our mantra of failing fast and failing forward.

So it was always in our mindset that we need to be innovative, we need to keep on changing. So I think SOM just started with that idea.

In response to consumers' deepening usage of digital media, and their ever-changing demands, we realized that we can no longer throw ideas on the wall and then see what sticks.

Dexter: Once you are in an experiment, when you say that there are experiments that wouldn't yield positive results, or you wouldn't win, we always apply the mindset, in marketing experiments, sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.

We believe there's no such thing as failure in doing all of these marketing experiments.

It's either you yield positive results, improve conversions, or you learn better about the behavior of your customers thus deepening the understanding of your customer behavior, and then making further alterations and improvements to your next set of hypotheses.

Narrator: It’s a common sentiment of businesses today that it’s getting harder and harder to adapt to the ever changing preferences of consumers.

But the common thread that the most resilient businesses have is the ability to see this dynamism and volatility as equal parts challenge and opportunity to provide more value and grow as a brand; and that, ultimately, that adaptability is what gives you your most powerful advantage be it today, or as the market turns, yet again.

And you tap into it best, through agile experimentation. Veronica echoes as much, saying that:

Veronica: I think that’s what makes us unique — we acknowledge that the industry is dynamic, ever evolving and that Propelrr is also that malleable organization that adapts to that and we don’t just define ourselves “Oh, this is Propelrr, we stick to it” but as the industry evolves, we also evolve.

Narrator: In the past years, more and more startups have failed to lift their businesses off the ground.

And the lifespans of these businesses have also gotten much shorter.

For some, growth is moving at a snail’s pace.

All because these businesses neglect to see the value of and move towards experimentation.

Don’t let yourself sink in the sand much longer, and do digital differently, starting today.

We dare you to Test It Out and see how much your business will improve when you do.

Thank you for listening to this episode of “Test It Out.”

We hope that by getting to know Propelrr, you also gained insight on how important marketing experimentation is and will be in the coming years.

And, hopefully, this has inspired you to seek ways to drive digital differently.

Stay tuned for upcoming episodes of this premier podcast production by Propelrr, available on Spotify, and Apple Podcasts, or read the written transcripts of the episodes on