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Matt Collins is the managing director of Platypus Digital, a London based digital marketing agency that helps great charities do great digital. Matt founded Platypus after working in the charity sector and then freelancing for charities. This episode is one of the most perfect examples of the power of agency specialization with a solid set of personal values. Matt describes the amazing benefits this brings for both his agency and his clients and he also does us the honour of not hiding the challenges. We dive into what it means to work in the charity sector and why Matt believes that a shared value is integral to serving your clients. 

Matt Collins

With over 10 years experience as a digital marketer and communications manager, Matt founded Platypus Digital in 2014. The agency has since worked with charities like Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, Sightsavers, Relate, Mencap, Teenage Cancer Trust. 

He's appeared on Sky News, CNN and Channel 5 and writes for the Guardian on the latest trends and campaigns in the charity digital world.

In 2013 CharityComms named Matt 'Inspiring Communicator' and in 2015 Fundraising Magazine listed him as one of the top 50 Most Influential Fundraisers.

Through Platypus Digital, Matt runs meetups for digital charity professionals, like the Google Grants Manager meetup. He also co-founded the awards for the best charity CEOs on social media, and regularly speaks at sector events like NFP Tweetup, Media Trust and CharityComms conferences.

Listen to the episode

Tune in to find out:


  • Find out more about the origins and Matt’s motivations for founding Platypus Digital
  • How Matt used networking to get his personal brand known in the industry
  • The importance of having an understanding of the Charity sector
  • Networking on the basis of having a shared value
  • Differences in challenges between working with corporate and charity organizations
  • The mix of ways that Matt and his team come into contact with charity clients
  • Matt’s experience and challenges recruiting people for the Platypus team
  • The importance of asking your clients for feedback in order to grow
  • How to train your team to continuously provide great service
  • Why it is crucial for Matt to hire genuinely nice people for his company

[0:00:05.8] ANNOUNCER: Welcome back to Happy Porch Radio. The podcast for progressive
agency owners and web professionals. Season three is focused on the growing number of
agencies who are making the world a better place.
We explore what this even means, why is it different from any other agency and how can it be
reconciled with the real-world challenges of running a profitable agency? Join your host, Barry
O’Kane as he speaks to leaders of agencies who are driven by verify use to positively impact
the world around them.
[0:00:44.0] BOK: Hello and welcome back to season three. This episode is one of the most
perfect examples of the power of agency specialization and aligning that specialization with a
powerful personal set of values. Platypus Digital are London based agency that help great
charities do great digital and Matt, our guest this week, founded Platypus after working in the
charity sector and then freelancing for charities. He describes perfectly the amazing benefits this
brings for both his agency and his clients and he also does us the honor of not hiding the
challenges either. Do listen out to the energy and Matt's voice as he describes his vision for the
future of Platypus. I found that incredibly inspiring. So let's meet Matt.
[00:01:34] MC: My name is Matt Collins and I'm the managing director of Platypus Digital. We
are a digital marketing agency dedicated to the charity sector. So we only work with charity
clients and organizations doing some good in the world.
[00:01:49] BOK: Alright, so tell me a little bit about where Platypus came from? Is it something
that happened just very quickly or did it grow out of something else or what were your
motivations for ending up with Platypus.
[00:02:00] MC: So, I think there's, well there's probably two answers to that. There's the kind of
shortened relatively simple answer and then there's the slightly longer answer than delves a
little bit further back. I think the longer sort of truer answer is probably the most accurate one.
So, probably goes back to when I was like 12 or something and I remember I was sitting in the
car with my dad talking about what sort of job I should do. You know, as 12 year olds sometimes
are want to do.
They think about jobs that are hugely unrealistic and very, very far away and so that's what I
was doing and my dad was like, “Well, you can do all sorts of things but you know if you can you
should probably try to do a job that helps people in some way or another. You know, because
there’s lots of things that need to be done that help people and there's a lot of problems to be
solved. So, it will be good if you can do that kind of thing if it's all possible.” So that really stuck
with me and there’s a friend of mine at University who said he would never work for like a
private company because it's all about, you know, enriching the shareholders and helping them
buy bigger swimming pools and stuff like that.
So, things like that really sort of stuck in my mind. So I think they probably subconsciously led
me into a career in the charity sector where I've worked basically my entire professional career
and in lots of different roles in charities like Childline when it was at Sun Charity. St. John
Ambulance, CSV, which is like co-volunteer matters. Just lots of different roles in fund raising,
volunteering that kind of thing and then sort of digital started becoming a thing. But I mean
probably ten years ago when Twitter and Facebook started getting kind of bit serious and teams
and roles like that started sprouting around the charity sector and that's where my role started to
focus. I just got really interested and really into that and quickly realized that I wasn't going to be
able to exercise as many of those skills as I really wanted to in the roles I was in.
So, I went freelance about six years ago or something like that so I could use you know, the skill
set developed for a lot of different organizations and Platypus kind of grew out of that because I
mean, this leads to the short answer, as a freelancer I'd work to do than I had time to do it. So I
was able to bring in other freelancers and very quickly after that other employees to help me
deliver these campaigns and training for the charity clients that we had and it grew from there
and I always knew I wanted to build something worthwhile, something that's going to make a bit
of an impact in the sector and really change the way charities use digital to reach new people
and to really have a positive impact in the world. So I think that's a short answer and long
answer combined really.
[00:04:40] BOK: Good. So the last thing that you said there's interesting you said you wanted
to build something. Do you think — did you see that as in rather than work for a charity or work
for a cause but you wanted to, do you mean you wanted to create your own thing?
[00:04:52] MC: Yeah, I mean it was sort of a subtle feeling I suppose lots of freelancers and
people who founded their own companies probably have. So, they have this sort of nagging
feeling that they knew the best way of doing things, you know? That they know best. Sometimes
it's tempered by slightly more realistic kind of feeling that they don't know absolutely everything
but you know they a lot about the really important things and if they could be in charge and they
could build something really awesome. So, I think probably a lot of people who find companies
have that, because they just want to do things of their own way and they're sick of bosses telling
them to do things their way, really.
You know, that classic thing if you work for someone else and your building their dream and if
you work for yourself then kind of you're building your own. I suppose it's a little bit like that if
you want to get kind of grand about it. But, I think it's just, yeah, it's a moment of kind of I
wanted to create something and kind of build, you know, a company, build something that's
going to have an impact and brings together really great people and sort of those things in a
way the way I think they should be done, so they can have the biggest impact really. It’s not just
kind of control freak thing. Although, I'm sure it's a bit of that but you know I think there's a
certain way of organizing things and running a company so that it does have a really big impact.
[00:06:09] BOK: Yeah, I want to talk a little bit about that in terms of, you know in time, how you
organize the company and everything together. But let's just go back a little bit to the story
there. So you worked in a charity sector for awhile and you gained this experience both of the
sector and everything and then you started building up these digital skills and then you worked
freelance, and then you said that you got to the point where you're just getting too much work. Is
that something that you — was that just kind of a, sort of a by product of the times, you know
charities becoming more aware that they needed to be doing this kind of, or approaching these
kinds of things a little bit more? Or was it, was there something that you were doing that finding
all this work? Where did all that work come from?
[00:06:48] MC: I suppose it's got to be a combination of the fact that I just went to lots of events
in the sector and probably naturally have the personality that's suited to meeting people and like
you know has no problem going up to people and saying hello and having a chat and there's
just so many really nice people in the charity sector that, that became really easy to me. Like
you’d go to an event, you’d meet a couple of people you knew already, you’d get there and
chatting to someone else you didn't know so well but they end up being really nice too and so
you stay in touch a bit and I suppose that's what people call networking.
But it's not a term I like at all because it really suggests that kind of what's that grit? Spinal tap
where the guy from Polymer Records is sort of you know, he’s pristine in his suit and he keeps
going up to people and saying hi at Polymer Records and it's really sort of fake and he’s just
trying to get as much many people to know his name as possible and stuff. Where as I just sort
of see it as chatting to nice people and kind of doing that repeatedly. So I think lots of people
knew that I had those skills and so they knew they could approach me for those skills. But
there's definitely an element that around that time that and to this day probably still the charity
felt they could increase the reach and kept their message out to new people using these
channels and using these techniques and using digital approaches.
So the interest in it was high. I personally was right there at these events. So I guess my name
and my sort of personal brand, if you like, was reasonably sort of well known. Probably a
combination of those two things I would say. But that feeling that charities need to do this stuff
better and if they did they would reach new audiences, you know, that's interested to this day, I'd
[00:08:32] BOK: And do you think that without that experience of working in the charity sector
and kind of you know understanding, you know little things like literally where the events are and
who the people are to speak to and then the terminology. With like with any specialization, once
you learn what the problems people in that sector area are experiencing then it's easier to have
those conversations. But do you think without that experience you would have been able to do
what you've done and build Platypus?
[00:08:58] MC: That's a good question actually because there's a lot of agencies that get a lot
of work from the charity sector who might have sort of a 50/50 split between corporates and the
charity clients and you know they don’t even come from charity backgrounds at all. So it's
definitely not the case that you can't get that work without that understanding of charities. But I
think it really helps you know and I think like most industries, the charity sector thinks it's special
and you know that it does things in a very particular way and I think possibly more than other
industries, there's a lot to that. Because if you are — if you are a commercial company, let's say
you're a travel agent, then your main objective, the thing that you're trying to do is to get people
to buy your holidays. That's what it comes down to and you're trying to get people to buy the
holidays for next year, holidays for this year, you know, getting people to buy more holidays.
If you're a charity on the other hand, you've got a really wide range of stakeholders to consider
and you're not trying to get just one group of people to do one thing or several groups of people
to do one thing. You do want people to make a donation, which is like a commercial transaction
but nothing in return, a lot of the time except the sort of, you know, feeling of satisfaction and so
on. You want people to fundraise for you, which is to spend their time raising money rather than
just giving you money and I'm not spending their time. You've got kind of political stakeholders
you know people you're trying to influence with your company and policy messages. You've got
the general public, you're trying to help with your information based services. You know
particular in health charities who want to change the wider public’s behavior and attitudes
towards particular health issues.
You know, there's a really big range of stakeholders you want to do very different things and I
think that understanding of the range of stakeholders and the different types of things that you
want them to do, that’s got to be an advantage when you're talking to charities and just
understanding some of the challenges that they have. You know, the budgets are lower
sometimes the understanding isn't as high although talking to some people who’ve worked in
both companies and charities, they definitely dispute that. They think that understanding is low
everywhere really. So, I think getting where charities come from and really genuinely sharing
their values, I think it's got to help you know? I really do.
[00:11:06] BOK: That was sort of I was thinking when you're describing a networking despite
the fact the negative connotations of the word with a lot of people, but when you're describing
those situations where you're having those conversations that one you have the background so
you're able to connect and use language and understand and two you've got, as you’ve said, a
genuine shared value and in addition to you personally having the confidence to do that and I
wanted to touch on that middle point the genuinely sharing the values part. Because not
everyone has got the confidence or not everyone finds it as natural as you're describing that
sort of just meeting people and talking to them and sort of exploring the possible things that you
can work together on. But I always feel that, that's much more powerful and much easier when
you do have that, and you're working towards — you feel like you’re working towards something
that is a joint shared value rather than, as you say, turning up in a suit and “here's my card
please buy my thing”.
[00:12:03] MC: Yeah, definitely and you know it's a funny one for me because my role in
Platypus, it’s the first time, I mean arguably excluding the freelance side of things, it's the first
time I haven't worked for a charity really and for any length of time in my whole career. So I feel
like I'm part of the charity sector even though I'm actually a company that help provide services
exclusively to the charity sector. So I feel like very much part of it and you know the one closest
to in the industry if you like are all people are like working for charities. You know, a lot of my
friends work for charities, it's just something that I feel completely sort of a part of and, you
know, have a knowledge of frustrations and the things that they really believe in and you know a
better world is possible if you want to go very grand about it. But if you don't want to go so grand
about it, it’s about just making small differences here and there in what you have to do and,
yeah, so the shared values thing I think is really important.
Ultimately if you work in the charity sector and even to some extent, for the charity sector you
need to accept that you're going to make less money than if you worked in the corporate sector,
broadly speaking, doing the same type of role to get the same general types of outcomes,
you’re going to be paid a bit less and to do that then, you know, you have to believe in what
you're doing because you know if you’re only in it for the money, you know, you're not going to
get as much out of it. Not to say that there’s not good salaries to be had here in there but they're
definitely less than their corporate equivalents. So, I think having those values is really important
and really being behind what they want to do.
[00:13:41] BOK: That's brilliant because that was going to be my next questions is, is there a
challenge or how challenging it is to build a business like Platypus where you're focused on the
charity sector where, as you say, there's kind of there's certainly the impression that the one that
budgets the smaller and everything that's less. Is that difficult from the harsh commercial
realities of building an agency you know and having employees and doing all of that?
[00:14:04] MC: It's hard to know because I don't know any other way as a [inaudible]. So I have
not run an agency that has exclusively corporate clients. I would imagine that a lot of the
challenges we all have and this is definitely my experience talking to other agency owners that
the frustrations are pretty much the same. Except potentially, I mean you could argue that if
corporate budgets are broadly higher than agencies who work for corporate clients or who have
bigger mix of corporate clients and the people they work for, they might find it easier to grow
their agencies because those budgets are higher and ultimately you're never going to grow your
agency if you don't have an increasing budgets.
You know we've grown a lot in the last few years, so I don't know if there is any concerns about
that particularly but I would imagine that if you have corporate clients or more corporate clients
and have access to those bigger budgets you could arguably find growth easier but, you know
like I said, talking to other agency and there's a lot of frustrations and difficulties are really the
same. But you know at the same time it would be nice to have access to those bigger budgets
and to maybe experience those frustrations for a while, you know, perhaps? It depends on the
client of course.
[00:15:17] BOK: Yeah, of course absolutely and I was laughing there because I think
everybody's got a little bit of grasses greener. You know there's always a bit of it. But the other
thing that you're describing is, as you said, anybody who works in the charity sector is going to
have to be at least partially driven by you know the values or the impact that you're looking to
have. So, can you tell me a little bit about, I don't whether it’s good to use a specific example or
more general but like, as with Platypus you know now working rather working in a charity, can
you tell me a little bit about the kinds of impact that you before you described you were tying the
companies, the way you run the company and ethos of the company to that impact. Can you tell
me a little bit about how that comes out or if it’s — how does it feel good you know how does it
all work out for you now that you're actually doing it?
[00:16:04] MC: So, I guess we're working more and more with either fundraising teams or
digital teams, or even more commonly, probably digital fundraising teams to grow that kind of
that part of their fundraising mix so that it's a bigger part of the — bigger slice of the pie
basically. So, digital fundraising is still in it's relative infancy despite the kind of reputation it has
with ice bucket challenge, no make up selfie for raising millions and millions with next to no
effort, which is definitely has done for you know a very small number of organizations. But I
think the impression is that that's hard work for everyone. But if everyone else actually has to
put a lot of investment into it to try to make it sustainable.
So the types of projects that we're doing, I guess to give one example, would be Facebook
fundraising campaigns and acquisition campaigns of fundraisers and of regular givers. So the
type of income that charities really want to need is that recurring income from a really large
group of individuals so that if you know a bunch of them kind of drift off and leave the
organization, which eventually they do, it doesn't have a huge impact on the mix the way you
know losing a particular corporate fundraising deal or having a local authority contract come to
an end might have such impact.
So we do a lot of regular giver recruitment campaigns on Facebook. So we would work with a
charity to create a value exchange so that's something that they can offer to people who've not
have heard of the charity who aren't calls or brand aware of. I mean they might be calls aware,
ie., they knew broadly what that charity is trying to do. So, breast cancer charities might be good
example. They might know that breast cancer is bad. They might even have some a personal
experience of it in their lives but they don't this particular breast cancer charity, and then we
might work with a breast cancer charity then to offer something to those people. You know, it
could be an information based booklet. It could be you know, a pin or something like that or just
some specific thing they can offer for free for to people who have not heard of their organization
and then when they've done that they will call those people up and say, “You know, we hope
you're enjoying the thing that we gave you. Here's what we do, is this something that you like to
support kind of long term?” So that would be a really typical example of the type of campaign
that we would do and you know a thing like a lot of work that happens that happens it's no
different to you know to any other type of organization of how they work. We have meetings, we
work in spreadsheets, we have emails, we have calls, you know, all of that stuff is the same and
so we will see our ROI from that campaign. We will see projected income and attrition rates and
all of that kind of general industry jargon.
So what we really try and think of is well how much money did that raise for that charity and
what kind of impact can that have over the longer term? So I guess I'm most interested in when
we’re raising real money and having a real impact on that charity and I think my approach in that
stems from the fact that us working in this or sorry, me working in digital, or me working in
charities predates the digital age, if you like. Where the only two things that charities are trying
to achieve where to promote their services, so change more lives and however they do that and
raise money to support that.
So, I'm very focused in trying to get those, one of those two comes both of those outcomes and
all the campaigns that we do; raise money or get their life saving services, it could be
counseling services, health based information whatever they have, to more people so that more
lives can be changed that way. I'm really focused on those two outcomes and I'm really trying to
recruit people who will you know support those two. It could be regular givers, it could be
fundraisers or whatever but we're really focused on making a genuine difference to charities and
those are the ways that we're trying to do it.
[00:19:51] BOK: Yeah, do you find that the charities come to you with a, “Hey, we’ve got this
thing that needs, likes you say, the value or the thing that needs promoted.” Or are you involved
further back in the conversation to help them work out what that is and to define who they're
trying to 00 who they're targeting these things at?
[00:20:10] MC: A bit of both I would say. So sometimes charity client will say, “We have these
thing we'd like to try and make something of it,” and we try to build a campaign around that,
using that as a value exchange something that we can offer to people for free as a kind of
instruction to the organization and then other will say, “You know we have particular budget and
we're looking to recruit regular givers,” and then we'll work with them to work at what might that
look like and what they could use as a value exchange and what they could use as an
introduction to the organizations, it really depends and it depends whether it's an existing client
and the idea that came up over a cup of coffee that we would have as our general catchups.
It might be a charity that we don't know that knows that we do these kind of things that would
just approach us cold and say, “Hey, you know, we've got budget for regular giver recruitment
can you help us with that?” So it's a real mix to be honest and that's probably the experience of
other agency owners as well. You know, they’ve got business from existing clients, they've got
business coming from past clients, they've got business coming from people who were past
clients but have moved on to other organizations and they’ve got cold approaches. So, yeah
probably the typical mix to be honest with you and the fact that we're working on the charity
sector probably doesn't affect that too much.
[00:21:24] BOK: And then although I do really like read so much and I speak to agency owners
and in my own agency that the power of having that clearly defined message of what the
agency is and what you've just described, “This is where our strength is, this is who we work
with, this is the impact we can have for you,” is really powerful and as you said, almost whether
that’s charity because that's something you personally feels passionate about, or whether that's
something else, that clarity of mission for the agency is really powerful. To my mind I think that's
even just multiplied by the fact that it's connected to your personal values.
[00:22:02] MC: Yeah, I think so and it's weird how internalized that can become. I did a piece of
work, was last year? Where I was trying to get a handle on what people really valued about
working with us and what they thought we really brought to the table that other people couldn’t.
You know I was really trying to find out why, why people you know decided to work with us
instead of other so that we can do more of that really.
So I reached out to a bunch of past clients and current clients and just asked them and just said,
“You know, why us? What is it you value about us? Thinking maybe it would be, you know, we're
really friendly and easy to work with which I make sure that we are. Or was it that our skills in
this particular area of digital marketing were really good? Is that, you know, others don’t really
do what we do? You know, I was thinking it might be one of the these things or just something
completely even different? You know, I’d been blown away by the results and I’d magnify that
area of the business like wild fire,” and you know 95% of them came back and said some of
those things here and there but really they said, “It's because you specialize in working with
charities,” and that's something so internalized to me now that I don’t even think it's a thing, or
certainly didn’t at that point. I was thinking, “Well, obviously we work with charities that's just
what we do.”
It's like saying we like working with you because you use computers to do your work. Well,
everyone does that, don’t they? So that’s not a specialization. But actually it turns out that just
having that focus on one industry and really getting that industry and talking their language is
really valuable and unvalued quality that we have. So it's something that we're really trying to
push. Because actually the types of digital marketing agencies that are out there you know they
don't have that, you know, they don't have that charity specialism and, you know, they might
have charity experience but I think they’d struggle to have the depth of charity experience that
we can offer and, yeah it's something that I'm really proud of actually.
[00:23:51] BOK: Yeah, I can see that and I agree. It looks, you know, seeing the way you
described there in Platypus on the side I think that's something very valuable worth being proud
of. And so, tying that together now going back to your recruiting people and building a team,
how did you go about finding and building the team? You said you first started working with
other freelancers and then bringing on employees, did you find that process difficult? What were
the challenges? What was easy about doing that?
[00:24:20] MC: The easy part of starting to do it was that I was already in touch with a digital
marketing freelancer called Fran Swaine and sort of knew her a bit and sort of chatted to her a
bit and I just started a couple of, or just one if you like, a couple of campaigns were going to be
a month or two's work and needed to start within that time. Unfortunately my first child was
being born around the same time so I was taking a few weeks of paternity leave and so I just
couldn't deliver them. So I was like, “Fran, can you help me deliver this stuff?”
So she very ably started those campaigns and got the ball rolling and made sure nothing
dropped and I knew then because she'd started it, it would just make sense to have her on
retainer to help me deliver them and so we did that. And I think probably eventually, this must be
a common story. Eventually I got over my fear that I wouldn't have enough money to pay her as
an employee. Got over that fear of the money running out and to having let someone go and
saw that the money wasn’t running out and that the campaign were still coming and the work
was still coming and so I was able to offer a proper job, really. I mean she was remote working
but you know a proper job we we’re working on these campaigns together and then I realized
that I was spending a lot of time trying to do things that weren't what I was really good at, which
is you know meeting people and running proposals to get more work and in, the business
development basically. So I wanted to hire somebody who could help us A market the agency
and B do some of the stuff that on the campaigns I didn't have time to do and we just advertised
for that really, in our real networks.
You know we have email list and I have social medial presence and stuff and so we just
advertised through our networks and I hired a guy called Will Cardy, who was just sort of part
time he was doing other jobs and stuff at the time he was doing relatively junior stuff for us and
that just went so well to be honest and Will really bought into our organizational values of really
wanting to progress and learn as much as possible in the fastest period possible and generally
being really easy and quick to work with and he's now our full time search marketing manager
because he's just got such a depth of skill with Google Adwords, he's recruited a team around
So, I think it was easy because it started with people I knew, which is again got to be a common
story for agency owners. Recruiting Will wasn’t too difficult but I'm really conscious as we grow.
We have to have a, well I hate to use the term but it is accurate, a pipeline of talent coming
through. So we're well known in the sector that people some people may be in charities already
or not in charities already want to work for us because they see what we do and they see that
we're a good organization to work for. So when we do advertise a vacancy as we've got one
open at the moment, that they do want to apply and they do want to work for us and we don’t
have just nobody applying for jobs, which we've had in the past.
So, yeah it's just easy and difficult as it is for everyone else and talking to owners of much
bigger agencies, recruitment is a constant headache from what I'm told. You know, you need
have to have people coming through, you need to have people aware of you and you need to
have a lot of different things in place for people to want to work for you. So, I'm quite conscious
of that and I try and meet people who think when they might one day want to work for us, even if
it's years, and years down the line. I'm conscious of trying to be quite open about what I think is
great about working here, about you know things like flexible working that we offer, the types of
values that we can offer, you know how you learn more in six months here than you did in three
years in your previous job, things like that really that I think people really value. So it's a stream
of work that is quite important to my role really because without it you now we're sunk. The more
the demand for our services grows, the more supply has to increase as well and that's delivered
by the people they work here.
[00:28:17] BOK: Yeah, that's a really good summary of, as you say, there's a lot of elements in
that that are similar that I can hear in my story and also a lot of people have spoken to and I
found the pleasure of speaking to in this podcast. And that maybe segues nicely into what's the
future of Platypus? Where is the — do you have the vision for where you like to go with the
agency or is it sort of more organic?
[00:28:40] CM: There's definitely an element of which — that’s organic because you know
again and again I think the best laid plans just, they just kind of glay very quickly and there's the
old boxing adage, you know, everyone has a plan until they got punched in the face. So, that
doesn't mean I'm adverse to making plans because I think that, again another old adage that
“plans are useless but planning is invaluable”, I kind of believe that to a large extent. I have a
framework for how I want us to grow and how I want us to get better. So as well as getting
bigger I wants us to be better at what we do and we have processes in place that makes sure
that every campaign we deliver is a step above the previous ones. So that we have that kind of
constant improvement and then I think there was a bedrock for kind of natural growth to some
extent. So the future for me really is growth because I want to keep on building what we've got.
I think we can have an even bigger impact on the charities that we work with and the people that
they're trying to reach. You know, from the conversations that I have with people and from what I
see I think there's so much more we can do and so many more people we can reach and ways
we can inspire them to take action for those charities through that best practice in digital
marketing really. So, through better conversion rate optimization the more that people want to
donate when they get to donate page, through more inspiring messages that people can see
when they are on Facebook or when they're doing searches on Google, things are really
resonant with them and give them a reason to click on the ads that they see and complete the
actions that the charities want them to complete.
There's just so much more that can be done and I think once every charity in the land, you know
the many hundreds of thousands that exist, have all those skills and they can do all that stuff in
the sales and they are all smashing it, then until then I think there's just more we can do and I
think we'll have a bigger team to deliver that. We'll have an agency that can compete with some
of the biggest hitters in the land really. You know, much bigger agencies that have much bigger
budgets to deliver their work and bigger teams that they have. You know I think from a personal
point of view we can compete with them and well you know our primary motivation is having that
impact in the world. There's a little bit of personal satisfaction that we can punch in before or
wait or we can build something we can really be proud of.
We had a bit of feedback from a client last week on what it was like to work with us and that's a
really important part of what I try and get our team to do as well as doing the work themselves
and delivering work to higher quality. I'm want them to be really lovely to work with, really easy
to work with, really responsive, you know none of this kind of our agency just went you know
silence and there's total radio silence with them and we just lost touch. We have none of that
here. You know hear back from someone if you contact them usually the same day and so I was
chatting to this client who is a really important client of ours and she said she had feedback from
her team on what it was like to work with us and she said, “The main word that came up again
and again and was probably the central thing with everything was delightful. You know the team
are great to work with, they're really responsive, they're on top of things, we feel like we don't
have to worry, we feel like you genuinely are an extension of the team,” which is something we
said we wanted to be and you know just hardly had a bad word to say about us.
In fact, the one thing that we can improve which is relatively minor, was what that meeting was
actually about. You know, we were, they said, “You could probably suggest even more ways that
we can improve things,” and that's one of the things we were doing in that meeting. So, we were
kind of already on top of it really and I think that's — I actually think that’s really important as
well. I wanted to have a positive impact. I want to build an agency to be proud of, but I want
people to have worked with us and said, “They were really great to work with, you know, they're
really nice, they're really friendly, really on top of it,” because it just makes going to work a little
bit more enjoyable.
You know make some more fun, makes the company you're working on more fun and you know
we want to make people’s jobs easier as well as having that positive impact in the world and it
looks like we're doing it. So I think if we can have that impact with every client that we work with
no matter what, which is a challenge when you're not based in the same building often to be
honest. Those relationships are harder to build, but if we can keep doing that then I think we will
be onto something good.
[00:33:05] BOK: Yeah, that's really inspiring. I really like what you’re saying sort of — like
there's a real, what’s the word I’m looking for? A real synergy across everything you're saying.
Like the impact for the client, working with the client being a positive experience and delightful
experience. One question that comes from that for me is as you're working and building your
team, is there anything that you're doing with your team internally to vocalize that message
about being delightful or to provide you know how do you help the team provide that kind of
[00:33:36] MC: Two ways I suppose, one is putting the processes in place to make sure that the
physical things if you like to that are in place. So, things like I tell them you know if a client
contacts you need to respond the same day or at latest the next. That’s just fairly simple thing
that you can do. I encourage them to be more talk and less type. So obviously emails are
probably the main way that people still communicate with each other. In 2018, I think that's a bit
— I’ve dated myself, but I appreciate that we’ve still got the email clients. But I really encourage
them to just to pick up the phone and chat through things as much as possible.
We have a fairly clear process in place for when to meet with the clients because I think looking
people in the eyes is really great for relationships. So we know when it has to happen and the
key points in a project or campaign and that should happen. So I guess some of the pros, I don't
want to use the term “client management” because I really don't like calling charity clients in
particular a client like they're just a bank account to be kind of drained. But I suppose that's what
it is, you know that's hard to be lovely to work with really. So we have processes in place to
make that the case.
The second thing, which is not something that we can really influence so much is just by
recruiting really nice people who in the course of their job and in their interactions with us and
with clients they can't help but be really nice because they are just really nice and that's quite a
subjective thing to assess really and we have to do it in interviews. We just have to get
impression for the person. We have to try to get to know them before hand if we can, all of that
stuff. So we will just recruit who we think are nice people and will be easy to work with and we'll
help them be easy to work with through some processes I suppose so. So, a combination of the
process and the person I suppose.
[00:35:26] BOK: Brilliant, outstanding. I really enjoyed that and unfortunately we're running out
of time, otherwise I’d like to keep talking. But I really appreciate it. Thank you so much for
coming out and sharing all of that. Final question then, for anybody listening who wants to find
out a little bit more about yourself and about Platypus, where should they go?
[00:35:40] MC: They should go to our website, which is Platypus, as in the animal, They can check us out at Twitter @Platypusdigi, or if they want to find out
more they can just drop me an email and I'll be happy to have a chat with anyone and I'm
[email protected]. Or of course you can just Google Platypus Digital, which is, you
know, that's the digital way of finding out these things, finding out anything. You just Google it
and you see what you get and you can have a look at our website, our videos. We've got a — if
people are interested in building digital skills but you know they’re from a smaller organization a
charity or anything else, we've got a free online training course called Control R.
So if you Google just “Control R Platypus Digital” then you'll be able to sign up to a series of free
webinars on SEO, Facebook advertising, Google Analytics and even more. So, that's a great
way to experience stuff to be honest because that's all run by us and you'll see our branding
there, you'll see our trading content, which we’re big on and you'll hear our voices and hopefully
you'll learn a bit how to do deploy digital for good as well.
[00:36:46] BOK: That's handy, and I'll put those links in as usual in the show notes on as well.
Thank you again, Matt. I really appreciate your time today.
[00:36:54] MC: Thanks for having me.
[00:37:05] BOK: You can get all the links and notes from this episode on
where you can also find out how to send us questions, feedback and get involved in the
conversation about this series. If you enjoy the show, please share with anyone else who might
enjoy it too. Thanks for listening.