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Interviews

How Marketing Agencies Stay Productive: Dario Hudon-Verrelli of Octopus & Son

September 21, 2017

This week we feature, Dario Hudon-Verrelli, Director of Marketing at Octopus & Son. Octopus & Son is a multi-disciplinary agency of digital marketers, social media specialists, designers and content creators focused on creating engagement-driven marketing. In other words, they cultivate audiences that advocate for your brand.

In this interview, you can read more about Dario’s work at Octopus & Son, favorite marketing tools, productivity tips as well as his advice for budding marketers.

Your location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Your favorite gadget: Currently, I’m loving our Snapchat Glasses, not that we post anywhere near regularly (ironic, I know), but they’re just a blast to give to friends for the day and see what adventures they get into.

You start your day with: Dailies! We have a list of dailies to take on with our clients and we make sure to address them immediately before we take on any other tasks. IT’s entirely too easy to get pulled into another direction, so we’ve created some rules around our own weaknesses.

Your favorite time-saving trick: We have a few, but the best one is the 2-minute rule. If the task in front of you will take 2-minutes or less to complete, do it now!

Your top 3 blogs you read daily: We’re Feedly fanatics, so 3 blogs is sacrilege, however, we do have a few go-tos.

1. Social Media Today

2. Kissmetrics

3. Hubspot Marketing

Dario’s workstation

Describe an average day at Octopus & Son?

The day begins when the elevator doors open. Our office is also a coworking space we cofounded, so we’re greeted by a variety of people going about the beginning of their own day. Quick coffee’s are grabbed and the following conversation occurs:

“Anything fall a part since yesterday?”

“The internet, social, or client?”

“All of the above”

“‘X’ website community is in an uproar because of ‘Y’, no major feed/ API/ ToS changes, and we’re checking campaigns right now”

“Alright, pick a decade and continue playing their top 40 hits!”

Lunch time usually sneaks up on us as we are all given a client to run dailies through, which we tend to do in silence. The afternoon is where we break out the creative, pitch ideas and challenge each other.

Inevitably, we all go for a walk and chat about ideas. We encourage getting out of the office to clear the head and rest eyes.

As a Marketer what are some of your favorite productivity hacks?

I’m a big fan of having a workflow in place, as it allows me the chance to be creative without breaking stride from multi-tasking. With this in mind, I have several productivity hacks:

Multiple Desktops in the following order:

Desktop 1: Browser

Desktop 2: Communication (Slack/ Messages)

Desktop 3: Clear for using finder

Desktop 4: Bear (Writing tool)

Desktop 5: Email

We all use Chrome to sign into our respective profiles, this provides us with a backup of bookmarks.

Team Dropbox Account with client files within a CLIENTS folder. Again, this allows us the ability to pick up wherever we may have left off in case of computer failure.

These three pieces keep us productive by providing a consistent method between our team. Simple, but effective and without the need to overthink it.

As a person who is well-versed with online marketing/ inbound, I’m sure you rely on a few marketing tools to automate your efforts. What are the top 3–5 tools you use?

There are some amazing standards out there, but our favourite services are the following, hopefully they peak the curiosity of some:

1.SproutSocial

2.Iconosquare

3.Facebook Business Manager (for younger managers, every client should get setup here, it honestly makes life easier)

4.BudURL

5.Hashtagify

Your company has a growing community of users. How do you use this treasure trove of customer insight to power your marketing efforts?

That’s a fantastic question and one every manager should ask how they could be leveraging.

What is your strategy for getting people to your site and then converting them to a customer?

Wouldn’t this be a trade secret ;)

Is there any advice you’d like to give to budding marketers to help them work smart and stay productive?

Create processes. How are you taking your client from A to Z and how much time does each step take you?

Above all, respect your time but balance it with your client’s budget. Don’t ever be shy to ask your client what they’ve allocated for their marketing budget. Ask questions to better understand how you can help them, that’s your goal.

Understanding what information you require to be successful is the greatest advantage you can learn.

On productivity, don’t get lost in it trying every new thing. In the end, it comes down to how YOU need to be efficient. Hopefully you find it before you spend $$$ and time jumping from service to service.

"The irony of productivity is that attempting to find it can cause you to lose sight of it."

How do teams at Octopus & Son have fun at work/ make work fun?

Being in a coworking space offers us as many benefits as it does distractions, so we’ve learned how to take advantage of the good and avoid the trappings.

Our staff can come and go as they please, so fun comes to light whenever we feel we need it. There’s a small movie theatre across the street with a penny arcade in it that we hit up, sometimes we just go to the movies midday.

We have a team that knows their individual roles are important, so they get work done and help bring in more because in the end, they want to maintain the balance we have.

We definitely don’t live for the weekend, we enjoy it now.

How do you make use of your downtime?

I’ve been trying to disconnect lately, extremely hard. I buy books I have every intention of reading but barely get past the first chapter. But I keep trying.

I personally do love taking walks out of the office, this helps rejuvenate me and it’s why our staff can come and go as they please.

Any hobbies, out of work interests that rejuvenate you?

Believe it or not, my current hobby is building a Hootsuite competitor called Socialveil.

I’ve spent the past year designing and project managing (with the help of App Guys Inc. here in Calgary) a social media management tool that we believe suites our needs, processes, and productivity better than current options.

We’re in the midst of Alpha testing and should have a private Beta running Mid-August. Oddly enough, I’ve found the process of building Socialveil extremely comforting.

A big thanks to Dario for taking the time out to answer these questions! If you haven’t already, we highly recommend that you check out Octopus & Son.

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