The Exec Exchange – My Day Running Dyn
One of the lingering questions that every career agency person has is what it’d be like to work on the client side – or the “dark side” as we affectionately call it.
Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the world’s most respected brands including Bauer, Campbell Soup Company, IBM, Intel, Royal Caribbean, Velcro, Virgin, and more. I’ve visited the corporate headquarters for all of them and imagined myself working there. RoyalCaribbean, for example, is in Miami, has views of the ocean, and offers cruises as a perk. Marketing cruises for a living (and enjoying them occasionally) can’t be so bad. Campbell Soup Company is in New Jersey and has an Andy Warhol museum in the lobby. These dynamic offices were exciting but the location and prospect of thinking all day, every day aboutsoup didn’t seem too enticing. At the time I visited, both the IBM and the Intel corporate headquarters were sterile cubicle farms lacking much, if any, personality. The products and services were fascinating but certainlydidn’t warrant the edginess I had grown accustomed to bringing. Why did the most established tech companies seem to have the most boring environments?
It was around six years ago when I was first introduced to Jeremy Hitchcock and Dyn, which then had around a half dozen employees, mostly on the engineering side, and they worked in what I perceived to be the stereotypical tech company environment. I had recently taken my talents to Manchester, NH and thought I could use my big brand, largely digital experience to take their DNS company to the next level. The problem was that we spoke different languages. Their product/service descriptions required a computer science degree to understand and as far as they were concerned I was like one of the consultants from the movie Office Space . However, Jeremy was confident in our ability and GY&K was engaged to figure out how to position, package, and promote a new enterprise product line for Dyn. Unfortunately they ended up taking our work and putting it on the shelf rather than implementing it for a variety of reasons.
A few years later, Jeremy reached out to me and proclaimed that he had an epiphany and realized that Dyn really needed to get serious about sales and marketing. In the years since we had collaborated formally, technology companies like Apple, Google, Facebook had become as much known for their corporate culture and marketing as for their products and services.
I referred a few candidates to take the lead role internally at Dyn and lo and behold they hired Kyle York, my younger brother, one of the most dynamic personalities I know, and a damn good salesman. Kyle recognized that the company needed an edgy personality to differentiate itself and he aggressively helped create one. They dusted off the GY&K strategy from years before (“Uptime is the bottom line”), built out the rest of the product line, hired a top-notch sales team, and the rest is well documented.
I have admired Jeremy as he has grown into the CEO that he is today, and I have often wondered what it would be like to be in his position. Although I don’t officially work at Dyn, the GY&K team and I have been intimately involved along the way and we are proud to contribute to their unique marketing approach based on transparency, disruption, and culture. So I’m excited to announce that this coming Monday we will swap roles and run each other’s company for the day as part of a new Exec Exchange program.
There are a few areas that I hope Jeremy can focus on while he’s in charge at GY&K. One of GY&K’s core values as a marketing innovation company is ambitious technology adoption. I want Jeremy to really challenge our team in this area as my definition of this surely is less “ambitious” than his. I also challenge him to explore how a service business like GY&K can adopt some of the business models of a product-driven technology company with ongoing, residual income. Lastly, one of the most challenging things for any agency is getting recognized as a go to shop for like-minded companies. I’ll look forward to him evaluating how GY&K can continue to become recognized as the marketing resource for technology companies.
If you have questions and suggestions for either of us as we embark on this exchange, please join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #ExecExchange.
Travis York is the President of GY&K