Founders Matt Welker and Thomas Berry wanted the rest of the world to know the story of where RelyOn came from so you would understand why we do what we do and why we are so successful.
Once Upon A Time…no wait, it’s not that kind of fairy tail. More like a murder mystery or action flick.
In [what seems like] a galaxy far, far away…Thomas was working a 9 to 5 for “the man.” Literally, this was a company that was focused on keeping “meat in the seat” and making sure you “smile while you dial” and motivating everyone by saying “coffee is for closers.” Sound familiar? If so, get out now while you still have a soul! You can see more about Thomas’ career history on his person blog/resume page if you want to know what crack-the-whip company that was. Through perseverance and a lot of hard work, he moved up in the company and grew in his knowledge of Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization. This was one of the factors that helped him get a contract working with Google as a direct ads salesman, then an agency salesman and finally, the Global Sales, Training, & Quality Manager. Sounds lofty, right? Anyone would be insane to walk away from that, right? Well eventually that is what Thomas Berry did. One of the main reasons was that while Google is THE major player in digital advertising, they are not the only player. Also, there is a lot more than just ads that help drive a business to have a real business identity. He was able to work on the Google Maps team, help with the Google Shopping (PLA at the time) team, and branched out to many of the other projects and products that Google offers. This gave Thomas a much wider view of the digital landscape out there and he knew that there had to be more that we could do for a business owner than just setup ads. They needed someone that they could rely on to help them navigate this complex landscape.
One of the reasons why Thomas focused on working with the Google Managed Agency teams for several years was to learn more about how to help these businesses both small and large. He thought that if anyone could help the business owners it would be agencies that wanted to win more than just ad business from them. Unfortunately, he was wrong. An “agency” was anyone who had an inkling of skill in the digital ads, website development and optimization, and digital strategy world. But most agencies seemed to take advantage of the lack of understanding that clients had about digital marketing and charged them outrageous fees (such as 25% of their ad spend), provided lackluster service (such as one monthly meeting to review how many impressions they drove, couldn’t help with the full digital brand (ads, social, website, local, and more), and just didn’t seem like they wanted to do more than the minimum to get the maximum paycheck. Not a good sign at all!
So where was Matt this whole time? Matt Welker actually started at the same company as Thomas Berry and was then given the opportunity to work with him so that they could train and develop all the sales teams for North America. He started doing agency management as Thomas did and then moved to training and coaching to help others. He was and is to this day still one of the best in that role (a sad fact that no one has been able to dethrone him in more than a year after leaving the contact with Google). The time they spend together and the businesses that they had the chance to help along side each other helped them develop a kindred bond and understanding that there was more than just ads out there. Don’t get the wrong picture; Thomas and Matt to this day still stay very highly certified in all things ads and are some of the best thought leaders in digital marketing in the world (not even bragging, just truth).
Thomas and Matt both are extremely dedicated and loved being able to work side by side with Google to help business owners. That fact meant that they probably would have stayed doing what they were doing for much longer. Though a strange twist in fate, they were both given the opportunity to help launch a new marketing agency that promised many things but most importantly, to be different than the status quo. Matt and Thomas both jumped at the prospect. Unfortunately, the person who started to found it was not in a good place in life and started embezzling money from the company, trying to scam Matt and Thomas, and just needed to go have a reset in life. You can read more about that in a blog post they put out about Business Identity. One very beneficial part of the whole experience though is that it showed Thomas and Matt that they could run their own business and kicked their butts into gear to actually do it together. Thus started the epic team up and partnership for RelyOn.
When they started RelyOn they had one goal in mind; one focus: the success of the businesses that they supported first and in turn that would lead to the success of RelyOn. They were right. Both Thomas and Matt spent a lot of time studying the intelligent and philosophies such as those presented by Simon Sinek (see video) and knew they wanted to offer a comprehensive/holistic and even artistic approach. Something that was so different they could patent it as the “secret sauce” that made RelyOn different than the others. The goal was to be ethical with all their clients and charge fair prices. Show them what they were getting for what they paid RelyOn and how that was growing their business.
So what has the result been? Well, I’m glad you asked! The owners started with just one client signed with a minimal advertising budget. Within the first year, they expanded 10 fold on the number of clients, grew from offering 3 services to 6 services, managed over half a million dollars in revenue for their clients to help them grow their digital identity, and on average generated a 150% return on investment with RelyOn. Even they were impressed while being humbled by the amazing growth that they had. It turns out that business are looking for an advertising agency just like RelyOn because they’ve had so many “bad relationships” that have cost them a lot of money and lost them a lot of business.
RelyOn is continuing to grow and always looking for new clients. Not because we want to line our own pockets but because we want to grow other businesses and we sincerely enjoy what we do. The satisfaction of watching a business owners eyes light up as they see they are getting more business than they ever did before is one of the most rewarding feelings. Yes, that means we are not selfless; we love the good feelings we get from helping others! So as you come to a close of reading about how RelyOn got started, please reflect on this journey to understand that you can RelyOn us to help your business succeed.
Thomas C. Berry & Matt C. Welker