Van Dyke explains why he's excited to be a part of the No Limit team as well as what opportunities lie ahead for the agency.
Tell me about your work with Razorfish.
I spent 11 years at Razorfish. For ten of those years I was responsible for the client engagement part of the business. For the last three years, I was the managing director of the Chicago office.
During my time there, we grew revenue for the Chicago office more than 400 percent to approximately $90 million in ten years. In addition to our strong growth performance, we also ran a successful business by improving from the least profitable office to the most profitable office during my tenure.
In addition to strong financial performance, our turnover was well below the rest of the industry. I would attribute the low turnover to great clients and great people working together to solve problems. Included within that approach was our commitment to investing in our team and in our clients. At certain times, we would come up with an idea to present to a client, and would take it a step further and invest our money into building out deliverables. We saved up to be able to do this and invested when it felt right. Our clients would see the passion we had for their brand, our idea and our strategy behind it, and would frequently want to move forward.
Another area that made Razorfish such an amazing place to work was that we were always looking to understand what the future would bring. For example, every year was said to be “the year of mobile.” All of a sudden, the iPhone arrived and it really was the year of mobile. We had been experimenting in building out mobile based sites and apps from a design, technology and user interface so that when our clients were ready, they didn’t have to test -- we were able to hit the ground running right away.
When I look back at my time at Razorfish, I feel proud of the relationships we built with our clients, and also the direct leadership, coaching and mentoring of the team, many of which have gone on to become managing directors, CEOs and EVPs at other companies.
What did you do before Razorfish?
Before Razorfish, I worked in process re-engineering at a Big 5 consulting firm, working with clients to improve their business results by evolving how people worked, implementing appropriate technology-based tools and identifying new product or service offerings.
What attracted you to No Limit Agency?
The marketing landscape is continuing to evolve -- everybody is competing against each other and making it complicated for themselves and for their clients. Bigger brands can have a handful of agencies, with a number of them trying to take business from the others, which makes things more difficult for a client, not to mention more expensive.
What I like about No Limit Agency is that we have a clear positioning in the marketplace. We want to grow, and as we do, we are focused on solving our clients’ problems and helping them be successful. We do that through our services and our technology platform, and by delivering results for our clients on a daily basis.
What opportunities do you see?
Based on the agency’s foundation, from both a services and a technology standpoint, there are multiple avenues where we can grow the business to help our clients succeed in theirs. I plan on spending the first three to four months working with the leadership team and our clients to evolve our offerings to provide even more value to our clients.
How would you describe your first few days at No Limit?
My background is not in PR, so I’m spending most of my time listening and absorbing and getting to know what we deliver for our clients and what's expected for our clients. From there, I will work with the team to figure out how to evolve and grow as a company.
What’s your favorite brand and how they approach digital marketing?
Amazon is just a machine. The brand provides value to the customer and is super diligent in their use of data and analytics. They wouldn’t be as big as they are or taken over as much of the market share if they weren’t paying attention to the customer and providing incremental value. When they go in on something, they’re all in. This includes the supply chain, with the warehousing and the distribution channel. When you can have same day delivery on e-commerce based orders, you know they’ve spent a great deal of time and energy to develop their solutions. It’s hard as a business person not to appreciate what they’ve done, the disruption they’ve caused and how they manage to continuously find new revenue streams.
How would you describe yourself as a leader?
My job as a leader isn’t to tell the staff what to do or how to do it. My job is to teach them how to leverage their strengths, not to tell them to do it my way. I am thoughtful in my approach and set clear expectations but am here to help at every step of the way.
What do you do for fun?
I like to spend time with my family. I have a 16-year-old daughter and a 13-year-old son and anytime we can spend together is precious. I also like to exercise and go to see concerts. Split Single is a local band that I’ve been seeing for years, since the singer was 15 years old. I love to watch their performances because Jason Narducy loves what he does and you can see it at every show.