Jan 16, 2020
Mike Stratta founded Arcalea on the idea that digital marketing and advertising should be objective, not subjective. In this interview, Mike talks about the importance of focus: on a very deep and narrow skillset, on a limited niche of (service) industry clients, on engendering a great company culture, and on hiring great people.
Mike built Arcalea’s service offerings around the things he really loved to do. Arcalea provides comprehensive quantitative analysis and implements tactics based on that analysis and how brands are positioned online. Mike believes it takes significant due diligence to prevent scope creep from paralyzing the creative process. Arcalea stays out of the creative arena by cultivating relationships with partner agencies to provide clients with creative content.
Mike thinks that it is essential for any business to ask itself, “What can we provide at such a depth that we differentiate ourselves from our competition?” . . . and “How can we provide a higher level of service than others in our same space?” Companies that fail to build a deep enough or wide enough economic moat risk becoming price-driven commodities.
When Mike started Arcalea, he had already built and sold an agency, but one that dealt with blue-chip companies. He tells his audience that, “When working with those big brands, you are just a commodity” and explains how these giants put the squeeze on small agencies to provide more at a cheaper price . . . because they can always find someone else to do the work.
Today, his agency serves companies with $5 million to $500 million in revenue . . . where the agency can work directly with the C-Suite decision-makers and the client base is more nimble and responsive to changes in direction than larger organizations or subsidiaries of those larger organizations. Mike’s ideal customers are those who are a cultural match for Arcalea: the ideal relationship is one of appreciation/ advocacy/ trusted partner – and he definitely eschews being a “vendor” because vendors are commodities.
Critical to long-term success? Mike says, “Hire slow. Hire the person who sees more in the future of the position than you do. Hire the person who will be a 10x game-changer.” Then, he says, “Lock them down with a cultural fit and cultural environment and even more pay than you first intended so they will never want to leave, no matter how much someone else offers them.”
Mike also addresses the difficulty of implementing policies in a period of fast growth, as his company experienced when it grew 2800% over a period of three years and made position #149 the very first year it qualified for the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing privately held companies in the U.S. Whew!
Mike can be reached on his company’s website at https://arcalea.com/ or on LinkedIn.