After co-founding digital marketing agency e-CBD in 2001 and then launching offshoot DP Dialogue in 2008, Matt Granfield has been at the forefront of online communications since its early development.
When the 30-year-old began his entrepreneurial journey, the term ‘social media’ didn’t exist, however now DP Dialogue’s marquee tool Dialogix offers the only service of its type in Australia.
“We were approached by a few clients to basically scour the internet and find out what’s being said about them. When we couldn’t find a tool that would do what we needed, we thought we might as well just build it ourselves,” says Granfield.
“Think of it essentially as deploying spiders that crawl through the net – a bit like what Google does, to pick up key words, phrases and comments about a business.
“A team of analysts and marketers then assess and evaluate the data. This is where the human element is so important, offering much more complex and thorough reporting than simple IT tool like Google Alerts.”
With clients including the Bureau of Meteorology, CSIRO, Fitness First and property developers FKP, Dialogix data is a hot IP tool too.
“It can cover a very broad scope of clients and sectors,” says Granfield.
“The Bureau of Meteorology wanted to know if and how people are talking about the weather, what the public sentiment is about government policy and the bureau, and what the general sentiment on climate change was.
“You can use traditional market research methods but there is nothing like social media to monitor what’s really being said. We rarely have an enquiry from a company that turns around and says ‘we don’t really need this’.”
The DP Dialogue innovation has no immediate competitor in Australia and Granfield plans to take the tool offshore into other English-speaking markets.
Digital marketing agency e-CBD is also recording strong growth through its integrated public relations offerings.
“Public relations companies on the Gold Coast have tended to focus more on print media and traditional services. There is no doubt that people read newspapers and magazines, but there is a massive audience just in digital media,” says Granfield.
“These days not having a Facebook presence is like not having a website and not having a Twitter account is like being without an email. Clients are now looking for a more integrated approach from their PR agencies. You can get your clients into print in a leading trade publication, but the reality is that the leading blogger in that sector will have just as large an audience.
“We’re now seeing social media sites influencing consumer behaviour and that in turn has brought web marketing to a whole new level.”
When looking to innovate in an emerging market, Granfield advises like-minded young business people to flexible, cautious and confident.
“You need to be adaptive and make sure that a business plan or marketing plan doesn’t hold back your capacity to make good, instinctive business decisions,” he says.
“But never be in a rush to make that decision. Everything should be carefully planned and considered before going for it.”
e-CBD/ DP Dialogue
Business Est: 2001
Growth: 30 per cent
Turnover: $1.5 million
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