Q1: How did the idea for ANCHOVY. come about?
Our roots go back to an app we created called “Malta on the Move,” which was Zak’s idea. The app generated a lot of buzz and a short while after that we bumped into Chris Mifsud who needed a digital arm for his agency, MPS.
Neither Benji nor myself had any experience in digital marketing, aside from the development of our app. But we saw this as a great learning curve so ANCHOVY. was born.
The opportunity was quite low risk because we knew that work was coming through MPS. Not too long we built our own client base, which began to outgrow the clients coming through MPS. So we went from the bedroom to the garage and now Dubai!
Q2: Was there a niche in the market you thought you could fill?
After the app there was definitely a niche, so we invested resources in app development. We noticed that apps never really quite took off and now apps are quite redundant. So we saw the shift and switched to digital marketing.
Q3: What challenges have you faced that have moulded how you now work?
The biggest challenge and step for us was getting on board our first employee. This was a massive step for us initially, when it was just Zak and myself, we didn’t even have a wage. So when we got our first person on board we knew that they had to be paid a wage every month so that really pushed us to work hard. We’ve also made mistakes when it comes to office space, it’s always-such a hassle moving people around so I feel as though this was a mistake from our end.
Personally the biggest challenge is people and selling. Without people you can’t sell, and without clients things can’t happen! Finding new clients is another challenge because you have to convince them that you’re better than their current agency or their in-house team, which is a tricky task. The team has always been the hardest part. I think we’ve nailed the process of getting people on board in Malta, but for Dubai we’re back to square one. The different culture, time zones etc. it’s really challenging. There’s a clear differentiation between different cultures in Dubai. The distance is also a big challenge. Europe is obviously much more accessible. In a way Dubai is our biggest challenge and opportunity.
Q4: What challenges are you currently facing?
People are still a big challenge. Clients don’t have the budgets that allow us to develop a team of key resources.
Changing people’s mentality and telling them that digital marketing is the present and the future is always hard, people aren’t willing to invest in it the way they invest in say traditional advertising.
Q5: What is the next step? Is there a 5 year plan?
Well our first 5-year plan is now a 2-year plan so currently we’re working towards completing our first 5-year plan. The plan is to get set up in Dubai and have a team there, so right now that’s our main aim.
Q6: Do you think you will continue fully with digital marketing, branch out or narrow further?
Right now we envision us specialising further. Digital marketing is always changing and we want to change with it. Locally we know that other agencies are expanding but we want to swim against the tide and specialise. We know what clients want. Specialists are desired.
Q7: Do you feel you have accomplished what you wanted to achieve originally with ANCHOVY. or do you have another goal you wish to reach?
The plan was to export from day one, we started in the South of France, Spain and now we are focussed on Dubai. This year is the first time we could push it forward. Dubai is moving forward because we’re doing it ourselves. We don’t want to be local we want to be global – Malta will always be our base and home but client wise we definitely want to branch out.
Q8: What’s in store for ANCHOVY.’s future?
Who knows? Maybe we’ll have our own airline company – ANCHOVY. Airways.
If you’d like to know more about Anchovy, be sure to read more from the blog and also we’d like to invite you to try our latest product ConvRes™ which is the conversion beast we have developed at ANCHOVY and now ready to unleash to the world.
Looking forward to hearing from you.