After acquiring a controlling interest in BroadBased, Chris Ramaglia talks path forward
February 23, 2023
By James Cannon Managing Editor, Jacksonville Business Journal
After becoming a partner with BroadBased in 2016, founded by Jan Hirabayashi in 1996, Chris Ramaglia has helped the firm grow and expand its operations. Ramaglia recently acquired a controlling interest in the firm with plans for a full transition in 2024. The Business Journal recently spoke to Ramaglia about his tenure with BroadBased and what he has planned next.
What are some notable campaigns your most proud of?
We do a lot of work with healthcare companies and one of our bigger clients has grown from just a few offices to a footprint that’s all the way throughout the Southeast. We’ve been with them since the beginning. And I think those are the projects I’m most proud of. When you’re kind of a partner in growth, and you’re there with them from the beginning and to see them kind of grow and flourish … It’s that’s definitely one of the best parts of doing what I do.
Rather than starting your own firm, you purchased a controlling interest in BroadBased from founder Jan Hirabayashi. Why did that make sense to you and what are some of the benefits?
I think the best part about working in an agency world is that it’s constantly changing. And if you’re the leader, or you have a leadership role at an agency, you can really be in charge of how you plot your course throughout that change. And I believe with all change comes opportunity. Also, Jan has built an amazing team and when we are collaborating on projects — because we all get it — it’s something special. I really enjoy the collaborative spirit at this agency.
Where do you want to take the company in the future?
As far as my vision for the company, businesses need a partner in growth and an agency that is willing to help them do the hard thinking, help them make the hard decisions and really be indispensable not just to their marketing efforts but for their business overall. If you have an agency that puts the client first, rather than trying to specialize in different tactics and shoehorn them into, you will grow.
We’re looking at the big picture and we give them a roadmap from how to get to where they want to be from where they are right now. And you kind of serve as a bridge to help them do that. We’re able to do that at BroadBased because we’re so nimble.
Taking a broader step back toward the industry as a whole, what are some of the struggles it is facing and how are you able to overcome them?
The competition has never been more fierce. Digital ad spending has been growing at an exponential rate since its inception with no sign of stopping. After a decade of artificial intelligence and machine learning being used to serve and track ads, it’s easy to get buried in metrics. We are constantly digging into the numbers to find actionable insights from the data that we can use in a meaningful way to help our clients. We’ve also been investing in new technologies and techniques, which sets us apart from some of our competitors.
We’ve really positioned ourselves as that growth partner that drives leads, so we don’t focus on vanity metrics like clicks and impressions and that sort of thing. Those can be important but at our core, we are trying to drive sales leads to the client. And maybe most importantly, we’re giving them a strategy so that they can keep their current customers and their current base, but also have opportunities to upsell them and cross sell new products to them. And that’s certainly a value differentiator for us.
As you’ve said, digital advertising is all encompassing. How do you break though the noise in a digital age?
Process, team and creativity are the biggest weapons you have in marketing. Because if you can’t outspend your competition and they are a larger organization with more staff and resources available … then really the only thing you can do is stand out and be creative. So cutting through the noise, that’s exactly what it takes.
The most challenging part of successful marketing is coming up with creative and original ideas. Everyone is inundated with so much advertising, it’s hard not be influenced by existing campaigns and projects. There is a tendency for everyone to sound and look like everyone else. That’s where we come in.
But it all goes back to helping the client achieve their goal, which ultimately is to drive sales and leads. Some clients come to us saying they want to be on TikTok because it’s the in thing. That ultimately would just be noise for them. For instance, if they’re a B2B company, why would they need to be on TikTok? It would be a low return on investment. Part of cutting through the noise for our clients is simply helping them define who their desired audience is and then designing a campaign.