Thomas Dori is the owner of Anwert, a digital marketing company that provides top online marketing strategy for tech companies. Anwert is based in Vienna, Austria. Thomas met North by Northwest president Anthony Alderman when the Alderman’s visited Vienna in 2019. He then started consulting for NxNW in 2020.
In an interview, Thomas shares his industry knowledge, insights and experiences. He also provides his top tips, as well as, things to avoid when considering brand strategy. Ultimately, Thomas believes that being consistent, along with having a powerful marketing strategy will bring more value to your customers.
Starting a Digital Marketing Company
Thomas started Anwert in 2016 while living in San Francisco. Anwert is a German word that is rarely used today; it means esteem or appreciation. “I was looking for a name for about a year. One day I went into a bookstore and saw a dictionary of old German words. It was on one of the pages I’d flipped to at random and I really liked it. I immediately saw that there were available domains, so I purchased it,” Thomas said.
Thomas was motivated to start his company after he had worked for a couple of larger corporations in Singapore, and then in New York City. After those experiences he decided to try his hand at starting his own company. Initially relocating to San Francisco where he founded Anwert, he then realized he still preferred the European lifestyle. So, Thomas moved back to Vienna.
“During university I remember taking a course on entrepreneurship. In the course we started a project that we wanted to turn into a company. And that was where I got my first taste of the roller coaster when you’re starting your own business, project, or side hustle. Of course when you’re building a company for real, it’s even better.” Thomas said that the excitement that comes from getting feedback from real customers immediately hooked him. “I decided that whatever I wanted to do with my life, I wanted to do it on my own and with people I enjoy working with. I knew from my time working in large corporate structures that that wasn’t right for me,” Thomas told me.
Digital Marketing Is More than Just a PowerPoint with ‘X, Y, and Z’
I asked Thomas what he loves about marketing. “I love being able to help people appreciate the value of their brand. With Anwert we shape not only the communication, but also the product, services, and somehow the entire business structure of all the companies we work with. It’s not only consultancy. It’s not just as simple as sending a PowerPoint with ‘x, y, and z’ that needs to be updated. We actively help our clients generate more value for their customers. And to be able to work with so many companies on different products is endlessly rewarding every day. It’s like being a team member in several different companies, and therefore part of many great things at once,” Thomas said.
Effectively Use Time and Resources to Run Campaigns
The most important component for being successful in marketing, according to Thomas, is being able to adapt. “I work with a lot of small businesses. There is a limited amount of time and resources available to run campaigns. But this is also true for the larger companies I work with, as well. Being able to adapt and be creative on how to use the resources available is extremely important. It’s necessary to learn how to optimize resources in order to get the most out of it.”
Of course the way to measure any success in business is obviously in the numbers. At the end of the day how many customers you onboard and the revenue you make is the bottom line. However, Thomas says that should still be a byproduct of a job done right. “I regularly check in with customers and see that they’re happy with the work we are doing. That, and I really like being organized with a technique called getting things done. That’s the one big thing that I think is the most helpful for me personally,” Thomas said.
Know When to Walk Away from Bad Clients
Thomas shared more industry secrets and tips that he uses as metrics for success in marketing, such as to carefully select the people you work with, but also the people you work for. “Bad clients have the potential to take a lot of energy that you could use otherwise. I have even cancelled contracts with clients because there was too much discussion around project management and processes without making tangible progress on what we were driving to achieve. Because we were spending 90% of our time discussing the project management and not the content in three years. What took us three months to achieve with another company, took three years with that one. So, I think that is illustrative of when you know you aren’t the best fit for certain customers.”
“Sometimes it might be scary to let things go or cancel a contract with a freelancer. But the overall learning is by doing something that scares you all the time. Equally, it’s important to know when you need help or you can’t handle the workload alone anymore. I hired an employee about a year and half ago and I couldn’t be happier now to have that help,” Thomas said.
There are also things that you should avoid doing when you’re considering your marketing strategy. “I think it’s important to avoid the tendency to switch to different project management tools too often. It takes too much time away from the actual work output. Don’t spend too much time optimizing your own processes. Because really that’s the same as overthinking,” Thomas shared as a general rule of thumb.
Have a Great Website
Something more concrete to avoid is the tendency to want to improve your digital presence and sales without first improving your website. “Having a proper website is a lot more important than people imagine,” Thomas explained. “It might feel like it’s not that important but there are stakeholders, prospective customers and collaborators looking at your website and that will impact your sales process.”
At the end of the day, Thomas believes that consistency is the strongest tool to communicate quality and thereby trustworthiness. He pointed out that you can maintain consistency in your branding by doing the strategy homework, having a persona, and having a reliable brand guide that everyone in your organization has seen and is on board with. It’s important to check that brand guide at least once a year. Then, make sure it’s still valid and it confirms that’s what your brand looks like. “Simplicity, on the other hand, is important to allow the actual content to stand out. Design can only engage readers and then get out of their way. It‘s the content that has to do the convincing,” Thomas shared with me.
I asked Thomas what’s something he’s been the most proud of in his career. “I can talk about our client Mind Node. We helped them with their rebranding and during the last couple of keynotes, you could see the logo above Tim Cook’s presentations. It was seen by millions of people that had the chance to see what I’d built. I was proud that what I had worked on had an impact and reached a lot of people, and that it was appreciated by a lot of people.”
Build a Company People Love Working For
Next for Thomas, is that he’s aiming to hire more people, take on bigger projects, build more products, and hopefully even start creating his own products that Anwert would sell. “We want to continue having fun, and have more fun, well as much fun as you can have alone in an office during covid,” Thomas joked, “but most importantly I want to continue building a company people love to work for and with.”
The biggest piece of advice that Thomas said he’d impart to anyone concerned about their online marketing is to not overthink. “And really that’s no matter what field you’re in, or whether it’s personal or professional, instead of overthinking something, build, measure and learn. That’s a metric that I rely on and personally really love to use. It’s just about having a hypothesis and seeing if it’s true as fast as possible. A shorter way to describe it might be to continue growing and learning,” Thomas expressed.
If you’re interested in learning more about how North by Northwest has worked to improve our brand strategy, or how you can work to improve yours, don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.