Working with brands as diverse as Boodles and Capital FM, Anthony O’Brien has taken his digital marketing agency, Profici, and created a marketing powerhouse. With offices in London, Liverpool and Singapore and a team of 62 experts, O’Brien and Profici are passionate about creating unique solutions and translating that into something that provides real results. Real Business catches up with the Digital Marketing mogul and Liverpool business leader to find out what makes his business stand-out above the rest, how he has dealt with the challenges of the pandemic and where he sees the company going within the next decade.
Tell us more about Profici, Anthony!
Profici offers the full array of marketing services that your business needs to succeed. I was sick and tired of people being taken advantage of by marketing companies. Demanding large fees, only to give under-qualified staff the work to do and deliver mediocre results. I wanted to ensure quality for my clients, so I spent a lot of time sourcing the best people in their respective field, who will be on hand to support you.
As a teenager, I had begun to excel in athletics, running 100m/200m for Liverpool and Great Britain. Circumstance meant I was frequently travelling to running practice and competitions alone. With three boys to provide for, working crazy hours to give us everything we had, my parents were simply unable to commit to the schedule that athletics demanded. That safety and support that I had been accustomed to as a child appeared to have gone, and for the first time in my life, I was pursuing something alone.
So, this is why I do what I do. I realised that in life, support and help are essential to succeed. We all need it at times. It is a lonely affair running a business or striving towards a vision that, perhaps in the early stages, only you can see. So, my strong desire was to run a company that focused on providing the utmost ‘support’ for businesses who wanted us to help bring their visions to life and allow us to create the best possible platform for this together. An ethos that, in hindsight, could have pushed me in athletics back when I needed it.
So, what was the road to making Profici what it is today?
From speaking to people, I quickly became aware that the marketing industry had gained a bad name. I often heard stories about how badly clients had been let down by lousy service and false promises. I got fed up with hearing about how people hadn’t got the service they deserved or promised. I have spent all of my working career growing businesses, either employed or as a consultant and thought it would be nice to grow my own business for a change. What led me to start Profici was that I wanted to help people who had had their fingers burnt and had not seen a return on their investment.
What makes you different to other Digital Marketing Agencies?
The size of our team makes our business model completely unique. I pride myself on choosing experts in their chosen disciplines, be it the best web designers, social media managers, content creators or the amazing management team. What also makes Profici unique is how we position ourselves as the clients outsourced marketing director to align with the companies business strategies and, essentially, their idea of success. Indeed, at Profici, we don’t just provide a marketing service. We work with our clients and their businesses regularly to help them define success and work with them to achieve it. We conduct regular meetings about their marketing output and their business plan, goals, strategy, and accounts because if they don’t succeed, we don’t succeed. Whether it be business coaching, helping write a strategy that can be tracked from month 1 to year 3, or marketing, we help businesses succeed, whatever success means to them.
What challenges did you overcome in bringing Profici to market?
One of the biggest challenges I had to overcome was to prove to people that we are different from other agencies and dispel some of the horror stories surrounding the industry. Like I said previously, if our clients don’t succeed, then we don’t succeed. Indeed, what helped me overcome this challenge was by showing a willingness to align myself with our clients’ businesses. When they saw someone willing to put themselves in their shoes and align the success of their own business with theirs, they were able to give us a chance to prove what we can do – and that’s a chance we maximise every day.
How have you and Profici dealt with the challenges of the pandemic
There’s no denying that coping with the pandemic has been challenging; long hours, adapting to remote working, etc. However, during the pandemic, it’s allowed us time to achieve our IOS9001 Accreditation – something the team and I worked extremely hard to achieve and am therefore very proud of. Because of the IOS9001 Accreditation, this gives us an even more solid foundation on which to launch the Profici franchise in Q2, 2021.
As a leader, what have you learnt along the way?
One of the best leadership lessons I’ve learned is to surround yourself with people who are better than you. I can’t do everything, nor would I want to. That’s why I surround myself with the best designers, web developers, content creators and videographers so, when I sit down in front of a prospective client, I can say with honesty, that the people out there are the best in the business and will produce work that you can depend on. I’ve always found that the best leaders empower others to lead, so that’s what I’ve always tried to do.
How do you measure success?
Not only do I measure success quantitively, but I also measure success by how many businesses I have helped grow and how much time I have helped give back to other entrepreneurs to spend how they wish. Indeed, as a business, Profici has tripled in size consistently over the past three years – and is on target to do so again in the next financial year. We have taken on a myriad of new and exciting clients, numerous new team members, while the franchise launch is projected to be a success.
What are you most excited for in the next 12 months?
The team and I are very excited about the hard work ahead of us all in the next 12 months. We are launching the Profici franchise in Q2, 2021, so that’s my immediate plan. To do so, I have to look back. We have hired and promoted a Quality Assurance Manager, Operations Director, Finance Director and Head of Communications in the last 12-18 months; this has enabled us, along with our recent IOS9001 Accreditation, to build solid foundations from which to launch the franchise. It was my goal to launch the franchise from as solid a foundation as possible, but even the strength of the foundation we’ve been able to build has surprised even me. Because of this, I couldn’t be more excited about what the next 12 months will bring.
Where do you see your business five years from now?
Simply put, I see Profici being the largest Digital Marketing franchise in the UK. I want to be proud of the hundreds of people we’ve given the chance to run their own successful business. Through the franchise I also want to;
- Build a successful and recognisable brand
- Provide proper support and training for hundreds of business owners
- Be based throughout the UK and abroad
- Work hard to maintain and improve upon the excellent service and products Profici produce.
For me, reputation and legacy are everything, and I’ll be doing everything to build upon that.
Want to reach out to Anthony and the Profici team” Need any assistance on running a business, their marketing strategy or business plan” Want to reach your goals and be successful” Feel free to email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call Anthony on 0151 319 8550 or drop him a message on LinkedIn.