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Season 4 - Episode 9:

Scaling a Digital Marketing Agency with Paddy Moogan

Scaling a Digital Marketing Agency with Paddy Moogan

Episode Summary

Normally what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, but for Paddy Moogan, a trip to Sin City launched him on a whole new professional path. Paddy had been working as a senior-level executive at a marketing agency when a friend invited him to start their own shop together. After mulling it over for an entire thirty minutes, Paddy decided he was ready to take the leap. They launched Aira, a digital marketing agency, in 2015, and now have clients across the UK. Their tagline is “An agency you’ll actually enjoy working with.” Listen in as Paddy shares his secrets to a happy office and a happy client roster.

Episode Notes

Most people go to Las Vegas hoping to shrug off the demands of work, but for Paddy Moogan, a trip with mates turned into a life-changing business opportunity. On a trip to Sin City, his friend approached him with a proposal: why not take Paddy’s expertise in digital marketing and launch their own agency, a shop where they could call the shots on everything from work culture to clients. “It felt like a good idea at the time to talk about starting a business together,” he says, and after taking thirty minutes to come up with a plan, they decided to go for it. Aira was launched in 2015. 

The early days took some adjustments. In the first six months, Paddy and his partners tried to divide up their roles and responsibilities, with Paddy taking on the marketing, sales, and raw strategy, while his co-founder focused on delivery and operations. But they soon discovered that divvying up the job didn’t mean better work. “Because we split our roles, we didn’t actually work together all that much, the way we had for the first nine months. We did our best work when we were working together.” Bucking convention, they got the band back together and decided to keep their business roles much looser. 

It’s this not-quite-conventional approach that helps keep Aira at the top of its game. While other shops might do SEO because a client asks for it, Paddy and his team slow the process down and dig deeper into how the client wants to grow.  He makes a point of pinpointing their client’s actual needs—ranging from content marketing to paid media—and how they interact with the business’s pain points (including tricky spots like investor pressure and pitch meetings). Aira takes a collage approach, offering a buffet of short- and long-term solutions that will both quiet a nervous investor and actually, you know, grow the business.

Paddy reminds us that SEO is not instant gratification: it actually takes six to twelve months to pay off. “As a company, the thinking has to be in years, not months.” For faster results, he suggests investing elsewhere, like in paid media or paid search in advertising. But he also reminds us to look at what we’ve already got: do you have a big email list that’s just sitting there? One-time customers who could be convinced to return? “What have you already got that you can leverage?”

Paddy’s ultimate goal is to create a work culture that lets people and businesses be themselves. He encourages his team members to watch their personal triggers—anything from skipping meals to not getting enough exercise—that can lead to crummy decisions or bad moods. He also recognizes that for some, Aira will be a stepping stone along a long career; he does his best to be a springboard, not a gate. Ultimately, he says, “We wanted to build somewhere where, if we were employees there, we would be happy to work.”


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