Saturday, August 25, 2018

What Is Ethical Digital?

A strange contraption

Anyone who has spoken to me in the past four years has heard me try to explain "this thing I'm working on" without much success at making sense.

Well now "this thing" is a reality, and I want to make another attempt at explaining it. So for those of you wondering just what exactly is this strange contraption we've built...

Is It a Digital Marketing Agency?

No, not exactly. Ethical Digital is an administrative service and platform for digital marketers. It lets them team up to better serve their clients and split the revenue they generate, much as if they were their own independent company.

From the client’s perspective, they get superior service at a lower cost. The superior service comes from our unique organizational structure in which everyone has skin in the game, incentives are aligned through equity, compensation is high, and internal competition separates the wheat from the chaff.

Some of the cost savings come from economies of scale, automation (where it makes sense), and vertical integration – the standard advantages that big companies have over small companies. Other savings come from having less overhead since we operate entirely online (no office space), and the fact that we use a flexible workforce of independent contractors.

We could automate more and outsource everything overseas, which is the usual way digital marketing companies get costs down, but we don’t just want to compete on cost. We want to be the best, and that means getting the best digital marketing experts. If you really could automate the jobs of the specialists, Google and Facebook would have done it already and cut out the middle man. 

But the reality is that talent and experience make a huge difference in this field, and there is still no substitute for an expert who knows what they’re doing. So we don’t automate anything that is better handled by a specialist, and we structure our incentives to attract the best of the best.

What Makes It Special?

Most of what I’ve said above could describe a franchise. To my knowledge there exists no digital marketing franchise, and if that’s all we were, it would still be an edge over the competition.

But the really innovative thing about Ethical Digital is the decentralized way the platform mediates complex business relationships. For example, imagine you and two colleagues want to form your own company. You each have a well-defined role in the new venture, and you decide to split the pie evenly three ways. Pretty straightforward, right?

But suppose you need to bring in another person. How much of the pie do they get? How are decisions made? How are people held accountable? Is there an additional incentive to bring in clients?  What happens when one partner’s role is finished?

None of these issues are insurmountable, but they are sufficiently complex that even simple startups require care to structure properly. But now imagine you want to be part of not just one startup, but dozens of startups, often with strangers, and your roles and your stakes in each startup differ. How could you track all those disparate responsibilities and revenue streams?

All of that is handled within our platform, so individuals can join as many partnerships as they want, on whatever terms they find amenable. The result is a network of digital marketers with ownership in their work, collaborating in teams, with a shared interest in the long-term success of their clients.


What Makes It Ethical?

The name "Ethical Digital" reflects our commitment to telling the truth. There is so much BS and snake oil in this industry, we are determined not to be like that. So we have a zero tolerance policy for dishonesty in our own ranks, and we strive to be completely transparent and forthright with our clients.

The name is a statement of our principles, and it is also a description of how our business model works. A good company culture can only take you so far, and then you need accountability and incentives to get people to behave as they should. Fortunately for us, accountability and incentive alignment are fundamental features of the platform.

Therefore we not only require all our agents to behave ethically, we make it in their interest to do so.


What Is Next for Ethical Digital?

We are just getting started and have barely scratched the surface of what we intend to build. We envision Ethical Digital as a vast global community of digital marketing professionals who not only can fulfill any service, but who also drive innovation in the platform and the industry as a whole. 

We believe our business model will prove superior to the competition, and as we scale up and build new tools and features our market position will be strengthened through the network effect.

And we want to help thousands of people achieve the dream of having more freedom and ownership in their work, all while delivering better services at a lower cost.


How You Can Join

Our door is open to anyone with agency or significant freelance experience in any of a growing number of digital marketing services, as well as account management and sales.

We provide the tools to set you up for success, but you must be prepared to compete with other skilled professionals. The way to succeed is to either do great work so that your colleagues will pick you for their teams, or else go get clients and then you can pick your own teams.

If you are good at your job and willing to take the initiative, you will thrive with Ethical Digital. There is no cost to sign up, so visit ethicaldigital.com/careers and take charge of your future!

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