CAMP Digital had a breakout year in 2022. The five-year-old Twin Cities-based digital advertising company partners exclusively with home services providers like HVAC, plumbing, electrical, roofing businesses and others. And it  boasts proprietary software tools and a successful capacity management process to better manage provider’s marketing messages, ad spend online and service capacity more effectively and economically – in real time. 

So, we decided to ask the company’s CEO, Katie Donovan, what we can expect in 2023, with ongoing labor shortages and supply chain issues, plus rumors of recession and other developments. It seemed like a good idea, given CAMP Digital’s growth and the leadership awards Katie has won recently. 

Q. Last year alone, Inc. magazine named CAMP Digital to its “Inc 5000,” positioning it at #365 in its first year of eligibility, while your company also placed 7th on the 26th annual ”FAST 50” growth companies by the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal. What is driving this growth?

A.  Several things, but primarily it’s a killer combination of leading-edge technology and hiring the right people in-house. After that, it’s understanding the customer journey like few in our space can. And having a platform that monitors a company’s capacity at any time and adjusts its ad spend online accordingly on the consumer-facing websites we create for them. 

Our process gives you the flexibility to price higher – when demand is high, and to price lower when demand is down – in real time. If a company is at capacity, spending is dialed back, saving decision-makers money, time, and reputation. 

Q. Tell us about the people part.

A. First, we’re lucky to work with marketing guru, Thom Johnson, our Chief Strategic Officer who is also a CAMP Digital co-founder. Thom is the inventor of our technology, the  pioneering Capacity Managed Marketing (CMM) platform. And he’s a master of CAMP data and in understanding the customer journey. His knowledge in the home services industry is unsurpassed. Almost single-handedly he’s turned the home services category inside out with his disruptive and proprietary tools for brands to better market to, manage and service customers. 

It’s not a stretch to say that the CMM has changed the way the home service industry talks about its business. Thom is also able to easily articulate the benefits to those brands that have embraced CAMP’s offering. He’s fond of saying that “We’ve given our customers a value-added strategy, plus a competitive advantage, that builds trust with their customers  the greatest brand asset ever. And no one else in this space can do that because of the process we have.”

Secondly, we have our own gold standard for finding the right employees, whether they’re creatives, customer managers, or tech heads: We hire on Attitude, Ethics and Effort. We teach everything else.

Q. Given us an example of how one company benefited from CAMP Digital’s efforts? 

A. Southern Trust Home Services partnered with us to develop a new way to drive more business and move to the top of search results, using primarily Local Services Ads. They performed well for attracting new customers and offered a handful of key benefits. The company was able to maximize the number of potential customers by matching the service area to specific zip codes, allowing them to work with as many clients as possible in in any specific area.

Southern Trust also clearly displayed their business hours to avoid missing calls. Finally, they were able to control the types of job displayed to ensure customers knew exactly what to expect. The Google Guaranteed badge also resonated with consumers, helping reinforce Southern Trust Home Services' reputation as a trusted brand. The results significantly increase their business, with a booking rate of 90% and a ROI of 1,570% in the first quarter of 2022!

Q. Look into your crystal ball, what do you see in the Big Picture?

A.  If there is a recession, our industry really is recession-proof, given that demand seems always to be on the rise. And recently I read a Gartner analysis, “Six Ways the Workplace Will Change over the Next 10 Years.” Here’re the toplines, followed by my comments.

  1. “Mangers will have to be great coaches and teachers and operate with empathy:” CAMP Digital is already there, so it’s back to the future for us!
  2. “Upskilling and digital dexterity will outweigh tenure and experience:” As a digital ad firm that has succeeded through digital innovation, these skill sets are second nature.
  3. "While some companies track productivity, others focus on employee engagement and well-being to better understand employee experience:” We constantly expand on the latter because we see how effective it is.
  4. “Smart machines – AI -- will be our colleagues:” CAMP’s fundamental killer combo of people and technology remind us daily that --as the report says -- “Extreme digital dexterity will ultimately be the modus operandi for how employees work.”
  5. “People will actively seek opportunities to tie the impact and value of their work to their mission, purpose and passions:” Our inclusive culture of diversity and empathy are the message, resonating well beyond our workplace to our customers.
  6. “Remote work-life balance will reveal challenges:” The solution is regular company events off- and on-site to ensure engagement, not isolation.

In other words, our product offering, and workplace philosophy of Attitude, Ethics and Effort readily aligns with this  forecast and current trends.