Founder’s Chronicle: Phil Laboon, Founder of Eyeflow Internet Marketing

Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC)
Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC)



eyeflowBriefly tell us about your Eyeflow Internet Marketing.

Eyeflow Internet Marketing is a full-service online marketing firm that can put your business in front of the people who need your specific products and services. We utilize the latest, most effective standards and compliant techniques to produce long-lasting, stable results that service a variety of industries and benefit from our specialized, strategic SEO plans designed for each customer based on his or her goals. Whether you are looking for SEO, pay-per-click advertising or social media, our targeted campaigns will generate traffic, create leads and produce a strong return on your investment.

What has been the most effective marketing tool for introducing a new brand to the market?

Strong branding is important online and offline. I’m really into making sure our sales materials reflect the quality and value of our services. Success is in those details. Well thought-out designs — whether in websites, pay-per-click ads or print material — do more than make your company look good. Recognizable, cohesive branding is reassuring to prospective clients. Design is not an expense — it’s an investment. In business, image is everything.

How big of a role does data play in making decisions on launching or changing the focus of a product/service?

At the end of the day, all companies are data companies. We all rely on absorbing various numbers and creating a product or service based on the data. In my industry, we are much more reliant on data than most. Metrics suddenly change because search engine algorithms are out of our control. This means we must constantly sift through large chunks of data to make sure our service is efficiently gaining results.

What’s one thing you look for in an agency partner?

When I look for an agency to partner with, I am typically looking for a company that really seems to “get” my business and tailors a campaign specifically to my company’s needs. That customization should involve presenting the key points of the agency’s marketing approach and how it will overcome the obstacles in my industry. An agency that is willing to give me a little free advice targeted specifically to the challenges I face stands out to me. Being in a consulting industry myself, I understand that it’s a fine line between giving insight and revealing the entire marketing plan, but I feel it’s important to have a general idea of what the agency plans to do from a 30,000-foot overview.

How should agencies apply startup principles (e.g., The Lean Startup, rapid iteration, etc.) to operate effectively and create breakthrough work?

An agency should be prepared for changes outside of its control. Well-established agencies can lose out to smaller, nimble firms that can adapt their approaches more responsively. A key trait that startups implement that agencies should take advantage of is keeping flexibility in their operations. Team members need to keep themselves well informed on any changes in their field and pay attention to emerging trends in the industry. In a dynamic market, businesses also need to constantly improve their internal operations. New tools designed to help companies in different fields are hitting the market every day, and your team should be exploring those for new opportunities in operational efficiency or even expanded service/product offerings. While it is important to develop a set of strong core services for your brand, it is also necessary to remain fluid enough to respond to sudden developments in your industry or your clients’ industries.

How can agency leadership encourage internal innovation?

Successful leaders must find ways to enable their teams to collaborate by removing obstacles. Team members throughout an agency need easy access to tools that will allow them to get questions answered efficiently, post documents and share ideas. Effective communication will foster greater trust and openness between agency employees and also create room for innovation and growth. For collaborative projects, use tools like Basecamp, an online project management tool, to encourage communication and transparency. These tools allow everyone to stay on the same page while providing access to the messages and updated documents that they need to stay informed on the project’s status and solve problems as they arise. Another simple way to encourage innovation is to make it a priority to hold meetings for brainstorming new approaches, new growth opportunities and new tactics for solving specific problems.

What is your advice for retaining young, technologically savvy employees?

Involve them, introduce them to every aspect of their work and the company and make them feel like a part of the big picture — not just a segmented, entry-level employee. Empower them with knowledge, technology, tools and specialized training, and open the door to opportunities they can create and own. Young professionals want to feel inspired and fulfilled by their work. Most would rather be unemployed than work for something they don't believe in or feel is right for them.

Many advertising professionals find themselves interested in entrepreneurship. What advice would you give to someone with marketing skills interested in starting a new venture?

Have an in-depth business proposal that projects your potential growth. Many startups are so busy treading water that they don’t have lasting core strategies in place for when they make it. Be prepared for those things outside of your control to change; your industry can easily and suddenly transform. Companies that are quick to adapt will stand the test of time. Well-established companies can lose out to smaller, nimble companies that are able to adapt. So develop a balance of strong core principles for your business, but leave room for your business plans to be fluid and flexible as well.

What new trend in marketing/digital media are you most excited about and why?

Using retargeting or remarketing campaigns are a great constant reminder of your brand. People who come to your website are most likely there because they either searched for your industry, topic or niche and are potentially interested in your business. You can’t afford to lose these potential leads. A retargeting campaign with Google AdWords essentially lets your company’s ads follow a user around when they search the Web, so they are frequently reminded of your business. This is a great way to turn visitors to your website into long-term followers or even clients.

phil-laboonPhil Laboon started the multi-million dollar company Eyeflow Internet Marketing from the ground up when he was 20 years old. Eyeflow has grown rapidly and has recently being named one of 2012′s Top 100 fastest-growing businesses in Pittsburgh by the Pittsburgh Business Times. Laboon has consulted for everything from startups to Fortune 500’s, developing techniques to maximize clients’ online presences and credibility. He specializes in the industries of higher education institutions, real estate and travel. Brands Laboon has consulted for include Giant Eagle, Office Depot, Wyndham, Motel 6, Hertz, CMU and many others. Because of his 12 years of successful entrepreneurship, Laboon is often asked to share his experiences through industry conferences, forums and blogs.

Laboon is continually focused on developing his own new techniques, constantly creating more effective strategies and recently developed SEOzio, a premium online SEO analysis tool. This free tool is available to the public and provides a fast and easy way for people outside of the SEO industry to understand how their websites perform from an SEO perspective.

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