The Taking It To The Streets campaign is all about developing face-to-face relationships with our clients to learn how these web superstars operate, to see what problems they are facing, how to overcome them and most importantly, how we can all learn from each other to create a best of breed company, culture and overall successful business.
Today, we hit the pavement to learn about Pontiflex.
Pontiflex is about driving change in advertising, making it about connecting — inventing terms to describe what they do along the way. They champion lead generation and have a great fit in Brooklyn, found ‘Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass’ (DUMBO) where things are a little different. I met with their CEO Zephrin Lasker, COO Geoffrey Grauer and a few others from their team recently to learn about what makes them different.
They were the only company that I visited in DUMBO and it was a pretty chill and creative place with beautiful views of the Manhattan skyline. DUMBO is different and that vibe is ingrained in the minds of the companies and people who work in the area. I could see Dyn being there as they have converted warehouses/mill spaces for a similar feel to our environment in Manchester and our soon-to-be new office space.
What Pontiflex does is in its own category. To do this, they have had to restructure the thought process behind marketing leads vs. sales leads. Since this is new territory for brand owners, it takes a lot of trust and experimentation and it requires them to be open and upfront to their customers.
Working With Customers, External and Internal
Danielle, in ad operations, talked about the white glove treatment that they give to all customers. When asked about how to deliver bad news (that a message wasn’t hitting its target), she said that delivery was best when it is clear, direct, and detailed.
As they solve problems for customers, they have had to carefully decide on their product evolution. The white glove treatment leads to the blurring of ‘professional services work’ with ‘product work’.
All software as a service companies (SaaS) go through this as they determine what is actually core to their platform.
Pontiflex also shares in our love for people. They were recognized a top 10 employer in NYC, have an flat hierarchy and have created a fun place to work. Many of their staff described themselves as agency dropouts who were looking for a better place. The worst thing they say that they can do? Bad hires.
In their hiring practices, Geoff talked about a bar raiser. In addition to the standard technical fit (can the candidate do the job?), there is a bar raiser who checks on the personality and allegiance to the company mission. This person ultimately has veto power on a hiring decision.
We also talked about culture. Zephrin said it’s paradoxical to transmit culture. As they have grown from a group of eight friends to a team of nearly 50, they have had to adapt their approach. Zephrin said, “Our mission and goals are the same, but how we’re getting there is different.”
When they hire, they look for people with different ways of thinking. I also loved their approach to an open, transparent workforce. Staff and customers are welcome to question to come up with better solutions.