The founders of DivvyHQ, Brock Stechman and Brody Dorland, come out of the digital agency world and have been long-time marketers and entrepreneurs. In 2005, they both founded their own agencies. In the last decade, they have worked with over 300 companies combined, ranging from small businesses to some of the most recognizable brands in the country.
With the explosion of digital marketing and social media, they noticed their clients were consistently challenged with creating high-quality content and implementing new content planning and production processes that these initiatives require. Certainly part of this was due to resource and organizational challenges, but another major failure was due to the generic, antiquated tools that most marketers were accustomed to using (i.e. using spreadsheets to manage editorial schedules/calendars). They quickly realized this was a much bigger problem that companies across the globe were facing. So in 2011, Brock and Brody designed, built and launched the first version of DivvyHQ.
Since that time, DivvyHQ has been embraced not only by big brands and enterprise-level companies, but by the global marketing industry.
DivvyHQ is an advanced cloud-based, content planning and production workflow tool built to help marketers and content producers get/stay organized and successfully execute demanding and complicated content-marketing initiatives. Divvy’s unique functionality combines web-based calendars, content management and online collaboration to help global content teams capture content ideas, assign and schedule content projects, produce any type of content and stay on top of production deadlines.
BusinessInterviews.com: Why do you think that business owners often feel overwhelmed and not able to sustain their overall content planning efforts?
Brody: Well for starters, most business owners and traditional marketers don’t have publishing backgrounds, so the publishing mentality and its associated organizational structures and processes are completely foreign. If you put yourself in a publisher’s shoes, their job is to tell compelling stories that inform and entertain their readership. If they’re doing their jobs right, you love their publication so much that you can’t wait to get it each month/week/day in your mailbox/inbox. But producing that publication consistently requires specific people, processes and resources.
Content Marketing holds many similarities to traditional publishing. Through digital channels, businesses now have the ability to create compelling stories that inform and entertain, but also persuades customers to engage with the company’s products and services. Companies who have embraced this publishing mentality and use these new digital channels are reaching more customers and gaining “virtual trust” to grow their customer base.
The overwhelm typically comes when companies (and their internal teams) aren’t staffed properly and haven’t implemented the right processes and tools to maintain their content planning and production effort. The “content beast” has an insatiable appetite. New content/digital channels pop up all the time. Employees who are “doing this content thing on the side” get burnt out quickly. Combine all that with a longer cycle of attributing ROI to these content initiatives, and skeptical execs may quickly lose interest and pull the plug. Nobody said this stuff was easy.
The companies that invest in developing a targeted strategy, bring in dedicated creative talent, implement efficient processes and tools, and deliver consistently (like publishers) will win, period.
BusinessInterviews.com: Can you share a bit about the development process and how each of you played a complimentary role in the design of Divvy?
Brock: Prior to DivvyHQ, Brody and I worked together creating custom websites and applications for our clients. During that time we honed our skills and knowledge in branding, architecting, user experience/ design and development. DivvyHQ is a robust platform and we have spent countless hours working very closely together to brainstorm, conceptualize and plan how our application will be the best tool for marketing/communications departments. Our experience has been extremely helpful when we decided to create DivvyHQ. It’s been a very collaborative process and luckily for us we work very well together and have complimentary skills. Brody developed the primary architecture and wireframes and I developed the user interface and user experience. Our combined backgrounds in website/application development have helped us to manage the development process with our team of 8 developers.
BusinessInterviews.com: What inspired you to rebuild not only your application, but your entire organization? What were some of the biggest obstacles you faced during this process and how did you overcome them?
Brock: We launched DivvyHQ in 2011 with a lot of uncertainty. DivvyHQ was the first product of its kind in an emerging content marketing industry. We really had no idea what the response would be. Luckily, the response has been staggering since day one. The inspiration to completely rebuild DivvyHQ from the ground-up came from our users. Our users have been so supportive of us and we have listened to them very closely over the last three years. They have been so excited about our tool and want to see us evolve and succeed. They have given us a ton of feedback and ideas. With the insight we gained from our users we now know exactly what our industry needs to help them produce better content.
The biggest demand and traction for DivvyHQ has been with large enterprise-level companies. They have the biggest need for a tool like ours because of the size of their teams and the huge amount of content they are producing. So, we built Divvy 2.0 to support these large, global organizations. Divvy 2.0 is much more robust and we need an experienced team who will help us continue to grow into these enterprise markets and support these larger organizations.
The biggest obstacle we have faced has been scaling the team fast enough to meet our growth and development needs.
BusinessInterviews.com: What do you attribute to the impressive amount of growth, traction and results you have been able to achieve with a very small team?
Brock: We were fortunate in that we built a tool that solves several major challenges that marketing and communications teams face every day across the globe. Producing and publishing high volumes of content across multiple channels is a very complicated and stressful process for large, global content teams. It’s takes a tremendous amount of structure, planning, discipline, and collaboration. Before DivvyHQ, these processes were all very manual/tedious, and most companies were forced into using antiquated tools to try and stay organized. As soon as we launched, the word got out and DivvyHQ spread like wildfire in our industry. DivvyHQ is a very easy tool to use and it ultimately helps companies produce far better content.
Another reason for our quick success has been because of our team. Even though we’re small, we have an incredible team. Having been small business owners for many years, we understand the importance of strategy and how to build the right team. We are constantly evaluating every function of our business and fine-tuning it along the way. Throughout the years, we have figured out how to build extremely efficient teams and have learned tips and tricks along the way that have enabled us to get the maximum output from our company.
BusinessInterviews.com: Can you talk about the process of regularly making improvements based on feedback that you receive from your customers?
Brody: DivvyHQ is constantly evolving. With our first version, our goal was to provide a solution to which most content teams would find familiar and be able to easily adapt. But as large organizations jumped on board, we consistently received feedback and feature requests that would allow them to customize many different areas of the application. As the volume of requests for a specific feature reached a certain point, we would prioritize the implementation of that feature accordingly.
BusinessInterviews.com: What are some emerging trends that you’re excited about right now or think that our readers should be paying attention to?
Brody: I’m really excited about the emerging technologies within the real-time search and discovery categories of our industry. Search algorithms and curation technologies are getting much better at “filtering the internet firehose” to help marketers understand and identify which types of content your specific customers really care about (and will engage with). We’re evaluating many of these technologies as potential technology partners to help our users discover content trends and make recommendations for topics on which they should produce content.
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